(une version française de cette entrevue ici)

Line Katcho works in the fields of acousmatic music, audio visual work and film music. Her primary concerns involve using sound as kinetic matter, representing movement, forces and gestures. Her need for precision is complemented by an experimental approach and a strong interest in perceptual play. She is the artistic director of Soundwich concerts, which aim at bringing together emerging artists from the electroacoustic music scene of Montreal. Her work has been presented in festivals worldwide such as in Chile, Portugal, Ireland and England. She was attributed the first prize of the 2014 contest JTTP (Jeux de Temps/Times Play) and is currently pursuing her studies at the Conservatoire de musique de Montreal in electroacoustic composition.

 

 

What brought you to composing electroacoustic music?

It’s the freedom it allows me to make use of. At that time in my life, I had a great desire for novelty and being a curious and investigative mind, the experimental side of it stimulated and seduced me as well. To be able to compose with my own sounds and to explore new musical languages seemed to me like an opening towards a new way of listening and thus a new way of thinking music. The direct contact with sound matter, meaning being able to hear the results as I’m working without having to resort to an abstract code to translate my musical ideas also influenced me a lot into directing myself towards electroacoustic.

Why did you title your album “Pulsions”?

Because it refers to my attitude as I was composing the pieces of the album. I try to respond to my inner impulses, to resolve inner tensions, while making sure to give attention to the intellectual, emotional and instinctive reactions I can experience while listening to what I’m composing. The term also refers to the music itself.

What motivates your musical writing? What do you think about when you compose? Do you follow a thread when making music?

In a recurrent manner, gesture, movement and thus driven forces and energy flows underlying are the dominant aspects of my music. The temporal organization is also one of my main concerns. But I don’t start composing with a detailed concept in mind; there’s a general idea, which can reside in a natural model, a method of writing or even a type of sound, however it’s really important for me not to prioritize the concept over the musical result. I don’t want to force the music to answer to an idea because most of the time, it’s what I hadn’t planned, what comes spontaneously that amazes me the most. What I search for are those eureka moments, following experimentation. So ultimately, it’s within action that it all takes form.

Are there other artists or genres of music that influence your work?

First there is the middle-eastern music of the beginning and middle of the 20th century; it’s the first music I got in contact with. Its quick and complex rhythms, mawwal (vocal genre), and maqam system (modes) are the elements I retain. Then, comes instrumental formal music, more specifically the work of Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt, Debussy, Bartok, but there are so many more. I was trained in classical piano for more than ten years; it influences my work on a polyphonic and structural level. And finally, it is drum & bass that has captivated my attention for the past 15 years, more specifically neuro-funk, for its articulated rhythms and fast tempo, it’s rigorous structure and its electronic timbres.

As for electroacoustic here are a few artists that influenced my work: Ake Parmerud, David Berezan, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Manuella Blackburn, Taylor Deupree, Richard Chartier, Alva Noto.

I saw an audio-visual piece, which you presented at last year’s Akousma festival (Shapeshifter). The music followed a steady beat, which is less common in your electroacoustic pieces we’re used to hearing. Do you think that audio-visual works calls for a different type of music?

Yes I do. The use of two mediums calls for restraint. An overload of information could become alienating for the listener and the transmitted message could get lost. That being said, I don’t believe that it necessarily calls for a steady beat; that was rather my way of complementing the geometric aspect of the visual. But I definitely had a concern to keep the music simple and familiar.

Is the audio-visual form one you count on developing more and more?

Yes, definitely. It’s an art form that interests me a lot.

Are there other forms of art or music you plan on developing?

Yes, I plan on experimenting more and more with live electroacoustic performance. I also plan on exploring with different genres of mainstream electronic music.

What are your upcoming projects?

I’m presently working on an audio-visual piece, which will be presented at the Festival de video-musique de Montreal, in April. I will also show a mixed piece for fixed part, real-time processing and siren organ (invented instrument by Jean-François Laporte), at the Totem Électrique concert in June. I am preparing a live electroacoustic performance for a Kohlenstoff concert, which will be presented at the Suoni per il popolo 2015 edition, in June as well. Also, this summer I’m planning on working in collaboration on an electronic music project and on an audio-visual work. I am also still pursuing my studies in electroacoustic composition at the Supérieur II level, which will end in the spring 2016.

 

Kr – What brought you to composing experimental music and what draws you to it?

-It arose in a natural way. I used to study in the conservatory A. Ginastera and played rock music, the experimental part complemented that. I met a great musician called Jorge Sad in the conservatory who was a teacher of composition with contemporary technics there. He exerted a big influence and drove me. A couple of years ago I felt the necessity of homaging an idol of mine, an Argentinean musician called Luis Alberto Spinetta. Then I listened a song which I didn’t hear for along time (“Vete de mí cuervo negro”) and I discovered a couple of noises in the song, after the last chord. I don’t know how that was made, maybe a guitar played in a not traditional way or a cymbal rubbed. I took that noise and used it as a sample to the performance of free improvisation that we did with the pianist Ana Foutel who also plays in the album.

I think there is an answer to your question there, I think of continuity and a break that are integreted in a gesture.

Kr – You compose instrumental, electroacoustic and mixed music. How does one genre influence the other?

-This is a very important matter for me, since I’ve had a strong traditional formation in composition (conterpoint, instrumentation, mophology, etc), I think, from long time ago the fundamental part of my work has to do with the posibility of concive sound through listening signed by total absolutely different elements: Improvisation, electronic processes, extended technics. Instrumental writting, is clearly concived from working with electronics, this makes my thing, for instance the writting of an instrumental transformation in function of the concept of filtering in electronics. In conclution I thing that differential experience in each field builds specific knowledge and from that speciality this amount knowledge re set and acquire new meanings.

Kr – Where do you get your inspiration when composing?

-The sounding material itself is a great inspiration. I don’t take it as shuttering in sense, closed for interpretation (this is perhaps my major criticism to the traditional conception). I like to thing the listening from what I’d call “the parameters not formulated yet”. It is not a invention of mine though, it would be something like a transverse conception of the musical knowledge. The spectralism broght up the posibility of thinking the armony as of the tone. I find two parameters there that we’d traditionally think as separate and reduced concepts, but there is place for a third concept, i.e., a chord thought as a proyection in the armonic spectrum. Thus we could set forth the musical material toward an infinity of transverse relations… Another issue is that I think of music as a social fact, I mean that the politics is another very strong influence. A chord is also a very complex semantic information as well as a political fact.

Kr – It seems to me that your music is very articulated and structured; what is it about this type of writing that interests you?

-I never start from structures previously conceived, but on the contrary, the musical material structures itself the syntax progresively. That is why I consider the listening part as a very important step to the composition process, let’s say that it is a fundamental step. A typical situation for me is ‘backward composition’, I seldom start for the beginning of the piece, but I understand how the beginning must be nearly at the end of the work.

Kr – At the same time, you also improvise as a performer, how does this influence the way you compose?

-The composition and improvitation influence to each other as if they were two faces of the same coin. I’ve been making up this two fields lately. I am interested on producing material from the improvisation and then use them in pieces, by including them to more articulated structures, whether by writing a loud resultant or by handling this material. From each I try to rescue something to apply in the other and viceversa: I can afford to reflection in the composition and it arises as a gesture all work of reflection made in the improvisation through the analysis.

Kr – Can you speak a little bit about your upcoming release? What can we expect to hear on the album?

-In “Conflictos…” there are electroacustic and fixed pieces and free improvisation for piano and electronics. What I expect has to do with my own especulations about the listening, I mean with a sort of listener that one images and therefore it is oneself. By the other hand, further the latter I would feel very happy if a knew that somebody had done any kind of experience with this album, I mean it’d be very good that that listener -beyond my regarded speculations- could appropriate of something that is there through his own experience. The performing musicians are very impressive: Daniela Campisi, Ricardo Cuadros Pradilla y Ana Foutel. They have a very personal musical sense and contribute with something that is unique.