Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Thanks to the anonymous poster who has transcribed and translated the amazing Goodiepal interview from this video. He talks about doing music therapy in a psychiatric hospital, teaching the history of electronic music, and giving it up for mechanical music.
Mikael: Countless viewers have asked us "Who has composed the title score of this show?". Now I can welcome Goodiepal, and you have composed the music we play.
Goodiepal: Yeah, I would say so, yeah.
M: I would like to thank you for that.
G: You are welcome.
M: You have come here in order to play a completely different piece of music.
G: Well, I have come here because you asked me to come and play some more music, and I would like to do that. Thus I have have brought this thing with me.
M: So this is a piece of music here on the table now?
G: No, it is an object of music. It is an object that gives me the opportunity to play music, but it is also a tableau.
M: It is a transport box that you travel with a lot?
G: Yeah, I do.
M: Where has it been in the world?
G: The box has been to, eh .. Faroe Islands, Russia, USA, it's been to Austria, eh, Japan, it has been around.
M: When you travel with this box, what do you do? You perform as a musician?
G: Eh.. yeah, performing artist of harmony, you could call it.
M: Besides that, you also teach?
G: Yes, well I am a teacher at the Music Conservatory of Jutland in Aarhus, and then I have been teaching as stand in at different foreign universities.
M: Some of which are labeled Ivy League Universities with a fancy word?
G: I can't answer that question, because I dont know what that means.
M: Among others Princeton in New York...
G: Nah, New Jersey... Brown University, CalArts - Californian Institute of the Arts, and .... eh, yeah
M: Which subject do you teach?
G: I teach what with a ugly notion is called "History and aesthetics of Electronic Music". And that notion leads to the question: "What is electronic music?" and I will claim that it is a watered-down notion. Everything is electronic music today, everything that uses elctricity, amplified in one way or the other is electronic music. So it is a nonsense notion that universities and conservatories etc. still use. I prefer to call it "predetermined music" but I accept talking of electronic music as a modern notion.
M: But there are no cables connected to this box?
G: No, I have an idea of a basic structure of mechanical music, electronic music and computer music as three building blocks on top of each other, i.e. there are mechanical parts in electronics and electronical parts in computers. And I have chosen for a while to dive deeper into mechanical music instead of electronical music.
M: Mechanical music. So this box contains something that can play mechnical music. Should we try to open the box?
G: Yes, let us do that.
M: So I will get us a microphone.
G: OK, there we go.
M: What is that?
G: That is a mechanical bird. Actually there are two mechanical birds. That is a piece of work that I have build.
M: You have build it yourself?
G: Everything I do I build myself - generally speaking.
M: What have you used for building it?
G: Eh, equal amounts of clockwork, and stuff.. wood ...
M: So the gears and the mechanical parts we can see in the bottom of the glass case is from a clockwork?
G: That is correct. The idea has been to make an world separated from the mechanical parts. So we have kind of a illusion up here. I am very intereseted in isolated worlds, confined realities. I have met a lot of people describing this box as a work of art, but I disagree completly with that. It is piece of mechanics. It does not ask any questions. It is not a piece of art, it is a concluded mechanical process that can be used to perform musical riuals or musical sequences. Rituals is too big a word.
M: So the lower part is the mechanical part?
G: Yes, and then there is the black line here, and then the birds on top.
M: If we look closely on the birds we can see skulls and bones, and that is made by paper?
G: Most of it is made of paper and things I have carved out of wood and plastic. But all of this is paper. And then there are two planets here in the top that can move forth and back.
M: Two planets?
G: Yes, there are two planets. There and there. Well, that is what it can do.
M: So when you have been to - say - Moscow with this one, how do you perform then?
G: I have always been very interested in the idea of the borders between human and machines. It is a classical phenomenon in modern litterature and electronic music as such.
M: Science fiction?
G: Well, like in science fiction. What started me was once when I saw Sony's Ibo-dog. It is very advanced. But I have never felt...
M: That is a little white dog that can move to music?
G: No, but you can program it and it can return to you etc. But you don't feel that it is alive for just one second. I wanted a piece of mechanics or complex piece of activity that is so complex that it can give the illusion of being alive. So i built this one. And when you enter the world of physics, it is easy to get a feeling af complexity playing a part. Once I carried this machine outside and the machine suddently misted up on the inside inside and started to whistle.
M: So the difference in temperature made it play?
G: Yes, it started the bellows and the bird started whistling. For a while I had the feeling that I had created a something living. And that is enough for me.
M: When you were in Torshavn, Faroe Islands, what did you do there?
G: I was on a Psycriatic Hospital doing musical therapy for the patients.
M: Should we try to do that here?
G: I don't want to do musical therapy here since there are no patients here.
M: Ah, (laughs and point to the camera) then you ought to see some of the mails we get from our viewers.
G: OK, I would prefer to perform a little ritual showing how to blow spirit into the machine and then ...
M: See what happens ...
G: And then returning to zero. So at first I start to blow. (Whistles and plays on the mechanincal bird) And then it more or less takes care of itself.
M: Fantastic. I have never seen anything like that.
M: Over here we have some more stuff of yours.
G: Over there we have a planetary scenario that normally is a musical game platform that I use in my music. I have made a planetary game where I move the planets around.
M: So these are planets?
G: Yes, they are all planets, there is one missing. There. Erh, it is a set of planets that i play with and they each have a tonal value. It takes very long time so I prefer to illustrate how it works instead of playing a whole game. I whistle the planets and then these ones strike the planets out of play. (starts to whistle, ring bells etc.) And that would continue untill there has been an astral scenario.
M: What did we hear in this piece? Is this planet Earth?
G: It could be. It could also by a mirroring of planet Earth. It is close to be planet Earth, yeah. It is a parallel universe. I have for a long time been interested in the way we as humans understand the solar system rather than how it is. It is like we still don't understand true spaciousness with time. We want to squeeze it flat. I collect computer programs that simulate the stars and none of them gives me the feeling of an opportunity to dissappear in the sky of stars. So I was interested in creating a flat planetary scenario with a negative universe on the other side where the planets can fall through. Like this.
G: I don't know if you know that old classic Flatland where the universe is two-dimensional. These are the same rules in this game. So no planet is taller than the others. They all move around in a flat universe and we as humans can then observe it in the same way we see it when we are poetic not scientific.
M: Goodiepal, I know that you are on your way to the airpot. You are leaving Denmark very soon. Thank you very much for coming and playing two other pieces of music than the title score. Please come back again.
G: I would like to. Erh, it depends on the circumstances.
M: Of course.
... [CONTINUE READING ]