Purchase and sound samples here:http://cdbaby.com/cd/siformaldehyde2
The latest installment in our live, improvisational series is a work of three flowing drones by Seconds in
Formaldehyde. A decadent work of aural escapism recorded live at last year's Auerworld Festival 28 July 2007. This release is limited to 100 hand numbered copies and presented in chipboard boxes with genuine letter pressed text and images by Matt Borghi of The Hand Work Press.FEATURE INTERVIEW WITH SECONDS IN FORMALDEHYDE IN THE LATEST INSTALLMENT OF TOKAFIAt the beginning of 2007, it seemed the last thing the world needed was yet another guitar drone project. Now the year is nearing its end, we're happy Martin Fuhs of Seconds in Formaldehyde didn't care about that estimation. Admittedly, his first full-length releases on Umbra Records and Gears of Sand still owed a lot to his musical hero Aidan Baker: Minimal and looped melodic lines were slowly woven into dense aural carpets, which gradually started pulsating in a polyrhythmic and multiharmonic shimmer. But then came "Suddenly Silence burst my Ear", his third album, which proved to be a first breakthrough: Energetic and raw, yet detailed and refined, it took his music to a next level and offered fans of the genre a true alternative. As it turns out, Fuhs is a man who loves many different styles of music and is gradually integrating his plentiful influences into a personal handwriting. More and more, his artistic background is becoming clearer, as the compositions are turning more complex, harmonically confusing and creative in terms of sound. The pinacle of this development is "Construct", a one-track release on his newly founded Waterscape label, which suddenly offers comparisons to the earliest days of cosmic electronic music, and fuses the abstractions of the clicks n cuts scene with full, atmospheric textures. As 2008 draws nearer, we can't wait for the latest developments from the field of guitar drones.
Hi! How are you? Where are you?
I'm doing fine, thanks for asking. Currently I'm sitting behind my laptop in a small town near erfurt.
What’s on your schedule right now?
Quiet a lot to be honest. I have finished the first release for my new label waterscape records. Its by myself and its titled “construct”. Then i have to finish the second release on waterscape which is going to be by paul bradley. I'm doing this all by myself, so it means that its a whole lot of work, including artwork.Then i recorded new material for a few releases later this year or next year. One Release will be on Small Doses in America and its titled “Injection”. Its a 3”cd-r with quite a bit heavier stuff. There is also going to be a 3”cd-r on Phage Tapes in America. And I'm also planning a few more live gigs. One will be in ilmenau as a part of a big live jam session with other local artists from the electronica scene in November.
What or who was your biggest influence as an artist? Do you see yourself as part of a certain tradition or as part of a movement?
I would lie if i wouldn't mention the name aidan baker. He has a huge influence to my music to be honest. But I'm also influenced by artist's like bohren & der club of gore or tim hecker, even if you wouldn't compare my music to theirs. And I'm a big fan of fear falls burning and oren ambarchi. I don't see myself as a part of a tradition since I'm pretty young and most of these guys have been writing their music for years. But i also don't think that I'm part of a movement, because a movement in my opinion is something that will come to an end. And i see myself doing this music even in 10 years or so. (Hopefully)
What’s your view on the music scene at present? Is there a crisis?
I think we should look at two different scenes. The kind of “pop” scene and the “experimental” scene. As long as i can enjoy listening to releases from the experimental scene i will stay happy. I think a tim hecker ringtone on jamba would cause some sort of a crisis but as long as this doesn’t happen, everything should be fine.
What does the term "new“ mean to you in connection with music?
Showing new aspects of music. New ways of making sounds.
How do you see the relationship between sound and composition?
You need to have a sound to make a composition. So that's the relationship.
How strictly do you separate improvising and composing?
I don't separate them. Most of my music is created out of a improvisation. But I'm also composing music. I think you can't separate them, because they just fit together.
What constitutes a good live performance in your opinion? What’s your approach to performing on stage?
I think a good performance depends on the quality of the music played. The quality of the composition should fit but also the quality of the sound. Video screens would be interesting for me, but in an other way i think they would distract from the music. When I'm performing live, i have a starting point. So all my music is based on that point. The rest is totally improvised and i think that keeps it exciting.
A lot of people feel that some of the radical experiments of modern compositions can no longer be qualified as “music”. Would you draw a border - and if so, where?
I wouldn't draw a border. Its all about the person who is listening to this music. If the person doesn't like the music then that's her musical taste.
Are “serious” and “popular” really two different types of music or just empty words without a meaning?
I would tend to say that they are just 2 words without meaning. Just like the question you ask above, it's all about the person who is listening to this music. Person A could say that it is serious music while person B thinks that it's just popular music. Everything is a matter of musical taste.
Do you feel an artist has a certain duty towards anyone but himself? Or to put it differently: Should art have a political/social or any other aspect apart from a personal sensation?
I don't think that art should have a political or social meaning. But everyone should make up their minds about that themselves.
True or false: People need to be educated about music, before they can really appreciate it.
Yes and no. I don't need to know much of musical history or theory to listen to music. But sometimes a certain education could show you new aspects about the music that you are listening to.
Imagine a situation in which there’d be no such thing as copyright and everybody were free to use musical material as a basis for their own compositions – would that be an improvement to the current situation?
No improvement. There are to many lazy people who would just copy a few things and tell you that they did everything by themselves.
You are given the position of artistic director of a festival. What would be on your program?
Artist list: Aidan Baker (a Solo Set as well as a Set as Nadja), Tim Hecker, Fennesz, Fear Falls Burning, Oren Ambarchi, Isis and Bohren & der Club of Gore. Bohren & der Club of Gore as the closing act. They would play the complete “Sunset Mission” since it's my all time favourite Album. Perhaps a few Projections and that's all. For most of the people it would be a pretty boring festival, but i would love it.
Many artists dream of a “magnum opus”. Do you have a vision of what yours would sound like?
I do dream of a magnum opus, but i think I'm far away from that.
-Tobias Fischer, Tokafi