Saturday, November 29, 2014

Clara de Asis 13 Questions

Clara de Asís was born in 1988 in Spain and now lives in Marseille. She's an electroacoustic music composer, a sound-seeker, and also a guitarist who practices improvised music, interested in the poetic entity of sound, and she explores two aspects of sound art : electroacoustic composition on studio, and improvised music on prepared guitar, which allows her to develop a sensitive and experimental practice of the instrument.

Clara has participated in many experimental music festivals as FamFest, Intr:muros, UBICUA, Museruole, Futura, Reevox, le Festival de Musiques Actuelles Improvisées…. Her sound pieces had been promoted in France Musique, Radio Grenouille, Radia, Saout Radio, UNDÆ!, and La Cité de la Musique de Marseille, where she pursues studies on electroacoustic composition, as well as in the CNRR de Marseille. Concurrently with her solo projects, she collaborates assiduously with musicians and artists, and works since some years with the French poet Laura Vazquez on sound poetry and live improvisation on prepared guitar.

Her last published works are "Memoryscapes" (2013, Myrdal SoundLab), a compilation of three electroacoustique sound pieces that were composed successively between November 2012 and February 2013 in Marseille, France. Even if they were not expressly conceived as part of the same album, each composition came of to be a sort of prolongation of the precedent one, emerging from a common query, where subjectivity and personal introspection are a choice. This three compositions are essentially build from fragments of remembrances; sound recordings that, for the artist, represent the sonification of the memory itself. When she manipulates the sounds, she’s composing, in a way of memoryscape. "The third hour" (2014, Daath Records) and soon "Ardent" (with Leos Ator and Laura Vazquez) and a new release for 2015 in Pan y Rosas label.

"The third hour" (2014, Daath Records) is an acousmatic piece balanced between the subjectivity of memory and the experience of reality. Through the construction of imaginary landscapes composed of sound fragments fromhis own life, Clara de Asís explores the ambiguity of memory and its artificiality. The synthesized sounds and anecdotal records, often face their own nature converging here in the same space and live together in the same temporality; a non-linear temporality, a temporality of echoes and imagination. This flux arises as an unusual dimension only open by the silence of this speculation, as real as what we have before us.

Improvisation through the use of prepared guitar implements for her a process of listening and sound generation that allows her to develop a direct experience of gesture and material variations, accidents, errors. She provoke special care to listen and staging sounds of her tools, allowing them to maintain a diagram in the form and cohesion in the use of materials. Concretely, it brings out the various timbres that the instrument offers him using different objects and materials, just as instruments available in the performative act. She's also working in communication and documentation areas at Centre international de poésie Marseille

Which was the first musical sound do you remember?

It is my own heart-beating as I was a child and trying to sleep at night. I could listen to it very clearly, like if it was inside my ear, and I just couldn’t help to follow that rythm and complete it with more beats. That sound was distinct in the silence. It made me figure out lots of images and pictures that I still can remember.

What's the relevance of technique in music, in your opinion?

Technique is very important. But there’s no “a” technique, there’s no “the” technique. To me, playing is developing a technique. And that technique doesn’t exists until you figure it out, until you find it; and when you find it, if it’s the good one for you, you need to keep it. I would say that’s the definition of technique I’m interested in. It’s what allows you to explore the paths where you want to go. But it’s not something you take from the outside, it’s something you invent.

What quality do you admire most in an musician?

Listening to their music and having the certitude that that music couldn’t have been done, absolutely not, by anybody else but them. Regardless of the technique deployed, the “genius” character, or whatever.

How would you define silence? and noise?

Silence to me is associated to the darkness, but a warm and bright darkness, not scary. I don’t like playing with much light. I think that when it’s dark, I listen better. And silence, it’s the condition of sound, it’s where the sound come from. It’s also the condition of listening. It’s something I appreciate a lot. Sound appears in the silence.

And noise, it’s a little bit like a silence, in a way, but to me it’s more like an sculpture. Something you sculpt. And the further you are from it, the less you appreciate it, and the closer you are, the more you love it. Noise it’s very lively.

What are your motivations for playing music?

I don’t know. I just do it. I think me playing, the act of playing for me, it’s very motivated by the act of listening. I want to listen to something, I don’t know what exactly, so I play and I look for it.

What is your relationship with other disciplines such as painting, literature, dance, theater ...?

I’m very curious to other disciplines, not necessarily for me to practice them, but about the way of other disciplines do, how things can be built in many different ways. I often think about sound in terms of figures, like pictures. And I draw a lot the sounds I seek for. Not much when I play improvised music, but when I compose, especially acousmatic pieces, I draw the sounds I want to make. I also work a lot with people from other disciplines, specifically from contemporary poetry. It’s been many years that I work with Laura Vazquez, who is a French poet who makes a poetry that, in a way, is very close to music but has the specifies of words. That has allowed me (and still does) to take directions that I definitely wouldn’t have taken on my own.

What is some valuable advice that someone has given to you in the past?

Go ahead.

Why do you need from special techniques in the guitar?

Because otherwise I couldn’t feel free. I don’t mean everybody needs special or prepared guitar techniques to be free, of course not. But me, I do.

Which was the first and the last record you bought with your own money?

I’m not sure about the first record. I think it was Nirvana’s In Utero. The last one is Smitten by Chemiefaserwerk from SQRT records.

What do you recall about your playing learning process?

When I started playing guitar I was like 12 years old, and I wanted to learn how to play guitar. I expected that, and I wanted that. Now I still haven’t learned “how to play guitar”. What I’ve learned, it’s just to keep it that way. Rather than learning how to play, to me it’s more an acknowledgment of your instrument. And all the time I’m looking for ways to make the sounds show up. It’s something that never ends.

What do you like the most about being a musician?

The fact that I don’t need to put things into words.

Dream about a perfect instrument.

I can’t imagine a better instrument than just everything. The world. It may sounds naive, but the world it’s a perfect instrument. Here you have all the sounds. This makes me think about a phrase I read once from a book by Pierre Henry, a kind of diary where he wrote many of his thoughts, and he said that the most wonderful sounds, you can get them from just a piece of wood.