|Kent Sparling is a visual and recording artist living on the Northern California coast. He was born in San Francisco in 1966, and began composing at the piano after having been asked to leave his elementary school orchestra for inventing harmony counter-melodies on the saxophone. He formed the pop band Eyeland in 1983, acting as singer-songwriter, keyboardist, and co-producer, and the group became popular over the next decade with their cassettes, live performances and radio airplay in the Bay Area.
In 1985 KS began working with experimental music techniques, creating unique recordings up to 45 minutes long, using the classic musique concrète methods of manipulation and montage. With the use of electronic devices and electro-mechanical constructions such as oil drum reverbs and modified speaker systems, he alters the sonic character of a broad range of recorded sounds, from environmental noises, raw electronic sound and natural VLF radio reception, to more traditional "musical" sounds created by familiar instruments. The result is driftmusic, rich in imagery and emotion.
Since 1988, KS has been working with the visual parallel to his experimental music, using the same heuristic approach, where chance discovery prompts even more radical exploration. His current pieces are a form of collage using layers of original art fragments, photographs, distorted media images, paint, spices, and other materials, which he processes on color photocopy machines, altering the color balance, saturation, contrast and sharpness, and re-layering certain areas to create "color feedback" and "visual echoes".
He has been working since 1996 with Gunnar Madsen, founder of the á cappella group The Bobs, acting as producer on Gunnar's first solo CD releases, "Spinning World", 13 original waltzes for small ensemble with string quartet, piano, clarinet and bassoon, and "The Power of a Hat" which is a full blown pop album with a live band. He continues his trio collaboration with poet Mark Neville and jazz bassist Ron Crotty on recorded works and live performances. Their "Sounds Familiar" release has been aired on experimental radio programs in Italy, Australia, Canada, Belgium, Russia, Cuba and across the US. Four compositions from his first solo album, "Route Canal Diary", were included in the soundtrack of the Canadian National Film Board documentary "In The Flesh", which aired across North America in early 2000. He has handled the sound duties on "How to Pick Up Girls", and "Transpositional Landscapes" two short films by the Apes of God, "Ripple", a short film by Tim Kerns, "Fear Itself" and "Thirteen Ways" by Dan Weir, and AD Liano's "Three Cornered Hat". He also records and performs with Vanessa Lowe in her band, Bug Eyed Sprite, playing 'tiny instruments': ukulele, melodica and electronics.
KS spent five years as Operations Director at Sound Transform Systems, building Serge instruments, an advanced modular analog synthesizer. He continues his work in the world of motion pictures as a Re-Recording Mixer at Skywalker Sound, with credits on films such as Spike Jonze's "Adaptation", Sofia Coppola's "Lost in Translation" and "Marie Antoinette", Mike Mills' "Thumbsucker", James Gray's "We Own the Night" and "Two Lovers", Lance Hammer's award-winning debut, "Ballast", and Michael Moore's "Sicko".
In 2000 he released his second solo album of experimental music, "Under New Manna" and a collection of 'orphaned and unfinished works' called "Camphor and Caraway". "Leaf Spring", a collaboration with Jeffrey Foster, was released in December 2003 followed by "Evening Air, Freeway Birds, No Wind Birds" and "Indina King" in 2006. In 2007 he composed the original score for Wayne Wang's "Princess of Nebraska", which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival, and in 2008, with Antonio Cora, composed the original score for Eduardo Sanchez's "Seventh Moon".
His plans for 2009 include: producing a fifth album for Vanessa Lowe; continued development of two sound installations for art galleries; a live concert performance in a concrete grain silo of new works for bells, and live improvised experimental music with his group Driftwood Orchestra. He is a BMI affiliated songwriter, a member of the Cinema Audio Society, the Motion Picture Editors Guild, the Canadian Electroacoustic Community, and serves on the board of the Nature Sounds Society.