New Life (Italy) 2001

Interview for New Life Magazine (Italy)

November 2001, with Gino Dal Soler
Printed in January 2002 Issue, translated into Italian

1) Your music seems to express a beautiful tension between organic and inorganic, from Numena, Rainforest, Propagation, your two works with Steve Roach, to Stalker, Fissures (with Alio Die) the triple live Humidity, and deep inside the obscurity of Below Zero..all your records are in some way impressed by this tension…is it for you a search of balance between two polarity like a sort of ying yang or else?

My thoughts about this area change from year to year. I think, overall, I seek balance between all of the various poles of experience. If I were mixing perfumes, I would try to blend the midrange notes of sweetness, some citrus brightness, and some deep mysterious musk. If I were cooking food, I would try to find equalibrium that combines multiple poles of flavour (salty, sweet, sour, bitter, ‘umame’ and picante.) Likewise for music, I want to balance the futuristic with the ancient, the mystical with the sensual, the emotional with the intellectual. I don’t see these qualities in terms of dualistic opposites, however, I experience them more like the many-poled quality of flavours. Each quality can exist in the music in balance with the other qualities. On certain albums I might choose to accentuate certain qualities over others, but I always want balance or dynamic tension between them. So for example, Below Zero emphasizes ‘large’ ‘inorganic’ and ‘mystical awe’, while Fissures emphasizes ‘small’ ‘organic’ and ‘sensual warmth’, yet both albums explore all elements.

2) You often named your liquid sound: glurp!: is it a process in constant evolution?

I keep discovering new ways to express it! It’s an outgrowth of my very strange sense of humour.

3) Your recent stunning “Bestiary” maybe sign a step beyond: allegory and fantastic creatures are a familiar presence in your music, but the liquid forms of Joan Miro or Tanguy in this case seems to join with a more powerful and physical textures and rhythms. Could you tell me something about?

I wanted to make the glurpiest album I’ve ever done. The images of Miro and Tanguy gave me inspiration with their otherworldliness and uncompromising stylisations. I also wanted to make a very electronic album that felt extremely organic, like the inside of a body. It has a sense of humour, too, and the rhythms allow me to organize some very strange and funny sounds while helping it still sound like music.

4)But the album end with the ten minutes of mantric and fantastic “Premonition of Circular Clouds”, to me not only one of your strongest compositions, but also a summa of your sound imaginary. Like a blessed gift. How did you have composed this piece?

It started with a rhythm on the modular synthesizer. I wanted a vocal sound to accompany the rhythm, like a solo voice in classical Indian music, but I didn’t want the voice or the language to sound recognizable. I sung the melody with a transliteration of an ancient Akkadian/Sumerian poem, then processed my voice through several steps in the computer until it sounded almost alien, but still somewhat organic. The organ-like drones accentuate the glitchiness by switching randomly through different resonances on the modular synth. Again, I’m trying to merge the electronic with the organic by moving both sources toward the middle.

5) Entropy, Change, Evolution, Structure, Chance, Body, Time, Knowledge, Order, Disorder, Abstract, concrete…what of these terms are more familiar or intersting to you or better suggest a big influence in your music?

All of them! As I said, I don’t see the various parameters of art as oposites, but rather as coexisting qualities. For example, ‘intellect’ and ’emotion’ don’t need to compete with each other, they can augment each other like in a Bach fugue. ‘Abstract’ and ‘concrete’ can create different layers in a tapestry of sound, like a Tanguy painting with sharply outlined forms hovering above a blurry gray background. ‘Sensuality’ and ‘mysticism’ can weave together, like the erotic sandstone carvings on the walls of an Indian temple, to form some of the most beautiful of human epiphanies. We don’t experience the Universe as a separated sequence of pure forms, we experience life as a wonderously confusing soup of sensation. Our minds then filter sensation into meaning. Art can trigger new sensations that highlight certain qualities over others, but I find it most interesting when it contains a multiplicity of possibilities.