The Challenge of Originality

Atlantic Waves IV, Robert Henke

It has been a very long time since I immersed myself so deeply in music composition. It is like learning all over again, particularly since I am at the same reinventing my work for A Season in Hell. For more than ten years, since the early 1990s, I have been listening to all forms of electronica, from the experimentations of the avant-garde to dance music. Two years ago I saw Underworld in New York, and decided I had to figure out how to inject that kind of raw energy in my own music. There is a seductive and hypnotic quality to this music that is in line with Rimbaud’s notion of the intoxication of the senses. That is what draws me to this music: it’s properties of transformation to the point of hallucination. The challenge now is to inject my own work with this quality without falling into the trappings of traditional electronic music orchestration, i.e., bass, drums, etc. I have been listening to Robert Henke’s work, which I think is wonderfully original and devoid of the clichés of electronica and dance music. It’s no accident he is one of the originators of Ableton Live. Music software today has made it far too easy to replicate musical styles, but the challenge remains to be original.