Kolapse Interview II: Kryshe

This is the second in a series of interviews with the Kolapse remixers. Dr. Arne Bense, musicologist and musician with Stil & Bense, interviews his former student Christian Grothe aka Kryshe – in German, their native tongue.

Photography (c) Liudmila Jeremies


Christian, erzähl’ kurz etwas über dich, du bist ausgebildeter Gitarrist, Produzent, Komponist, wie würdest du dich beschreiben?

Ich hab mich nie wirklich als Gitarrist gesehen, sondern habe die Gitarre eigentlich eher als einen Klanggeber benutzt, als Ausgangspunkt meiner Arbeit. Genau, wie ich meine Stimme benutze oder andere Instrumente, wobei ich die Gitarre am besten beherrsche, daher war sie zunächst meine Wahl als Klangerzeuger. Ich hatte dann irgendwann den Plan gefasst, Ambient Musik zu produzieren, wollte aber eigentlich nicht mit Ableton Live arbeiten, wobei das eigentlich schon zu der Zeit so gut wie alle gemacht haben. Die Ergebnisse waren dann immer etwas beliebig und es gab mir viel zu viele Möglichkeiten, so dass ich eigentlich keine wirkliche Verbindung zu diesen Sachen hatte, die ich da gemacht habe.

Du arbeitest viel mit Bodeneffektgeräten, so kleine, eigentlich triviale Klangeffekte. Das hatte mit dieser Reduzierung der Komplexität der Digital Audio Workstation zu tun?

Ja, schon, ich habe mir dann ein Live-Setup aufgebaut, mit einem Mischpult, externen Effekten, Drum-Computern, um erstmal Möglichkeiten zu reduzieren. Ich habe dann zwar auch Ableton Live benutzt, weil es schon komfortabel ist, habe die Software aber sozusagen eingeschränkt eingesetzt. Grundsätzlich arbeite ich von einer solchen Basis aus, auch für den Remix von Piñata.
Ich möchte also mit der Elektronik spielen und eine Soundwelt kreieren, bei der ich allerdings auch nicht immer weiß, was passiert. Wenn ich nichts mache, passiert nichts, aber ich wollte auch trotzdem ein ausreichend komplexes Setup, dass mich immer noch überraschen kann. Eine Welt, die ich zwar gestalte, aber die auch in der Lage ist, sich selbst weiterzuentwickeln. Teile der Effekte, die ich für den Remix von Piñata verwendet habe, funktionieren so. Die Software entscheidet an verschiedenen Stellen, wie die Signalkette aussieht. Wenn ich nichts hineingebe, passiert auch nichts. Eine Art Interaktion, Zusammenarbeit mit der Maschine, die mich dann auch überraschen kann.

Das Original ist ja sehr rhythmisch, nah und perkussiv, dein Remix ist flächig, rauschig, sehr dicht von der Textur her.

Meine Idee war schon, daraus eine drone-Komposition zu machen, aber nicht einfach durch das Hinzufügen irgendwelcher Flächensounds, sondern durch die Arbeit mit oder an den vorhandenen perkussiven rhythmischen Elementen des Originals. Der Remix besteht also aus veränderten Elementen des Originals.

Das heißt, es ist schon ein klassischer Remix in dem Sinne, dass du mit Audiomaterial aus dem Original gearbeitet hast. Du hast nicht mit MIDI-, Noteninformation oder ähnlichem gearbeitet, sondern mit konkret vorliegenden Klängen.

Genau, ich habe mir rausgeschnitten was ich interessant fand und das dann vielfach durch mein Effektsetup geschickt. Am Anfang hört man auch noch, dass es auch wirklich die Sounds aus der Vorlage sind, im weiteren Verlauf des Stückes, wenn die Effekte sich steigern sollten diese Sounds sich aber auflösen und gar nicht mehr hörbar sein, nur noch die drones, die aus diesen Sounds entstanden sind.


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Kolapse Interview I: Mathon

This is the first in a series of interviews with the Kolapse remixers. Juan Dahmen, composer, drummer and multiinstrumentalist from Spain, interviews Pete Leuenberger of Swiss electronic music collective, Mathon.


Juan: I read that there are three steady members: Thomas Augustiny, Roger Stucki and you, Pete Leuenberger, with different collaborators each time you reunite in Mathon. Was that the approach used for this remix?

Pete: The approach was not the normal working process we usually do when working on new music in a collaboration. After we got in contact with Tobias, we decided that Roger Stucki should take the lead on this remix, so Tobias sent the original audio files to Roger. Roger started to work with the files and did some sketches.

Did you consider Reber the collaborator this time, or did you count on someone else as well?

In this case Tobias was the collaborator, but as I mentioned, we normally do not work this way. But remixes are a different situation that creating new music from scratch.

Why did you choose to remix this piece, Piñata, and not others?

It fitted most. Roger and me received Tobias tracks individually and listened to them autonomously, and we both made a selection. We compared our notes and saw we both favoured Piñata.

How did you use the original material? Was there a clear goal from the beginning or is the remix a result of different experiments?

It’s a result of a series of experiments Roger did with cutting and rearranging the individual Piñata tracks, and adding new sounds and textures. At the end we didn’t wanted to go far away from the original. We wanted that the listener finds a connection to the original piece, so we stayed true the original definition by Eduardo Navas of remixing as creating a “the point of entry”.

Do you have specific roles in the band (rhythm, pads, fx) or do you choose as you feel?

Usually there are roles in a band or a collective. At the beginning of Mathon it was unclear and we did not want to get into predefined roles for each of us – but through the years we did, as a consequence of the collaboration and of the skills everyone has. Roger is the arranger, he has a feeling of where and how sounds needs to be placed. He reduces the stuff I arrange, cause I layer too much and it gets fat and sticky and he slicks it down, reduces it to the max. Thomas is more the special effects man – noises, field recordings are his favorites and he is good in getting out and catching sounds.  He finds a way to add them to our tracks in a manner similar to Lustmord. Mostly very dark and hidden. I think that is one of the special ingredients in Mathon. As for me, I’m more into generating soundscapes and other sound design.

How do you get such great pieces together? Is this done live with all members at the same time (and later editing) or is everyone adding something each round?

When we work together on our own music, we jam. Normally one of us brings a idea and explains a little where it comes from, the story behind it. Then we try and jam. We record the jams and listen to them later. Then we change instruments or sounds if we are not happy with something, and start to make a small arrangement. Then we perform this version again and record the tracks. Later home in the studio we do the fine tuning and mixing.

Do you give each other specific instructions or do things happen naturally?

It depends, we are all not very good atreceiving instructions or orders ;-). But sometimes it fits.

When working on a piece, what do you spend most of your time on?

Definitely the fine tuning. It can take us months to get to the finished version.


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Unbroken Things

Pain of Salvation’s new album, “In the Passing Light of Day”, is simply wonderful. It’s the kind of album that steadily continues to grow on me with every listen. It has depth in theme, writing and production. It’s deeply nostalgic, which usually puts me off but just makes me sigh with an odd sense of relief this time. It is effective in its emotional directness and unashamed in its naivety: it’s getting away with a couple of clichées that in the hands of another band would make me cringe. It’s deeply original and decidedly traditional at the same time, and not afraid to borrow a little here and there if needed. It’s the kind of work that allows you to enter a proper, meaningful relationship with it – the kind of relationship that allows you to reflect on your own feelings, tastes, assumptions and preconceptions, and grow from there. It’s been many years since I’ve felt this way about a “rock” album, apart from some of Devin’s music, and it’s exactly what I need at this moment.


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Moving to the pulse of impossible bodies

You could say that in electronic music, something is lost. It used to be that music was the result of body movement, but often it is no longer evident how sounds and structures are created, and to what extent they are even created in real time.

You could also say that electronic music frees us from having to understand. No longer is there an easy explanation for every musical sound, nor is it needed. But still: there is sound, affecting us physically and emotionally.

You could even say that our evolved instinct to hear moving bodies behind sounds makes us resonate with unknown bodies, impossible movements, unimaginable instruments.

Without putting anyone at risk, you could let yourself rub shoulders with otherness, sway in the dark to the pulse of unknown entities, and dance on a hundred quirky legs. You could learn to be at ease with the unknown, experience alien ways of being, and new ways of coexisting with the Other. Empathic listening.


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Composition Extinction #48

Write a melody with pencil on staff paper.

Play it every day. Each time you’re done playing, erase one note and replace it with a pause of the same value.

Repeat until only silence is left.


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