Conduit of the Bottomless Submundane is described as “searching for new ways of experiencing sound while camouflaging the processes”. I’ve always found that concealing the processes helps me to treat sound as its own entity, liberating my mind to place/perceive the sound however it sees fit. What is it about camouflaging the process that appeals to you?
With the vast range of audio formats and fidelity, software, hardware, we have fallen into a practice that involves many different technologies. This means that the process is confused for us but camouflaged for the listener. Each format has a particular sound too which we take into account and also the amplification / speakers, and we’ll be using a range of amplifiers, which again each have a particular sound. Lo-fi meets the hi-fi.
Is this piece in any way a reaction to the standard setup of most live performances, which often maintain an explicit performer/audiences divide and a fixed, unidirectional channelling of sound? Do you ever perceive this as problematic?
This piece is a combination of our live sets and multi channel compositions, so an evolution rather than any kind of reaction. Playing on a stage behind a PA has its advantages but kills the vibe. Its important for us to be on the level with everyone else in the room and for the listener to create their own listening experience by choosing their position, or walking around.
I understand that Pascal also works within ceramics and illustration. Do you approach each medium differently, or is there anything unifying your interaction with each?
P – Just my brain!
K – I’m interested in the tonality & natural harmonics of ceramics since working with Pascal and these sounds are used in pieces as well and performance.
Listening to your music, I find there to be a certain timelessness that renders the present tense as the only tangible reference point. Can you articulate where the act of improvisation takes you? Is there a meditative aspect to your music? Perhaps a sense of leaving the body behind?
P – For sure there’s a meditative element to what we do. I’d say that for us it’s more about feeling present and aware in the situation, more than in everyday life. Maybe for the listener there is a sense of leaving the body as they have no decisions to make or actions to perform.
K – improvisation for me is a way of making the moment as full as it possibly can be by the act of making sounds or playing flute. Sounds have such a unique physical quality to them that shifts your mundane focus and lifts you out of the everyday.
How has improvisation shaped you as listeners? Has improvisation rendered you more aware of how you interact with your acoustic environment?
P – We prepare very little for any improvised performance (Conduit of the Bottomless Submundane is a different case). We wrestle with new ideas, processes and projects continually.
K – I have become hyper sensitive to location, acoustics, and how I am feeling before improvising. I am constantly surprised by where these external factors take me and also by my own internal states. I am in a constant exploration mode to make new sounds and new ways of experiencing and thinking about sound encounters.
Have you been to Supernormal festival before? Previous editions have thrived off an intimate audience/performer blur, which I feel will run in perfect parallel with your performance. Do you have any thoughts on/expectations of the festival?
We are very happy to be playing at Supernormal, we’ve heard such amazing things from friends who’ve been.
K – very excited to hear Anji Cheung , Hacker Farm, Bridget Hayden – she often blows me away – , Graham Dunning, Phil Minton’s Feral Choir – never seen them live!, and I think Space Heads are playing – Richard is a dear neighbour and they are a lot of fun, hope they have the visuals.
P – I’m looking forward to seeing someone carving a swan out of an apple. Also, the swing etching harmonograph, and I’m all ears for the rest of it.
Supernormal Festival website – www.supernormalfestival.co.uk
Part Wild Horses Mane On Both Sides website – partwildhorsesmaneonbothsides.com