by Vidal Romero, 2006 (Spain)
Gone wrong, unfinished, unpublished.
04. When did you decided start to use the guitar as a sound generator, more than a traditional instrument? You have seen a lot of times that a reason was your love for My Bloody Valentine
No, that was not the reason and never was. I was interested in the possiblities for sound transformation.
04. (and I think this is specially evident in the nice “Wave field”), but I’m interested in knowing the reasons in an emotional level. I mean, why did you choose sound, and not melody?
I think you mean to ask why did i chose a sound-based approach to music instead of a note-based approach. Sounds are events that physically happen in Nature, while notes are abstract concepts. The range of possibilities of note-based music (classical/ contemporary music, pop, rock) is very limited, while the possibilities of raw sound as compositional matter are infinite. I started with a note-based approach (Sound Mind… is mostly written in score) and i shifted to sound-based music with Wave Field. Anyway, with the Space Program i moved to a point beyond that. Today i work with performance (of sounds, not notes) as compositional material. It’s sound as well, but instead of raw sound, it’s articulated in real-time musical discourse. So – back to your question – now it’s both sound and melody.
05. I’ve been revisiting some of your first albums before doing this questionnaire, and I’m surprised with most of these material, because it seems to sound out of any time. Do you work around the music to make it no datable?
Yes, all my past work was meant to be timeless, i always tried to achieve that… That’s why i took so long releasing records – i made sure they started to “age” well. Today i can’t pretend to achieve the same goal, because in the past the focus was on the final product and now it’s on the performance dynamics, a live process which is always changing. I can only try to release each record at the best of my possibilities. And my best today is not the same as it will be six months later. Therefore i must accept what i am capable of doing in a certain moment, a bit like what happens in jazz.
06. How do you see your first albums today? (I’m talking about titles like “Chasing sonic booms”, “Aeriola frequency” or “Wave field”) Are you still happy with them? Why?
Yes, for the reasons above. They live their own life and stand well against the passing of time. But “Chasing Sonic Booms” is a collection of live improvisations, it didn’t follow the same principles and unfortunately it’s severely outdated. It’s far, far back with respect to what i do now. Anyway, i don’t listen much the the early stuff, as i don’t listen much to ambient or immersive music anymore. We live in times that require for action and awareness, not escapism and oblivion. The Space Program is about being aware and active, it’s an encouragement to realizations of human individuals, of people who think with their own head.
07. I remember an interview where you said that your work should be described as the branches of a tree. I would love if you can explain this a bit better. For example, what should be the root and the trunk, and when do you think is necessary to add a new branch (or to cut an old one)?
I never said “should”. I came up with that image to say that i regarded only a few records as belonging to a core lineage of works. Early Works, Sound Mind Sound Body, Wave Field and Violence of Discovery and Calm of Acceptance. An important branch is Aeriola Frequency. And all the other releases are ramifications, deviations, accessory documents or transitional works.
08. How much “branches” do you maintain active right now?
I entirely left that “tree” alone, i’m working on a new integrated system away from that.
08 Can you talk a bit about the “Harmonic series”?
It’s clearly a transitional work towards new tools. The software development i did for the sinewaves was further developed for the first new work, Space Study 1 (glove-controlled sinewaves). Harmonic Series was performed with theremin modules, so there was a gestural approach to performance and new custom technological tools, clear moves toward the Space Program. Only the shape and aesthetic remained tied to past methods. It was the last release of the previous work period.
09. In the last three or four years your work have become more pure and focused.
I don’t agree. My last pre-Space works are no less focused or pure than the earliest ones. In the last 3 years i changed radically, launching the Space Program, and “Space” is the first recorded manifestation of it.
09 There’s less elements in your recordings, but also the way you explore the possibilities of these elements is deep and better than before. Do you think is possible to use the term “minimalism” (of course, in its classic meaning) when trying to describe your music?
My current work is as minimalist as Evan Parker or Steve Lacy (so the word makes no sense). My previous work resulted from a synthesis of very different elements, it would be reductionist to give it any label, especially “minimalist” because it’s very complex.
10. Also, it seems that you’re more interested lately in the environments than in the sound itself. Is this the reason to leave the guitar apart and focus in electronic devices and computers?
Environments? Where did you get that idea? No, i am interested in performance. I am working with simple instruments that do each their own thing, they have a clear identity, while a guitar can be too many things. I needed simplicity, and suddenly the guitar became far too complex.
11. In the past you worked confronting “Calm” to “Violence” or “Noise” to “Peacefulness”, and now you’re working with “Space” in front of “Sound”… Do you think these aesthetic of confrontation should be used as the main line of your entire work?
No. There never was confrontation of anything in my work. All my past work was about integration, about bringing different things into one single identity. My current work is different, focusing on a multiplicity of elements, each with its own identity, meant to exist together in a way that they provide space to each other. They are transparent, never masking or colliding with one another. Space and silence are concepts that are very close for me. Silence and sound are two sides of the same coin. The impact or possible meaning of a sound is inevitably attached to the shape of silence around it.
12. I’m very interested in the “Space program”. As I can see in this first album, the word “space” is not only about futurism and technology; it’s also used in it’s meaning of “blank space”: it seems the silence is now much more important than the sound events. Like if these sound events were only interruptions in the silence… What can you say about this?
It’s not AT ALL about futurism and technology.