TRACK BY TRACK -Valentin Stip
Nicolas Jaar’s musical associate Valentin Stip has a debut LP on the horizon on Jaar’s own Other People imprint. Sigh will be released on 17th February, ahead of that we caught up with the man himself and asked him to talk us through each track on the LP (which can be streamed in it’s entirety over at the Other People site). Over to Val to discuss the LP in his own words…
‘The whole album was created in Montreal over a period of a year and a half. To me, this album was envisioned as a mental journey into seldom explored realms of the human mind. The journey was mainly personal but I hope to have found a place where everyone can reflect. My ambition was to find that mental place where passion, sadness and ecstasy are undifferentiated. I therefore think it should be appreciated on headphones or on a proper soundsystem, in an almost meditative state…
The piece was originally called Tableau I-III. The first part created this dark and hollow soundscape, which ended in tension and darkness. Tableau II was born from this void, at the end of the Montreal winter. If Tableau I is a frozen sea, Tableau II represents the surface melting, warming up, and eventually evaporating. Its watery percussions color it slightly with touches of light, and invite the listener into a new mental place, from which the album is to be best appreciated.
The tick of time has started. Things are starting to happen. It is still very cold, probably even colder than it was before, but life starts to take form in the magma. This piece was, for me, a musical exploration of time. A ticking clock, this 60BPM hypnosis session seems to brighten for a moment until it stretches out into a beastly/machine-like gasp. It is like my coming to terms with time, creating strange images to slowly set it up in my mind.
I guess it is warming up a little bit. The water is flowing again and I think I can even discern insects in the buzzing of spring air.
This was the first track I made for the album. Just like Pendule was my way of coming to terms with time, this is more of a confrontation of meaning and language. Inspired by philosophical ideas that I was reading at the time, I tried to make a song with lyrics that would embody the paradoxical aspect of language as a tool for communication. Therefore everything I say is a lie…
In this one it is definitely warm outside. There is still a cold wind blowing down the street but a Tshirt should get you around no problem.
This was my first attempt at a proper studio song. It was the first time I physically recorded all the instruments in my song. It is more of a western than anything, but still stands as an enthusiastic walk from the now familiar shore into a more deserted area. One where the horizon extends over the sand, not over the sea.
Still in the desert, the night has set. One is able to catch glimpses of the day’s warmth, but everything has already faded away. In amazement, you look up, see the stars, and confess to being human. This track is as direct as possible; it was made in about 30 minutes.
While one can admit faults, living with them is often the hardest part, let alone dealing with them. Serenity is this track’s endpoint: to really come to terms with what one knows of oneself, and to accept it as is. In short, facing yourself within.
Regards sur l’Enfance (I et II)
This song is about childhood. It was the first song I recorded on my piano. Since it was the first time since starting to make electronic music that I was actually including the piano, the link to my childhood established itself quite naturally.
In the first part, it is the experience of childhood: fast-tracked, continuous and full of details which do not always make sense in the immediacy of their appearance, but which eventually find a place in the greater whole.
The second part is a simple confession regarding the first.
As the title says, this is a sigh that I let out in the end. It is some kind of fatalism, which comes to balance the childlike idealism that has flavored the rest of the album. It also comes as a release of the emotional tension that has been building in the previous tracks. The whole track was created around the piano chords.
Valentin Stip plays Autumn Street Studios on February 14th, for tickets and more information click here.
Also check his recent Ubermax podcast;