Visions Of Excess

By Bob Gourley | Originally published in 2002
Visions Of Excess

Visions Of Excess is a new collaboration between Paul Browse (ex-Clock Dva, System 01, Effective Force, 030) and Nirto Karsten Fischer (sound artist/Forced Media Production). The two had known each other for years but felt that the time was right to join forces on a new project. Their first release, “Sensitive Disruption,” (Minus Habens) is an outstanding collection of experimental electronic tracks that showcases very creative use of audio processing. Through email, the duo answered some questions for us.

How did the two of you come to start working together as Visions Of Excess?

OE (PB):Karsten and I have know each other for very many years. Some time ago we decided it was the right moment to combine our strengths into one coherent complex. Visions Of Excess is the result of that decision. Sensitive Disruption is the first synthesis of our combined knowledge.

When you started the project, did you have a clear idea of what you wanted to accomplish, or was it more a matter of wanting to collaborate and see what kind of sound emerged?

VOE (NKF): Usually we have quite clear ideas about the tracks but this is based on experiments, sound developments, text fragments that came before. It’s like a work in a laboratory where the tracks aggregate finally to a finished ‘product’.

How do you tend to work together (do you have defined roles within the band, in terms of who tends focus on specific parts, etc?)

VOE (NKF): Because we are no band there are no specific roles. We are two artists who share visions and have a strong affinity to the work of each other. Of course temporarily there are foci in certain working situations. And there are personal strengths coming from different work backgrounds. Paul’s work within Clock DVA, T.A.G.C., System 01 etc. are well known, and I (NKF) have two backgrounds, first a plain commercial background and on the other hand a strong experimental approach that was heard in choreographies, computer animations and to a lesser extend in film scores.

What type of studio set-up do you use? Are there any pieces of equipment that you think are particularly important for the music you do?

VOE (NKF): The studio (www.forcedmedia.com) is grown on the concept of an open system that allows free experimentation combined with high end production. There was the necessity to have an all digital set-up because of many processing chains that are used. Equipment that is particular important to us are room simulators, resynthesis and all sorts of synthesis, especially virtual acoustic synthesizers. They were used a lot and this has even mislead a reviewer in thinking our ‘Sensitive Disruption’ album is mainly based on sample archive material. A Symbolic Sound Kyma system was also often used for important key sounds. Sampling is for us mainly a production tool and I refer to them often as ‘buckets’ for sound results.

Are there any particular things that the current musical technology allows you to do now, that wasn’t available earlier in your careers?

VOE (NKF): Sure, realtime resynthesis comes to mind and also these high quality room simulations that not anymore sound like chorused cheap algorithms or simply like a noisy tail of mush. In the last 1 1/2 year native processing achieved an ergonomic and sonical quality that motivates us to include it more and more. But we are aware of the ‘Synclavier-syndrome’ and therefore spread the native processing to many networked computers. This is one of the transformations undergoing in the FORCED MEDIA facility.

Do you perform live as Visions Of Excess? If so, how would you compare the sound to your recordings? Is challenging adapting the music for live performance? What type of controllers do you use?

VOE (PB): Until now we have not performed live.

If an interesting and challenging proposal arises we will adapt our music accordingly. Please note …this does not mean that at some point in the future you can expect to hear VOE performing guitar renditions of their tracks with Robert Anton Wilson on backing vocals. Well …not unless as a final act we can throw a burning laptop into the audience whilst shouting “goodnight …we love you!”.

You use the voice of Robert Anton Wilson – how did that come about?

VOE (PB): Robert Anton Wilson was invited to the studio for a private interview.

The intention was to create a relaxed atmosphere whereby anecdotes concerning the human condition could be exchanged. Everything was recorded. The material which we decided to use was that in which his opinions coincided with our own and where the sonic quality of his voice was complementary to the music.

What’s your approach to incorporating vocals? For example, do you sample them and treat them as just another sound as your build songs? Base songs around them? Add them after most of the elements are in place?

VOE (NKF): Of course vocals are used based on meaning but also because of the sound. The meaning and the sound should be coming together and fitting into the atmosphere of the track. Usually there is a lot of processing done to vocals/voices, sometimes to a degree where a lot of listeners probably don’t recognize them as coming from a human voice. Resynthis is very important here.

Why the name Visions Of Excess?

VOE (NKF): There is a connection (link?) in our thinking to George Bataille, not in the sense he being our house philosopher, but in exceeding the mediocre dumbness of humanism to suppress human beings by holding back the possibilities of developments and spreading an agony of non-development. The same goes for technical development now which is held back more and more to have it controlled by the timing needed to make profit.

What do you think the ideal environment is for listening to Visions Of Excess?

VOE (PB): The external environment is unimportant. The effectiveness of our work is dependent on the attitude of the listener. Consequently …it is not music for the hard of understanding.

What’s in the immediate future for Visions Of Excess?

VOE (PB): We are finalizing our next release which will contain VOE compositions written for Fred Kelemen’s production of “Fahrenheit 451”.

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