“Taking in the horror and the beauty of this world and reacting to it”
Jan Anderzén talks about his work as ‘a minuscule part of this enormous hive mind project that strives towards more harmonious existence in the mama matrix most mysterious’, his Kevätjuhla LP on Alter being the latest part of this.
I like the cover of the record. I remember seeing this image for the first time at the HECTOLITER gallery in Brussels in 2015.
To get to my studio, I walk over Pyynikinharju, the highest esker in the world. One day on my way to work I saw some orange peels lying on the shiny white spring time snow. Maybe the light was perfect and my headspace just right because the sight felt so powerful. My head filled with dreams of food and energy travelling around the world creating intricate networks.
I felt there was a connection to the show that I was working on and the next day I walked off the path and had a little photo shoot. I arranged some sticks, orange peels and spray serpentine into a graphic score. I had bought the spray serpentine at a May Day carnival a long time ago and I was excited to finally find some proper use for it before it expired. I sent the image to an online company and asked them to turn it into a photo blanket. Who knows where in the world they printed it. Blankets and quilts are surfaces of nap time fantasy and daydream hypnagogia.
The piece is called ‘Import Blues’. I’ve shown it in couple of occasions with some local sticks attached to it with wool yarn. The music on the record is part of a series I call Kevätjuhla, the spring celebration. Of all the visual elements in the series, ‘Import Blues’ felt like the most suitable for the record cover. Some might argue that it’s almost too obvious and I’d be alright with that.
When the record finally came out, more than two years after the photo was taken, I took a copy of it to the location of the original photo shoot. It was same time of the year cycle and the snow situation was very similar. I posted a photo on Instagram and gave out the coordinates. Someone went to pick it up in no time.
Kevätjuhla was at first the soundtrack to an installation. Why do you want to present music in an LP format?
Creative destruction is a concept in economics but also easily relatable to people who make art. Kevätjuhla begun as a reflection on themes connected to that. Cycles and repetition seem to be present in most of my work and this time with an emphasis on the poetry of seasons. The music was coming through speakers but unfortunately I couldn’t really make it sound right in the gallery space. Also I feel horrible that I’m forcing a gallery worker to listen to a piece of my music on repeat for three weeks! I think I will keep incorporating sound and music to my exhibitions in the future too but most likely it will be presented via headphones. I never get tired of putting headphones on at a gallery or museum and getting reminded of how powerful sound is in sculpting our experience of the surroundings.
Do you think that, by changing the context, you change the way people listen to this music?
Yes, I think it will be a totally different experience to hear the music in the gallery and then here it in private setting. For instance, in the gallery the album was a loop without any indication of a beginning and end. As an album the music manifest as a linear timeline.
As part of the exhibition I organized three record listening matinees. I invited 3 duos of music lovers to play a selection of tracks and talk about them with people who showed up. I would like to encourage people to get together more just to listen to records together.
I remember seeing you live for the first at Scheldapen, Antwerp in 2004.
Oh wow, you were at that show? That was on my first tour outside Finland and also the first time I was performing solo.
How do you think you and your music changed over the years? Are you less an introvert now, maybe?
The tools I had at the time were pretty different from what I’m using now. For example I didn’t have an access to samplers yet. For my first ever solo shows I ended up preparing ten or so tapes that contained singular slightly repetitive musical environments. All these tapes were beamed from the same harmonic universe. I asked people from the audience to select two tapes, the tapes were all hand painted, and I would then play them at the same time. I would react to this collision of sounds by improvising with a keyboard and my voice. I can’t imagine singing in front of an audience anymore and I haven’t had that semi-interactive chance play elements either. So actually I guess in the beginning my live show was less introverted than what it is now.
That was more than 10 years ago and a lot of things have changed in the world and in my personal life. Most of the cells in my body have been replaced. I never stop studying and looking for new approaches to work. It’s crazy how little I know!
Is your music more focused these days?
I know better how to make certain things in my music more effective. I think it could be called focus. But I sincerely believe that I will make my most awesome work after I turn 50. If there’s still human life on this planet then.
For a long time, you played with music equipment that was kinda like toys, but what you make now sounds more sophisticated. Does a change of gear influences the way you compose?
In a way a lot of my music is created in a conversations with the development of technologies. I suppose this is true to most people working with recorded sound. The computer environment is where most of my music takes it shape nowadays but I always incorporate hardware too, acoustic sound sources, synths, tape recorders and so on. At this point of my work I don’t really have a need to build my own instruments. I’m more inspired to browse free software, presets and whatever is already out there.
Do you see your music as collage music?
Yes, my music stems from the collage art traditions.
Is what you do: cutting and pasting until you discover some kind of narrative, some kind of intern logic?
Yes, that’s a pretty accurate description of my process! Sometimes the search is more adventurous and in some rare cases I’m just executing some pre-imagined concept. I’m trying to bring together elements, vibes and influences that wouldn’t normally go together and somehow find a way to make it work. If I’m lucky and if it clicks I’ll stumble upon strange fields of energy and beauty.
© Henri Manninen
The music you make, your visual work, even the way you dress, it all fits together: a motive on a sweater you wear could be a motive that returns in a mozaik. Is this a logical thing for you, that the way you live and the art you make are one and the same?
Making art is what I do. Taking in the horror and the beauty of this world, reacting to it. I believe that the power of art is in the butterfly effects. My work is a minuscule part of this enormous hive mind project that strives towards more harmonious existence in the mama matrix most mysterious. Occasionally that project effects my clothing as well.
- Joeri Bruyninckx
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