The first time I saw Father of the Flood, his slow-morphing tones vibrated the art off The Stove's walls. Some of the audience ran from work to work, pulling glass-enclosed pieces down before the chest-rattling low end could cause them to leap to their doom. Then we sat and felt the notes thundering from four 15-inch speakers into our bodies. When the flood was over, I had no idea how much time had passed. Was the set five minutes long or 30?
Daniel Brigman started playing music seriously in 2002, singing for punk or hardcore bands. He played keyboards for The Coma Recovery for a while. And somehow that all naturally progressed to his drone noise aesthetic, which spills forth more as a weather event than a performance.
The evolution, he says, began with a history of playing in structured environments and not feeling ... natural. He'd rather "just be able to play and allow notes to exist as they are." With a keyboard, an electric piano and baritone guitar—all set up through a series of effects pedals—Brigman evokes layers that build drowsily, "until a vast, brooding plateau is reached," he writes on his site.
What is Brigman brooding about? "I think everyone struggles with being the source of their own complications through thinking about your role in life," he says. "Usually, it comes off in a really contrived way. You're just flooding yourself with all these unnecessary tragedies." After the plateau, the notes begin to descend and fade, the flood recedes, like the aftermath of so many self-created problems. That's the danger of too much introspection, he says.
Brigman's released three tapes—yes, cassette tapes—two of which are split releases: one with local artist Luperci and another with Hannah Fraser. He records on simple tape machines. When he wants to use one of the samples he found while riding around on his bike, he uses multiple recorders. He likes the quality of a cassette tape because it slowly disintegrates, never sounding exactly the same twice. Brigman pays extra attention when playing a tape, because he's never going to experience it that way again, he says.
He found a tape-to-tape recorder at an estate sale for $10. It only takes about a minute to copy each side of the cassette, which provides relief from the days of producing albums on his home stereo. Though he's been writing and recording as Father of the Flood for about two years now, he's only been serious about playing shows since June. "I just try and be concentrated and nonjudgmental about the sounds I'm playing," he says. "I don't want to get trapped in 'I don't know if that was good,' or 'That sounds like rubbish.' For me, it feels meditative, cleansing."