Berlin-based Swiss Gil blends together an erudite electronic music mix for POST. He delivers a quieter output than its usual offering, seamlessly evolving between contemplation and percussive jubilation.
march 11: (dj-set) Creamcake @ Ohm, Berlin
march 18: (dj-set) @ Macao, Milano
march 24: (live) Oto Nove Swiss @ Café OTO, London
march 28: (live) @ Cabaret Voltaire, Zurich
april 15: (dj-set) Bala Club @ tbc, London
J.G. Biberkopf - unreleased
Geng x Moor Mother - This Week (part1)
Forest Swords - Shrine Tooth
nunu - Lauren London
KABLAM - unreleased
Live Low - The Antiplot
Geng - Supremacy x Occupancy
nunu - Scum
Fis - Drain Torch
Jlin - Nyakinyua Risa
Yatta - Cyborg
Tiago Morais Morgado - Laurindinha
HVAD & Pan Daijing - Zhao Hua
Geng x Moor Mother - This Week (part2)
Ziur - unreleased
Dasychira - Venom
mobilegirl - Heartbreak Slew
Imaabs - Disolucion
Eaves - Exegesis (GIL remix)
First can you tell us about your mix?
It’s a rather slow paced and quiet mix for my standards and there are less beat-
heavy tracks than on my other mixes. I guess I usually try to give a sense of how I
dj as well but this one is probably more similar to my live sets. It’s more about
textures and densities where melodies and beats are just different states of one
dramaturgy. But I don’t want to over-conceptualize it. I received a bunch of
unreleased tracks from my friends that amazed me and so I made something with
them and other material that felt right to me.
Your music is quite layered, dense and diverse. How do you start composing a
track? Is it jamming or are you starting from a set idea?
It depends on the track but mostly some of both. Sometimes I’ll have a very simple idea for a melody or a beat, sometimes I’ll start with a specific sound or instrument and jam with it. But other times - like when composing the EP - I do more planning in advance. Even then, though, there aren’t so much set ideas that I start from. It’s more that I imagine moments, sounds, developments and so on that I want to be in the tracks. Some of them can be quite concrete, but mostly it’s just a vague sense of what I want a moment - or whole track - to feel like by itself and in relation to what happens before and after. But anyway, whenever I try to realize those ideas on the program, I still let myself sway and be guided by the material itself and try to stay in the moment and feel how I want something to develop. So sometimes I’ll end up with something that is quite different from what I imagined initially.
You and a few other artists (Lotic, JG Biberkopf to name a few) are currently
colliding musical genres, by that I mean mostly blurring the lines between modern
composition and club culture. Do you feel this is a militant move to collapse
separations or just the natural process of musicians and audience being exposed
to more music than ever?
I feel like neither of these two alone can explain this sufficiently. Personally, much
more than a move against something - like in trying to collapse separations - it’s an
attempt at expressing something actually constructive and honest. And I feel like
that is, to me, a conscious, political choice and not just an aesthetic consequence
of exposure to lots of different music.
I think what I and other artists are doing starts from a point that is already outside
institutional modern composition and outside mainstream club culture, and is
therefore quite unconcerned with any artificially upheld boundaries between the
two. A big part of this is probably focus shifting away from the institutions of high
and popular culture towards historically unheard voices. I feel like there’s a need to hear something real, vulnerable and emotional - and such states are seldom
defined, nowadays, by a strict adherence to indexed or defined fields - but rather
happen at intersections and with meldings - be they willful or arbitrary.
Has your training in modern dance influenced in any way your practice? The
connection between dance and a music associated with club culture is rather
obvious, but do you feel this is reflected in the academic teaching?
I trained modern dance from age 8-18 at a school that did mainly synchronous
dancing in groups with little ambition to be contemporary. So there wasn’t much
direct influence but I think that my practice grew out of a perception and sensing
that was in turn very much influenced by dancing. When I listen to music I usually
feel movement, even if it is sometimes only suggested - maybe just a direction
more than an actual movement - I feel my body react to what I’m hearing. And that is something I am interested in and think of when I’m conceptualizing a track; it’s something I’m mindful of when I’m actually composing.
I don’t think this is reflected much at all in academic teaching. It is an affective and
intuitive way of experiencing that is hard to put in words. I feel like academia
usually insists on claiming to value quality rationally, although its „rationality“ is
partial and influenced by viewing quality through attention to history, mastery, craft, and a certain amount of lineage.
Which might be why so many dance pieces will use the same works by the last
canonized academic composers, like Arvo Pärt, Steve Reich or Philip Glass, again
and again. But similarly to what I’ve talked about above, there are fortunately more and more people that genuinely don’t care for a one-sided history and I think that academia - especially via fine arts and electronic music courses - is slowly catching up with this.
As a dancer and artist interested by movement and the way music is felt by the
body, do you feel this body involvement is lacking from machine-based music?
Not at all, quite the opposite actually. I feel like acoustic instruments are so
formalized in how body movement connects to sound - by that I mean the actual
mechanics of, for example, playing a cello, but also the cultural and historical
connotations that come with acoustic music. To me machine-based sounds are
less loaded and much more open to constant change and renewal since the pool
of produced sounds is endless. And besides, I feel like the computer is as much of
an extension to our bodies as an acoustic instrument can be.
What is coming up for you in the coming months?
I’ve got a few shows scheduled - both live and dj-sets - other than that I want to
focus on making new music. I got different ideas and directions in mind that I want
to try out, and hopefully I’ll manage to finish something in time for my live-set in
London at the end of the month. But mainly I’m going to be taking my time working
towards a next release.