To celebrate the release of Tallesen’s new album “Stills Lit Through“, released this month on Oneohtrix Point Never’s Software Recording Company, we caught up with the producer and visual artist to discuss his relationship with both art forms and the twelve tracks that make up his debut “Stills Lit Through“, an album that conjures an eidolon of melodies painted with watercolor brushstrokes both calm (“Glenticast”) and frenetic (“Emmel”).
First of all can you please tell us about the mix you’ve recorded for Inverted Audio? How was it made and what was the reasoning behind the track selection and overall mood.
It’s a spectrum of things to show a range of things that maybe wouldn’t normally be paired together. I find that thrilling. I would call them all great hooks as well. Just intensity throughout.
You’re primarily a visual artist; tell me about your background and approach in creating your work.
I am not primarily a visual artist. Unless your talking about some sort of visual engagement or inspiration prior to any engagement. Like a story behind the eyes of some sort. I can see that does happen but I am constantly changing my approach and its very rare that I feel a visual primacy of sense for a concept.
From the looks of your album artwork I’m assuming you’re interested in abstract art forms. How do you perceive this aesthetic?
In the work throughout the album there are some intentional stylistic manoeuvres that bring up suggested form but not complete form. That I could see being regarded as an abstract aesthetic because for me and some range culture there is a desire to represent space in forms to question their reality and refresh associations of form and function.
Besides complete autonomy of the forms and belief in the expressions as some spiritual practice (which is also intriguing in a more mythical way), slight suggestion in some way allows things to be operating out of capital and fixity. i.e. Cubist.
Therefore allowing us to function without our traditional wants and needs in the societal body…Changing up lifestyles. A gentle intervention. Although, that is just one of many reasons why it looks the way it does.
Tell me about your background in producing music?
It is certainly hard to point out a direct start considering the immensity of feeling in the intentionality behind the ambiance in music; taking place in both writing and non-writing. In that sense I had a quite emotive up bringing in musical tastes. I definitely fiddled with instruments and gear and settings before situating anything cohesive.
In high school I began recording and producing on an old computer a friend allowed me to borrow, to explore the sort of next step virtual writing process of electronic music. This was a really enriched feeling for me, it was really too much.
What instruments or machines do you use, are there any instruments that are out of the ordinary?
I use an array of different instruments but there is no fidelity with one particular in this music. I sometimes record public instruments and sounds. Maybe in stores or maybe landmarks for sentiment. It’s really hard to distinguish once I have made a proper involvement with the works.
‘Still Lit Through’ is your debut release / album – How did this album come about, who approached who to release it and how did you get involved with Oneohtrix Point Never and his Software Recording Company?
After feeling like I had enough of an array of music I was curious as to engage in a dialogue about their curation being only privately showing them and never putting them on the Internet.
Around that time I was receiving proposals from some people and record labels. Yet after listening to more music about and discovering more contemporary music, I had sent an email to a couple labels I had interest in. Not expecting anything. Then onwards, with their buzz throughout the following seasons Oneohtrix and others from the label engaged in truly unique journey of realising these sounds for publication. I was almost surprised as to how open and engaging the label has been so I’m super thankful.
Tracks from the album range from 40 seconds to 8 mins – Why have you included so many short snippets of tracks? Why did you not fully develop them into much longer tracks?
Ah interesting question. I think it’s again about the quality of suggestion.
Being a debut I wanted to achieve zones in each song to be furthered maybe in the mind or musical or drama development. Maybe think of that for the listener; attributing more characteristics along knowledge of the forms in each track. But having enough intensity to not be secondary to other information.
So some songs are short because there is a bit of refrain from traditional writing and to minimize story playing into the arc of expansion in song. This is not a constant in my music and will most likely not carry over into following releases.
The album ranges from electronica to IDM and bass. I assume you’ve grown up listening to a vast spectrum of electronic music. Which artists / releases have been paramount in the development of your personal musical taste.
There is certainly an influence from certain music but honestly it’s hard to trace any exclusively influential releases/ artists. I think that I’m constantly shifting influences in the build up of each song to open the musical dialogue.
Artists of the past have obviously encountered this prospective idea. For instance I find that the music on the Warp label has always varied quite effectively in form. My language in musical writing comes from various pieces of information following some cultural intensity. Following that, yes, in IDM and bass as descriptions I find a lot of interesting human impulse but I cannot pull any releases that were particularly influential in accompanying my project because it was all very fleeting.
You’re based in NYC – Do you feel that the city has helped shape / define your approach to creating music and visual art?
Absolutely! Although more so in outlet rather than shape of the work itself. My time in New York is a kind of active non-dwelling experience. Therefore allowing immersion in cultural happenings by reaching out rather than waiting aside.
I’m glad I have not arranged a place and time in which the information I am receiving everyday is more exclusively assigned. Cities on the cultural scale of NYC can be used of as a large institution and therefore qualitative for active engagement amongst various topics.
There is an energy represented by a couple of purely unique bodies that has shifted my perspective greatly. New York can be beyond the mere need of accompaniment and effectively authentic in the quality of constant change and hustle. Everything from vast and sporadic odd jobs to an unseen corridor’s haunt.
Do you tend to hang out with many other musicians…? If so do they help you develop your sound?
Yes. I find tastes of people active in music to be influential with knowledge of the components. For instance, I grew up around Lord Raja and we’ve constantly surprised each other with our own reaches. Otherwise I’m very intrigued to encounter new osmosis from other artists. And do so regularly.
I’m going to play a show in Baltimore in December and I think there is a lot of cunning moves going on in the musicians I know of there. Some sort of rapid detail and intensity in small instances but an overall sparsity I reckon.
Anyways, sometimes the fidelity, sometimes the shift. I like these moments of hearing a head I know play a show. I think that I’m constantly intrigued with all of this and it is becoming more tangible to recognise moving characteristics the more I free my ability to engage with the reasoning of the make up.
Do you have a favourite track from the album or a particular life experience embedded within the album?
Hmm… There are some attachments to certain scenarios in which I had finished the recording of them as is on the album. For instance the last two tracks are very deliberately subtle because of their causes.
One, “Teal Spot Focus” was made in a kind of isolation in a mysterious bed and breakfast in the middle of snowy nowhere, helping my father build a house. Then going to NYC on the weekends. A very unique time and emotionally interesting lifestyle.
The other “Landmark Rituals” was almost a kind of audible accessory and background to an old ambiance of an apartment I lived in. Where my roommates and I made many tape experiments along other make shift experiments with the leisure there. Although it is more precious that the sentiment for both those pieces may change over time for the listener.
Finally what’s next for you? Art or music?
I think that I will be working on some swing line effect in part of my grand theatre for non-distinction between those two things. Honestly, both but in new ways, which would include that brief.
“Still Lit Through” is out now on Software Recording Company, order a vinyl copy through their web-store.
2. LSD – Kaotic Chemistry
3. Salamander – Sleepwalk (Yearning Kru version)
4. General Echo – Miss Flala Fashing
5. Salamander – Sleepwalk (Yearning Kru version)
6. Hugo Largo – Second Skin
7. Jon Hassell – Dabari Extension
8. DJ Sound – Get Out My Way
9. Rashad Becker – Dances
10. Lord Raja – Honey Latern Red
11. Andre 3000 – A Life in the Day of Benjamin Andre
12. Severed Heads – Lamborghini