Entrópia Architektúra mix for Resonance Extra

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Listen to a new SHAPE mix by experimental metal band Entrópia Architektúra, featuring the band’s own pieces as well as works by Tool, Z’ev and Psychic TV.  The mix was created for  the broadcasting platform Resonance Extra.

The group members describe Entrópia Architektúra in the following words: “It is difficult to find the right categories for the activity of Entrópia Architektúra. It was called industrial, ritual rock, experimental, even paramental. This way of categorization recalls Schrödinger’s cat, since the result of the categorization depends on the process of the categorization itself. Our band is independent and is looking for its own way of expression. We are using the words and the standards of different musical styles only as occasional tools. The band was formed 16 years ago related to a stylistic experiment: we planned a spontaneous and improvised performance based on the registration of the sounds and noises of the renovation works of a hotel (Hotel Royal) in Budapest. Many musicians have played in the band over the years. Our interest gradually turned from improvisation towards the variations of pulsing structures. In our music we are building up sometimes hard and sometimes sensible musical structures based on beat, rhythm and melody created by metals, industrial waste and electronic devices. Fundamentally we are trying to open the door to a different, more complex reality by using ritual, archaic, maybe even prehuman sounds. In this context even the human voice works as a musical instrument.”

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Track list:

Entrópia Architektúra – mahakala (részlet)
Tool – Schism (Lustmord Remix)
Z’EV – Titan’s Might
Neurosis – Under the Surface
Psychic TV – Burning The Old Home
Entrópia Architektúra – reproach (abyss)

Entrópia Architektúra have been nominated to the SHAPE platform by Hungary’s UH fest.

Hiele releases new collaborative record with Lieven Martens

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SHAPE artist Hiele has released Lips – a new LP in collaboration with Lieven Martens, known for his project Dolphins Into the Future. The Hiele Martens debut LP ships from May 31, whereas the digital version is available via Bandcamp. The album is published by cult Belgian experimental music label Ultra Eczema, known for releasing works by Wolf Eyes, Felix Kubin, Paul Flaherty and many others.

This outing, the duo’s first, was recorded at the venerable electronic studios of Worm in Rotterdam and at Studio De Ziltige Olijf in central Antwerp, where the stench of salty human bulk creeps into your mouth from about a mile away. During Hiele Martens’ few concerts one could detect and, indeed, savour a Jiskefet-like attention to detail: the correct lighting, and a sensitivity towards ‘tiny‘ sounds (such as ice cubes — shaken, not stirred — and little bells). The recordings on this LP make the ears work like they should, and they therefore require your full attention.

Hiele’s music surfaces in the form of hard to pin point electronica, built on a long time obsession for synthetic sound creation and jazz studies. On stage, Hiele plays with expectation, going past what is considered conventional, blending improvisational and classical elements into a no-nonsense personal idiom.

Hiele has released his music on the Antwerp based label Ekster (Ritmische Bezinning 2016, Essential Oils 2014, Hiele 2013,). In 2016, YYAA Recordings released Hiele’s performance in the Schinkel Pavilion, Berlin 2014. In November 2016, Hiele released his first OST to the documentary Saints via Ekster.

Hiele was nominated to the SHAPE platform by the Brussels based Schiev festival.

Listen to our latest Resonance FM show with Franck Vigroux, Maoupa Mazzocchetti and Entrópia Architektúra

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Listen to the latest, May, edition of our monthly Resonance FM show featuring interviews and music from these SHAPE artists: Maoupa Mazzocchetti, Franck Vigroux and Entrópia Architektúra. Brussels-based producer Maoupa Mazzocchetti debuted on Unknown Precept with a cryptic dispatch from the brink of hardwave and minimal electronics. Maoupa’s production is renowned for his uncompromising approach to dance music, taking cues from EBM, techno and industrial. His releases have appeared on labels like Mannequin, BANK Records NYC and others.

Franck Vigroux is both a musician and a director. As a composer-performer he is able to produce a wide range of sounds from electroacoustic to industrial noise, modern composition and experimental electronic music. He has performed and recorded with internationally renowned musicians such as Mika Vainio (Pan Sonic), Reinhold Friedl, Elliott Sharp, Joey Baron and Zeena Parkins.

It is difficult to pigeonhole the music of Entrópia Architektúra. It has been called industrial, ritual rock, experimental, even para-mental. They are using the words and the standards of different musical styles only as occasional tools. The Hungarian band was formed 16 years ago as a consequence of a stylistic experiment. They are trying to open a door to a different, more complex reality by using ritualistic, archaic, even prehuman sounds.

Hiele discusses Antwerp music scene, soundtracks and fisherman’s songs

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Hiele’s music surfaces in the form of hard to pinpoint electronica, built on a longtime obsession for synthetic sound creation and jazz studies. On stage, Hiele plays with expectation, going past what is considered conventional, blending improvisational and classical elements into a no-nonsense personal idiom. Hiele has released his music on the Antwerp based label Ekster (Ritmische Bezinning 2016, Essential Oils 2014, Hiele 2013,). In 2016, YYAA Recordings released Hiele’s performance in the Schinkel Pavilion, Berlin 2014. In November 2016, Hiele released his first OST to the documentary Saints via Ekster. His latest record, a collaboration with Lieven Martens is out on Ultra Eczema. 

You are based in Antwerp, which has quite a lively experimental music scene. Are you actively involved in it?

Everybody knows each other. It takes five minutes and you’ll bump into somebody you know. It’s so tiny here. There used to be a great place called Scheld’Apen, a venue outside of the city. Dennis Tyfus, who runs the Ultra Eczema, label organized so many nights there. It used to be a squat and later got recognised as a cultural space by the city. This is where we all got to know each other. Later on Dennis used to have a space called Stadslimiet, and after five years he got a bit tired of booking and hosting people. I took over as of January.

You are doing the booking?

I’m doing the booking, manning the bar, scrubbing the place. I do it with my longtime friend Milan Warmoeskerken who performs as Milan W, and Allon Kaye the label boss of Entr’acte. Allon is in his forties, while Milan is my age. We’re three different guys here, and it works very well together. Our booking is also related to what we do with our labels – Allon with Entr’acte me with Ekster and Milan’s girlfriend with her label JJ Funhouse.

Can you talk about Ekster?

It’s a label I run with Victor Robyn. Victor does all the graphic work and my job is mainly to curate new music and host events with him.

You also released the EXO compilations that feature a variety of experimental projects such as Polysick, Bear Bones Lay Low, etc.

It’s a nice combination of people who are not only from Antwerp. We don’t do 12 inches, because we don’t want to go for quantity. We’ve released fourteen releases over four years and the EXO compilations enable us to include more artists.

Can you talk about the vision of the label?

It’s diverse. We did ssaliva, we also released Elko B. which has elements of music for children. It reflects our personal selection of music. TCF’s record was after a long friendship between Victor and Lars. Everything makes sense. It happens naturally.

In terms of your own music, were you classically educated?

I started off by playing violin at around the age of four or five. At the age of six I went to an after-school music training for classical violin. Then later, when I was about 13, I started to notice that my fingers were more made for standup bass. I picked it up and started studying it in high school. I had music classes every day and from there I went to conservatory to continue with double bass. In the meantime, I also started to collect synthesizers and make tunes with them. Eventually I didn’t become a soloist standard bass player, but just another electronic musician.

Are you happy with that choice?

Very happy. That’s what I wanted to be. I’ve always listened to electronic music. Maybe also because my parents listened to Kraftwerk, Suicide, Throbbing Gristle, etc. This helped me to love any type of music. If there’s a good amount of labour invested in making music, it makes it interesting.

You also make soundtracks.

That started off with doing a soundtrack for a documentary about St Helena, which I released afterwards on Ekster. Then I also did a short video with kids dancing in the streets in the wake of the terror attack in Brussels. They danced and talked about what had happened, and I made the soundtrack for it. Last week I finished a soundtrack for a ten-metre hologram that will be shown in Stedelijk Museum Breda, made by Antwerp artist Frederik Heyman. It’s quite a sacral piece. I’m happy about this soundtrack work because it’s actually what I really want to do. It’s nice to be able to work with another medium and provide the music for it.

How do you create them?

I always have synths and then I do the foley work at home with microphones. The mikes are actually made by someone from SHAPE platform – Jonáš Gruska. I love them. That’s actually all I use.

Can you talk about your upcoming Ultra Eczema record?

It’s a duo with Lieven Martens Moana aka Dolphins Into the Future. I approached him last year to do a residency together. We went to WORM in Rotterdam and the first thing we heard was that we were lucky because they were going to move the synths. We connected and made this record. Lieven has a very large field recording archive. The way he approaches music is really free. The concept of this album is about a young man sitting at a window of his castle looking over to the dark forest. It’s definitely the weirdest thing I’ve made so far. Last week we played a gig in a church. Lieven was 30 metres away from me playing a church organ. I was singing fisherman’s songs in Italian.

Photo: Hildegard Hanssen

Új Bála mix for Resonance

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Listen to a SHAPE mix by Hungarian producer Új Bála, also known as Gábor Kovács, one half of the noise rock duo Céh. The mix has been broadcast by the London based radio station Resonance FM as well as its additional platform Resonance Extra.

Gábor Kovács is a Budapest-based musician and visual artist. Active in a number of projects, he works with a wide range of genres and sounds, although his two main outputs are Új Bála and Céh. Új Bála merges noise, psychedelia and fringes of techno and summons the rhythmic skeletons of dance music to bring order to his backdrop of mangled synth noises. Following a couple of self-released digital releases, he published two tapes in 2016, the techno-oriented Boka on Baba Vanga and the more punk and noise-influenced “Butcher’s Tears Dry Slower Than Average One’s” via the Melbourne based Altered State Tapes. While Új Bála continually steps in and out of the club environment, Céh is more of a minimalist punk experiment, a collision of two worlds: Raymond Kiss’ visceral guitar and Gábor Kovács’ rough and rugged electronic sounds and intense vocal presence. The outcome is an amalgam of noise rock, industrial punk and delightfully crude drum programming. The band’s debut “Youth is Impossible” was released in 2015 by the Hungarian art collective Brain Fatigue.

Track list:

Graham Lambkin – Community
Rashad Becker – Themes VII
Zlatko Baracskai – Phaphiga
Nocturnal Emissions – Even The Good Times Are Bad
Nochexxx – Coin Collector
Nhk Yx Koyxen – 234
Nick Klein – Every Body
Śj Bįla – Botafogo
Bill Converse – Consulted Acid
Tolouse Low Trax – Boutique Beast
Tzusing – Esther
S Olbricht – verde
Cobey Sey – All Change
December – Bright Red
Kay – Cause You’re Young
Európa Kiadó – Európa Kiadó

On July 2, Kovács will play with Céh at the Toulouse edition of Les Siestes Electroniques.

Listen: Black Zone Myth Chant for NTS Radio

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Black Zone Myth Chant is a project of Afrocentric psychedelia and hypnotic footwork by psych-drone artist High Wolf. Sometimes described as “Sun Ra meets DJ Screw”, various Black Zone Myth Chant releases have appeared on Low Jack’s label Editions Gravats, including Mane Thecel Phares (ranked 33 in the 2015 albums of the year by Boomkat). The story of the project starts in 2011. Back from the US where he spent some time touring, hanging out with friends and listening to DJ Screw, High Wolf sat down in his studio and, without any plan, recorded Straight Cassette within a couple of days. “When I think about projects – it can be a new band or a record, there’s a conceptual way behind it, once again it’s as much intuitive as thought of,” he told us in an interview.  (Photo: Black Zone Myth Chant live at SHAPE @ Novas Frequencias, Rio de Janeiro 2016)

Check out his recent mix for our show on NTS Radio below.

Tracklist

Anna Homler and Steve Moshier – Oo Nu Dah
Felicia Atkinson – No Fear But Anticipation
I-LP-O In Dub – Invisible Hand
Somaticae – La Pieuvre Pt 2
Esplendor Geometrico – La Meta Del Servicio
Randomize – Movilidad Incesante
Autechre – 7th Slip
Sea Urchin – Pity Eye Natura High
Stoffwechsel – Fly, Liege, Fly
Wolf Eyes – Texas
Wetware – Fuck Them All
SHXCXCHCXSH – SsSsSsSs

The rituals of Entrópia Architektúra: From Neurosis to Zen Buddhism

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It is difficult to pigeonhole the music of Entrópia Architektúra. It has been called industrial, ritual rock, experimental, even para-mental. This kind of categorisation recalls Schrödinger’s cat, since the result of the categorisation depends on the process of the categorisation itself; they are using the words and standards of different musical styles only as occasional tools. The Hungarian band was formed 16 years ago as a consequence of a stylistic experiment; they planned a spontaneous and improvised performance based on sound and noise recordings of the renovation works of a hotel (Hotel Royal) in Budapest. Many musicians have played in the band over the years. Their interest gradually turned from improvisation towards the variations of pulsing structures. In their music, they build hard and sensible musical structures based on beat, rhythm, and melody created with metals, industrial waste, and electronic devices. Fundamentally they are trying to open a door to a different, more complex reality by using ritualistic, archaic, even pre-human sounds. In this context, even the human voice works as a musical instrument.

Could you introduce Entrópia Architektúra? When and how was it created?

The current setup of the band is: Zoltán Csürke – guitar, József Gnáj – drums, Márton Walch – percussion/vocals, Péter Ratz – bass, and I (NAME) sing and use a sampler. The band was founded around 16 years ago. That being said, Entrópia Architektúra has had different life stages. With a couple of my artist friends, we established a movement called SZ.E.G. (Szabad Emberi Gondolkodásért – For Free Human Thinking), which was the legal entity behind the so-called L’art contre l’art / Art Against Art creative project at that time. Our logo was a nailed silhouette of a human face, created by our drummer, József Gnáj. The band decided to pursue the legacy of futurism and the avantgarde movement through collective music-making. We were good friends and mostly visual artists. We painted, sculpted, organised exhibitions, and argued at night. Our first performance was called Royal Destroy. We were inspired by the demolition sounds of the Hotel Royal in Budapest. One of our band members made a 12-hour recording from a neighbouring window, capturing the reconstruction/destruction of that building. We complemented these sounds on stage with guitar, bass guitar, oil containers, and aggressive metal-like vocals. The audience consisted of old people who didn’t understand what was happening, but were too scared to speak out of shock. This experience profoundly impacted our work.

We are not interested in any aesthetic value when it comes to creation. The name Entrópia Architektúra as well as the SZEG movement were created with the motto: “The Human is a process affecting his surroundings which represents a constant change to his non-independent reality. He gives simplified form to nature, which re-conquers with the power of its chaos after man is gone. What makes the idols of purpose and their ruins beautiful, and moulds them into an aesthetic framework for us?” Over the last 16 years, we’ve remained faithful to our name ­ creating from chaos, deconstructing, annihilating, and creating anew.

Were you influenced by anyone in particular, eg. Einstürzende Neubauten, with their use of various industrial objects, or industrial music in general?

We’ve been influenced by numerous music styles, but we try to retain our independence. We have a compulsion to avoid using themes played by others and we do not follow any underground genres. This is of course impossible. We’ve been compared to Einstürzende Neubauten/SWANS/Throbbing Gristle/Coil/PTV/SPK/NSK; to raw, industrial music. We were very much influenced by Neurosis, power electronics, harsh noise, noise-core, neofolk, as well as the folk music of our neighbouring countries, avant-garde jazz, and contemporary classical music. At the moment, we create in a sphere where few other bands dare to venture. This makes our existence more difficult. If you don’t follow a certain style, at least in Hungary, it’s difficult to reach the public.

Can you elaborate?

We’ve tried to get closer to people, but since they weren’t able to place us into a specific category, they didn’t come to our concerts. In 2016 we did a little experiment. We organised a series of club concerts called Reign of Fire, where we invited peripheral artists to perform month by month. We wanted to establish a music scene similar to the Belgian Church of Ra , though neither the bands nor the audience were ready for such an endeavour. We still collaborate with other projects though, such as Horhos and Oaken.

Could you talk about the ritualistic aspect of your music?

A certain primordiality is crucial for Entrópia Architektúra. Interestingly, the sacred and the material play an equal role in our work. The two worlds collide and sometimes clash. We work with sacred, ritualistic elements but we use them as words and letters in writing. The end result is a collage, which reveals its parts, but where each of its elements is sincere. We constantly allude to primordial conditions via new systems formed during the deconstruction process. All of that can be understood without any previous education or sacred knowledge. This can best be witnessed in our lyrics, which are not oriented towards a meaning. English, Hungarian, Sanskrit, Pali, Italian, Korean, and Arabic languages are used, bearing complex meanings and resulting in occult, sometimes religious texts created in a respectful way. The lyrics are in a perpetual battle with the tempest of the noise, and only broken shreds reach the audience. This is not a side effect but the purpose itself. We embrace these rituals and channel them genuinely to the audience, but we do also break with them.

Could you talk about how it’s materialised live on the stage?

Our rehearsals and concerts only differ because of the presence of the public. In the beginning, we improvised a lot, which isn’t the case nowadays. We take everything we do seriously, both at the concerts and at rehearsals. When it comes to music-making, someone from the band will come up with a theme, and the others react to it, adding their own thoughts. It’s a wonderful experience. There’s nothing else to do than to actualise personal thoughts on stage. The audience connects at that point and it becomes a ritual. This is what’s worth living for. This atmosphere then develops further and the stage sound techniques push this experience forward amazingly. We recorded a new album in April, in an exterior, forest environment. The forest is an exceptionally pliable space even when it comes to loud music. The recording process became such a ritual that everyone fell asleep exhausted at 8pm.

Does the ritualistic aspect of your music have specific cultural roots?

Our perception originates from a condition before time and boundaries existed, and from the collective memory of the entire human race. We use texts from rituals of the Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhism quite often, despite the fact that we – the singers – both practise Zen Buddhism (I follow the traditions of Vietnamese Master Thich Nhat Hanh while Marci follows the path of early Zen traditions). The other members follow completely different beliefs. Tibetan elements, Mahakala, are well suited to become our form of expression. We also use other resources such as Sufi texts, imagination of our own dreams, and parts of the Gilgamesh Epic. These things are more ancient than the shape of the world as we know it.

What in particular interests you here: the energy, tranquility, or trance?

This is a very good question. Honestly, I don’t know. It’s also a question I ask myself. And it will remain a question because it cannot be answered with conclusions in a dual system. Although that particular state which attracts us, much like fire draws a bug at night, can be achieved. This is some kind of trance. We create something from various elements, articulating our visions and engendering our rituals, which brings us to a higher state of consciousness. It’s some kind of catharsis; an intimate bond between the band and the audience, and momentary creation and experience. This can be compared to a trance-like state, a flow of energy. There’s no polarity in the energy at this point. Joy, shock, and silence are equally important.

Technology is not a style: An interview with Fraction

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Fraction (Eric Raynaud) is a French musician, composer and producer of experimental electronic music whose work explores the boundaries of spatial sound composition within the design of metaphysical immersive experiences. After the release of his first EP Superposition on the French label Infine Music, Raynaud moved away from traditional music fields to focus on digital arts, working on complex stage designs and hybrid writings that combine visual, sound and physical media. In 2013, he developed DROMOS for Mutek Festival in Montreal, an impressive immersive performance that resonated with the blogosphere and subsequently had its OST released on InFiné. Since then, he has kept on merging 3D immersive sound with contemporary art and architecture, incorporating his questioning of themes that combine science and contemporary sociology. In collaboration with Louis Philippe St Arnault, he recently designed Entropia, a unique A/V performance involving a led sphere and ambisonics sound. With Planète Humaine, his last release on Infine (Oct 2016), he questions both the relation between physics and space, and the place of humanity in a human shaped environment. 

Can you talk about your background? How and why did you become interested in digital art?

I had a winding journey towards “digital art”. I’m actually still not sure if I’m really so much into the so-called ‘digital art’ field.

To me, a field that would only focus on a conceptual idea of being ‘digital’ would become quickly obsolete, whereas art is eternal (as long humanity exists). Although, I admire some artists who are expressly focused on using digital matter as it is (generative code art, net art etc) – maybe we could call them digital artists! – but this is not really what I’m doing.

Basically, I started as a regular musician twenty years ago. Music has always been the vector of my work. But I was also really interested by art that tells different stories using different and original formats as new tools to express deeper feelings. So naturally when I shifted to computer music ten years ago, I immediately started to think about how to feature these ideas myself. Again, what you call digital, I only call art that uses technology. But technology is not a style. Technology is an instrument to reach a goal. I don’t focus so much on the tools, but much more on the goal itself.

You explore the boundaries of spatial sound composition with design of metaphysical immersive experiences. Can you talk about these immersive experiences?

In 2012, I got an opportunity to work on an immersive experience called Dromos that I wrote as a tribute to the French thinker and urbanist Paul Virilio who I was obsessed with at that time. The piece was eventually featured at Mutek in 2013.

Generally, I enjoy deep metaphysical ideas and concepts that surpass the immediate perception of what we usually feel. It’s not new. I’ve never really found a format that would translate this inner feeling into a creative process. And suddenly it became obvious. Working in an immersive environment resonates perfectly with that. In that context, you have this feeling of being overwhelmed by media, as I love to be by a strong idea. But, technically, this required me to rethink all the steps of creation, the format, and its content, and to develop new skills, as the aesthetic story had to be written in a multidimensional form. It was challenging, but exciting.

I had to create new performing tools and a max patch for the music and the sound, and adapt the sound matter to be performed in advance. When an achievement perspective influences the tool you need, I believe it is the right direction. These immersive experiences are the result of this experimental work. It’s an ongoing journey, with a lot of mistakes and some successful attempts. The last one, Entropia, is a good example of what can be done if you challenge the format of all the dimensions of creative matter that we possibly have: scenography, light, sound etc. I’m really happy with that piece, because it’s not only a live performance. It has to do with a ritualistic momentum that, I hope, throw a specific energy into people’s heart.

How do you incorporate architecture and stage design into your installations – how do you build up your audiovisual worlds?

Scenographic architecture is now a dimension that I always incorporate into the thinking process behind a piece. It’s an aesthetic parameter which is quite relevant to me. I’m thinking about it almost as much as I’m thinking about the music production. It’s part of a more global writing. All the dimensions are connected. From that perspective, stage design shouldn’t be generic. It should be appropriate to an aesthetic intention, therefore built in that spirit.

The only problem is that it can be the most expensive part of a project. Frustratingly, you have to discard a very interesting idea. It’s something that really pisses me off, especially when these are the people who are supposed to be the most audacious with production, after artists themselves, who are telling you this. It might sound a little provocative, but when I see big festival lineups, I’m not seeing the best or the most innovative live acts anymore, just the ones which can either fit into the budget or make the most money, without involving too much different gear and set up shifts. When you take into consideration the average fee for a DJ who only brings a USB stick, it’s is really sad for overall creation. Some say, we are getting really lazy. Maybe.

Your work combines science and contemporary sociology. Can you elaborate?

I like, let’s say, a holistic idea. A complex system is considered an entity with characteristics related to its totality, and properties that are not deductible from those of its elements. So from that principle, I’m interested in big mechanisms from the quantum theory to the anthropic principle, towards civilisation collapse. I can spend days reading books about an idea. Then I’d continue with the next one that is connected to it. We live in a coherent puzzle, don’t we? From my perspective, we, artists, are like cultural messenger between humans. We are connectors, translators, popularizers similar to those who were painting caves. My role, even though it’s instinctive, is to help to deliver a message from a general interest to the individual thinker. So yes, well, I like to take a concept, translate it into my language and reach an audience with that message.

Should sound and digital art in general have a wider reach in terms of its use/value for the general public?

Should it mean “would deserve”? Or should it mean “it’s our duty”? In both cases, these are not appropriate answers. My feeling is that this shouldn’t just pertain sound and digital art. Art in general should get a wider reach. But what we see now is that the boundary between what we call digital art and new business models gets thinner and thinner. I think the main problem is that digital art became part of the new economy. We have tonnes of examples right under our eyes. That’s why I don’t put in the same bag the trend of bling-bling mapping and the work of someone like Casey Reas who makes algorithmic generative art. Unfortunately for us, mapping is reaching an increasingly wider public.  As always, right now most of the pertinent and unseen approaches are coming from the underground – now it’s hacking net art and stuff of this kind.

One of your projects, Planete Humaine, deals with humanity, physics and space. Can you talk about this project/the process behind it? Are you interested in neural networks (some of the images in this video reminded me of DeepDream’s neural network visualisations)

Funnily enough, my girlfriend (now wife) wrote her thesis about the use of neural networks in atmospheric science back in 2000/2003! This is not new at all. It’s only become popular among the artistic circles now. It’s funny to see how scientists are so fucking ahead of any artists in any technological field. That’s why I consider that us, artists, should only focus on an aesthetic idea, not making tool demonstrations. This is what we are good at. This example is also why I love scientists. These guys are the most talented people ever when it comes to thinking of a concept and developing a specific technology to make it happen. They just do it. They have the knowledge, and the method (and the funds ahah). They build a fucking underground device (LHC) just to track one particle! How sick is that?

So back to Planete Humaine – it’s actually my last release (2016). I’m really obsessed by what we are as a species, what we do, how we do it, and … how much time we have left to do it (not kidding). I do feel a certain drama in human civilisation. I’m probably influenced by my immediate surroundings – Paris, a really stressful city, which is also really polluted. But still, all the general parameters on Earth are getting worse. So I’m not sure where we’re going, but I don’t feel we are making it in an appropriate way. There’s a dichotomy between what we as humans are trying to achieve, and the environment that we are transforming which probably won’t allow this achievement to happen. It has something to do with surrealism. This was the conceptual context at the time I produced that record. Therefore I asked Beeple for artwork, and later made a music video with fractal artist Julius Horsthuis.

What are you currently working on?

I have a brand new project on the table named Vector Field.  It’s a new audiovisual performance using visual projection where I explore real-time manipulation of a vectorial stream created by sound as an ode to the art of Transformation. Aesthetically, it will look like a continuum made of a topological sound map. I’m pretty excited by this project, because for the first time, it’s a piece where I do both the sound and the visuals simultaneously. The visual support can change, and the scenography adapts.

I’m also preparing a vinyl release of the music used for Martin Baraga’s installation, Moonolith, on which I collaborated. We are working on a object that will fit nicely to the piece. There are a few other shows of Entropia on their way as well as some other great announcements to be made!

Photo: Albert Ruso/Mira Festival

From Ligeti to Hyperreality: An interview with Battle-ax

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Her performances are as much disruptive as they are refined and can easily stand next to the most heavily produced club sounds. Armed with a viola, Beatrix Curran aka Battle-ax, envelops a space with relentless chains of reverb and distortion, building up cohesive, strong, and highly emotive soundscapes. Battle-ax both undermines and is reinforced by her classical training. Born in Sydney, Australia, she moved to Vienna, having first been attracted to the city’s musical history. It was when she began playing in clubs however, that her improvisational style was able to brazen itself between romanticism, atonalism, and an energized repetition motivated by those alongside whom she plays at Vienna’s Bliss night, for instance Hieroglyphic Being, TCF, HVAD, and DJ Stingray. She often collaborates and performs with fellow Vienna-based producer Forever Traxx, and Berlin collective Dawn Mok.

Did you come to Vienna to study the city’s musical history?

I came to study art, but in the first six months I became more interested in music. I wanted to come to Europe and my lecturer suggested Vienna, and a lightbulb went off in the back of my head, thinking: “Oh Vienna, classical music. I’d been spending a lot of time in Sydney’s rock’n’roll scene, loving it, yet knowing that I didn’t necessarily want to be in a band. Then I came here and started getting into classical music, and learning it in a completely different way.

Were you classically trained?

I played the violin since I was 5 and I was classically singing from a young age as well. I knew that I wanted to do music, I just had no idea what it would be.

After you came to Vienna, did you get a clearer perspective?

I hadn’t heard about 20th century composition until I came here. There was the Wien Modern festival, where Robert Ashley and Edgard Varèse were highlights alongside György Ligeti. I saw François Bayle perform one of his earliest pieces live. I was blown away. Yeah, I just got a completely new education, from which I was able to work my way backwards and appreciate earlier periods of music. I took a lot of classes, went to concerts, and read books for three years before I really started doing anything.

But you also deconstructed it in a way. You’re also part of the club scene.

The first time I played in a club I was supporting Hieroglyphic Being, and I noticed a similarity between how he structured his set and the way I would improvise, the most obvious of which had a lot to do with repetition. I began to consider my performances in this manner of developing simple themes that are repeated and altered, and can grow in any which way depending on my mood. I started listening to a lot of electronic music for the first time after that.

Do you only use the viola?

Yes, up until now. I’ve invited a drummer to play with me for the next concert. I think it’s natural for Battle-ax to include another musician, she’s ready to make contact. It grew from this super personal, insular relationship between myself and the instrument. I struggled with the violin when I was younger so maybe that’s why the project became so intimate, like dealing with your past. And now it’s time to move on, but you can never quite remove all the tension, haha.

What do you like about the viola?

The tone. I don’t like the highest string of the violin. I think it’s horrendous. I was talking with a violinist in an elevator once and she said: “You like the C-string, don’t you? (lowest string of viola). And I told her: “Yeah, and you like the E-string, don’t you? (highest string of violin)”. And she was like: “yes, I do. The deeper tone of a viola compared to a violin is melancholic and reserved. I feel much more comfortable with those qualities than those given to the violin. I mean, a great viola solo is Stravinsky’s Elegié, whereas a great violin solo is Paganini’s Caprice No. 24Aside from being composed more than 100 years apart, they are extremely different pieces made for very different instruments.

You also use effects.

I started with distortion, because I had no idea what I was doing. I thought that if I don’t know what I’m doing, the best thing to do is to make a lot of noise. I started out really aggressively I think, and then it tapered itself over the time. The more I play, the more interested I become in letting the natural tone of the instrument become an element to be reckoned with.

What is the context of your gigs? Do you also adapt to each space/context?

My shows vary from living rooms, to exhibition spaces, clubs, bars, and festivals. If I play in a club, I generally play a much shorter, louder set because I’d rather it be a burst of energy and slight break in what’s going on that night, rather than dragging it out. When playing in more controlled environments I tend to be very sensitive, giving myself time to embellish themes. The harsher moments in those situations are then less about creating energy and more about weight.

Besides being associated with classical music, Vienna also has an exciting experimental / club scene nowadays. Could you talk about it? Mention any noteworthy venues, producers, labels?

It’s pretty loose. Decadence is a word often ascribed to Vienna for other reasons, but it’s also relevant to its attitude towards underground music and partying. I’m really amped about performing in a few weeks at Hyperreality (a music festival part of prestigious festival Wiener Festwochen/Vienna Festival), as it’s the first large-scale event representing the city’s relationship to the current scene.