“Maybe Earth is not a spaceship but a galactic bird.”
Disposición Asoleada is the moniker of Brussels based (Ecuador born) banjo player David Jarrin. He recently released a beautiful single on Lexi Disques: the A-side is improvised raga, the B-side a sound collage.
I don’t know anything about you personally, so tell me a bit: are you from Ecuador and do you live in Brussels?
Yes, I come from the Republic of Ecuador, I was born in Quito and I am currently living in Brussels. I came to Belgium in 1996 and, somehow and rather unwillingly, I ended up living in that forsaken and wild country for a very long period. During my whole stay, I have been active in music in many ways, as a listener, journalist, radio broadcaster for Radio Campus for almost 15 years, DJ, tape label curator and as discretely as possible, a musician.
How did you end up in Brussels? Why Brussels?
I do not know why on Earth, circumstances chose Brussels for me… I really wanted to go to study literature to Guadalajara or Buenos Aires at that time. But as it happens with the majority of migrants, a machine chose for me. I won’t complain. Belgium is no worse than Atlantis.
You’ve been making music since 2003 but you made your debut this year, with a 7”. Why did it took 14 years to release 8 minutes of music?
Yes, I made my debut vinyl 7” this year. But I have released myself a little bit of music before as well. Check my bandcamp and blog www.hijodeflauta.wordpress.com for more. Of course, I would really love to confirm that I’ve only made 8 minutes of music very much like the famous taoist story. The one with Tchuang Tseu, who was a great philosopher, but also an exquisite artist, that was asked by the king to make a drawing of a crab. I took him ten years of silent meditation. Finally in one little instant, with a swift movement of his hand, he produced a beautiful, almost perfect, crab. But as you can easily fathom my music is far from that ideal.
Do you think the 7” format fits your music? Because your drony, dreamy improv soundscapes could fit a longer format too, like a 12” or tape, no?
Making a 7” was indeed a challenge and I tried to be convincing in that format. My live performances and my studio pieces are longer of course.
Are the 2 tracks on this 7” edits, fragments from longer jams?
One side is an improvisation with banjo and the other is part of my current interest with sound collage, birdsong, playing with small toys and whistles.
Can you tell me, in your own words, what am I listening to when I listen to “Sigses Saturninos”?
It’s a banjo improvisation with a pitch shifter and feedback. Otherwise, a Sigse is a very beautiful plant, it looks like a a long feather. When you walk on the mountains and you see the sigses flowing with the wind you can perfectly imagine that you are walking on the back of a yellow bird. So maybe, Earth is not a spaceship as Buckminster Fuller thought, but a galactic bird, a living creature.
Saturnine is, of course, related to Saturn, the planet of challenges and discipline. In the last couple of years or less, Saturn has been transiting my ascendant, making my life really difficult, teaching me to see through the mists of illusion. So, I decided to play this song in his honour, lifting a bouquet of sigses to his direction.
Your music sounds ritualistic, almost shamanic.
I don’t see it as shamanic. It would mean that I am, in a certain way, a shaman, and that’s a position of authority that I could never pretend to have. On the other hand, for me making music is very much linked to an exercise of a ritual of meditation. My friends dedicated to zen would swiftly correct me, and say that it is not the case. But I have not been able to find another definition to my practice.
Why do you use a banjo? Why do you amplify your banjo? Why a six string banjo, instead of a four string?
I don’t have answers to these questions. However, I do realize that every time I ask a “why” question, this tends to paralyze my activities. I prefer the spontaneity of the “what if.” The answer to that question launches a process and you may start building something around that.
Anyway, I want to break a burning spear for the six string banjo. It is almost a bastard instrument, with very little tradition. It gives you a lot of freedom because you can create your own personal realm around it. I am a clumsy player, therefore in my case, mistakes are part of the ornamentation. An instrument without a big history makes your blunders interesting.
The way you play the banjo reminds me of Paul Labrecque and Hellvete.
I love Head of Wantastiquet, and Paul is such a beautiful person. I think the whole scene he is part of (Tom Carter, Sunburned Hand of the Man, Fursaxa, Pelt, Paul Metzger etc) could count as an influence. They played the role of punk in my music, that “You can do it too, go ahead!” ingredient.
I don’t know the work of Hellvete very well, but recently I listened to Brahmen Raag, the project of David Edren and Glen Steenkiste, and it was a blast. You feel ashamed of using the word beautiful because it’s just not enough.
Photo by Laurent Orseau
- Joeri Bruyninckx
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