tisdag, november 09, 2004

from datamusik.dk

I just found a great inteview with Alejandra & Aeron.
It can be downloaded here in *.pdf format.

Or just read it here. I added the pictures. The pictures were taken from [ alejandra & aeron in Kanazawa ] July 2nd.~4th 2003.

"Interview with Alejandra Salinas and Aeron Bergman
(Lucky Kitchen)
by Flemming Binderup

I still remember the graffiti on the wall of a Glasgow University lavatory:

The lavatory was in the philosophy department, which somehow made the mention of time travel all the more pertinent to me, since this made it seem emblematic of some sort of philosophical reflection on the nature of time and space.
Notwithstanding the philosophical implications of this piece of toilet prose, the person who wrote it might well en-counter Alejandra and Aeron one of these days. For with their so-called home recordings, the pair has specialized in what might be described as audio space and time travel, and so in bringing people together who might otherwise never have met or even learned of each other's existence.
So, please meet Alejandra's Spanish family as its members watch a game of football on the TV while her grandmother is cooking them a meal in the kitchen. Someone left the tape recorder on that afternoon more than three decades ago, and now this recording constitutes the backbone of Alejandra and Aeron's :datamusik edition. And so, like so often be-fore, the two artists combine documentation in the shape of one of their so-called home recordings and artistic creation in the shape of their sound manipulation in that strange amalgam of the banal and the brilliant which is characteristic of most of their releases.

"In our :datamusik edition, we used tapes accidentally recorded by Alejandra's family in Viana, Navarra, Spain over thirty years ago. During a normal day in the life of Alejandra's grandmother, grandfather and uncle, one of them was playing with their tape recorder and accidentally left it taping during the afternoon. They were all watching a football game on TV, the grandmother was cooking lunch, and they were saying things so totally natural and uninhibited that it feels like a ghost story passing through the walls of time. By selecting moments from these recordings and composing them with other sounds, the recordings takes on a fuzzy area of familiar yet unknown vitality.
Using this kind of old recordings is a kind of timewarp. Working with personal recordings made in a familiar environment brings people into a world where they would otherwise not be welcome. We like to think of these recordings as time and space travel devices for a listener to achieve some sort of connection with people far removed geographically and through time. We are hoping that by bringing the specificity and familiarity of our family and friends to a wider audience, we address the universality of being human."

So, to Alejandra Salinas and Aeron Bergman recording their relatives, mates and acquaintances talking and singing or taking a walk downtown in N.Y. or across the countryside in the Spanish Rioja region is a matter of negotiating the kinds of gaps that separate for instance different cultures and generations.
Still, the two musicians are less interested in the divides themselves than in striking a balance between contrasts and dispensing with the divisions which otherwise shape our lives.
"One of the most important ideas that we have to present is balance. Although there are some interesting grounds to cover with extremity, the world is mostly composed of many situations of balance. Night and day, good and evil, childhood and adulthood. One of the most interesting things for us is the fine lines between these extremes: dusk and dawn, when does it become day and when night? What is fantasy and what is fact.
In our work, we try to present opposing poles in such a way where the border between them is blurred. For instance, documentary is a tool to describe the world around you. Documentary indicates that we are dealing with fact, where in truth, these facts can be interpreted, manipulated and distorted till they are pure fiction."

Technically speaking, the fine line separating documentation and manipulation is also rendered more or less indistinct in the work of Alejandra and Aeron, who like to base their electronic compositions on the sounds of the home recordings, and to play with the documentary home recordings in artistically creative ways.
What we are presented with therefore conforms neither to the criteria of unmanipulated documentation, nor with the traditional standards of artistic creation (in this case: composing a piece of electronic music). So, we are landed with something which is somewhere in between these categorical distinctions, striking some sort of balance between the formal structure of documentation and the freedoms associated with artistic creation. It is here in the interstices that things are really happening according to Alejandra and Aeron: things like the kind of timewarps and space travels which challenge the listener to relate to foreign environments and people.

Lately, they have, however, released two completely fictional tales to the accompaniment of electronic music: Aeron Bergman's The Tale of the Unhappy American, which is the fantastic tale of an American who takes an imaginary flight one morning, and Alejandra and Aeron's The Tale of Pip, which in words and pictures (in an accompanying booklet) describes the doings of one young bird by the name of Pip. So, how do these tales set to music relate to the rest of their releases?
"These completely fictional tales are actually not completely fictional at all. The Tale of the Unhappy American is an exaggeration of the reality of waking up in the morning and riding public transportation to a job Aeron hated.
Again, we are playing with real versus unreal. And overall, it is another side to telling the same kinds of stories as with the home recordings."
One thing which nonetheless does distinguish the two tall tales from the rest of their releases is the fact that rather than co-existing with the often fragmentary home recordings, the music on these records serves as illustration in relation to the fictional tales, which follow some sort of logical progression and so are much more coherent.

So, how does this notion of music as illustration strike the married couple, Alejandra and Aeron, and is their approach to making this music different compared to what they have done in other connections?
"We like the idea of music as illustration. Still, at certain points [when the story fades], the main focus is on the music, and then the music becomes illustrative once again soon after that [when the story resumes].
There should be some sort of balance, in other words, between form and content, illustration and body, and we like to play around with the roles which the music and the text assume.
Especially in The Tale of the Unhappy American, and now The Tale of Pip, the music suggests visual action, and to some extent we ask that you fill in the images in your head from our audio suggestions."
So, as opposed to most contemporary electronic musicians, Alejandra and Aeron do not seem at all opposed to letting the music mean something, to telling tales and stories with all that this implies in terms of emotional content, personal involvement and investment and so on.
Their recordings are invariably deeply personal and affecting. In fact, one might argue that their entire production is emblematic of the kind of profoundly moving melancholy which emerges when the sound of human voices and other noises travel a great distance in time or in space to sing to us or to tell us stories.
"Yes, you can call it melancholy, or romance. We are very sentimental people! But we try not to be over dramatic. We simply believe that folk music, fine art, storytelling, and electronic music are not really so different from each other in that they are mediums to speak about humans and their world. There are no artists who avoid putting their personality and emotive content into their work. The difference is that many artists claim formal neutrality in a pseudo-scientific posturing."

More information available on the Lucky kitchen web
More sport by Aron (sic!) and Alejandra in their webzine This Land is Your Land"