Thank you for asking, and thanks too for inviting me to share. Consistency Nature had it’s beginnings, oh, 2009. Up until then I had been exposed to nothing but the Black Eyed Peas and at best Beethoven. I even remember telling people how indifferent I was to music entirely. I’m only 23 now so do the math. I was just a kid. My friend Thomas Baragona, who has his album “Stress Soudtrack” here in Sirona, shared a song by Eluvium for me entitled “Zerthis Was a Shivering Human Image.” He also turned me on to an incredible French duo “Natural Snow Buildings.” Their song “Ghost Pathways Towards Midgard” was also played for me. My heart cracked open in an instant and my love for sound filled my blood with sweet wine. I’ve been drunk ever since. The world became music. The air conditioner was a choir of imprisoned seraphim. Silence is filled with the music of the spheres. I began recording every single sound I heard like I was shopping for exotic spices. I would take them home and mix them together and get the stove fire going strong. My music feeds me.
Why the name Consistency Nature?
I can take no credit for the name. My father was a sound engineer all his life, and so like me these days often enjoys recording things. When he was around my age he and a friend lived in what could only have been an attic above an old theater. Some nights they would hear the screamed madness of a homeless man in the alley beside them, and one night they had the rather intrusive idea of lowering a microphone out of the window to pick up his shouts. The best part of the recording is the last five minutes, when the man began singing at the top of his voice the phrase “Consistency Nature, Option Word In!”. My music often explored concepts surrounding certain types of madness, the kinds I feel trace amounts of within myself. Hunger for beauty and numinosity run amok. It’s a melancholy meditation.
What are your principal influences from the most famous to the underground?
Beside the abovementioned Eluvium and Natural Snow Buildings, I would have to include my friend Daniel Wymark, known in the netlabel scene as “Ploof”. He was my first close and loyal collaborator, and he was the one who gave me the name Dishdawash, if anybody was curious. He helped me stick tenaciously to the craft by making me feel less alone in my passion. Mandie Jones, who encouraged us both a great deal and released some sounds under the name “Calypso Bizaar”.
Some more well-known musicians that touch me deeply include Tim Hecker, Current 93, Birchville Cat Motel, Gorecki and Lionel Marchetti. But really, it was my fellow netlabel musicians, Kai Nobuko is a man who needs no introduction here, and I hope the same goes for Rainbow Valley, Adam Crammond and Sean Derrick Cooper Marquardt. Ars Sonor is a stunning project too, and I wonder who among you knows Pollux?!
Since your beginning you released a very big part of your stuff in the netlabel scene. Why? How was your entry in this community?
My music is not tailored to large numbers of people. My early explorations were just immediate reflex responses to epiphanies. Some were brought on by certain books, mushrooms certainly had something to do with it, not to mention sex. That said, it was about the process of making the music. Some of my early creations were deleted, because they had done their magic on me and that was the point. Through an artist named Saito Koji I stumbled on netlabels, and quickly found proc, I listened through their discography and heard other music that sounded intensely personal, like little prayers or abandoned sigils.
It was only until later that I found that I had a passion for the concept of free music. At first, I was turned off by netlabels, the sheer number of albums, huge archives of all styles. I called it cultural over-production, think I swiped it from a Tim Hecker song title. After a while, after travelling and seeing horrible living situations, and through avid reading about the contemporary world, where to this day there are people held as abject slaves, bundled in the millions, I have come to own my little individual freedoms. If it isn’t forced labor or other such blatant human trafficking, it is artistic slavery too, thought slavery, slavery of the spirit. It’s so ubiquitous on earth now and has been for millennia that I feel any little shred of space to think freely and explore creativity freely must be seized immediately. All of us who aren’t shackled are downright lazy not to band together and celebrate the near-infinite potential of human creativity. What other option do we have but self-destruction? Take any opportunity to sing on a mountaintop. Never stop creating. Create even when you die. Create a corpse. As Henry Miller said “A billion men seeking peace cannot be enslaved”. Create freely while you can.
You're also an actor of the lobit aka low bitrate scene, what is your point of view about it?
Yes, it’s true. I drank the lo-bit kool-aid. There were just so many labels releasing incredibly sublime music. Some of my favorite albums are compressed this way. Being one to foray into ambient music with a long-form or minimal edge, lo-bit was that extra filter on the already ephemeral sound, to make it that much closer to disappearing into nothingness. It made the crunchy dark ambient dread that much more dreadful, and the glacial synth chords and wind recordings made that much more quiet, reserved. Rainbow Valley and Covolux is the gold standard of lo-bit ambience. Seek out their works.
You're not only talented with music and sound manipulation but also very open minded, working on writing, dancing, ...etc different form of art. How do you feel about all this mix of art you're doing? Is it something complementary for you?
Life and art are one and the same. The different approaches I take are like rivers meeting at the confluence of my body. Writing has been with me the longest, for as long as I could write. Music came in teenage years and dancing is new. I wanted to push the boundaries of my own music further, so decided to take about a year and a half break from ambience. I decided to listen. I travelled to Central America to listen to new sounds, to feel new textures, to see new colors, and to have new dreams. Hungry for more, I then took myself to India, Nepal and Bangladesh. I couldn’t only listen, so I started studying some of their approaches to vocal music practice, especially in the Baul tradition of Bengal. It did wonders for my voice and understanding of music, but I didn’t find it beautiful enough ultimately.
When I came home to the United States, disillusioned and exhausted, I discovered Butoh dance, which has become the center of my art. Butoh is often called the dance of darkness, because it often explores themes of nightmares, grief, unconsciousness or violence. It had it’s beginnings in Japan in the 1950s, and my teacher is a student of the co-founder Kazuo Ohno. Beneath the surface of our day-to-day consciousness is a restless ocean of different primordial instincts and energies. These are often nothing more than feelings in the body, but can also emerge as inexplicable happiness or despair. In order to act normal, we often ignore or repress these feelings. I conjecture that this is not healthy, and that full embodiment, acceptance and recognition of these tides in us ENRICHES life. When I dance, I ride the crests and troughs of these waves of ineffable experience, and with music I try to make a portrait of them, an artifact. Dance and music have stolen me away like a rough tide.
You're the operator of Effluvia Recordings, famous netlabel in the underground scene now. Could you speak a little about it? Your vision of Effluvia?
Famous! Haha. Effluvia is a beautiful sounding word, and it means a harsh and dangerous odor, a malevolent cloud of stench. On second thought, the name feels a bit rude to the many beautiful gems of personal expression that have found their way in the catalog. It was never supposed to get more than a dozen albums out to a small audience before sinking under it’s own flimsiness. But the submissions kept coming, and suddenly from countries like Egypt, Lebanon, Ukraine, Thailand, Germany, the Czech Republic, Sweden, France. I had often never heard music remotely like it. You all turned the effluvia into wonderful perfume. Thank you. Effluvia has ended, but my eyes are on the horizon for a begotten son, an heir to the Effluvial throne. Patience.
When you look at your back and all what you did this last years, how do you feel about it? And what about the future?
I’m deeply and utterly unsatisfied and will be until the original revelations that fueled Consistency Nature have reached their ripe fulfillment. CN is over. The adventures had in my time off to listen and sing and dance were too radically life-altering. A new piece is in the works, has been in all year. It may not see the light of day for some time, but it will still retain a certain essence of CN's madness. I'm drawing more inspiration from more classical approaches and instrumentation. Perhaps I've said too much.
Your last release is a sort of "restropective" of your diversified work, but not only a retrospective, it's way cooler than that. Could you explain to us that project? And what about the name, Silent Thalia?
After a long period of neglect towards my old work, I returned to them as though with new ears. Each song I revisited felt somehow related to all the others, so much so that none felt complete by themselves. Placing them all together in a common string worked to my ears like magnetism, and the collection got longer and longer, until it made sense to divide it into four chapters. Four of the tracks are collages of dozens of songs I’ve put out over the years, drawing from some pieces so obscure that for the longest time I had even forgotten them. The opening track “Erosion Without Friction” is especially dear to my heart, being a compendium of my favorite sounds. There are also places throughout the whole album where I recorded original vocals, very roughly and spontaneously, without warming up. These melodies were inspired closely by the time I spent with Lakshman Das Baul in Kerala.
With the help of dear friends Cesar Naves, Saren Meserkhani, Dylan Roth, Judy Jun, and David Choi, three videos have been made to accompany the album. I live far away from where I grew up, but through inspiration pulled from Butoh, I felt called to return to sites of past importance throughout my life, many of which happening in my own town of La Crescenta, around which the footage was gathered. The dances you see are my regression back into broken childhood, with it’s confusion and clumsiness. It was even a regression back into the shadows where departed ancestors long-since flew, imparting a sense of joy and sometimes terror.
I pulled the name “Silent Thalia” out of an interesting story which Joseph Campbell shares in his book “Creative Mythology”. Look for it.
Last words are yours!
Feel welcome to connect! We’re all woven into this earth together. Our arms are meant to stretch out and meet. Reach out your ganglionic feelers in search for kindred spirits. Newsungsails@gmail.com . Thank you for having me Arnaud, and thanks for the immeasurable love you have given to everybody in the free music community.