The Broken Face

by Tim Elder, Jan – May 2002 (Sweden)

– My first question concerns your new record. In my estimation, it sounds much different than your other work that I’ve heard but is still highly identifiable as yours. I read in the press release that much of the recording was done using analogue equipment and guitars, and I wanted to know what precipitated this change from the methods employed on Aeriola Frequency and Cyclorama Lift 3.

Violence of Discovery and Calm of Acceptance represents most of the work i developed in the last 15 years. I’ve always centered my music in the electric guitar and a few aesthetic principles and sound phenomena. One of the sound properties that has fascinated me mostly is resonance. My second CD, “Wave Field” is an exploration of the field of resonance from the guitar perspective (to put it simplistically), and the third, “Aeriola Frequency” (from which sessions Cyclorama Lift 3 was produced), is a venture into pure resonance, it’s a record of electronic music in which i took a step further and left the guitar aside. So the recent “VDCA” is not a change, it’s what i’ve always have been doing.

– I also noticed that the liner notes stated that the pieces were recorded between 1993 and 2000 and was curious to learn the reason behind the apparently long gestation and development period of your new work.

It’s just because i have little time and i have been doing these little pieces once in a while, in parallel with all the other many projects i did throughout the years. I didn’t sit down and said “ok, now i’ll start recording a new record”. I slowly made a collection of these pieces as i did them. I knew they would become this record, but i had no idea when. I expected it to be ready only later, actually…

– I’m curious to learn more about your distinction between the resonance of electronic signals and the resonance of electric guitars and how you approach these two different methods.

Well, actually we’re talking about the same thing, it’s all electronic signals, but with the guitar there is a sound source and a set of cultural references, while on Cyclorama Lift resonance is aesthetically explored in a pure form, without all the guitar sonic and cultural baggage.

– Do you have any feelings or ideas as to why resonance has played a primary role in your music, including but perhaps beyond music that you have listened to and been inspired by?

Both acoustic and electronic resonance are sound phenomena with a strong magic charge to me, especially, in electronic, the way it can bring melodic shapes to surface. But this fascination was doubtlessly triggered by Alvin Lucier’s fabulous “I’m Sitting In a Room”.

– I read an interview where you mentioned a John Cage work that he granted permission for you to realize days before he passed on. Can you tell me more about this work? Has it been performed or recorded?

It’s a piece he performed with Marcel Duchamp, which consists of an amplified chess board, and the players have the game movements amplified. I did a version with Paulo Feliciano with a special set of chess pieces, small sculptures that would make a different sound each when moved. After that i was to edit the recording of the performance and layer several chunks with multitrack.

– How would you differentiate Violence of Discovery and the Calm of Acceptance from other past work, either with the electric guitar or without?

I wouldn’t. VDCA is a long thread that is consistent with everything else i did. But i would say it’s my best.

– Your web site lists the time you have spent studying at several different places and with several different people. I’m curious to learn how these educational and personal experiences have enriched and developed your music.

I did try to study, but there are very little things i learned that became relevant to me. My “real” learning process was about discovering and teaching myself.

– Can you tell me about your involvement with MIMEO?

It’s a magical experience, and it’s great to be among all these great musicians. We all meet very rarely, because it’s difficult (and very expensive) to organize MIMEO concerts, but we keep seeing each other separately, as all us us are always travelling, we meet occasionaly here and there on this small world.

– Are you planning on releasing a recording of “Engine,” and have you ever performed the version which would require a lot of equipment to perform?

No plans for release… The “complete” version is the standard, i’m going to play it again in Berlin next month…