January was composed between January and May 2003. The inspiration for the cd came from my visit to Japan on a tour with 12k artists Richard Chartier and Sogar. We made many, many friends and it was one of the most enjoyable and inspirational travels i have taken in recent memory.
January attempts to loosely chronicle this trip by combining the stillness of looping passages with moving and non-repeating elements. a simple metaphor for our travels and the ideas of time standing still to experience a single moment forever. Our first morning in Tokyo there was a very heavy, yet gentle snowfall, a very vivid visual memory and the inspiration for the granular sounds in this recording. January utilizes many of the same practices and concepts of my work with loops and frozen sounds (such as on Stil.) but also adds layers of live instrumentation and voices. January features live, processed electric piano as well as vocal fragments, courtesy of Sawako. More pieces with voices were written in these sessions but did not appear on the final release.
This album was written at a time in my life of great changes and new beginnings and is dedicated to my son, Nicholas, who was born on February 19th, 2003.
Definitely. There are a few factors that add up to this direction, too. one is that i feel like i'm touching back to my music from 1993 or 1994.. When i was exploring a lot of ambient and melodic music. even though i did a lot of techno then it was the ambient that i was closest too. . Also, lately, i have been listening to a lot more pop forms of music.. mainly bands like Slowdive, Mojave 3, and always, Sugar Plant. These sort of melancholy, ambient, indie-rock bands are having a big influence on me. I find a lot of interesting areas to explore with melody and implied rhythm. or creating rhythm from melody where no rhythm originally exists. A lot of the software technology i use allows this, and it interests me a great deal.
I keep striving for more simple forms... I constantly feel that what i do is too crowded, although i know, relative to other forms of music and musician's work, that it's not. But I'm striving for more simplicity. My life gets more and more complicated and the world gets more and more complicated. My music is a reaction to that. as far as a narrative goes? Well, maybe not so conscious of one, but all of my music tends to draw from my life and to me it is personal, and important, and I think there can be a narrative there if you look for one.
I am very interested in the Japanese aesthetic. At least in terms of zen, wabi-sabi, and return to simplicity in art and architecture. I was watching a documentary the other day about I.M. Pei's Miho mountain art museum in japan. What struck me most was how long it took them to decide on the placement of 1 single tree into the landscape and how it affected the forms of nature and the architecture of the museum. They were very concerned with how the tree would frame the buildings and how the viewers would look upon the tree. This sort of respect for detail just simply isn't present in the west. How the japanese architectural aesthetic is so in tune with nature and so respectful, but also very high-tech. Pei, while he's not Japanese, believes in this very much. I think they are masters at getting to a particular point with very little material (words, sounds, stones, whatever the medium) and i admire that very much, it is something I strive to do in my music.
There is no denying what i do is very digital and requires digital processing to accomplish. I am not interested, either, in abandoning the digital aspect of my music at all. My aesthetics are about the co-existance of technology and nature, the struggle as well as the symbiosis. I think more and more lately i am interested in acoustic sound sources because they are a more specific means of reaching this goal. iI am also attracted to the "imperfections" in acoustic instruments.. as opposed to the potential sterility of pure electronics. On a less conceptual level I think that microsound music has finally begun to branch off and mature and we are understanding that to be a "microsound" artist isn't just about high pitched sine waves anymore. We have taken our practices and encorporated them with other aspects of our lives and other musical forms. I don't care if my music is labeled as "ambient" or "microsound"... people can call it what they call it, but i am just interested in constantly exploring new methods and further trying to perfect my own music and reach this goal.. something that i will never attain... Perfection is not possible but it's the constant refining and reaching for it that keeps us going.