‘Glisten’ from the album Interspaces (2022). The original footage in this visual contemplation is from the Monet’s garden in Giverny, France, filmed in October 2020.
Glisten shares the same journey as the album’s opening track Petals, emerging in that same summer night on the organic farm in Suonenjoki, Finland, 25 years ago. While noodling on my synthesizer in this wooden cabin by a pond – my studio and rehearsal space, surrounded by forests and fields – I was contemplating the nocturnal mist hovering above the still surface of the water outside my window, interrupted only occasionally by two swans gliding quietly together. The world was serene and limpid, illuminated by a full moon and the afterglow of a midnight sun. Suddenly, a scintillating melodic pattern began to emerge, as if petals of a flower that had begun to unfold and reveal the bloom inside; this was followed by another, a more “starry sky glistening above a Northern wilderness” kind of pattern. A couple of years later in London, a friend of mine asked if he could use both tracks as background music for his painting exhibition, and for the purposes of the show I added the voice of this Finnish girl reading a poem of mine (in Finnish), this time harmonised and vocoded into a more abstract and ethereal layer.
For the next 20 years the piece remained unchanged – and unreleased, despite my efforts to find a suitable context and form for it – until one Spring morning in Paris when I finally figured out how to continue with the music (“there’s nothing worse than a brilliant beginning” – Picasso). The initial updated version became closer to industrial electro though, with syncopated beats and bassist Omar Harb delivering a motorik funky bassline beating even the machine in precision, duration and slight liveliness (I intend to release this version in future); for the album I opted for a more spacious and emptier take, making the original ambient track the central element, reducing the beats to a minimum, and replacing the synths and basslines with the abstracted voice of Lucia Munenge from the Absent River piece. As with Petals, there were no swans gliding on a moonlit pond outside my window upon the track’s completion but a soft hum of the Parisian night traffic, a couple of faintly glistening stars in the piece of sky above, and a sense of a fresh new dawn.