Very few records hit me this hard the first time around. LTO‘s absolutely gorgeous No Pasa Nada EP is one of them. The Ransom Note gets it right here, it “mixes organic and mechanic sounds together, and melds all sorts of genres as diverse as dubstep, post-rock and modern classical music, a style that no-one else comes close to repeating.” It is a four track wonder that demands your immediate attention so here is a little interview to let you get to know him better.
The EP and the song names are in Spanish due to your travels in South America. How did this trip influence the EP?
I had a lot of different ideas floating around, old and new, at varying degrees of completion before I left. Stepping outside of my mostly musical existence, and seeking inspiration in non-musical experiences for a sustained period, enabled me to return with a renewed perspective on things and to focus my writing towards more concrete outcomes.
Could you briefly walk us through the tracks?
I like creating ambiences with my own field recordings and making loops out of them, manipulating/enhancing the natural transients to create rhythms. You can hear this in Hundirse, which uses layers of pitched-down boiling water including a snare sound naturally produced by a popping bubble. I had an old upright piano in my last house and started playing around with the pedals in a rhythmic way.
I liked the dampened thud they made and the way the mechanism interacted with the strings. So I recorded some rhythmic patterns, getting as close as possible to the mechanism, and used them to build the beat in Rebelarse. I like experimenting with ways to subtly incorporate my voice into my tracks and Contar is example of this.
For me, the voice in music has always been primarily about the sound, and secondarily about the lyrical content and meaning. Contar also features a bit of my trumpet-playing, inspired by the bands Godspeed you! Black Emperor and Do Make Say Think, who have been massively influential for me.
I enjoy building musical elements from non-conventional sound sources. The beat in Trabajar is made from a (badly-recorded) recording of me rummaging around in a box of toy instruments I have, which is eventually revealed at the end of the track. Since learning about Wagner’s use of ‘leitmotifs’ at school, I’ve been interested in embedding recurring themes in my music, sometimes across different tracks. I like the idea of doing it subliminally, just to evoke a sense of familiarity at a subconscious level. The melodic hook in Trabajar is an example of this.
You are one of the producers of the Old Apparatus collective. How is your solo project comparing to your OA work?
My solo stuff tends to bring out more of the piano and other acoustic aspects of my music whereas Old Apparatus tends to be focused on a more electronic sound world. My solo music, perhaps, also has a stronger melodic element whereas Old Apparatus is more subtle in that respect, focussing more on ambience and percussive elements.
You are a pianist and the beautiful piano riffs can be heard throughout the EP. Would you consider putting out a solo piano record one day?
I often use the piano as a starting point for writing but usually can’t resist introducing other sounds, although, having said that, I have quite a few pieces where the piano is very much the driving force of the track. So maybe one day.
The artwork is striking. What’s the story behind it?
I was after something that represented the beauty of naturally occurring patterns and my brother Dave happened to be making a linocut of a piece of coral at the time, which fitted perfectly. Dave has also designed all the Old Apparatus/Sullen Tone covers and the majority of the videos. You can check out his portfolio here: http://www.gerbiltea.com.