Korean cellist, composer, and improviser, Okkyung Lee talks with Sonosphere about her time at this year’s Big Ears festival in Knoxville, TN, working with Evan Parker, learning to love the cello, and what’s in store for her this year.
We linked up with Memphis electronic artist Ihcilon and asked him a few questions. He was also kind enough to make a playlist for everyone’s enjoyment. Look for him to be playing some shows around town this year.
How long have you been performing as Ihcilon?
The first thing I released was an EP in December 2014. But I had been futzing around with the idea of electronic music since around 1999.
Can you tell our followers how to pronounce Ihcilon phonetically?
To be honest, I really don’t have an official way of pronouncing it that has stuck. I decided on ee-hih-lohn but most people say ih-sih-lon so really either way. When I chose it I never expected anyone to have to pronounce it.
Can you describe your process to making your sounds?
It usually starts with something I hear in regular time: motors, blowers, or sometimes the sound of things hitting together like hammers or wind chimes. I’ll try to recreate it in software and if that doesn’t work I turn to household objects and cheap wind instruments. A lot of it happens by accident. Everything is improvised and recorded in one take. I’ll have a basic road map but fingers will slip or memories will lapse and will yield some sometimes interesting results.
What instruments do you most enjoy working with?
I don’t know if many would agree with this definition, but my favorite instrument at the moment is my phone. I mean, I would love to say that I absolutely love my Buchla or Moog but I don’t own anything like that. There is software on my phone that kind of sound like those things and that’s where the joy is right now.
What inspires you to create?
Personal experiences. Much of the sound you will hear from Ihcilon are more autobiographical than anything. You will hear reinterpreted sounds of medical equipment, internal audio of migraines, sounds from dreams, conversations, shows I have been to… It all kind of mixes together.
Are there any moments as a performer that stand out to you?
Memphis Concréte 2017 was by and large the best thing I had ever been involved in up to that point. It was amazing and unlike anything I had ever seen here.
What can Memphis do better to grow and promote electronic music here?
We’re doing a really good job cultivating a scene here. It’s all still a relatively new idea for this area. I think Memphis is still trying to figure out what to do with music you can’t necessarily dance to. But we have many venues that will let us in and as long as that keeps happening I feel like the scene will grow on its own.
If you were to collaborate with one artist who would it be?
Just one?? Probably Diamanda Galás. Her voice has always been captivating. But I will collaborate with just about anyone.
What do you have planned for 2018?
Memphis Concréte, do a handful of shows, and release at least one album. There’s nothing bigger than that.
Here are the songs featured on the mix:
Cyril The Dancing Bear – Pending Disco
iscDo – The Dust Gets In
Three Voices – Retrospection
False – Operant
All is Almost a Prayer – Stammer
Null – Stammer
Mainsplainer – Ihcilon
Photo by Heather Wallace
Varese searched for the modern sound, the sound that would define his generation. Like Schoenberg before him, Varese’s early atonal period broke down language and form into a stream of sensations – “his screaming chords seemed to have no emotion tied to them, no history or future” – just very present in the now.
Join us on the journey through the life and mind of French American composer Edgard Varese.