Friday, February 13, 2009

Klimek: ssgmx20 tracklist and interview

Here is the tracklist for Klimek’s recent ssg mix, followed up by an interview with Sebastian Meissner himself.

unknown artist - unknown track
anthony pateras & robin fox - $ 2.50
Idaman walat akhmudan - bell song
anthony pateras & robin fox - flex and belch
fred frith - any other world
hoahio - chatchat
leonard cohen - avalanche
slovenly - thank you purple jesus
stian carstensen - solo improvisation #1
ikue mori - woke up aghast
butthole surfers - kuntz
henry kaiser & david lindley - todiavo jeso
fred frith - any other world
john zorn - modulus
nicolas cage & laura deren - wild at heart dialogue from industrial symphony
saint etienne - the birdman of ec1
melvins - fast forward
jason spaceman - paris beach
werner herzog - father umbrillo's broken nation
coil - tainted love
moha! - B5
alec empire - get some
the flaming lips - miracle on 42nd street
primal screem - space blues #2
snd - push #4
tore elgaroy - spooky mind
susumu yokota - flying cat
kode9 & daddi gee - sign of the dub
bob ostertag - sooner or later
guy klucevsek - rumbling
soliman gamil - dance of ka
eric dolphy - inner flight #1
asteroth - lumina part 2
jimmy edgar - telautraux
peer raben & jeanne moreau - each man kills the thing he loves

Tell us a little about your musical development: what were you listening to when you were you a child, a teenager, and a university student?

when i was a child i was listening to my father's music, like the rolling stones, beatles, led zeppelin, tangerine dream, kraftwerk, and king crimson. the first record i purchased was a 7´´of "heart of glass" by blondie. as a teenager i was into ac/dc, black sabbath but at the same time i was also following the pop charts especially via the early MTV and the german MUSICBOX. later than i was into so called indie music like the smiths, the fall, birthday party, gun club, SST & discord records. after public enemy's "it take a nation of millions to hold us back" hip-hop became important for me (poor righteous teachers, geto boys, brand nubian) and at the same time the early break beat scene from the UK (shut up & dance, silver bullet), and dub: king tubby, i roy, lee perry, the uk-scene, and those like twilight circus and blind idiot god, praxis. techno: early warp, basic channel, underground resistance. later i was doing my jazz lessons, followed by blues and music from the caribbean. right now i listen a lot to music from africa.

How have all of these sounds and styles shaped the development of your musical perspective? And which of these do you think has had the greatest influence on the music you make now?

there has never been one style only, maybe I prioritized a certain style for a period of time. moving on and discovering new music styles kept me excited about music intact. i hope that my mix can answer some questions about the "how's" of my musical development.

When did you decide to start making music, and why?

i started creating sound-jingles on my first PC in 1995 at the same time also, as i was discovering photoshop (and related graphic software) as tools to post-produce pictures. my output kept growing over the years and the development of software, the growth of computer memory and faster CPU's made new things possible. my acquaintance with ekkehard ehlers and achim szepanski of mille plateaux helped me to bring my sound productions to a new level. and having the opportunity to release my output created new encouragements and challenges.

From interviews that I've read with you online I get the impression that you are distinctly uncomfortable with the genre tag "ambient" (particularly as used by the Kompakt label). Could you tell us about your feelings on this?

well, ambient is such an over-used music tag, and in my mind it is rousing clichés connected to the marketing of certain types of music too close to zeitgeist phenomenon's as "wellness" and "esoteric". i find this term also pretty imprecise - same as with the big tags such as rock and pop - they blur more than they can describe. so the title and the album cover of "music to fall asleep" is showing a person falling asleep in the middle of a dirty urban street/environment, without any safety and protection, like a narcoleptic person. the quality of being able to fall asleep with music doesn't necessarily refer for me to so called ambient music. i can fall asleep with drone, heavy doom rock, as well as with dub or techno. so my focus on this album wasn't about if (and to what kind of music genre we are able to fall asleep), but "where".

How would you describe the music you make as Klimek (if not "ambient")?

a soundtrack

Do you feel that there is something subversive about the Klimek project?

my music deals with issues which are challenging me as a person who is living in a specific geographic area, as a participant of specific society, certain economic system. with my thoughts i am reaching for the outside at the same time as i am trying to understand the inside of the society i am living in. in all of my projects i am connecting explicitly those issues/questions with my "aesthetic" output. and since nearly every kind of instrumental music can be redefined in nearly every possible context, i am trying to be as unmistakable as possible about the content and thoughts behind my sound-works. releasing for kompakt i had to compromise to a certain level and to express some things more silently and subtly as i was practicing in on my mille plateaux releases. but i am not the right person to judge the subversiveness of my work.

In the introductory write-up to your mix, I described your work as "intensely political – political in the sense that [your] work seeks to actively engage with, question, and open a discourse on various cultural, social, and historical scenarios." Would you agree with this statement?


What do you feel the role of an artist is in society? And how do you respond to people who say that it's "just about the music"?

plenty. perceive/consume as much different art forms/genres as possible. ask questions. be ready to be refuted. try to say something that you haven't heard before. and finally it's only YOU who decides about where you draw the line between "art" and "the world outside".

Tell us a little about your composition process: (typically) where and how does a track begin, how long do you work on it, and when does it feel finished?

sound generating, sound processing and sampling come first. then organizing your libraries. the next step is a rough sketch/patch (which can be also at the same time a basis for a live-arrangement). exporting the rough sketch into the timeline of a final arrangement. if possible/required: additional recordings with musicians and then the editing of this material and adjusting it into the final arrangement. finishing a track is about learning to make decisions and reflecting on your own expectations and goals. not getting overwhelmed by perfectionism, like some people who work up to 10 years on their phd, their first book or first album. getting lost in music(production) is easy and a very productive part, but then you need to step back or just forget about a composition for awhile and resume with a new perspective. it's also important (for me) to ask for the opinion of as many people as possible (unbiased persons such as my parents included).

What equipment do you use? Is the kind of equipment you use important to you?

actually, talks about gear are really boring me. equipment is equipment, it shapes your sound. and reflects your economic situation. your knowledge & skills about your equipment let you grow as a sound/music producer, from time to time it's good to renew your equipment or to learn something new about it or/and to revise your production techniques.

You've got a new Klimek album coming out on Anticipate in April called 'Movies Is Magic' – from what I've read online it sounds like the album will address movie soundtracks and the relationship between "movie making" and "reality". How will the album address these issues?

film music is applied sociology of culture: collective, deeply entrenched patterns of reception that create precognitive feelings indicate where the music either confirms or confuses. the rewards for the pleasure and pain of this game are a primary part of the cinematic experience. my quest started with my re-discovery of the "orange crate art" album by van dyke parks & brian wilson (especially of the track "movies is magic") and slavoj zizek's analysis of the cinema. "movies is magic (...real life is tragic)" is a sentimental revue formula for the controlled illusion that one is devoting oneself in the movie. which is healthy for our sanity and savvy. who does not know the reality aftershocks of the magnificent experience that cinema provides? the adjustment of swollen intensity to the banality of the entertainment. the magic makes the tragedy bearable. in his "a pervert's guide to cinema," zizek, addresses the vitality, the fictions, fantasies, and fascinations the film provides the audience and through which their reality is confronted and symbolic systems are strengthened. cinema ensures that the shit is flushed down the toilet with hygienic motivation. this is what zizek describes when analyzing the basis of the shower scene in the bates' motel and the scene in "the conversation," in which when gene hackman inspects a toilet. with the rise of the shit there is disgust which must be suppressed. when the film ends and the screen disappears behind the curtain, the pathos softens into the profanity of everyday existence. with my partner hartwig vens i wrote a longer text about this topic which will be included in the booklet of this album.

Can you tell us a little about your Ghetto Ambient and Autokontrast projects? They're both related to your visual art projects, right?

ghetto ambient is an audio-visual project of mine which explores the terminology of "non-places". It is raising questions about how home and exile, identity and urban spaces can be understood and defined today and how those values are created and maintained. I arrange, processed and dismantle my photos taken at various geographic locations into fragments and combine/adjust them to my compositions of an abstract but somehow narrative movie, which is divided into numerous chapters and which is moving slowly from one geographic location to another. autokontrast is my photographic archive.

What's something that you know now (both about music and life in general) that you wish somebody had told you ten years ago?

i think remembering & reviewing what happened in your life so far is a necessary process of self-reflection but i don't want to look back in wistfulness. the same as i never seriously addressed the question to myself how would my life look like, if my parents hadn't left Poland in 1981. i don't regard this hypothetical question as constructive (or enlightening).

What's something that music has taught you about life? And what is something that life has taught you about music?

"music is the healing force of the universe" albert ayler


  1. great mix, and great interview. Thanks.

  2. Yes, great interview!!

    Just listened to the mix too, and it's some "experience" that's for sure! Nothing like what I was expecting, but I enjoyed it a lot. I am eager to listen to it again soon.

  3. A very thoughtful artist indeed.

    Thank you for posting an excellent interview.

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