Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Aboombong Interview

Winter is officially here, and in Disaster Amnesiac's home base of Northern California, this means rain. Rain in turn means long bus rides during commute hours. Thankfully, the old iPod is loaded with great music, which makes the longer slogs bearable.
One recording that has filled up tons of commute time has been Amnemonic, by Aboombong. The music of Aboombong is a great mixture of Industrial aesthetic, "World" percussion, and Psychedelic abandon. The tracks on Amnemonic sprawl out within these parameters, giving an air of the mysterious to the otherwise mundane chore of the day's commute.
Curious about what makes this cool project tick, I emailed Aboombong some questions, and he was kind enough to reply.

What was the genesis of Aboombong?

Aboombong started as a way to release detritus from my archive of half-finished projects that had never seen the light of day. The first album is pretty much just a collection of outtakes (recorded primarily from 1999 to about 2003). By the end of putting together the first release, I had a couple of loops and one percussion track that didn't feel finished enough to put out as is...these became the genesis for "asynchronic". Once I started working on these (Daymare and Never Been to Konono), I recorded some new material, mixed it with some older snippets and found myself with another album's worth of material.

I get the sense that Aboombong is a one-man project, but a lot of the music has the rich sound of an entire group's effort. Do you have a cast of musicians? 

It is a one-man project...although some of the tape archives used on the first two releases include other players. Most notably David Chapman from !Para!helion on trumpet (Jericho) and the members of Waltz Bop Shop on Aboom. Everything else is me.

There is a definite, for lack of a better term, Third World feel in Aboombong, particularly in the various percussive approaches and instrumentation. Can yo explain where this approach comes from? What sparks it?

I listen to lots of music from around the world. That gets filtered through my American brain when I compose. Not much more to it than that. I don't every try to mimic specific genres or rhythms...but I do feel like I abstract elements or approaches I hear in music from other cultures and apply those to my own work. For instance, a lot of non-western musical traditions will use incessant unchanging rhythms underneath a more fluid foreground. I don't use those rhythms in any of my pieces, but the basic approach is one that resonates with me when I am composing.

In light of the mentioned "world percussion" approach, do you have formal training in any non-Western systems (eg Balinese Gamelan, Filipino Kulintang, Korean Samulnori, etc)?

Nope. Just lots of listening. I was briefly a member of a traditional Javanese Gamelan, buth other than the handful of lessons done to get parts down for that, I have no formal training outside of the standard American school-based music education. I did a fair amount of course work in college in experimental music, but none in non-Western traditions. More than anything, I'm just an old Punk Rock drummer who likes to experiment.

The recordings sound as if they were done with a lot of care, yet they retain a great, raw feel. What kind of recording set ups are used for Aboombong releases?

One microphone, a stand alone CD-r burner and a mixer. [The recordings] (R)ecorded one track at a time, mixed with Audacity.

How about individual instruments? As I listen to the rich bell tones, guitar tones, and drum tones, I envision a warehouse full of exotic percussion worthy of Martin Denny's studio. Is this the case?

Every toy is listed on the bandcamp page. That pretty much exhausts my collection. I live on a houseboat, so there isn't much room for storage. If I had space and would be much larger.

Along with the excellent percussion, there are also great "junk electronic" sounds within Aboombong's music. What sorts of instruments are being used, and how much electronic manipulation is being made to their initial sounds?

That's a secret.

Amnemonic's tracks have a very "ritual" feel; as one listens, one can feel transported to imaginary worlds, filled with wild street festivals or austere temples. Please speak to the creation of these soundscapes.

All I can say to that is...thanks. I have always felt like each piece of music should create it's own unique environment.

What lies in store for Aboombong? Any great projects looming on the horizon? 

The next album will be based around some spoken word and field recordings. None of the musical elements have been recorded yet, but it should be quite different from the other three releases. I am also working with DUSTdevil & Crow on another release. Tracks are just starting to get bounced around the planet for that one.

 So there you have the mysterious Aboombong in his own words. Do your mind a favor and click on his bandcamp link, where you can buy his music at good prices. And then float away.................

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