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Hummingbird: Looking beyond Our Fearful Symmetry

img  Tobias Fischer

„Our Fearful Symmetry“ embeds elements from the realms of Sound Art into the Modern Classical genre. How did the idea come up?
It evolved from existing work and sketches of sound and field recordings that I'd collated over the course of this year and also the approach from Fluid Audio for a possible release. Working within guidelines for this project was something I didn't want to be constrained by. Ultimately the sound encompasses the "modern classical" sound but there's enough digression on the album to single it out and subsequently spread it over sub-genres. I set out planning this album by making adjustments for a totally different situation from the usual musical environment I work in with a variation of granular, texture and live instrumentation - the end result is a combination of the above. There wasn't a real emphasis on the arrangements but there was a focus to create sound, depth and consciousness with instrumentation.

What's your perspective on the recent surge in Modern Classical releases in general?

I'm not a believer in "branding" and if something can be achieved outside the usual confines and still have an impact, albeit positive then it must say something about the product. In relation to the recent surge in the "modern classical" style of release it would appear as in every genre of every category of music there's been an abundance of music being created by people in general, not just "modern classical". There's a lot of able musicians out there producing this style which is understandable because technology progresses and makes it even more accessible to produce live sound with synthetic sound - unfortunately a lot of music gets left unnoticed and absorbed into an empty space.

How did you approach the album in practise?

I approached it from all angles, working out which ideas worked best was part of the process. A typical example would be on the song "The Little Green Box" where the melody was recorded live and layered several times to create the effect of simultaneous instruments being played together. Once the basic elements were present in the melodic layer, sounds were then created around that detail. It didn't work in that way for every song, sometimes the opposite approach would be taken where the stripped-down piece would evolve from field recordings and static elements.
The instrumental pieces were recorded using mics and pickups and the signals were rendered and processed using a sequencing software. Some parts were played live, some recorded and processed as looped pieces to create a circular feeling of sound. Almost all the texture and layered parts have been rendered, resampled, processed and arranged using an electronic form to bring about the "modern" elements on the album.

Fore- and background seem very closely connected to the point of being impossible to separate. Was this a conscious decision?
I wanted to bring about an obscurity of sound on the album. When listening in-depth there's fragments of detail inside the more obvious sounds, maybe subconsciously I wanted it to be equivocal, this is what it appears to have turned into. I prefer working with a dense, textured sound, I find more inspiration from the wide-open, immersive spaces in music rather than trying to find movement from a transparent, one-sided sound.

Individual tracks are mostly short and sweet and the album as a whole really connects – something a lot of comparable releases seem to be lacking. How did you balance and shape the work into a coherent, fluent journey?
Each song was created with a plan for it to appear on the album and each composition was made with continuity with a different theme for this reason. The track-lengths weren't thought out as they evolved, the work just developed into what you hear on the album. The balance needed to be fluent but also recognised and separated by individual sound and feeling. There are quieter moments and slightly louder pieces on the album that are more foreboding than others. I guess this is what makes it all the more coherent.

I'm assuming the title is a direct reference to Blake. What's the connection?
There's no connection to Blake, the title is based on people's fear and their symmetrical opinions which are sometimes viewed as perfection and/or faultlessness. People base their judgement on these things and not what's within the innermost of the person. Quite shallow and concerning, but that's people for you!

Fluid Audio have already expressed their desire for more material by Hummingbird. Are you already planning a follow-up?
I'd like very much to work on more Hummingbird compositions for Fluid Audio, there are other projects lined up for other people and labels which may take priority but this is a distinct possibility in the very near future, yes indeed.

Homepage: Fluid Audio Records

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