MNTNSofSLNC represents a pair of firsts. It is Christopher Coe’s first release under his own name. It’s also the premier title for the electronic label Awesome Soundwave.
The mountains of silence referred to in the album’s title have inspired eight sumptuously conceived tracks. So it is a personal project, in a genre more often know for anonymity.
Coe’s decision to put his name on this work makes perfect sense. It’s something the techno producer and sound artist can be immensely proud of.
He and I traded emails this week.
We don’t often think of electronic music as being inspired by the landscape.
I know right? It kind of took me by surprise too when I realized that the landscape of the west of Ireland (where I grew up) had such a deep impact on my appreciation of rhythm and melody, silence and noise, tension and release. I guess you could say I felt a deep spiritual resonance with the mountains and valleys and lakes and the coast of that part of the world and this inspired me to try to articulate that into a sonic landscape. This was and remains my inspiration.
I was trying to articulate the idea of the silence being so majestic. I was trying to articulate this silence through techno. The kick drum can be so powerful – like a mountain – that at some point it is as powerful as silence.
If you look at a range of mountains, it even looks like a visual representation of an audio file or a soundwave. Add to that the rolling clouds and changing colours and you have texture and harmony. And a sense of depth, rumbling below the surface. To me, this is techno!
MNTNSofSLNC has been described as “more authentic” than your other work. How so?
It has a singular vision and concept and I was not concerned with anything but trying to articulate this. I was not concerned with whether the sound was “now” or not. It seemed like a more pure artistic pursuit and, for me, I went about doing it in a more honest way. No pretense, just a strong desire to create something moving.
“Maumtrasna” is an extraordinary ambient piece. Which were the first electronic genres that appealed to you?
Growing up, I liked all forms of music. But Kraftwerk obviously blew my mind. And Brian Eno, Talking Heads, New Order, Talk Talk, Japan, David Sylvian – all these sort of interesting artists and bands that worked to push the envelope sonically and creatively. The Talk Talk album Spirit of Eden still holds up as being one of my favourite albums of all time. The production is incredible. They captured a vibe, emotion, so deeply that I never tire of it.