Interview with Aume

aume3

The following is my conversation with Aume, a Pacific coast duo consisting of Scot Jenerik (F-Space, 23five) & Aleph Omega (Chrome, F-Space, Altar De Fey) in preparation for their October release of CQ CQ on Mobilization Records – their third full length. Any ‘instructions’ herein are not (necessarily) endorsed by Toneshift.net or any of our (so-called) affiliates, with or without a net. Enjoy the silence/s, and other shocks to the system:


  • Toneshift
    OK, hi guys, how are you doing today?

Scot
Lovely thanks, and you?

Aleph Omega
Barring the Kavanaugh issue, fine.

  • Toneshift
    I’m good. It’s great to have an opportunity to chat about your work and your new project. First question gentlemen. So, Aume is a collaborative duo of the two of you, Scot Jenerik & Aleph Omega. Where are you two located and what was the impetus that drew you to work together? By The Way: I am listening to Transmission (Part II) as we chat.

Scot
We’ve worked off and on together since the early 90s. Lived in the same warehouse in SF for about 10 years. Were in F-Space together, etc. I’m currently in Portland, OR, Aleph is still in San Francisco.

Aleph Omega
I’m a hold out in San Francisco, where we met, shared a warehouse, and have played together for years.

Scot
Ahh, epic fail on the AUME Listening Instructions:

  1. Substance of choice (optional)
  2. Put on headphones
  3. Turn out the lights
  4. Lay down
  5. Hit play
  6. Enter the wormhole
  7. Regain consciousness
  8. Repeat…
Photo: Joe JohnstonSJ Volatile_Decompression 2006
Aume during their F-Space days

 

Aleph Omega
Are you already indulging in substances?

  • Toneshift
    In mid-career my substances are maple yogurt and coffee, does that count? Seems the sounds alone cover most of this list from a sensory perspective already. I’m certain these recommendations will be welcome to those reading this. I remember we talked about our inter-link on PDX, I miss the Pacific Northwest. You guys already have eight previous releases in your discography – is that correct? What has been the primary focus in your evolution of your sound to date?

Scot
We both had done a ton of work in various other projects and myself in the noise world founding 23Five Incorporated in 92. We’ve always enjoyed working together, AUME is just the current project. F-Space was a more traditional band with drums, guitar and fireballs. AUME focuses on the non-representational. A big focus in the production of the sound is an attempt at a paradigm shift in the way we listen to recorded music. Far too often, or always, music is a background fabric to our lives. Distracted listening rather than focusing intently with the same respect we would give to watching a movie or reading a book. An uninterrupted time set aside to immerse in the sonic arts, with headphones, in a darkened room (substance of choice optional)

  • Toneshift
    As I listen, it sounds like it’s raining with wind on this record right now….

Scot
Well I do live in the PNW.

  • Toneshift
    I remember fondly + believe in the deep listening experience, I have little time for ‘background music’. Though it’s all about state of consciousness and the everyday.

Scot
That was recorded with a Neumann mic out my window during an average winter day. Except with thunder, that’s rather rare.

Aleph Omega
Only 8 releases? Lazy… If I remember our “origin story” correctly, we were discussing resurrecting F-Space as a band, decided against it, and Scot happened to ask if I’d been working on anything musical since we’d seen each other. I sent him some solo material (Mute Mantra) that I’d been working on, which was unlike any of the material that we’d composed in F-Space, (hard to get the roommates or neighbors to agree to moving a drum kit into the house)and he remarked that he’d never heard this side of me before. We just sort’ve picked it up from there, and have branched out ever since. It’s been great to have our different tastes in sound merge. We have the joke that we love all of the same bands, but disagree on which of their songs are the good ones.

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  • Toneshift
    OK, next question. Your releases all have a very stylized presentation, in terms of packaging, etc. It seems these days both cassettes and vinyl have been making something of a comeback as collectors really appreciate their personal libraries and such. How important is this to you guys and do you have any feelings about the physical product as opposed to streaming or downloading music?

Aleph Omega
Well, we’re both artists, avid music listeners, and appreciate a nice package. I think that we’re trying to keep the “fetish” aspect of having an album be something that you appreciate on several different levels, and not just something that you dump into iTunes, and tuck away on a shelf. I think that we both want to put out a package that we’d be intrigued with if we saw it at a record store.

  • Toneshift
    Yes, those days of Tower Records and HMV are a goner. So the creative community is taking back the night.

Aleph Omega
I’d like to assist.

Scot
I come from a fine art background with an MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute. So having a physical element is deeply ingrained. My first release was a cassette encased in a cast cement brick, with an acid etched steel lid. I’ve made a cement album that plays on a turntable. Performances are always physical, quite a bit of the time with fire. Even within the production of sounds in AUME I like to have the initial sounds start from a physical point. After that, they can be processed and transformed.

Aleph Omega
The next album will be nothing but Drum Solos!

  • Toneshift
    Oh jeeshh! We could have a long conversation about shopping in favorite lil’ record shops, at least I could for hours, but not to be remiss, let’s move on. OK, so, this brings us to CQ CQ. This is a revved up record (er, memory stick) with muted voices, industrial rumble, ambient passages, synths and other ambiguous effects. Talk about its title, its sequencing and when can we expect it to materialize and what form it will take…..
coverCQCQ Due Out 10/20.

Scot
CQ CQ refers to the shortwave radio abbreviation for “calling any station”. This theme came about from a disillusionment created by the overwhelming amount of information being transmitted. That any individual voice falls on deaf ears in the midst of a maelstrom. That one is never more isolated than when everyone is talking at the same time. CQ CQ is full of vocal transmissions, most of which are indecipherable. They are failed attempts at communication. Those voices that are understood depict unintended mutations that lead to the disintegration of communication. Despite this, humans have the ability to adapt and resonate in the physical world. To transform isolation into a breath of silence.

  • Toneshift
    What influenced this particular recording? It seems to be broken into parts: transmission, mutation, disintegration and transformation – can you explain how that breaks down?

Scot
The album also took a year and a half to put together and mutated in many ways throughout the process. As did we.

  • Toneshift
    Though aren’t we all mutating, everyday.

Scot
Indeed. About every three months we become someone else given all of the new information received.

Aleph Omega
It’s a reflection on the Alchemical transformation. Of turning Lead into Gold. Solve et Coagula. Entering into a process, and becoming transformed into something else completly.

  • Toneshift
    So, when will the recording see the light of day and what will it be in its final form? I need to ask, there have only been a few artists who have done these memory stick type releases, I got something from Janek Schaefer and one by Terre Thaemlitz. I like the concept, what’s it going to look like in terms of presentation?

AUME_DC_HS2.2

Scot
The release date is Oct 30th. There will be a standard CD run for ease of promotions, and a Fetish version on Flashdrive in a handcrafted box.

Aleph Omega
Hopefully it’s final form will come after the person hearing it resurfaces after heading down the wormhole.

Scot
An interesting aspect to me in the compositions was the challenge of creating a cohesive composition that is broken into smaller compositions. So that the full album sounds complete, the sections sound complete and the individual tracks do as well. Everything stands on its own and together. Well, we are still working on the design. Like the quality of the sound production, it needs to be to the best of our ability.

  • Toneshift
    I like projects that are in shorter vignettes. Can you talk about the way in which you produce the music, do you use samples, overdubs, field recordings — and are you both classically trained?

Aleph Omega
I think that we both use anything that makes a good sound, and then further push those sounds in different directions. It’s definitely a combination, and recombination, of all means at our disposal. I have no musical training other than the one drum lesson the I received in grade school which was comprised of “Basic rock beat number one”.

  • Toneshift
    I learned to play trombone, but never stuck with it.

Aleph Omega
We both work on sound independently, and send it to each other to further transmute.
(insert tromboner joke here)

  • Toneshift
    “Transmute”, I appreciate that as a maleable concept.

a1630873913_10

Scot
We both create sounds from many types of sound sources. Physical, processed, samples, field recordings, nothing is forbidden. Then we send rough compositions to each other through Dropbox. We call it throwing sounds into the cauldron. We made a point at the start to have no limitations. It’s a safe space to explore anything. Then once we get a good bit of sound, they get blended, overlayed, smashed together. Compositions start to arise. Editing continues until we both agree it is solid.

  • Toneshift
    It’s an exquisite corpse of sorts?

Aleph Omega
To a degree. 
I like to think of it more as sound collage. 
With an exquisite corpse, you don’t really get to blend things together as much.
 We color over each others lines quite a bit! Layer on top of layer, until we both agree that it’s finished.

If anything is ever “finished”.

Scot
I don’t have a formal music training. My use of sound comes from photography and how light cascades through a frame. To me, sound moves in the same way. How sound enters from the right or left speaker creates a flow or tension to the composition. In the West, we read from left to right so sound moving in that direction sounds natural.

  • Toneshift
    I can appreciate your comments in regards to photography – I do the complete opposite, as a photographer who is completely motivated and influenced by sound.

a3325179551_10

Scot
But if a sound enters on the right it creates a tension. So, all in all, I feel closer to an abstract expressionist artist than a musician. I can play instruments, but I don’t think like a musician. There is a subtle difference in approach.

  • Toneshift
    I hear ya, nice way of working in conjunction with each other. One multi-part question and a few other quick-fires and we’re done. Visuals are always an interesting challenge to pair with auditory works. Is this something you guys strive to do? Do you perform live and if so, might a performance be solely dedicated to a singular project like this? What does an Aume performance look and feel like?

Scot
Definitely, We strive for an immersive environment in all cases. We have had films in the past three International Drone Cinema festivals. We do use projections during live performances. We both use electronics on stage but also bring in a physical element with handbuilt instruments and drums. Sound and Photography complement each other well.

  • Toneshift
    Truth.

Aleph Omega
We do perform live. Not as often as either of us would like, I’d wager. The elements that we’ve included in live performances so far have been a blend of sound, physicality (primarily Scot pounding things to my holding it all down), film projections, incense, etc. Trying to relay as much information as possible, while giving people enough space to take it all in.

Scot
The visuals though are never gratuitous video. We would never play something with its own content. We make the films to be an extended element to the sound.
All non-representational for the most part. Like our sound, images that produce new images in the observers mind.

  • Toneshift
    Production is separate from the music, the sounds, the noises…I know. Having synergy has so many facets. So finally, what are you planning for the future and how do people find you on the web or connect to your work?

Scot
All of our releases are at aume.bandcamp.com

Aleph Omega
“Hey listener. Get Lost.”

To just keep creating sound and visuals and hoping to bring more people along for the ride. And then maybe finally filming “AUME Live at Pompeii”.

Scot
We sort of drifted away from our early days of banging on things together. The idea for the next album is to bring back the rhythms. But not at all like most all are using them. No beat driven EDM or whatever its called. AUME produces sound like no one else I’ve heard. So the challenge is to bring in percussion and apply our style of manipulation to it.

  • Toneshift
    One last thing. Any suggestions of something you’ve heard recently that left an impression, or that you can’t stop listening to? Or something you haven’t gotten to yet but need to give a spin?

Aleph Omega
We’ve created a sort of deep listening salon on FB. The ability to just be able to just slow down and immerse yourself in an album has gotten so lost on us in this age of distraction and we’re hoping to remind people how to get some of the focus back on something that we all love to do, but has gotten lost for the most part.

  • Toneshift
    Is it public?

Scot
Private, but open to those of like mind. We’ll add you.

Aleph Omega
We can sign you up.
 We know some guys. 😉

  • Toneshift
    But all Toneshift readers will see this.

Aleph Omega
Just added you.
Eh, let them come and find us!

Scot
Anyone who is obsessed with the sonic arts and isn’t a dick is welcome. There is nothing negative about our discussions.

Aleph Omega
It’s interactive. The members have scheduled days to post the album of their choice. It’s interactive/passive listening.

  • Toneshift
    I’d venture to guess that without a hyperlink these days 96% of people don’t bother, it’s a pity, that’s been in my humble experience – not I, I dig deep.

Aleph Omega
Anything worthwhile is worth working for.

  • Toneshift
    So you other than what’s on this meta-group there are no recent singular records that have stood out by other artists you care to name?

Scot
Luciferian Towers By Godspeed…

  • Toneshift
    One of my favorite live acts, ever.

Aleph Omega
I wake up and make the decision of what to listen to before I’ve had coffee, so it’s almost like gambling. Fortunately I’ve got great taste in music, so it’s never disappointing. Killing Joke were just in town, so I’ve been listening to them quite a bit. SWANS just reissued Soundtracks for the Blind, so I’ve been listening to them quite a bit as well..

Scot
Agreed.

  • Toneshift
    Well guys, that’s our hour together – it’s been a capital ‘P’ for pleasure chatting – appreciate your good nature, and hope to catch up again soon!

Scot
Thank you for the invite, is much appreciated.

Aleph Omega
It was a pleasure to meet you, and thanks for talking to us.

aume2

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