One of the records that really captured me last year was The Algorithm's 'Polymorphic Code'.
The Algorithm is really complex but has a very versatile approach, going beyond the emphasis on rhythm to achieve a wide scope of musical elements, creating a journey with melodic lines, multi-layered sonic passages and dramatic soundscapes. Here repetition creates a hypnotic effect, and the sounds that are being used come from a diverse set of inspirations and influences that go beyond the musical styles that The Algorithm relates to.
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Main man Remi Gallego is having a chat with me at Tech Fest. We talk about music, why we like it so much and how it relates to other non-musical things that enhance our sonic experience and become as inspirational as the musical influences that would drive someone to come up with a song, a melody or a rhythmic pattern.
He states that some people think electronic music is just dance music, limited to simple beats that create an appropriate party atmosphere, but The Algorithm proves that electronic music is so much more than that, and 'Polymorphic Code' is indeed a musical statement that delivers a wider scope and that serves as a key to what Remi likes and feels excited about.
Videogames? Of course! One of the things that I loved about 'Polymorphic Code' is that some moments reminded me of the aesthetics of the 8 bit and 16 bit (getting a bit geeky here) videogames that I grew up with, tones that are rough but expressive and simple but very rich in terms ambiance as well. We both complain that newer games have music that try to emulate contemporary epic film scores and that something is lost there in terms of identity.
While Remi's music proves that you don't need to recur to the sounds of Cinema in such a direct way in order to come up with something that could be part of a storyline or an interactive experience for a game. He champions the 'Metal Gear' series as his favorite franchise/saga and you can tell that he feels the same level of excitement while talking about both music and games. A lot of his interests are thrown into the concept of his band, so his music is effectively serving as a reflection of himself.
Seeing yourself reflected in your music is a sign of honesty and a sign of an artist that knows his craft, in my opinion. Even when talking about technical aspects the conversation is dominated by the excitement of personal ideas and the nature of the creative process, such as Remi's desire to have a different stage setup that would allow him to reach his equipment more practically during live shows, as if he was playing a more traditional instrument like drums, for example.
That reminded me of Fantomas (Mike Patton's crazy experimental metal outlet) and I ask him whether he's seen Mike's stage set up while playing live with that band. Remi likes Mike Patton as well and goes about how much he loves Mr Bungle, which makes perfect sense since they had quite an interest for videogame music, covering tracks from games such Metroid and Super Mario Bros.
So while my interest in Cinema brought the Fantomas reference (due to their record 'The Director's Cut'), Remi answered with the Mr Bungle reference (Who have the videogame connection), creating a bridge where we acknowledge the fact that music gets richer via associations with other forms of expression.
He reaffirms that the personal universe of an artist has so many things and that those things will be represented in the record/painting/movie/book/performance/sculpture/installation that the artist is producing. Everything is important, and if you're following your heart you can incorporate whatever you want into your art.
The interview is over and I turn the recording device off. Our PR friend approaches us in order to get Remi to the next interview, but Remi's manager asks for some more time and we keep talking for a while about music, art and all the other things that are exciting and interesting to each of us. Now I regret not recording the whole thing, but the chat increased my expectations about seeing the band live a couple of hours later and they didn't disappoint at all.
Mike Malyan (Monuments) does a great job on drums, enhancing the human aspect of the performance and showing not just a great sound but also a high level of technical ability. I'm watching Remi Gallego from the side of the stage. He turns knobs, plays sounds and pushes buttons moving up and down, feeling the music and giving all his passion.
The audience is really into the music, clapping and making a lot of noise. Remi is evidently moved by their response and without saying one word (there was no mic there) connects with the audience intimately, giving his all and showing a great deal of appreciation by raising his hands and bowing his head between songs.
He has a great commitment with his music and technology doesn't affect the human quality of the sound and performance. A computer/mixer/studio/sequencer is just another musical instrument after all.