Back to the top
Back to the Magazine Articles
Graham Bowers is the true alternative
We don't find it pretentious, when artists contact us claiming their music is entirely different from anything or anyone else - we're just not quite sure what they mean by that (and whether it's a positive statement in the first place). Quite often, their point of view confuses the personal with the singular: Of course, every artistic statement is unique in the sense that it is the representation of its creators will (or of an accident caused by him or her). On the other hand, similarities between pieces are not always just journalistic inventions (or a sign of their laziness), but quite often matters of fact.
So what's to make of Graham Bowers, whose homepage greets visitors with the slogan: "A radical alternative in musical composition"?
Let's find out (and I promise you that this will the last pair of brackets to be used in this article). For one thing, Bowers' vision incorporates more than just sound. Apart from the fact, that his music has a strong visual aspect to it, it almost always reaches out into optical territory as well - there are paintings accompanying the sound bits available for download from his site and on this year's "International Contemporary Arts Festival" in Wales, he presented different video pieces, which went hand in hand with accompanying compositions. These sensory splits are typical for his entire career, which actually started with the scores to theatre productions and modern dance. Parting from these commissioned works and beginning to stand on his own two feet did not imply a radical break - it merely meant keeping control of every single aspect. Consequently, he likes to call his style "sound theatre".
"Sound theatre" involves a wide range of ingredients: There are floating sequences of eery drones, voices and murmurings from far off, abstract and concrete noises and field recordings, hints at avantgarde symphonics, otherworldly sound layers and musique concrete collages. This puts him in a position between two worlds: Modern "serious" music on the one hand and contemporary experimental music on the other. Despite all their common ground, those camps hardly ever intermingle and have instead chosen to ignore or even hate each other. Bowers however, has, albeit on a still small scale, been applauded and praised. German underground radio channel "Black Channel Karlsruhe" has played his pieces alongside Dark Ambient and even Synthie Pop, while the BBC's "Mixing it" was helpful in presenting him to a larger audience. Attention was spured by the fact that his first three albums were connected and formed a tryptich: "Of Mary's Blood", "Transgressions" and "Eternal Ghosts" were released between 1996 and 1998 and all featured one continous track, split into different parts, of around 50 minutes' length.
Which brings us to "Sound theatre's" possibly even more important feature: Not only does it include visual elements, it also strikes listeners with theatre's typical grandeur and especially it's capacity of making spectators loose themselves entirely. Whether you like these all-encompassing, heavy and at times complex compositions, is up to you - but for their entire length, you will be sucked up by them and only be spit out again at the very end.
So what about the claim that sparked this article, that this is a radical alternative? Well, really, it depends on your point of view. On the surface, this music is "mereley" taking things one step further, allowing even more genres to merge and flow into each other - without turning the world upside down all together. Looking deeper, however, it is the hidden secrets and especially the implicit theatrical component that propels Bowers' work into a league of its own. In the end, this is maybe not the right thing to ask anyway. Radical or not, the real question is whether this music could take you somewhere you haven't been before. Just listening to the short extracts on his homepage makes you believe it could. And that's a positive statement for sure.
By Tobias Fischer
Back to the top
Back to the Magazine Articles
15 Questions to Graham Bowers
He's not a classically trained musician, he dislikes overanalyzing his music, he doesn't consider himself to be a part of the music scene and even if he were, he has been away for many years. Graham Bowers caused quite a few jaws to drop when he published his first album "Of Mary's Blood" in 1996, which exploded onto the desks of experimental music journalists worldwide - Dark Ambient, Jazz, free tonal excursions, Avantgarde and Noise came together in a melange of mind blowing proportions, a continuous, sixty minute piece. "Transgression" and "Eternal Ghosts" quickly followed suit, as did raving articles from Belgium to Australia. And the rest was silence. Without a further notice, Bowers disappeared, ceased releasing and seemed to have withdrawn from the public, supposedly retreating to his other two loves, painting and sculpting. As it now turns out, he was in fact recovering from a severe illness, which made it impossible for him to write. In 2005, a full six years after his last album, he returned with a new, again recognisable and exciting work by the name of "Pilgrim". It bears all the trademarks of his past and should put him firmly back into the saddle. And maybe even make him part of the experimental music scene after all.
Hi! How are you? Where are you?
Fine, thank you. I am at my home and work place on the Isle of Anglesey in Wales.
What’s on your schedule right now?
Negotiating with a Digital Distribution company to get my work placed on the major MP3 sites so as to be available as digital downloads, in the hope that enough income can be generated to sustain a life-style where making music, painting and sculpture is the main focus.
What’s your view on the music scene at present? Is there a crisis?
I am not and never really have been involved in the music scene, so I cannot comment from an insiders’ point of view. I suppose there is a crisis, as I suspect there always has been one, (like every other walk of life), depending on whose viewpoint or opinion is being shouted the loudest at any given time. I don’t know, but I wouldn’t have thought that live music performances, and consequently the careers of musicians are suffering from the internet revolution. I can see, and have experienced first hand that real hands-on CD sales have diminished since the introduction of internet downloading and I suppose for a lot of unfortunate individuals this has resulted in a crisis, but for the industry as a whole I wouldn’t have thought so. Shouts and squeals of distress are often heard but how genuine and serious these are I haven’t got a clue.
What does the term „new“ mean to you in connection with music?
My experience of the word ‘new’, is more often than not, a nuance of evolutionary development rather than revolutionary change. Life, in all its forms is an amazing product of physics, and each of us is a ‘cocktail’ of our ancestors, and depending on how one sets the scale, we are either a machine of incredible complexity or stupifyingly simple. Which ever way one looks at it, we, like every other form of life, are all made up of the same few elements that have combined and arranged into molecular patterns and combinations common to us all, consequently, if we stand back and take a macro-view on the responses to sound stimuli, we all ‘dance to the same tune’, if we take a micro-view, then we may discover that there are massive differences in our creativity and response…it is simply a matter of scale, nothing more, and nothing less. However our physical form can only function within very fine limits, and generally speaking, the term ‘new’ when applied to music is simply a rearrangement and presentation of what we already know, it can’t be anything else, as our physical mechanisms can only produce and receive what they do because we wouldn’t be what we are, or even be here, had the physics of our planet been different. All life forms are creatures of habit and order, and human beings are no exception to this, the systems and structures that have been laid down by generations of our fore-fathers, are as they are because of who and what we are.
My own particular view is from a standpoint of someone who has the ‘tiniest’ of tweaks in the ‘creativity package’ which results in a sensitivity to sound in an almost voyeuristic way when standing back and watching and listening to the ‘everyday’ world creating its plethora of sound and vision in a never ending symphony of being and doing. There are no man-made structures or rules that the sounds must conform to, but interestingly it is to a large extent, the product of man’s endeavors that produce this music of life, and it is in this area that I enjoy the discovery of ‘newness’, and as a painter on location will fill the sketch pad and rush back to the studio to work on the canvas and apply the paint in an attempt to re-create and capture the moment, I do the same with sound in the recording studio..
How do you see the relationship between sound and composition?
I can only answer this question from a subjective and non-academic stance, as I haven’t had any formal musical education. The system of rules, regulations and applications completely pass me by and although I appreciate that the subject is a product of generations of human effort and concentrated interest it may as well belong to another branch of industry, serving and satisfying the public’s appetite with a product that conforms and falls within what would be considered an acceptable listening experience … and for that, as a listener and consumer, I am grateful.
As a ‘product producer’ I have an ever-so-slightly different approach; the gambit of sounds that eventually forms the overall composition, is sound and nothing more, whether it is intentionally or unintentionally produced on a musical instrument or the sound of the opening and closing dish-washer door, it all has a value and invariably sparks-off some form of emotive response that translates into the building of what could be called ‘composition’. It also works in reverse, where an idea for a ‘composition’ is in ‘stand-by’ mode and constantly on the ‘look-out’ for relevant material. The relationship between the raw material of sound and composition is no different for me than the paint, the canvas and the painting, but even more relevant is the root of all living relationships, that of amino acids and a fully formed sack of molecules that we call a human being.
How strictly do you separate improvising and composing?
An interesting and frustrating aspect of being asked a direct question forces one to think about thoughts, meanings, and opinions relating to matters that have not previously been analysed or given any serious thought.
All of my work is studio based, and the work I produce starts its life with no interest or consideration to musical conventions and generally grows organically to the point where it takes on the form of something more than its constituent parts…a composition.
In the course of this journey, there will have been sessions involving musical colleagues, who I have encouraged to improvise around a particular motif usually laid down by myself, with widely varying degrees of success, as it is usually something other than the musical competence, improvisation and interpretation that I am looking for. My experience, taking into account that I lead a very sheltered life and don’t get out much, is that for the most part, musicians can’t help but play within the parameters of their musical experience and education and generally get confused when asked to express an emotion on their instrument without playing an autonomic series of notes. Nevertheless there have been many exciting and artistically satisfying sessions, where ‘free form’ along with improvisational contributions has significantly added, and sometimes shaped the composition. So, returning to an earlier comment that all my work is studio based, I have the opportunity and privilege to shape, edit, or discard any recorded improvisational input with respect to that particular composition. All sessions, regardless of their success and apparent or non-apparent usefulness are saved filed and stored for possible use in a completely different context within future work.
How would you define the term “interpretation”?
With respect to music, the process of translating any form of conscious thought or emotion into a sound and vice-versa.
Harmony? Dissonance? The freedom to choose both, none or just one?
Whatever is appropriate at that moment in time within the work.
The music I put together is an attempt to create an audio event that reflects or illustrates life and its relationship with the world, which invariably is simultaneously experiencing many levels of both, internal and external, mental and physical activity. There are events that we have a certain amount of control over, which co-exist, alongside, in conflict with, and complementary to, events that may, or may not, exert an influence. So for me, there isn’t a problem with the use of ‘harmony’ and ‘dissonance’ together or simultaneously layered in the audio perspective as separate, individual or multiple entities.
A lot of people feel that some of the radical experiments of modern compositions can no longer be qualified as “music”. Would you draw a border – and if so, where?
I don’t have any problem with accepting that any form of sound put together in such a way as to form a composition or otherwise, be qualified as music. Borders are a subjective measure, like lines drawn in the sand, and only exist until an exceptionally high tide washes them away.
Are “serious” and “popular” really two different types of music or just empty words without a meaning?
Listening to music and the response is such a subjective experience, and although our aural sensitivities can generally categorise the genre of what is being listened to, there are going to be elements of that music, that could sit comfortably within other categories of ‘music’, as history as shown. Obviously the ‘words’ mean different things to different people, but for me, popular music and serious music are one and the same, in that they spring from the same source of mental activity, and depending on the strength and sensitivity of the content and composition, and the composer, they can be anywhere between, ephemeral sentimental ‘froth’ that momentarily influences the mood of the listener or deep thought provoking experiences that influence a life time.
Do you feel an artist has a certain duty towards anyone but himself? Or to put it differently: Should art have a political/social or any other aspect apart from a personal sensation?
My opinion is that an artist can create and produce whatever they want, whatever their motivation. How their work is received by others is the ‘bench-mark of validity’ of this question.
True or false: People need to be educated about music, before they can really appreciate it.
True and false, some do and some don’t … that may sound flippant but I believe it is the case. I am sure that an education in some instances is a life changing experience and on others it is a complete waste of time and effort..
True or false: The cultural subsidies doled out by governments are being sent to the wrong kind of people and institutions.
My own view on this is, I don’t subscribe to any money being doled out for any artistic activity, whether it be to a person or an institution. I don’t think that ‘artists’ are any different to any other working individual and see no reason for making a case for state subsidies. I believe they should all stand on their ‘own two feet’ and stand and fall by their own personal convictions, beliefs, aptitude and attitude, that they apply to their work.
You are given the position of artistic director of a festival. What would be on your program?
Pina Bausch (Tanztheater Wuppertal) and her version of Stravinsky’s ‘Rite of Spring’ (a double treat, in terms of dance theatre at its best and the chance to hear an indelible and incredible piece of music)
A list in no particular order;
A piece of ‘Commédia del arté’ performed by Theatre Complicité
A reformation of the original ‘Roxy Music’ performing material from their first album and finishing the set with ‘Virginia Plain’
A performance of Harrison Birtwhistle’s ‘Music for Wind and Percussion’ .
A 30 minute set by Neil Sedaka performing a selection of his songs over the last 50 years.
The Electro-acoustic work entitled ‘Cân’ by Dr Andrew Lewis of Bangor University.
And finally, a tribute to the late great Alex Harvey, (but I don’t know if it would be possible to find a performer who could reproduce his unique vocal style of phrasing and delivering the lyrical content that made him so special)
Many artists dream of a “magnum opus”. Do you have a vision of what yours would sound like?
I don’t have such a dream.
By Tobias Fischer
Back to the top
Back to the Magazine Articles
Interview with Graham Bowers
More than a year has passed since we last spoke to Graham Bowers and on the face of it, not too much has changed. At least on the album front, "Pilgrim" from 2005 remains his most recent release and - as he reveals in our conversation - it will remain so for at least a while (and until the heat has passed). But underneath the surface, Bowers has been a busy man. He has struck a deal for publishing his music digitally, making his entire catalogue available worldwide. Then, he has become a member of the MySpace community, raising attention both for his solo work and the CDs of his Red Wharf imprint. The latter especially has seen a sizeable increase in volume, as Bowers has allowed a couple of forgotten gems to resurface - including works by William Henshall and Mel D. among others, all personal friends of him. With all of this in mind, it should seem an ideal moment to talk to him about the benefits of these moves and to take a look back on his oeuvre, before he moves on to fresh material. Despite attempts to put his writing into easy terminologies, after all, Bowers fully accepts that his music may seem strange and incomprehensible to some: "To some people it will sound like a chaotic noise." To others, it raises amazing images and - a lot of burning questions.
Hi! How are you? Where are you?
Fine, thank you. I am still here at my home and work place on the Isle of Anglesey in Wales.
What’s on your schedule at the moment?
I recently completed the modeling of a figurative piece of sculpture, and have spent some time investigating, researching and discovering alternative processes to replace the traditional methods of foundry casting for the ‘finished’ work. I would love to ramble on and enthuse on my findings, but sculpting isn’t the subject matter or the reason for these ’15 Questions’…. however I would like to comment, on the phenomenal advances and usage of ‘digital technology’ in this area of production and industry: A 3D scan of the sculpture using a piece of equipment called the ‘Faro Arm’ and interfacing the information with either a ‘Sintering machine’ or ‘Stereolithography machine’, enables an exact facsimile of the original object, in this instance my sculpture, to be produced in a variety of materials, and to any scale. To witness the creation, growth and manifestation of the sculpture within the machines, building in layers of 0.10 millimetre thickness, from absolute zero to a fully formed ‘object’ is a very esoteric and ‘spooky’ experience …
You’re obviously interested deeply in the technical aspects of the issue...
Although the process is a relatively new concept and is easily explainable in terms of physics, binary mathematics and machine technology, it nevertheless has an unmistakable ‘air’ of magic and ‘raises the hairs on the back of the neck’ when one considers, contemplates and fantasises where this could lead to, when working at the atomic and sub-atomic levels … carbon, oxygen, nitrogen and a few other essential elements …
Are you composing right now?
Finding time to work in the recording studio in the summer months is almost impossible, as I have several acres of land to maintain, so I have reluctantly accepted that autumn and winter is the time to concentrate on the musical side of my activities. Looking at the positives of this, it gives me time to ponder and ruminate over future works. I have a piece ‘in progress’ that I will return to, along with a project with William Henshall, where we intend to re-record his back catalogue of ‘mainstream songs’, these will be released under his ‘other’ name of ‘Hawkins’ on a new record label.
You’ve become an active part of the MySpace community of lately – how has that been working out for you?
I opened a ‘MySpace’ account about twelve months ago on the recommendation of a friend, but to be honest “I just couldn’t be bothered” and didn’t look at it for about three or four months. I was reminded again, by the same friend, and had another look and decided that I should make an effort …. I have to say that the effort paid dividends, in terms of becoming aware of how much music there is ‘out there’, and quality music at that. There has been some very rewarding discoveries of excellent music, along with some worthwhile connections … nevertheless, after a spell of intense activity, I have limited my visits to once or twice a week as it soon became apparent that there are many people out there ‘just collecting friends’ and the time spent, sat in front of the computer waiting for pages ‘overstuffed’ with images and ‘YouTube’ videos to download became an irritation. In answer to your question, I haven’t got a clue whether it has done anything for me in terms of the sales of my music, Snocap have recently implanted their player and sales device on mine and the Red Warf page, whether this has or will result in sales, only time will tell.
All of your works are now also available digitally. How important has the internet become for you in terms of presenting and selling your music?
It goes without saying that the Internet is an amazing phenomenon, and has enabled me to publish all of my published work digitally and the fact that it can be accessed and bought from any part of Planet Earth is nothing short of fantastic …. as it is for the many millions of others out there!!!
The presentation aspect is relatively straight forward, and with the ease of availability of the relevant software, the presentation of one’s music and how it is packaged is now possible to be put together by the individual rather than a commercial advertising/graphics company, whether the individual has the knowledge, experience and talent to create a successful presentation is another matter. I have no idea, how what I have put together for the Red Wharf web site would be judged by the professional fraternity … good or bad … I don’t know … one can only do one’s best.
What about about sales?
In terms of sales; there hasn’t been any significant increase in the sale of ‘real’ CDs …. so maybe my presentation is way off the mark? …. digital sales in the form of downloads is on a very slight ascendancy, so all one can do is to ‘keep plodding away’ and attempt to bring the music to the attention of as many people as possible and hope that sales will increase. As I don’t perform and all my musical recording is studio based, the best outlets for me are radio plays, unfortunately there are not that many radio stations that broadcast the genre of music that I work within. However, and not wanting to sound too negative, the opportunities are now there to find and contact people, organisations, media and radio stations at a click of a button, which in many ways has to be to an individuals advantage.
Next to the promotion of your own music, you’ve also been expanding the scope of your Red Wharf label to other artists. Was this part of the plan from the very beginning or something that happened naturally on the way?
It was a natural development, Mel (Dr. Ian D Mellish) an old friend with whom I had worked with many years ago on an experimental theatre project, contacted me and to my surprise hadn’t published or released any of his considerable body of work. I had gone through the ‘pain and torture’ of setting up an account with a digital distributor and to release another artist through the Red Wharf label seemed a simple and straightforward thing to do at the time, so consequently we have released twelve of his albums to date. Similarly so for William Henshall, although we have only released one of his albums, there are more are to follow over the coming months.
I have also included two other visual artists on Red Wharf, John Smith (aka John Lopez Smith) has a ‘wicked’ sense of humour coupled with an endearing sensitivity that I feel is illustrated through his paintings and graphics and was very keen to include his work, which I think compliments the contrasting styles of Mel’s artwork, mine and Clive Walley’s.
Clive Walley is a very close friend with whom I have worked a lot, he has a serious ‘pedigree’ in terms of ‘fine art’ animation for film, as well as being a painter. The inclusion of excerpts of his work on the website, for me at least, adds not only interest but a possible future direction for one aspect of Red Wharf’s activities.
What are your plans for Red Wharf for the future? Should anyone be contacting you with a demo any time soon?
Besides releasing the remainder of Mel’s and William’s back catalogues, my main focus, come October, is to work on my own music and hopefully by the spring of next year I will have a couple of albums worth of music. There are also three figurative sculptures to finish and the visuals to accompany an excellent piece of music to conclude, all of which I intend to complete before the autumn.
Returning to MySpace, I had several requests and enquiries from some very fine musicians and composers asking to release their music through the Red Wharf label. The idea of expanding the label and further establishing it as a label for non-mainstream music really did appeal, but the overall administration work in publishing Mel’s and William’s music, demanded, and still demands, so much time in front of the computer, that the initial appeal of expansion rapidly dissolved. There is the slight possibility of adding another couple of artists, but not at the moment.
One of the works just out on Red Wharf is an EP of your friend William Henshall. As there are some obvious similarities between your styles, would you say he has been an influence on you when you started out with “Of Mary’s Blood”?
Not consciously, I say that as my approach to recording ‘Of Mary’s Blood’ was very much different to any other musical work I have written or been involved with, and the thoughts of what to do and how to do it, had been ‘rattling around in my head’ for several years before working with William, however I certainly accept that when I came to record it there could have been subliminal influences from William’s work, along with a whole gambit of other musical influences buried deep in my memory.
The EP you refer to is ‘Dark Opus (dancing with demons)’, this was the first collaboration with William, and my role was that of a ‘visual artist’ and stage-set designer, and he as the composer and musician, where he wrote, performed, and recorded a sound-score to a pre-recorded slide projection sequence of my paintings that formed the ‘backdrop’ to a performance work in the form of a modern ballet.
How would you weight the aspects of sculpting/painting and music for your work?
For myself, I perhaps spread myself too thinly across the spectrum of music, painting and sculpture …. In terms of ‘How I weight my own work’ … the best answer I can give is that creating and recording my own music is what gives me the most pleasure and satisfaction.
Would you say there is a mutual influence of the different creative fields you immerse in? Your paintings certainly complement your music perfectly...
There most certainly is, it is the same energy and need for resolution that drives me to paint, sculpt and compose. However it is a long time since I have done any serious painting, the images that adorn my CD covers are taken from sketches I did as a child and teenager, back in the 1950s. I returned to them several years ago and decided to transpose them into paint and for me there are visual elements within them that reflect, compliment and contrast the emotional expression within my music.
How about Sculpting?
Sculpting or to be more accurate, modeling, is the most difficult; simply because it is three dimensional, and as all my work is figurative and focused on the human form, the work has to be correct and true to the concept and physicality of what it is attempting to say, from which ever angle it is viewed … and these are infinite. Like painting it captures a moment in time that is frozen forever, a concept that continually fascinates me, however with sculpture, because of the three dimensional aspect I have just mentioned, it is possible to accentuate the ‘moment’ through viewing and touching, the ‘all-round’ physical form of the limbs, torso and head, which hopefully contribute to the overall message of what the sculpture is saying. The parallels I find in musical composition, with ‘that captured moment in time’, is the climax or resolution of a passage of music … the nano-second when the music reaches the crest of a wave, resolves, and gels opening the flood-gates of emotional and physical pleasure.
You mentioned you had no formal musical education and always ask friends to assist whenever you need a certain instrumental passage. How, then, do you tell them what you want without the theoretical vocabulary?
Usually I have a significant amount of the music recorded before I would ask another musician to contribute, so the mood of the piece along with recorded instrumentation gives a good illustration of the body of the piece. I am also reasonably good and getting better at vocally imitating instruments by ‘doo-de-doohing’ … to roughly indicate the notes and range of octaves that I envisage would sound right, this along with me rambling-on and making references to other pieces of music, on most occasions gets the results I am looking for.
To a large extent, your work is sound-oriented. Where does the source material primarily come from?
The source material, with the odd exception, for all of the work is derived from musical instruments; saxophone, clarinet, recorder, trombone, cornet, bugle, cello, violin, hammer dulcimer, acoustic and electric guitar, piano, percussion. I also make use of an electronic drum pad and on occasions an old synthesizer.
I will (like many others) record any sound that catches my ear, such as the ‘opening and closing of the dishwasher door’, ‘walking across gravel’,’ the slamming of the cutlery draw’ etc. etc. and store it in a sound library for future use.
I don’t have any ‘hard and fast rules’ as to how I digitally treat, manipulate and distort instrumentation and found sounds, it is an organic process relevant to what I am looking for at the time.
Even though your compositions certainly have no typical form, they do seem structured and throughout appear to be “going somewhere”. Do you have them mapped out in any way, before you start working on the details?
Again I don’t have any ‘hard and fast rules, when starting a new work, sometimes I will have a rough ‘road-map’, that could or could not be thrown away once the project is under way. I have ideas to express and illustrate particular aspects of the concept, and many a time whilst working on these, something crops-up that leads on linearly to another section, sometimes it leads on to a sort of reprise, and sometimes there might be just a couple of notes that ‘spark-off’ a whole new idea.
I believe you mentioned your music was “self-therapeutical”. So, was working on the trilogy and on “Pilgrim” a pleasant or a terrifying experience?
“Self-therapeutical” … did I really say that? … I did find the experience of making the video “On the road to nowhere’’ very therapeutic, but that was because the subject matter was ‘so close to home’ and very personal. Of course, and I am sure that most artists will agree, there is something very therapeutic about creating an artwork, what ever the medium is. The making of the Trilogy gave me a tremendous lift, but once it was finished I couldn’t help but feel that I should have done better, so I was left with a feeling of niggling dissatisfaction. As I said earlier, I spread myself to thinly across the arts, and if I were to spend more or all of my time in the studio making music, I am sure that I would improve the quality of the recording, just by the fact, of more use, more skill, more experience, but that isn’t how I work … when I work on whatever project, it is intense to the point of obsession, and I can’t think of anything else until the work is finished … so sometimes the recording area of my studio is not used for weeks, other times it is up and running 24 hours a day. So the adjectives ‘pleasant’ and ‘terrifying’ are applicable to both my working environment and personal life.
After the completion of the trilogy, in what has the conceptional focus of your albums shifted?
I am not sure what you mean when you say “shifted”, but it is the conceptual aspect of creating music that I enjoy and have a natural affinity towards, so it is an ‘odds-on certainty’ that all my future musical output will be based around some form of concept.
Pilgrim was and still could be the first in a series of works loosely based on the literary work ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’ by John Bunyan, however over the last few years I have become increasingly interested in the biology, chemistry and physics of ‘the living cell’, the mechanisms within that tiny universe are so complex and yet so ordered that it makes the mind boggle … so I have been side-tracked and can’t get the musical phrases, sound associations, atomic and molecular identities, that keep springing to mind, out of my head … so maybe I might work on something along the lines of Genetic Mutations, an area I explored some 30years ago when putting together a proposal for a piece of contemporary dance/experimental theatre.
For a work as personal, autobiographical and metaphoric as yours – do you actually believe others can see in it what you see in it?
Certainly not, I accept that there is an ambiguous and amorphous element to all of my music, it may be as you said earlier “structured’ and ‘’going somewhere’’, but I don’t believe for one minute that others are going to read the same meanings into the listening experience as the ones that were responsible for its creation.
I do hope that the sounds, their arrangement, their interplay and the “structure” within which they are placed invoke the same or similar response, both musically and esoterically, as I experienced when putting it all together. To some people it will sound like a chaotic noise, but to some it will trigger their imagination and interest and although the message will be different to different people, a response is reward enough.
By Tobias Fischer