Techno Tuesday: Blond:ish on spirituality and music
Techno Tuesday is a feature on Dancing Astronaut documenting the culture of underground dance music. We’ll bring you exclusive interviews, tracks, and narratives from artists within the techno, tech house, and deep house world in an effort to shed light on some of the best talent outside the world of mainstream dance music.
Blond:ish might be our favorite female duo of the underground. As both accomplished producers and seasoned live performers, the Canadian pairing have become a standout act on German label Kompakt. Last year, they delivered their debut album, Welcome to the Present, building upon their catalogue of spiritually-infused house and techno.
This Friday, January 8, Blond:ish find themselves performing alongside some fellow dancefloor mystics at Crosstown Rebels’ annual Day Zero gathering in Tulum. Ahead of their appearance, we’ve tasked the duo with ruminating on their spiritual connection with music. One half of the duo, Vivie-ann Bakos, was more than happy to oblige, and has provided a detailed narrative below.
When we were asked to talk about spirituality in music, I really liked the idea. I’m no expert, but pretty much everyday we’re learning and exploring these topics and more.
Without getting too philosophical here (I could go in many different directions), I’ll try to keep it simple..ish. It’s hard to keep focused on one little subject when you’re like a kid in a candy store on the subject of sound. I think I’ll end up touching on two subjects.
Our whole lives have been surrounded by music.
It started when I was a born and my Dad’s reel II reel was playing 24/7 in our house. It grew into me buying a sampler mixer when I was a teenager, and then asking my dad for $600 so I could buy turntables and working a minimum wage job at Tim Horton’s (Canadians know what I’m talking about) to support my R&D raving career, and a lot of etc etc’s…
I never thought of it too much, but my apparent biggest goals as a career “DJ” were successfully producing music and playing for big crowds in clubs as a respected DJ.
I thought that was the end all of the ‘climb up the music’ ladder. For the average listener, they discover music as they grow up and then hit a wall at some point and keep playing the same music, or their career or kids or life takes over and no more music research happens and they begin to back track, and before you know it, they are listening to the same music for the next 50 years.
There is one thing that has been engraved in us for a few years now, and that is to constantly evolve… because if you think about it or not, EVERYTHING CHANGES, EVERYTHING. So in the back of my mind, I had a little hiccup when I thought about producing music to be the end all of the music umbrella, but never really thought about it too hard until… one day in India, I had a eureka moment where everything came together. We had been traveling around India and Bali going to different yoga classes and many different meditations, including OSHO. We naturally came to this point, as we needed to find some sort of balance in this crazy and potentially ungrounding lifestyle we have. Meditation as we know it is basically a ‘space between’ all the craziness that is going on in our lives. So much is happening when you’re sitting there quietly not thinking about anything, you think it’s nothing, but it’s actually the time when everything that you’ve been learning and going thru in the hecticness that we call life is being absorbed into your system.
So this ‘space between’ that we can call meditation or mindfulness is essential for us all, yet so little of us do it. It’s always there, yet we never give it any attention. It is simultaneously in the background and in the forefront, but sitting quietly. Yet it has most of the meaning to our existence in the potential of creating magic or connecting to the “spiritual self”.
I’ve taken this concept into music as well (some of the time, it’s of course about balance). I realized in some ways it’s actually not even about the musical notes themselves, but about paying attention to the space between the notes. After the note is actually played, there is a space before the next note is played. SO much goes on here. This is where the note can tail off depending on the length of its decay, sustain and release, the amount and type of reverb, spatial reflections, delays, timbre… so much! :) It’s also the point of the track where you can actually take in and absorb what the music is saying.
It’s just like if I speak super super fast, there’s no time for you to really understand what I’m trying to tell you, but if I speak a bit slower and there is some space between the words, there is time for the listener to absorb what’s going actually being said.
So with the music now, I’m trying to pay more attention to the that ‘not so little space between’ for the answers… it can tell you a lot :) And you don’t have to go to a magic show to find it. It’s always there. It’s in all of us. Through music and sounds, we can bring this more fine tuned awareness to create the magic.