The Zurich-born artist comes from a background of contemporary dance and composition, and on Infolding, his new 5-track album of apocalyptic sound experiments, he chooses to move further away from any club affiliations he’s ever been attached to. Refining his sound, Gil has created a record that is “reflective, probing, and supple; its arrangements a development of the musical language explored in his previous release”.
With Infolding officially out today, we caught up with Gil to learn more about the EP, asking him to break down the record track by track and shed light on inspirations, realisations, thought processes and techniques. Check his thoughts below.
1. Swallow Ash
This was the second track I finished in the process of making ‘Infolding’, but I wrote it specifically to be the opener. It contains various concrete sounds and instruments that are reappearing throughout the rest of the EP, but mainly I think of it as a sort of condensation and varied mirroring of the whole thing. I was thinking about musical narration a lot while writing the record. About how structure of a moment or a track relates to an overall structure, about how a sound or mood can feel and change depending on what came before and what one expects after, creating a loose narrative thread that is hopefully shaped and reshaped by the listener.
2. The Place of Falling People
I almost always think of titles only after finishing a track, the music comes first and is wordless. But I like how this title relates to the feeling I wanted to create with this track in particular. Its soundscape is very lulling and engulfing with one big unidirectional development from beginning to end. I perceive the mood to be ambiguous, but it keeps growing and intensifying continuously, unlike any of the other tracks. A slow morph rather than jumps and corners.
3. Compact Renewal
For this I sampled a recording of an improvisation I did with the last band I played in, before I started to make electronic music. It felt good to reuse that material in a way that is completely different to how I used to approach making music with a band, incorporating a perspective on change and growth and movement. Since I didn’t have stems but just a master it was also very limiting in a positive way. I like working with defined material and figuring out what to do with it. And since it’s sampled from a live performance, there’s an organic but chaotic quality to it that I was intrigued by.
I knew I wanted to finish the EP with something very intense and loud but felt a need for a resting and calming moment before the finish and after the percussive drivenness of ‘Compact Renewal’. That’s how I came up with ‘dustgreen’. It’s somewhat a precursor to ‘Thirty Birds’ in that both tracks are based on the same main melody. I like having that connectedness of material between distinctly different tracks. Hopefully it creates a cohesion that isn’t based on similarity.
With ‘dustgreen’ I also wanted to give proper space to harmony and calmness, to have a moment that is foregrounding the beautiful and hopeful that I think are integral emotions to the other, often harsh and loud tracks as well.
5. Thirty Birds
I used a lot of samples from acoustic orchestral instruments on this one. Mostly in a way that is rather far removed from the original sound. I was looking for an ambiguous sound that is familiar and warm but also strange and surprising, which as a theme fits the whole EP in my opinion.
Most of all I perceive this track as a very visceral narrative. It goes through different spaces and plays with tension and expectation. Like with ‘Swallow Ash’ this relates to the overall narrative structure of ‘Infolding’ – narrative structure is a way for me to convey emotional storytelling. Because of this too I didn’t finish the record on one clear note but endeavoured to communicate a grand ambiguity. Something that felt big and indulging but also subdued and not quite satisfying. A highly dramatic understatement.
Infolding is out now on Danse Noire.
Buy it here.
Featured Image: Ellie L. Brown