Karl Steven – Utterance and Inscription: New Song Of The Day

Karl Steven releases Utterance and Inscription today and whets our appetite once more for his upcoming album, All of Human Emotion on Microfiche.

That album is due for release on February 4th. Here are details:

January 25 2021Karl Steven is a composer and producer, currently based in Pārāwai (Thames). Steven’s upcoming output is a collage of organic and electronic sources, synthesised down into an ambitious and enigmatic sound. While working mainly with music to picture, Steven has also been a part of groups Queen Neptune, The Drab Doo-Riffs, Heart Attack Alley and Supergroove.

Today he shares Utterance and Inscription, that features contributions from Ché Fu and King Kapisi. It is the fourth single from All of Human Emotion on MicroficheSteven’s debut album that’ll be released on February 4th.


Released digitally on January 25 via Sunreturn


“‘Utterance and Inscription’ is a song about language and what it carries with it” says Steven. “It’s something I find particularly interesting as a child of an immigrant to this country, and living as we do in a place where language has been and continues to be so overtly a locus of both oppression and renewal.”

“The words are a series of quotations from the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, whose ideas were one of the things that first took me to university, and whose work I was lucky enough to study under Professor Rosalind Hursthouse.  The song is dedicated to Hursthouse, who is herself an amazing philosopher, and who comes from a lineage of outstanding thinkers and writers from the (then) women’s Somerville College, Oxford, where Wittgenstein’s thought really took root.” 

The track features key contributions from hip hop heavyweights Ché Fu (who Steven previously worked with in Supergroove) as well as King Kapisi. Steven explains “As I was working on it I realised I had encountered some of Wittgenstein’s ideas before, in King Kapisi’s 90’s hit “Screams from da Old Plantation” where he states the “lifestyle’s in the speech”, so I asked him whether I could include him saying that in the song, which he graciously allowed me to do.”

“The track also features some amazing turntable creativity by my old friend and colleague Ché Fu, so it was really fun to work with him on something entirely bizarre and unrelated to our old stuff together.”

The visual accompaniment for Utterance and Inscription is a continued collaboration between Steven and Mindfulness For Machines, the generative art practice of Marcel Bellvé (Crap Date, Lipsink). The pair previously worked together on Steven’s Acoma (Phase I), Tāmaki 500, and Freedom Bells,

The clip for Utterance and Inscription is filled with bright hue’s and ever changing patterns. Bellvé explains “This came together pretty quickly! It’s a combination of home-brewed oscilloscopes and audio reactive geometry.”


1. Acoma (Phase I)
2. Utterance and Inscription
3. The Message
4. Cold Day Light
5. Tāmaki 5000
6. Freedom Bells
7. Acoma (Phase II)

Released digitally on February 4 via Sunreturn