PEOPLEText: Shintaro Miyazaki

Francisco López is internationally recognized as one of the major figures of the experimental music scene. His latest live immersive performance in Berlin at “märzmusik 2008” was for the interviewer one of the most extraordinary music performances since five years. Indeed a immersive live experience. Immersion means in this context: The state of being sucked into the music. López uses only sounds from nature or reality no computer synthesized sound sources, but creates based on the natural sources quite artificially sounding performances. His music or the soundscape he creates sound like voyages to unknown sound territories. More details can be read in the following short interview with the artist himself.

Francisco López

Your music is often called hypnotic. Is this a effect you are achieving?

I want my listeners to be more than just that, to get engaged in an experience of sound that can open up personal layers of memory, emotion, imagination and interpretation that I cannot control or even imagine. This is what I consider to be a free experience of “blank phenomenological” sound. To me, expression or communication are minor, even irrelevant, aspects of music-making. The essence of music is created by the “listener” not by the sound-maker. With that perspective, the composer turns into some sort of “medium” (in the strict sense of the term), which does not lessen his/her role but makes it even more crucial in terms of skills and care in the craftsmanship for the manipulation and physicalization of sound.

Can you describe us the usual concert setting where you perform your music?

A multi-channel surround sound system around the audience, in darkness and with blindfolds provided for the audience. I place myself in the center of a circle of seats (or mattresses) facing outwards, towards the speakers.

Francisco López

Lets talk a bit about the blindfolds. Why do you want the listeners to use blindfolds?

I have come to see the visual components of a performance as a terrible annoyance that detracts from the profound experience of sound immersion and appreciation. Blindfolds are a simple – but extremely effective – solution to the problem of attaining complete darkness during a live performance. Thanks to them, the public presentation also becomes a collective experience of engagement in that form of profound listening. A sort of collective voluntary ritual.

Francisco López

Is it possible to call Francisco Lopez the new “Brahms” of experimental electronic music?

Well, I don’t know whether or not that’s possible (or even legal!), but I like it! In the sense of the “orchestral” conception and inception of the music. I am definitely interested in the creation of a live performance experience that has that kind of scale and palette of timbres and sound textures, even although I don’t work with classical instruments but with “concrète” sounds. In a way, my goal is to give rise to the virtuality of an entire world made of sound, around the audience but also through it and inside it.

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Stephen Cheetham