Currently studying sonic arts in Berlin, Joseph Kamaru, aka KMRU, is a Nairobi-born, Berlin-based sound artist whose work is grounded on the discourse of field recording, noise, and sound art. His work posits expanded listening cultures of sonic thoughts and sound practices, a proposition to consider and reflect on auditory cultures beyond the norms, and an awareness of surroundings through creative compositions, installations and performances. In 2020 he released ‘Peel’ on the avant-garde label Editions Mego with follow up albums ‘Opaquer’, ‘Jar’, and ‘Logue’, each on different labels, and all of which received high praise from Resident Advisor, DJ Mag, NPR, and Bandcamp. KMRU is part of SHAPE platform roaster of artists for 2021. His works have been presented in NyegeNyege Festival (UG), CTM Festival (DE), Atonal (DE), GAMMA (RU), and Mutek (CA/ ES) and 2022 was inaugurated with a collaboration with the London Contemporary Orchestra at the Barbican.
The piece started with the idea of using very long decaying notes that evolve on each other, constructing different sonic textures. memories and thoughts of times, lived experiences; gradually returning us into the now. Originally released as an audio visual piece for the Issue Project Room, I feel the piece itself also offers an auditory experience on its own sonically. The piece features field recordings from Berlin, Coventry, and Nairobi, distorted guitar sounds and synthesisers. I’ve been exploring ways to use subtle distortion and extreme saturation for most part of 2021 and this piece is a prelude to more pieces that I’m exploring in this direction, finding the balance of extreme tension, noise and sublimality in sounds.
I strongly feel my work strongly provokes active listening—how we listen and its socio-political implications. Listening offers a reflection of the happening. For me, it’s active research that impels an auditory knowing of the human and the non-human.