Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Ateleia - Formal Sleep

On your Antiopic release Swimming Against the Moments there was a political undertone made evident in the song titles--- do you feel like politics play a part in making music/art either in general or specifically in your work?

Big questions. I think in the process of creating anything there is a germ of the political. Creative thinking is by definition revolutionary. Why does anyone take the time to make something that serves no material gain? To me this is magnified in respect to art music - popular music is such a disposable commodity, although I do like to listen to a lot of it. But the act of spending time crafting sound that sits in opposition to trends in commercialism is an act of, however quiet, political resistance. That said, I'm not one for super-overt political allusions. It makes me uncomfortable. Its enough for me personally to hint and leave it up to someone to fill in the blanks. That thinking informs more than song titles or packaging, it informs the way my music sounds.

How do you think ideology can be communicated through primarily instrumental themes?

There is a great history in instrumental music, from jazz to musique concrete, using certain themes or sounds to make obvious references. I'm thinking of snare drum gunfire in a political jazz tune, or the use of sirens or helicopter noise or whatever in electronic music. I'd never go that route, I prefer to smudge a lot, to blur notions, abstracting the sound as much as I can. Its somehow more radical to me.

This release is surrounded by salt water, in the titles and in some of the music's flow--- what is the water an allusion to? Do you hear it as part of the music or as a more abstract connective device?

Its just imagery that I like really, not much more. The ocean and tides and salt come up a lot. They've informed all my records in some way. I like the notion of water as a substance that moves, changes shape, evaporates, doesn't stay fixed... and salt water has that added advantage of decay, of the brine of the salt. I'm a fan of the beach. The rusted down metal street signs near the water in ocean towns are something I think of a lot. That slow decay is interesting.

Do the collaborators on the album contribute elements you task them with primarily, or do they arrive to provide a catalyst for ideas in process?

It works both ways. Sometimes I'll have a track in progress and ask someone to contribute a part on a specific instrument or toward a specific end. Other times friends and collaborators will give me material to transform and it will become the basis for a track.

Do you find there is a shared musical language amongst these experimental artists?

There might be a shared language, I don't know. I'm more inclined to notice the differences in approach of people I work with. If there is a shared language among experimental artists I know I think its not to fall in to having too much of a shared language.

You touch upon several "specialties" of exploratory music--- drone, minimal electronics, ambient noise--- yet none seem to define your overall style--- is this by design, restlessness? Are you more of a detail-oriented artist or is the big picture the main thing?

I'd like to think the details are the big picture. But yeah, what you call "restlessness" is very intentional. I'd never think to myself "this is going to be a Drone Record, or this time around I'm going to do Minimal Electronics." Genre focus is backwards, its a bad way to limit yourself, a lazy way to think about things. I hope my records are hard to categorize. I'm drawn toward art that strives for the mutant, the hybrid of things. That goes back to the idea of blurring or smudging, to make the lines of reference less straight. That is something I definitely go for when I think about genre. Its something I hope I can make more obvious in future work.
Ateleia - Formal Sleep (Table of the Elements)

Some of Ateleia's favourite things from 2007:

Steinbruchel: Basis (Room40)
Ricardo Villalobos: Fabric 36 (Fabric)
Gang Gang Dance: Retina Riddim (The Social Registry)
Jesu: Conqueror (Hydra Head)
David Daniell's "Crossing the Susquehanna River Bridge" from The Great Koonaklaster Speaks: A John Fahey Celebration (Table of the Elements)
Oren Ambarchi: In The Pendulum's Embrace (Touch)
Loefah: Mud/Rufage (DMZ)
Jon Mueller: Metals (Table of the Elements)
Shackleton/Appleblim: Soundboy Punishments (Skull Disco)

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