Release number 099 on Joachim Nordwall’s iDEAL records (one of the most interesting label in the field of noise, improvisation, minimal techno and electro-acoustics with many important names of those scenes in its catalogue) bears the signature of multi-disciplinary artist Russell Haswell. Haswell is a hyperactive and talented audio researcher whose impressive knowledge and experience in this field have inspired plenty of notorious figures of contemporary music such as Aphex Twin, Autechre, Mika Vainio, Popul Vuh, Masami Akita, Florian Hecker, Robert Hood, Zbigniew Karkowski, Gescom, Yasunao Tone and many others. “Scandinavian Parts” is the latest release belonging to the series “Live Salvage” (the first release “Live Salvage 1997 -> 2000” on Editions Mego dates back 2001). It is not just a simple live set but more like an audio documentary of Russell’s ferocious and ear-splitting noise set on the occasion of his support to Autechre’s 2010 tour. I highly recommend you listen to it.
Chain D.L.K.: Hi Russell… first of all, how are you and what’s up over there?
Russell Haswell: I’m OK… and very busy!
Chain D.L.K.: In 2002, your debut on Mego, “Live Salvage”, was awarded with Prix Ars Electronica Honorable Mention for Digital Music… would you pick other projects for the same award?
Russell Haswell: An honorable mention is a distinction given to an entry that is worthy of mention, but not really a prize.
Chain D.L.K.:You collaborated with a plenty of important names in the electronic scene… are there any “lesson” on aesthetics you remember from any of them?
Russell Haswell: Sure, I remember everything, but that would be telling!
Chain D.L.K.: Ideal recently released “Scandinavian Parts”… could you introduce it in your own words? They’ve been recorded while you were touring with Autechre, haven’t they?
Russell Haswell: SCANDINAVIAN PARTS is the 4th release in the LIVE SALVAGE series. It is a supplement to last years IN IT (IMMERSIVE LIVE SALVAGE) (eMego 115, ‘UHJ’ LP + ‘5.1’ DVD), which documented and archived, in surround, the live solo improvised electronic/noise sets I gave while on tour supporting AUTECHRE, in Europe 2010. The recordings were converted from 4 channel surround into 5.1. I had asked Tony Myatt from the University of York, Music Research Centre, about a 5.1 to UHJ encoder, which he kindly authored for me. This enabled the surround content to be stored on a traditional format such as a vinly LP. Nimbus Records encouraged the use of the UHJ logo. The LP was cut by Rashad Becker at D&M (Berlin) in the UHJ format [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ambisonic_UHJ_format ]. In addition the 5.1 material was encoded into DOLBY and DTS formats for the DVD, which included both companies Motion Logos (possibly a first for a ‘music’ DVD), but no other visual content! Unlike IN IT, SCANDINAVIAN PARTS features 4 performances in their entirety from Denmark, Norway and Sweden, rather than, a broad selection of individual tracks recorded in different venues and countries! Again the format for the CD release is (stereo compatible) UHJ which can be decoded into surround.
Chain D.L.K.: Which are the main technical problems for a performance like yours?
Russell Haswell: As long as the requested brand of PA is in the venue, and correctly installed, and the venue isn’t some kind of acoustic nightmare, then all should be good, and if it isn’t, you have to use what you’ve got, and play the space!
Chain D.L.K.: Is there any particular episode related to your Scandinavian tour you remember for some reason?
Russell Haswell: …for some reason I don’t remember any of it!
Chain D.L.K.: It’s funny to listen to audiences’ reaction, even if most of the people don’t understand Scandinavian languages… if someone helped you in translating some of their words, is there some funny comment related to your exhibition?
Russell Haswell: Yes, there are of course Scandinavian verbal dialogues present in the recordings, but there is also a lot of english language chatter and banter. Some people seem to have a problem with this audience noise! I don’t. It is in line with my continued interest in live albums, and bootleg live tapes that were popular in the ’80s in the UK. Audience members usually shout “fuck off” (see LIVE SALVAGE 1997 – 2000) or “where’s the beat?” (because the audio is improvised and free), or other things like that… actually “where’s the beat” isn’t from one of my records – although I’m sure its been shouted out at one of my gigs – it’s from the Farmers Manual live in Sheffield recording, when drunken and drugged hard rave mutants came into the Farmers gig by mistake, and became inquisitive about the 3 guys sitting in front of laptops making advanced complex sound!!! [http://www.discogs.com/Various-OR-MD-comp/release/161704 ]
Chain D.L.K.: What about your music researches?
Russell Haswell: …what about them? I’m not really interested in music! I’m more interested in Audio.
Chain D.L.K.: What do you think can be done in order to help the average listener understand sonic art better?
Russell Haswell: LISTEN HARDER – and they should find the time to read ‘Making Noise – From Babel to the Big Bang and Beyond’, by Hillel Schwartz (Zone Books) 2011.
visit Russell Hasswell on the web at: