MARGEN Magazine # 27 Nov. 2003 Spain by Rafa Dorado. Interview with Max Corbacho & Bruno Sanfilippo
– How did this collaboration between two musicians that on paper develop, if not antagonistic, at least different styles arise?
Max: Our first personal encounter was through Free Records, label where I edited my first CD Vestiges. When Bruno arrived to Spain they told him there was this crazy man who also made ‘special’ music for their label. We met and, personally, when I heard Bruno’s music and we talked about our passion for it, I knew we were soul mates. In the summer 2002 we made a trip to the south of Spain, to the supernatural and silent Natural Park of Cabo de Gata, in Almeria to be precise.
Bruno: We loved the place with its weird landscapes and all. We took pictures and audio samples of bugs and other curious things. Being marvelled with this place, we decided to create music that reflected how this place made us feel. The result was Indalo. It was an interesting fusion where we both moved away a little from our usual style, and that turned out to be a good thing, even nourishing!
– Listening to the song you include in MDEA vol. 8, under which lines did you decide to work together? Was there any previous planning or it came up improvising?
Max: There had been some improvising sessions and also an exchange of tracks that later on were treated and processed by each in his studio.
Bruno: Yes, both things have happened. I had never worked in this way. You brainstorm the ideas, like ‘splashing a canvas’, until, little by little, the work begins to shape up. When various ideas are presented we choose our next step. The truth is that you have a good time doing it and we enjoy the outcome. We like to think Indalo has elements from both of us
– Each of you are about t release new albums, in both of them you can clearly see an evolution in the sounds. Bruno’s music in Visualia is more and more luminous and environmental (except for the intro in part 5 that connects mysteriously and anthropologically with the Mexican Jorge Reyes or the American Steve Roach for example), while Max’s, in Nocturnal Emanations, deepens more in the cave like and earthly sounds. Lets just say that while Bruno is looking at the sky Max is looking at the depths of the planet and the thickest cosmos. I’d like you to comment, separately, on the motivations and changes in these new works, and insist on the fact of how you joined your strength in the same direction.
Max: I believe that these two works, Visualia and Nocturnal Emanations, are closer than between Bruno’s Suite Patagonia and my The Resonant Memory of Earth. Anyway, notice how in these two we talk about nature as the argumental base of the albums. In the new records, the approach is given by the use of the atmospheres and textures, we both bet closer to the ‘ambient’ concept. It is true that Bruno’s music has a ‘sacred’ component that invites us to look up to the sky –your appreciation seems accurate to me. And my music also tends to be cave like and earthly landscapes. But you should never forget there’s no earth without sky.
Bruno: I agree with Max. Besides, the album Indalo is our musical version of the volcanic atmosphere of Cape Gata and its strange beauty. It is also true that the colour of the sound changed but it is quite possible that every musician composes a work in relation to what he is living at that moment. It also lies in the huge ocean of its own memory. It seems to me that there’s nothing static, even less in our restless minds. As you can see, Max’s sound has evolved too. But anyway, there are artists who like to linger on known places.
– Bruno, Visualia is a very different to Suite Patagonia. The expansive character, almost movie-like, and the musical production of Suite Patagonia turns into a much more introspective record in Visualia, it’s less melodious and much more armonic with a minimalist character.
Bruno: It is pretty clear, basically, Suite Patagonia is more symphonic and poetical. On the other hand, in Viusalia I see the slow swirling ambience, it has other kind of depth. Let me see… I would say it’s an introspective CD, in a way I try to make the music awake those images that are hidden in our memory as if they were unconscious whispers. At least that’s from where I wrote it. But I still don’t know how people is going to react, it’s too new. The work may invite us to move to a timeless inner dimension, promoting the imagination and fantasy, I hope.
– There are great creations in Visualia, Visualia III for example. We are facing a visual, touchable and descriptive music. How do you develop that capacity to describe images, which are different for each listener, with music?
Bruno: Honestly, I’m really happy that you liked the album. Well, at least Visualia III looks like it. Thanks!
Each composition in the album is represented by an image by Janet Parke, an US artist that makes some drawings with very inspiring fractals. We sensed with Janet a very strong aesthetic bond between our works. But as you said, each listener makes his own visual trip. I don’t know how it happens. Of course, every artist is interested in the effect of their work, that his art provokes a certain emotional effect. Visualia contains interwoven pieces of a continual but almost imperceptible transformation. They appear, in different planes, countless sounds of organic texture that may create reminiscences of the earth and its inhabitants. I believe Visualia isn’t hard on the ears but I don’t believe it’s for listening it in the kitchen while you are making macaroons either.
-Max, you’ve always been labelled as the follower of advanced student of Steve Roach. Anyway, throughout your recordings you can clearly see your personal contributions to that sound that evolved form the American space to what it is today. From my point of view, your music is more lyric and organic than the one from the American master. They are very personal and hard to explain details but how would you explain your musical evolution from the arrogant Vestiges up to today?
Max: First of all, I’d like to thank the great American masters like Rich, Roach, etc because they showed to a whole new generation the way to the unexpected moment.
As regards my evolution, you can analyse it basically through two aspects. First, my personal, psychic growing as an individual evolution, and continual discovery of the surrounding world (trips, personal experiences, etc). I think this conditions me extraordinarily, and the growth and enrichment is translated into the music. Secondly, as son of the time I had to live in, technology pushes me to experiment and search for new roads and new frontiers to explore every day. I often have the feeling – I talk about this in Nocturnal Emanations script – that my music shifts as a live organism and, at this point, this evolution points to a greater abstraction, as if the elements of which it was made of at the beginning , as in Vestiges, were dissolving little by little, mixing and flowing really slowly, creating new structures and textures in an eternal mutation.
– Max, where would you say your music stands in a physical plane? In the cosmos, the depths of the earth, half way?
Max: In «Far Beyond the Immobile Point» I tried to recreate the poetical universe in which Umberto Eco situated his pendulum, in the remotest place of cosmos. Up to now that was my only incursion to ‘the space’. Now I stay half way. I’m interested in the earth as the scenery of my music. I have the constant need of escaping from the city and feel that surface. I prefer lonely places where the man doesn’t disturb the silence. Perhaps this is an echo from my early years which took place in a lonely farmhouse in Badajoz province. A place where time goes by slowly, where the view gets lost in the horizon and the word ‘space’ makes sense.
– You both are musicians that have always shown interest in the ethnic and tribal things. Bruno made that pretty clear in the master piece Suite Patagonia. And Max has always incorporated in his sounds chamanic percussion. Up to what point do you feel incorporated to the ethnical musical world?
Max: I’ve always felt an absolute fascination for the ancestral cultures and, of course, by its music. In Vestiges, as a declaration of principles, the first piece, Desolada, already presents those powerful ethnical percussion. I’m still investigating into that kind of music so as to enrich myself with all that wisdom and magic in involves. Now, I’m fascinated with the Bereber music. Recently, I was able to hear it live on a trip to Morocco. I was so impressed by it that I now have a fusion project with some of its elements. Due to the evolving process of evolution I was talking about earlier, that is the dissolution of the basic element that make up my music, also the percussion are more abstract every time. For example, the ones in Nocturnal Emanations are basically tribal grooves that have been conveniently treated so as to acquire a synthetic quality but keeping the root and ethnical character.
Bruno: I’m attracted by the idea of composing incorporating sounds of different cultures. I believe that the purity of its fragrance contributes with a strong emotional content. I also believe that part of its ‘visual’ things in my music has to do with that evoking to the sonorous origin of the man. I also use the timbric of the synthesiser trying to create an ocean of latent images. I’m convinced that the ‘sonoric psico-ambients’, so to name them, will be more developed in the future music.
– Is there something you would like to say apart from all the things I would have liked to ask but I didn’t have time to?
Max & Bruno: We just wanted to thank your interest in our music. Your questions have been interesting and pleasant to answer. I hope we can enjoy, for a long time, your prestigious magazine and its CDs.