Frank Byng - drums, percussion, electronics
Ben Cowen - synths, keyboards, electronics
Ralph Cumbers - bass, trombone, drum machines, electronics
Tom Marriott - trombone, electronics
Roberto Sassi - guitar, fx
Snorkel are a south London based collective whose members come from different corners of the alternative scene, bringing together the tactics of improvisation, electronica, and sound art. The band features the combined talents of Frank Byng [Crackle, Prescott], Ben Cowen [7Hurtz], Ralph Cumbers [aka Bass Clef, Some Truths], Tom Marriott [Pest] and Roberto Sassi [Vole]. Propelled by the drums and the rhythms generated by cheap samplers and drum machines, the band revel in the joy of angular repetition, throwing in elastic interruptions on guitar, trombone, analogue and digital synthesisers and vocals.
Described as “…the missing link between Krautrock and Lee Scratch Perry” [Rock a Rolla], to date they have released two albums [Glass Darkly 2007, Stop Machine 2011] and an EP on Slowfoot Records, with a third in the pipeline.
Snorkel was formed some ten years ago by drummer Frank Byng in order to explore and develop strategies for improvisation using flexible line-ups. Taking their methodology from legendary bands like Can, Soft Machine and This Heat, they like to play unrehearsed extended sets in non standard venues. Snorkel acts as an experimental workshop for Slowfoot. Ideas and material generated through improvisation often finds its way into other recording projects.
Their intense polyrhythmic grooves pull in influences from jazz to african, rock to drum'n'bass, and drag them into a new context. The creative exuberance of the band is rooted in the joy of psychedelic repetition and the states reached when playing continuously and synchroniously; their sonic palette is informed by dub and electronica - live instruments pushed and pulled through effects filters, sculpting in real time a polymorphously perverse and unruly soundscape.
The first sessions and performances featured Frank Byng (drums,percussion), Lucas Suarez (guitar), Oren Marshall (electric tuba), Nicko Grosz (bass), Dean Brodrick (clavinet, sampler), Nicko Grosz (bass) and John Telfor (saxophones) in various formations. This culminated in a three day recording session which has yet to be released.
Further performances occured over the following years, most notably events staged at The Albany and other alternative art spaces in Deptford, South-East London - sharing the bill with the likes of Charles Hayward, Albert Newton, The Spyna Allstars (Pest), and The Hormones. Other musicians who enjoyed a spot of Snorkeling during this period included George Hadjineophytou (electric bazouki), Luke Wills (guitar), Nick Doyne-Ditmas (bass, cornet), Charles Stuart and 129.
With the arrival of Tom Marriott and Ben Cowen the current line-up took shape, and in the summer of 2005 started playing gigs, art shows and studio events around London before entering the recording studio to record an album - 'Glass Darkly' for which they were joined by guitarist Lucas Suarez. Whilst putting the finishing touches to their second album 'Stop Machine' the band was joined by Ralph Cumbers aka Bass Clef on bass, trombone and electronics, and guitarist Roberto Sassi. The 'One Long Conundrum EP' marked the arrival of this quintet, who are now working towards their third album.
Match & Fuse [France], Venn, Match & Fuse [London], Shambala, Sonic Boom, Meze, No Dark Places, Tinderbox -
The Vortex, Cafe Oto, OCM, The Spitz, The Thekla, Le Periscope [Lyon] and many more….
and have also shared bills with the likes of The Comet Is Coming, Blurt, Monkey Puzzle Trio, Zun Zun Egui, Charles Hayward, Gnod, Metamorphic, Sculpture, Rocketnumbernine, Rothko, The Woodentops and Red Square.
They have remixed for Esben And The Witch, Robert Logan, Slovo, The Fish Police, Low Bias, Crewdson, Time And Space Machine –