Delicate and dense, melodies and sounds from church contexts, found sounds of bells and voices, are set against crisp, sharply-solid, forward-driving electronic beats. And then, there are the visuals: an archaic architecture of mystical symbols and three-dimensional, evolving forms interpret the music in visual form.
Swedish-born artist and technologist Eric Wahlforss, in other words, has been busy. As the artist Forss, his album is an app, appropriately for someone who is the co-founder and CTO of SoundCloud. Eric showed me an early build over cheeseburgers. It’s reactive, perhaps, more than interactive, but there’s still a chance to use your hands to rotate both visuals and music, a bit like picking up a sculpture and viewing it from different angles – though with the added element of sound. What you get is a sense of an interwoven visual and musical world, and an aesthetic vision that Wahlforss has pulled together.
From the man who built the world’s largest online recording business, it’s little surprise that recording features prominently, in two threads:
Recordings of strings, choirs, organs and ambient noise from church concerts which have been cut up into fragments and rearranged into a new mosaic of music, and recordings of wooden, stone and metal objects which make up the beats and percussion. These are the plosive, rhythmical noises that provide the link between the traditional to modern electronica.
That musical combination sounds to me familiar, though also clearly comfortable to Mr. Wahlforss. The collaboration is especially intriguing, though, as a Viennese graphic designer (Leonard Lass) and German computer graphics artist (Marcel Schobel, Untouch) collaborate to produce an audiovisual experience. Berghain, that cavernous church of techno (and occasionally more experimental sounds), seems an appropriate setting in the city that also played home to SoundCloud’s founding. (The fact that the former power station has the acoustics of a church doesn’t hurt, either – even if it’s ill-suited to denser music for the same reason.) Ecclesia will get its launch across media: live show in Berlin, app on iPad, album. For now, you can hear the tracks streamed via – of course – SoundCloud, even shared directly from Ableton Live.
The live show premieres May 2 in Berlin at Berghain/Panorama Bar, with the app out the same day. The album itself releases on June 12.