Something to ponder upon for a restless soul like you.
 (Mystery Sea 2012)

This is an interview with Grisha Shakhnes (Mites) about this very interesting and beautiful release.

Q) Is there a specific premisse, subject or idea you tried to articulate through “Something to ponder upon for a restless soul like you”?
A)  No. For me, it’s just music. I don’t really care for concepts and such.

Q) On “Something to ponder…” what method did you use: did you capture the sounds specifically for this project?
A) No. I have an ever growing library of about 130-150 tapes and I choose from them. 

Q) How important is the process of listening in your work an in “Something to ponder..” in particular? / How you select the sounds you record? Is it a merely intuitive process or there is some sort of plan or preconceived idea?
A) It’s very important. I always have an idea of what I want in mind, but its always more about dynamics/structure. The sounds I am playing dictate my next choice during the piece. I wouldn’t call it intuitive, it’s not a gut feeling, I listen, I think and i choose accordingly.

Q) There is a very particular and beautiful crudeness quality to the sonorities in “Something to ponder upon for a restless soul like you”, are you aware of that? if so how you articulate this sonorities with your experience with the actual sounds when you recorded them?
A) I am very aware of this, naturally. Besides being a side effect of materials I use (cassettes), it’s a very important quality for me. A lot of field recordings based works i hear go for the nice and ambient, I think it’s a very small part of out surroundings. Maybe i just want to show that you don’t have to look very hard and far to find fascinating things. You just have to listen. Plus, I like to offer a certain challenge to the listener. 

Q) Seems like “Something to ponder..” is mostly based on unedited captures, using long fragments of recordings is merely a formal / aesthetic choice or it has to do with the nature of this particular work?
A) Well, yes and no. This is how I work. I do not stick fragments together during editing, I record live (and sometimes edit afterwards, cutting the unnecessary bits). With this release I tried to stay more or less within the framework Daniel wants for his label, so it’s quite static on the average, but i think it’s quite representative of what I usually do. 

Q) What is the importance of “Something to ponder..” in your process as an artist?
A) As for the release, and it’s importance for me, it felt more like a side step. I tried to do something very specific music wise. it was an interesting challenge, but I am not sure I would do it again. The next CD I recorded, “It’s something, but it’s not tomorrow”, is quite different. 

I would like to thank Grisha Shakhnes for this answers and his time and hope this interview offers us an insight to this very powerful work.

-Alan Smithee

Grisha Shakhnes discography
Mystery Sea wesbite