hard air: hard light: hard thought


Mag 15 2010, 9:53

This text is result of an interview where a brazilian webzine asked the nexialist organization in 2005 on their view on a couple of issues: electronic music, film music, and nexialist operations.

>>>on the relationship between >breakcore< and extreme electronic music and activism: HARD AIR

when you decide not to focus on the terminology of >breakcore< too closely and set it within the context of "extreme" music there are certainly comparisons and parallels to activism as a "extreme" form of social behavior. but what is considered "extreme" in the first place? i think a distinction needs to be made, if only for formal reasons, between what is considered extreme and what is factually extreme. in this sense, a lot of music is regarded by the general public as being extreme while the specialists, to coin a term for those who listen to or create this kind of music and for the most part have a distinct background and knowledge of the matter, do not consider it extreme (anymore). then, there is music that is factually extreme, because it is regarded as such by the general public and the specialists as well, meaning there is an actual consensus of sorts on the matter. we'll have to neglect the bourgeois who try to make believe that the factually extreme "isn't extreme at all".

the general public however operates within the contextual bounds as defined by hearing and listening behavior. now, one could argue that instrumental music is per se contentless and therefore issue-less. but, "there is always an issue", and the issue-less is used as a surface for projection. however, there is always an immanent danger of misuse (weapons) or irrelevance (fun). on the level of "music as political action in itself" one can find different levels or methods of political articulation:

listening: indoctrination
public performance: action
broadcasting: propaganda

as a carrier of political content, vocals are something that always comes into play. however, due to it's "shape" (which has nothing to do with a particular style, shape describes the harshness, aggressiveness and radicality of the sound) music in itself becomes political action. this is something that can be found out alone via instrumental music or music in which the vocals are basically illegible due to distortion.

distortion in itself is a political tool, since it is a limiter of possible recipients. distortion is a form of encoding, creating a "message" that only a selected audience can "hear". this audience consists of the specialists. the "issues" of the music, be it via vocal content or shape of the music istelf, are no longer within the discourse of "contextual bounds" when they reach a certain range of extremeness. depending on the size of a population there will be enough specialists to generate action, urban hubs, infrastructure hubs, niches, and locative specialization for events. independently from terminology, one can find that many of the specialists who are involved with >breakcore< one way or the other have a personal history in guitar music and not necessarily in techno, which plays a role in the way they articulate themselves as musicians.

the interesting thing these days and the reason why i don't want to get hung up on the term >breakcore< too much is the fact that over the past few years various previously isolated scenes of extreme music seem to be moving together, overlapping and creating a lot of crossover-potential. industrial, rhythmic noise, breakcore, dark ambient, harsh noise, digigrind and other ultra-styles have been moving closer together and there are some intersections with the new ultra-extreme metal that will prove highly interesting in the future. this will also articulate itself on a political/social level as the specialists of all scenes embrace the new ultracore.

>>>how do you see independent movies with extreme electronic music in these days? which films did you write soundtracks for? HARD LIGHT

independent movies and mainstream movies "embed" extreme and extreme electronic music. the extremeness is correlated with the immanent reality in the film action. extremeness gains its own spotlight when the action becomes "surreal". this is the matter of choice of the director, or however "less-independent" a film becomes, of the guy who takes responsibility for that part. the artistic aims are contrast or homogeneity, which take shape in an aesthetic choice towards generating a reaction within the audience. Similar to music as political action, these choices are determined by hearing + listening behavior, shared by context. the reaction to a specific cue or soundtrack will be different, the specialists will like it, the context-listeners will dislike a specific scene, which is calculated within the dramaturgy of the film.

one of my favorites is a film made in the 70's called "the shout" starring alan bates as a person who claims he has the ability to produce a shout that can kill, and john hurt as a church organist and composer/producer who records all kinds of wacky stuff in his studio. susannah york is hurt' s wife and that's where the trouble begins. a pretty popular example is "ringu" in its japanese original or the us-remake "ring". the sounds used here are probably closest to power electronics as hollywood can get, or music concrete goes film. one film i was particularly impressed by the sound editing with was "lost highway" by David Lynch, for instance where the harsh noise sets in in the "sent-video sequence". and then of course, there's pi with it's who's who of idm and such at the time.

what i particularly like about film music in general is listening to it without the pictures. detached from the screen, it becomes pretty free-form and independent in itself, taking on different shapes and not adhering to the rules of the "song". especially John Zorn's film music, or Angelo Badalamenti, who scored all the david lynch films, also Hans Zimmer, Yoko Kanno, Peter Thomas, Lalo Schifrin.

with nexialist, film music has developed into an almost regular project and i've had the opportunity to contribute film music to a row of films which are in most part short film, video art or media art, some of which can be seen in galleries catering to media or video art. my first step into adding music to video happened during a research project when i was studying architecture at the university and a fellow student and i developed a computer animation with simultaneous audio for a project originally designed by architect-composer Iannis Xenakis, who is a major reference point for me. after that, i collaborated with another fellow student on a short film and music videos. via the internet, i started collaborating with the italian video artist luca curci, who also happens to be an architect, and i contributed sounds for his short films "e-human", "con.fusion", "impossible.language". i then collaborated with italian artist and author marco mazzi on the project "ink", a short film about japanese concrete poet yoshimatsu gozo.

the style of the music shifts between mostly ambient with elements of noise, breaks, field recordings. some of it represent typological "elements" conveying separate, identifiable emotional or perspective themes. the grouped selections provide the film maker with a "sound kit", with which he can "outfit" his picture, as if the selections were acoustic "building blocks", electro-acoustic and post-digital [scenes] based on perceptive [types] or [units] as requested by the director and extrapolated from the pictorial [feel] of the film. source material used and generated is treated with analog and digital processing equipment during the composition process.
in order to create the music for film, i let the pictorial source evoke a response within myself, which i reflect into the sound, which becomes the acoustic interpretation of the film aesthetic. the choice of sounds is a personal choice, sometimes directed by a textual cue of the director or by the film itself. this way, the director receives the most direct response to his film as possible and can use the developed acoustics as a raw material, to be sculpted around the film very much like a room drapes itself around its inhabitant. the relationship between film and sound is a dynamic one, flipping in- and outward, one becoming the substrate as the other becomes the enshrined life.

>>>tell us about the concept of nexialist, the relationship between >breakcore< and extreme music, architecture, design and film: HARD THOUGHT

interestingly, a lot of my socialization in terms of scenes has not been determined by a style, but by certain people who i met or played live with and who became friends. i've contributed to albums of american power electronics/dark ambient act Navicon Torture Technologies (ntt) and creating jam sessions with leech and tim of ntt has led to the development of a collaborative project called nexicon. i've also collaborated with nico deiker and nedim tezkosar of riffraff.

fragment king is the physical representative of nexialist where music manifests itself as physical tangible force. i originally played in a short-lived grindcore freejazz band called "new leadership" in the early 90's and got into computer music in the mid-90's. for Fragment King, there are a few points of reference: death metal, power electronics, drum and bass, as in Carcass, Whitehouse, Source Direct. and a tip to the hat to Big Black. i do my own guitars, bass guitars and vocals for fragment king. something that has become a central focus is the tension between the studio and the live environment, the occurring transformation of the music in the social sphere. material has been released by megahertz, invasion wreck chords, liquid harsh, restroom records.

the term [nexialist] was first coined in science fiction literature, describing an allrounder who is at home in various disciplines. the term was first coined by a.e. van vogt and is derived from the latin stem necto which means "to connect, weave, tie or knot together" and forms the basis for the word nexus which means "connection". in this sense, the nexialist is at the focal point of various disciplines, whether this focal point may be given or established by the nexialist. i found it an appropriate term for the project of an experimental and communicative platform for creative projects located in between music and architecture as my personal points of reference, with the need for [hyper]text as the explanatory element. the slogan is "sound as architecture, architecture as text, text as design, design as sound."

another reference point for nexialist is marshall mcluhan with his criticism of the dominance of visual culture over audible culture. nexialist intends to re-evaluate this position with its projects. a central focus of nexialist is freedom of thought and action, developing of projects and research in media with methods of architectural design formulated by aldo rossi. in this sense, most of the architectural theme revolves around the methodology and the design process of architecture. the live operation becomes equally important as the plan process of analysis, concept and design. this is where the relation to architecture theory becomes relevant.

projects combine the influences and the outcomes as above without being constrained by requirements of a specific genre. the morphology must be dictated by the concept and not the other way round. meaning, whatever idea you develop, the shape (or style) will develop from within and alongside the concept. the idea is first, the manifestation second. this is contrasted by the session method, which is essentially learning by doing, but even there it is similar even if the manifestation takes place earlier and parallel to the concept.

one particularly successful project for nexialist was the nexialist operation mimesis, where i used an artist’s studio as a sound creation device. the studio is a small free-standing building with pneumatic translucent pvc facades instead of windows and clad in metal panels. the percussive sounds made by hands and other items triggering the pneumatic facade were recorded and re-played with the recording and a loudspeaker combo and effects and re-played again with the recording and distorted bass guitar, kind of confronting the building with its alter-ego as music instrument with other music instruments.

one of the first nexialist projects was the formating of groups of audio recordings and sessions into a series of limited release documents with minimal design and packaging as part of a plan process. these are currently all sold out and may be in part obtained by our distributors. due to demand, further document releases are planned, however, nexialist does not understand itself as a label in the classic sense. as part of the nexialist attitude, neither do we insist on any orthodox nomenclature such as "music" or "playing" or such and will not participate in any discourse of this kind, which we find offensive and reactionary. nexialist.com is a collaboration platform, providing online visibility and documentation. there's a whole lot of information online on projects, events, releases and a significant amount of audio free for download.

filmworks podcast @ liveset database

nexialist podcast with ambient, doom drone, modern classical, idm

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