Interview with D’Incise

by John McEnroe

Over a span of six months D’Incise released ‘The field remains while the recorder has vanished’, ‘Praire’ and ‘Are fishes nihilist?’, works that had for me a very special importance as I found there some sort of vindication of extensive sound processing and detailed montage in sound composition in a moment when contemplative documental releases with very little ‘post-production’ work seems to be more of a pertinent choice.

When I decided to interview D’Incise -to which he kindly agreed- I wanted to approach the interview on a different way so I listened to the releases and wrote a series of words that came to my mind during the process. The idea is that D’Incise in a free-association exercise -in no less than three words and no more than twelve*- writes whatever comes to his mind when he reads each one of them:

Q. Reel
A. Rather that ” musique pour bande” I’d think of ” musique pour haut-parleur”. (I never use tape machines, I’m fully of the digital generation).

Q. Wind
A. Not a sound in itself but one of the more beautiful natural generator of sounds. And the worst situation to record – I love/hate it.

Q. Noisy
A. The “y” makes it, passing from the rough elements of noise to tiny detailed ones, the perhaps shy but elegant declination of any sound.

Q. Movement
A. Why ? Who generate it ? Human ? Nature ? How controled or chaotic ? Go with or against ? Always I wonder what degree of movement I should introduced into my music.

Q. Creaking
A. It’s a well mastered gesture – facinating, just over the silent inactivity, but far under the violence of the beating, a whole area of possibilities when approched with great care.

Q. Insects
A. They have this “micro” aspect, small but still at the limit of what we can yet percieve, as symbolicly as concretley they are a good inspiration for my music.

Q. Deafness
A. Self-deafness? Does someone had done a theary about it ? One is always modifying his earing/perception levels. One can either mute most of the sounds or voluntary push the boundaries of listening… I guess it’s what sound artists try to propose…

Q. Bubbles
A. Small ones are fine but I don’t like big ones.

Q. Crispness
A. Sounds are like bread, it must crisp so you know it’s fresh.

Q. Time
A. Time and atmospheric pressure, it’s all about modulating these two parameters…

Q. Timing
A. Once you get rid of rythmical structure, the strategies for the timing of a music piece become multiple, one can think of natur or physic durations, or human self-perception (ask a few people to count one minute in their heads and you’ll see the huge variation of timing you’ll get). That’s an aspect I’m trying to introspect, I feel one get to easily influenceed by “common” timing, there is more to explore I think, it’s an open field…

Q. Boredom
A. I like that word and idea, in fact it’s so subjective and cultural.. so there is much to play with it.

Q. Anxiety
A. No, no, I’m a positive person, I just don’t like when one makes to much theatre about things.

Q. Textures
A. A texture is a sound without shape. It’s extrating and reaveling one specific aspect of a sound, its “color”. One can do the same process by taking only the shape aspect of mutiple sounds for example, that is a variation of the idea of focusing on reduced parameters of sounds.

Q. Foley
A. It brings me few things in mind;
– I’m so much focused on sounds generaly that I ofthen notice ” unreal” sound situations in films (to not say coarse ones) like helicopter shot in which you could ear not the engine sound but the slight bird wings passing by. And I wonder how poeple can not be shocked by such fake propositions. The force of the spectacle is here, the reality is not questioned, its representation is the reality, point. Scary.
– But even our little community of sound artists I sometime wonder if one do listen to sounds, or ear onyl what the sounds sould be from a commonly admited perspective… (In fact in some of my compositions I used modified recordings that sounded more real, more like something of the nature than the raw ones…)
– However I’m facinate by the process of recording sounds when it operates tricks on the perceptions, when you think you know the source because you rely on some supposeldy acquired references. Thinking about that is to explore what the sounds are made of, and why we perceive them in a certain way.
– (Ah this marvelous scene in Wim Wender’s “Lisbon Story”.)

Q. Glitches
A. I’d say I love them, but also I must admit generaly they are pretty well tamed, pretty well shaped as culturaly accepted.. one should look for new glitches…
(And in the other hand I like the mastered gesture, the precision, the feeling of the right element in the right place, even and perhaps specialy in complex chaotic-like structure.. one often fake disorder to trick the listener at then end.)

Q. Calm
A.Yes, it’s me. (So my music is).

Q. Expectation
A.That’s the big thing, we’re culturaly so build, consequently to play with expectations is a struggle and a reward.. it’s hard, very hard, I’m not sure I succed often, but it seems to me a great field of reflexions and actions…

Q. Machines
A. Not a perticulare facination nor a dogmatic path, but often I found human impulse imprisonned in its reflex, habits, cultural frame, etc., so the uses of other impulses, machines, math, nature, etc., can be some sort of detour to learn more about why we do certain gestures or reactions the way we do. It can allows us to look at ourself from a step aside.

Q. Dis-location
A. I found dangerous, and deeply erroneous, to have absolutes. Yes, let’s dis-locate everything the more we can.
(But also, to separe the location, locations of emission or locations of reception, multiplie the sources and perspectives).

Q. Artificial
A. If you think about the recorded sound as a representation, yes it’s artificial. But if you think about a sound generated by the vibrating cardboard of the loud-speaker, then what you hear is pure reality.

Q. Natural
A. Try to invert what I just wrote…

Q. Surreal
A. Try to mix both sentences and read them simultaneously, perhaps you’ll get some sur-something…

* PS from the D’Incise: ‘I obviously, and conscientiously didn’t respect the three-to-twelve words rule, I guess by reading me you can quite easly notice that I’m not very fond of rules.’

[D’Incise photos courtesy of Ponto Alternativo]

D’Incise website