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Jung an Tagen

“I get bored of my own intents”

‘Agent Im Object’ is the second album for Editions Mego by Vienna based electronic musician Jung an Tagen. It’s a serialistic record based on polyrhytms.

My first question is about the titles of the tracks. Looking at the time indication at the beginning of every title, I noticed that it’s one half of a conversation, right? So what kind of conversation is this? What is it about? Is it a real conversation, or a fictional one?

Because of the serialistic nature of the record I wanted to find a way to  bring this theme also into the titles. Staring at chat it struck me that the answer is right in front of me! So I constructed this micro narrative of maybe a person and maybe a bot based on the kryptos riddle.

What do you mean by ‘serialistic’? 

The basis of all tracks is a polyrhythmic sequence based on a few notes. I spent a lot of time just collecting notes and listing to what they do. Than they generate a pattern. This pattern than dictates a lot the nature of the tracks, what elements I will add or what position the track will have on the album.

Why do like to work with polyrhytms? 

Because I get very soon bored of my own intents. I really like to work with melody, harmony and rhythm in contrast to noise, disharmony and chaotic methods but when I would compose a melody just like that I would hate it after 5 minutes.

I guess with every record, you take elements from your previous work (otherwise it would not be ‘your music’) and you introduce new elements (otherwise there would be no point in making new music). So what would be the ‘old’ and what would be the ‘new’ elements on ‘Agent Im Object’? 

The last album was very scattered and cut up. I wanted to formulate a few different things and also feature a couple of artists so this time I wanted to be more coherent, and focus more on rhythm, plus I used a kickdrum again.

The press text called your way of working ‘analytical’ and your music ‘sketches’. 

Well, I did not write this text, I guess it has to do with how this sequences appear to you when you hear them the first time. Because they are polyrhythmic they don’t feel composed in a normal manner. I guess the term ‘analytical’ really does fit to my process but I can very much see that someone would also think that they are sketch-like.

Isn’t that a contradiction? Doesn’t ‘analytical’ mean that what you do is very specific? And ‘sketches’ that it’s more nonchalant?

I don’t think this is a contradiction, no.

In a way your sound palette is rather limited, and I mean that as something positive. Is that a specific choice, to work like this?  

I would actually not say it that way. It’s interesting though, sometimes people come up saying exactly that, and than others saying the exact opposite. I like on on hand sounds that have a very heavy impact on your body. And very clear sine-wave sounds do that the best. On the other hand there are very noisy parts that have technically a lot of frequencies. It is true that all of the sounds are generated therefore don’t sound natural. 

There are two 3 seconds tracks on the album. Why is that? 

I always really liked the ‘exploding note’ thought of Captain Beefheart: “Each note has no relationship to the note before or after it, like bombs bursting in air”. They are isolated entities.

During your concert in Brussels, I stood next to a speaker. Because I stood so close to the speaker, I could see that there was a red light that was constantly on and off again. I don’t know much about the technical side of music, but I do know that the red light means that your music was either too loud or too sharp or too distorted. In a way, this red light was a good visualization of your music. It showed that you’re constantly on the edge of the acceptable, constantly trying how far you can push it. 

I was reading an interview with a Dutch short story writer, who said the thrill of writing is ‘seeing how far you can push things, without losing your audience’. Does that sound recognizable to you? Is that what you’re trying to do with your music too? 

Not anymore. A big part of counterculture generally is to blow up conventions. And that’s great. But after a while you spend way too much time thinking about the conventions instead of what you can actually do with your art. It’s for sure true that what I am interested in (especially live) is very extreme to some people and I am very happy if I can take the hand of some and guide them through, but I guess you have to be a bit far out after all to truly enjoy Peter Kubelka’s ‘Arnulf Rainer’ or something like that.

Loudness in music is tricky. If you are very sensitive to loud frequencies you will hardly end up listening to what I do anyway. I have no interested in hurting you by volume but I definitely want to give you a heavy psychedelic and physical ride. If you like that, than then you want to be pushed, as far as possible. I guess the difference is that I am not interested in doing something that you don’t like. Not anymore.

With the previous record, you said you turned outwards. Do you have the impression that with this record, you turned inwards again? 

No, further out.

There’s also a video that comes with this record. The explanation of the video says ‘the video visualizes particle explosion data from CERN - the European Organization for Nuclear Research’. 

It is a collaboration with 2 programmers: one used original particle explosion data from CERN and visualised it, and the other one broke it down again. I made the montage and amplified certain effects.

- Joeri Bruyninckx
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