Abjective – Balance me LP – OUT NOW
Vadim Pantin (Вадим Пантин) aka Abjective (b. 1985 11 14) from Saint Petersburg (Russia) is one of the most interesting young composers. Ambient/IDM/Glitch/experimental electronic/modern classic music has reached the highest standards and is one of the best electronic music i’ve ever heard. I am proud to present my interview with Vadim Pantin which was conducted on 2016 10 31.
You worked with a plethora of artists over the years. What collaborations were/are the most interesting and important to You and why?
Speaking about collaborations, by today it is, without any doubt, the compilation of the British label Touched. All profits from its sales go to a cancer patient care center. I was once diagnosed with cancer. Treatment is a difficult process, and I think that the best way to support these people is for the famous musicians and artists to gather and to invest a small piece of their creativity in a noble purpose. The only things that matter are those helping you make a choice. Vibrations, affecting the decision.
A lot of famous and not-so-famous musicians participated in this compilation, all of them are incredibly talented. Among them are Future sound of London, Amon Tobin, Richard Devine, Autechre, Nills Frahm, Diamat, Lackluster, Proem, Fizzarum, Bibio, Arovane, Kid Koala, Ochre, Maps and Diagrams, B12, Abjective, Plaid and many, many others. During the last few years I’ve had an interesting collaboration experience with St.Petersburg Improvisers orchestra. It is similar to some orchestras in other countries, such as the Laptop Orchestra, whose every performance is absolutely unique. The orchestra is playing noise on different instruments: guitars, piano, grand piano, violins, trumpets, and so on… Every session is unique in its own way, it fells like chaos and yet it is true magic… The music built on nothing but a set of chaotic sounds, and then suddenly, everything dives into a torrent, a melody is born out of chaos, unusual, atonal, based on noise. Afterwards, everything is shattered to pieces again, and so it goes on and on.. So, it’s all about cyclicity, ouroboros, call it as you wish.
Can You tell me, in short the main ideas are behind Your music? Could You name Your favorite Your compositions / albums / collaborations? What about the new album?
I can tell for sure, that my music changes from one album to another. It is always based on a melody, regardless of sound recording methods. If a track is recorded with a modular synthesizer, a bowed guitar or an ukulele … the melody always comes first, it prevails over the rest. Another important thing about our music is immersion. When my brother and I were creating the Abjective project, I wanted the immersion to be complete, as if we were playing mantras on live instruments. And for that matter, our new album is much more accessible than the previous ones. “Balance me” is friendlier than our early releases, it continues the ideology of our milestone album Black ][ Trees (released in 2013). The immersion happens when the energy contained in music enters in resonance with the inner state of the listener. It can happen at any moment of listening, but it surely happens to everyone. For every listener, any track may become an entry point for immersion. And, after the immersion took place once, it makes you listen to the recording again and again, finding something new in it each time. That’s why every track on Balance me is different from another, being at the same time multilayered and complying with the ideology. I am stepping further and further into music with vocals, easier for perception, and yet not deprived of that sincere purity. A commercial product always ends up being dry and rather lifeless. In my opinion, good music is, first of all, a sincere music, not created for the sole purpose of making good profit. The goal of music is to change the conscious of people listening to it. You can think that I am naïve, but I believe that my music changes the world for the better. And I am very pleased to receive letters from my friends musicians, artists, and fans who, inspired by my music started to create something new. Black ][ Trees and Balance can be considered as the most significant of my releases. They demanded much work, arrangements, vocal recordings, writing lyrics, a lot of guitar re-recordings, string instruments, and so on.
My favorite tracks are: Balance me, Narayana, Self Discovery, Avenir, Heart of Paladin, Phantom Love, Arksis Novel, Black Øpal, Black ][ Trees, Fjorn. The new album, Balance me, is another trip inside one’s self. Another search for the raison d’être of my music, for self expression and for finding harmony with one’s self.
The sound is magic. You‘ve proved it. But, what ends, when there‘s no sound?
Today, music can have completely different forms of expressions, each of them characterized by its own esthetics. Improvisation, modular syntethizers, random generation (max/msp), programmable robots, and many other things. As a matter of fact, I could record a small album per day with the help of Eurorack or Max/msp, but having such means in disposal, one grows to appreciate emptiness and silence more. Every decision about creation or edition of a track becomes more considered. The best music comes from the absence of sound, and it is silence. In space, in vacuum, there is no sound.
What is and what is not a Sound Art?
Art is based on the realisation of an idea. For instance, composing music for a theatrical play, first of all, I would think how should the music affect the spectators, and how should it integrate actors’ movements. People often think that sound art is something unusual, like noise generation on Buchla 200e. Yes, it does look like a performance, but if a person doesn’t understand, why he is generating this noise, and he is experimenting with the device not really knowing how to use this piece of metal, how to bring to life and transform its sound, it is not art anymore. The idea and its realization turn this into art.
What do You think about relations between the old art and computer art? Are they compatible?
They are definetely compatible. Pop music is shifting closer to experimental sound, technological innovations, while notes and harmonies haven’t disappeared yet. You can buy a robot and program it, so it will accurately perform instrumental parts. But in order to integrate them and to go beyond your limits, you should stay free.
There is no need to call yourself musician or composer, if you graduated from a conservatory. Forget everything you learned there, just experiment for the sake of it, develop a crazy idea and try to realize it in an uncoventional way. I had a collaboration experience with the improvisers interpreting Candinsky’s paintings. Every painting was turned into a 30 minutes improvisation. The resulting recording is quite a symbiosis between old and new.
What do You think about thousands of neofolk/industrial/ambient/tribal/electroacoustic/avantguarde etc. bands/projects? Is it a kind of trend, o just a tendency forwards better music?
As for the tendency, I think that in future, it will lead to something big. For example, music will cease to exist in the form of recorded pieces. I believe that in some 100-200 years instead of having disks and sound systems at home, everyone will have several robots which will play for you whatever you would like to hear, performing slightly differently each time, improvising, surprising you. Improvisation starts to penetrate all levels of music, from recording to live performances.
The musicians don’t write down notes anymore, but simply create their compositions on the go, layering multiple instruments.
Our universe is a structured chaos. An ideal kind of music is the structured chaos. This is the concept I’ve been working on during the last few years. Music, where each sound has a certain frequency and is aligned in a certain mathematical sequence, involuntary gives the listener goose bumps and produces an imotional impact. I would see it as research, and would be glad, in future, to collaborate with the scientists studying the brain and the way music affects our minds. How will neurons behave when they listen to this? (Abjective – Diamagnetic Levitation)
What do You know about Lithuania? What Lithuanian and foreign musicians do You value most?
Unfortunately, I don’t know so many lithuanian musicians, and I actually believe that there are no borders in music. It doesn’t matter in which country you were born, what the language you speak and which color is your skin. Any political system is created only in order to use the population for its own purposes. While the task of the music is to develop the human mind. Among Lithuanian electronic musicians I only know Happyendless, Leon Somov feat. Jazzu and Driezhas, the latter being the most interesting of the three of them, in my opinion.
Would You play (or maybe You did) with a rock, industrial or punk rock band?
This already took place in the past. I once played metal-core, then there was a post-rock period. There were three members in my band. It was the time of childhood dreams, youthful maximalism, and hitting the wrong notes.
It was then that I gave my first stage performance feeling really uncomfortable. It was the beginning of the way, when everything was only starting to take shape. Today I am looking for the musicians who could support my live performances including touring. The material became very varied, and it would sound differently if there were 3 extra pairs of hands.
What inspires You most?
It may sound strange, but lately, it has been silence. Silence inspires me to create. I practically stopped listening to the new music, it has been a while since I discovered something new for myself. I am continuing my experiments and search for new instruments capable to affect the human subconscios.
What are You working on right now?
As I said before, it’s about the realization of the theory of structured chaos in music. Lately, it has been the force that drives me. By no means, it could be perceived as a music deprived of emotions. This music should be able to strike everyone, absolutely everyone. My friend, and a globally respected sound designer Joseph Fraioli (aka Datach’i), was very impressed after he listened to some of the compositions. And this, considering the fact that this person really knows what the “true” music is. He received many awards, including a Cannes bronze lion.
Today, my musical perception of the world is split into two concepts. One of them is being in a constant state of research, doing all sorts of experiments (not only music related), the idea of the structured chaos. How much time could this research take? I think it might last the whole life, dividing into stages with each album release. After the release, the research goes on, but in a somewhat different form. The second concept is about vocal music which could please any listener, being pure and sensual, consonant with the vibrations and feelings of the audience.
Thoughts and ideas – Vadim Pantin
Detailed translation – Natalia Korchagina
Compositions that are especially worth to listen to: