In 2015 Arachnidiscs Recordings returns to our split tapes series with Vol. 11 (sides 21 and 22). Why? Well, for no possible better reason than to release the conceptual split “Studies In Trance” by Montreal electronic dronesters Hazy Montagne Mystique and YlangYlang.
I first met Chi (Hazy Montagne Mystique) and Catherine (YlangYlang) about five years ago when my band was (seemingly randomly) invited to play a gig in Toronto with a few of their bands. At the time I wasn’t sure if these bands were called Jeunesse Cosmique or Sally Paradise or a bunch of other things and that’s a state of confusion I haven’t been able to shake. It’s a tangled web to navigate when when you set out to explore the myriad projects these two play in together (and not together) under the über-hip Jeunesse Cosmique collective umbrella.
The title of this work could raise red flags for people. Cheesy house music budget compilation red flags planted in the sand of Ibiza beaches, that is. But rest assured the pair are long-time students of trance-inducing tones. For evidence see their collaborative project A Sacred Cloud whose album, ENSOLEILLÉ, 1972, we had the pleasure of releasing in 2013. Clearly when they say “Trance” they’re talking “transcendental”; trance as in drone; trance as in cosmic youth and far out cosmic spaces.
Arachnidiscs Recordings: So I’m pretty excited to be putting out “Studies In Trance” as part of our split tapes series. But let’s talk about the title. What do you mean by it, exactly?
YlangYlang: When I did my side of the split, I worked in a ceremony manner. I placed all my gear on the floor, pedals, synth, loops, delays, into the mixer, then into my four track. It was a beautiful mess of interconnected magical objects. After that, I lit some incense and put myself in a meditation state, or a “trance” of openness and receptivity. For this tape I really wanted to get out of my head, you know, return to this no-brain instinctive primal free-form music I did when everything was more simple. I jammed like that for a while then transferred and chopped the material, including sounds recorded while walking. Walking is another form of trance for me. Then when I heard Chi’s side of the tape, it sounded to me like the same kind of vibe, a mind-blowing moment outside of time, where space-time is a metamorphosis of sounds and visions. I thought the name “Studies in Trance” could not only fit for my part but also Chi’s.
Hazy Montagne Mystique: In fact, I listened to a lot of the new album by Panda Bear and Andy Stott. I thought I could make more cheerful beats but instead, it was much more cavernous, dark and industrial so I keep zoned-out in the current music until I find the joyful sound at the end of my track.
ADR: Yeah, speaking of industrial, when I was listening to the tape this morning, I was hearing a sort of Throbbing Gristle influence. Which isn’t something I’ve thought of before about your music. Are you guys into that TG/Coil/Cabaret Voltaire Sheffield scene?
HMM: I listened to a lot of industrial and dark music when I was younger like Throbbing Gristle and Coil and but I also like Trisomie 21, Cabaret Voltaire and Clan of Xymox and a lot of The Cure/Joy Division. I played in a band with my friends Sebastian Trafalgar and Black Givre: Les Gustavo Kuerten that mixes dark kraut noise.
YY: Listening to Throbbing Gristle for the first time a few years ago with Chi and Sebastian revealed a possibility of depth and catharsis that I hadn’t explored yet. I actually was totally shocked when I fell on a blog that had Cosey Fanni Tutti’s tape Time to Tell. Deeply transformative and strong and dark, and seductive. I began to be obsessed by Chris & Cosey and CTI. Those albums, I’ve studied a lot.
ADR: It’s great that people are still listening to those records.
YY: Yes they are essential, they are the basis of today’s experimental music.
ADR: There was a time when I felt like I was the only person I knew who listened to Coil and Swans, but now they’re pretty widely regarded as being big influences for a lot of current bands. It’s something that baffles me on a certain level. How did you guys discover these older experimental electronic artists?
HMM: Before internet, I read a lot of books and I borrowed my music from the library. After, I checked Pitchfork, at the time that was interesting.
ADR: Basically, the same as everyone else then (haha).
HMM: (haha) for 30+ years
ADR: You also play together in A Sacred Cloud and, I think, other projects. Is it a different process to do Hazy Montagne Mystique and YlangYlang?
HMM: Definitely because with our solo projects we are alone to meditate on our music. We have the entire control of the process.
YY: Definitely yes. We both play in different projects with each other and with friends,but for me, YlangYlang is the place I’m the most free and close to my inner sound. Playing with Chi is really comfortable and our jams are like playing Pokemon or something, throwing sounds at each other, layering, elevating. YlangYlang is really introspective and weird and personal, I go places I wouldn’t with others cause I don’t really know where I’m going until the end
ADR: Is A Sacred Cloud generally more improvised jams? Less “composed”?
HMM: A Sacred Cloud is a mystical project confronting your fears and your joys to make sounds.
YY: Never composed (haha)
HMM: It is learning to musically know another person, someone accomplice. A meditative music, transcendent journey through the senses. Escape from his own body, mind and maneuver. Being in a state of purification, forget bored of the modern world for a pacifist levitation. Control his emotions at the expense of its rationality. Be free from acts, thoughts and negativity. The music is not art at all a given, it is enough to understand the meaning.
ADR: There really is a sort of indescribable magic that happens when people come together to make music in that way.
YY: Yes, it brings you places you wouldn’t go necessarily. You just listen to what the others create and try to surf on it.
ADR: You’ve both had releases out on a few different labels over the past year or so. But you also have your own labels Jeunesse Cosmique and Jeunesse Spatiale and others. As artists do you feel its important to have other people put your music out?
HMM: Yes, because we are always passionate when we release an album by others, that’s why we love going out on different label because it feels good that other people like what you do and take care of your release.
YY: Yes it is important, well for me, to have my music released by other persons, other human beings having record labels like us. It is an exchange, a connexion with another person that cares about your music, that understand you and wants to help you. All my experiences on other labels, Lava Church, Ailanthus Recordings, Personal Archives, Inyrdisk, Crash Symbols, Phinery, Illuminated Paths and Arachnidiscs are first learning to know the other person, talking and taking conversation into places to understand the vibe ot this person, why he’s having a label like Chi and I have you know…? Having an interaction not cold and unpersonal but like two human beings. Then, it is a project that I need to realize for this specific label so I get to think about it a lot, and work with that in mind. You feel also more connected to others, you make your music travel. It’s kinda like the karma we create with helping others in Jeunesse Cosmique that comes back to you.
STUDIES IN TRANCE releases on April 15th on Arachnidiscs Recordings.
Interred Views is a series of interviews with Arachnidiscs Recordings artists. This interview was conducted by Jakob Rehlinger.