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MORPHEUS MUSIC INTERVIEW - VIDNAOBMANA

15.12.04

     
 

Q: Your musical output over the past twenty years is monumental, how did music become so central to your life?
  Don’t know for sure but it definitely has been dominating my life for the past 20 years. Music has been more than a passion for me since my early childhood, when I started to listen to film soundtracks. I guess for me the fascinating aspect of creating music is the way how one particular sound can evolve and start to breathe on its own. The progressing of sound that starts to conduct your own musical approach works for me very inspiring and I just love to be in the presence of one particular pattern before I actually start to interact with it. Just spending time with the instruments and appreciating the pace in the studio. Apart from this my motivation in creating a musical statement comes from a longing to express myself without
words or concepts and focus upon the communicative value of music
itself.
  Q:  Why did you choose a musical approach that is so far off the beaten track?
  First of all because I’m a self-taught musician and naturally you start out with experimenting with sound before you actually undertake something
musical. I’m sure my early fascination for film soundtracks helped me to focus upon a music genre that wasn’t commercial and accessible. Film music
is also a genre that has primarely to do with provoking mood and atmosphere instead of creating a song with a melody and a theme. From day one I was never interested in writing songs but into composing structures filled with vision, mood and emotion. And this is just what I do best, although my perception towards sound and how to create these structures and moods definitely changed over these past 20 years. Luckily it did, but my main goal
remains one which is non-commercial and continues to move towards the experimental, complex and difficult to penetrate.
     
             
Q: Which album/albums do you see as being cornerstones to your current musical
state?

  Mmmm, there’re a few ones so let’s do it chronological. Between 1990 and 1993 I recorded my ambient trilogy (Passage in Beauty, Shadowing in sorrow and Ending Mirage) 3 albums which focused upon one particular method of composing, namely a variation on Bach’s canon method. A method of placing patterns on specific points so that, when performed, they never collide at the same point in time. This method, in my setting made with the various internal sequencers on my keyboards, helped me to super refine the minimal quality of my early ambient phase. 3 albums centered around very minimal, slow paced harmonious structures and for me personally they capture the essence of what I felt was ambient music. This trilogy also co-ordinates several older releases and some of the albums that follows these 3 albums, like ‘Memories Compiled 1 & 2’, ‘Revealed by composed nature’, ‘Soundtrack for the Aquarium’, ‘Landscape in obscurity’ and ‘The River of Appearance’.
In a more rhythmic frame, I find my ‘Crossing the trail’ album an essential one as it places the relationship of atmosphere and rhythm in the best configuration. The album also slowly introduces a more experimental feeling
that would dominate my future albums. It also features my recycling techniques more as a main element of sound-designing than before and my favorite acoustic instrument ‘the fujara’ gets introduced. An album that naturally combines all the strong points of previous rhythmic albums like ‘Echoing Delight’ and ‘The Spiritual Bonding’ and somehow paves the way over time for creating my Dante trilogy.
Another pair of albums I really find important to my progression as a musician and vidnaObmana is ‘The Surreal Sanctuary’ and ‘The Contemporary Nocturne’. Both recorded for Hypnos, here I got to explore a different kind
of ambient music. A fusion of genres and styles I’v been fascinated by over the past years. My aim was to score a pair of CD’s that referred to my interest in experimental jazz and avant-garde music. For the greater part made with electric guitar and recycling techniques, I also was able to give the unique quality of the Fujara and overtone flute a more prominent role.
Two albums that also were essential for me to finally take the chance of realizing the Dante trilogy later on.
And of course, my Dante trilogy (Tremor, Spore and Legacy) is another collection of albums which is so signficant to what I’m and how I want to profile vidnaObmana. They furthermore explore my fascination for other genres, outside the world of electronic music, like jazz, hardcore and post- rock. Instrument-wise it solidifies my faith in playing the electric guitar and the fujara in relation to the recycling techniques and rhythms on these 3 albums. The Dante trilogy also refers back to my very early period of
recording. A phase for vidnaObmana which didn’t belong to my official discography for a long time. The industrial music I was then recording was harsh, noisy and very aggressive but thanks to my experience I gained over
the years I was able to incorporate some of the valuable elements back into my music when making the Dante trilogy.
  Q:  What are the points in making new music that really carry you away?
How do you approach a new composition, are there methods that you repeatedly
return to, or new techniques that especially excite you?


  I usually start with a very basic motif based upon a few ideas I’ve in which style I want to work and what kind of mood to provoke. Depending on how this first track evolves and actually gets recorded, the rest of the recording and composing originate in improvisation. But even when I do have a concept or
theme, I try to keep the spontaneous evolution strict and alive from start to finish. Real-time performances on the electric guitar or the fujara for that matter are essential to the breathing aspect of my music and 90% of the time they remain unedited or without overdubs. The actual complexity in the creative process is the mixing and soundshaping. When all elements are recorded, the balance and proportion between the recorded tracks is so vital that it determines the breathing and lively aspect of a piece or to avoid diminishing the strength of the various performances you’ve recorded for that particular piece. No matter how strong or lively my performances may be for each track, it remains the mixing and fine-tuning of the song that brings the
purpose of the piece in the forefront. I can proudly say that the use of my own specific recycling techniques, the way of looping and cycling sounds and my method of playing the guitar in a most unorthodox manner (hahaha) benefits the vidnaObmana character but it has been an investment I undertook over time to get my own specific way of composing just established like the way it’s now.

             
Q: Is there a musical area in which you’d like to be more skilled?

  Don’t know really. I just started to learn the electric guitar (getting some private lessons from a good friend of mine) and how to play the chords. But I truly wonder if I had followed classical training as a young child, I would
have succeeded in building up such a wilful and experimental oeuvre for vidnaObmana. There’s a huge chance that the classical training would have limited my capacities of creating dissonances and abstract harmonies and the
way how I approach sound in general. It’s a question which will never be answered. Sometimes I regret it, sometimes I don’t.
But in terms of genres, I do feel if the heart is in the right place you could succeed in performing other genres. But for me it purely depends on
what I long for and up till this moment it’s just nothing that has to do with pure song-orientated and commercially more accessible music.

  Q: What do you listen to for your own enjoyment?
  I’m a fanatic music collector but the last couple of years I hardly listened to electronic music in general. Somehow it seems that more guitar-orientated
genres and predominantly jazz have been inspiring me in what I want to bring forward with my music.
Some of my favorites in the disc player are currently The Necks, Landing, Neurosis, Subarachnoid Space, Bass Communion, Richard Pinhas and everything
of Miles Davis’s electric period.
             
 
     
Q:  What is the most gratifying feedback that you get from listeners of your
music?

  To be honest the feedback I get from my listeners is much more rewarding than
most of all numerous reviews I’ve got in magazines. The response of the listener is truly honest and without any particular hidden agenda and therefor to my personal opinion very supportive. The feedback ranges from
uplifting commentary to special presents, like paintings, photography, poems,etc. sent to my PO Box. Something I really appreciate and I try to reply to every bit of response I receive.

  Q: How do you choose the appropriate artwork for a new CD?
  I’ve been truly lucky that my wife Martina Verhoeven does some amazing photography, which fits my music like a glove.
I used to do the photography myself before I met my wife but the combination of doing music and photography started to be more and more difficult so it was a gift when Martina started to do the abstract photography she does so well. She has an immense collection of works I can choose from but sometimes
I ask her to shoot some more specific images for me. It’s a collaboration I really cherish. I just hope her amazing photography can be acknowledged more
in the future.
             
Q:  Having explored the darkness of the Dante Trilogy is there further to go
into shadow or do you anticipate a different form of beauty next?
 
Well, completing the Dante trilogy definitely gives me finally a moment of repose before I embark on a new solo album. I’m so satisfied with what I achieved with the Dante trilogy I decided for once to retreat from the scene
for a while with vidnaObmana in terms of new recordings and solo concerts.
Naturally, I’ll complete a few loose ends but I’m planning to really put vidnaObmana on a pause up till 2007 or even a bit later before I return with a new album.
But whether it’s going to be a dark or brighter album, I don’t know yet.
I’ve a few ideas which I really would like to explore and I think it’s definitely further away from the ambient and harmonic music I use to be known for but hey, darkness can be beautiful as well, right ?
     

 

 

15.12.04

Thanks to vidnaObmana for allowing us that interview.