Christina Abdelnour asks a few questions about A Short Vacation.
This is your first solo release. How did Giant Colors come about and what was it like creating this music compared to other projects and being a part of a band?
To understand where Giant Colors comes from, we have to go back a few years when I first met David Carter and Bret Phillips. They invited me to do a track with their drone project, Triop on the album Triopical. We further collaborated with Psychedubasarus Rex, and eventually Lotus Quadrant bloomed from that.
Last Summer, Kace Brennan (DAMS, Lotus Quadrant) and I took an adventure to California, after recording the unreleased Lotus Quadrant record. I wanted to do a project out West, but was feeling uninspired. I had the notion of doing something completely by myself. I approached A Short Vacation without any idea what to do. I wasn’t sure how to do what I wanted or what would happen when I did. I used really droney loops that formed the skeleton of the songs. Then, I would improvise until songs materialized. For example, “Vesica Awareness” was an interpretation of an unreleased Lotus Quadrant song, “Vesica Pisces”.
I really enjoy improvising with others to create something new. I didn’t have that with this recording, so I worked with the very basic components I had. It was a totally different experience than working with a band.
I noticed the use of electronic sounds along with organic instrumentation. Was it a challenge using electronic sounds in your music?
I wanted to make a piece of work with the limited amount of resources I had. A Short Vacation uses a guitar and a computer. On one track I use an app from my phone, too, but that’s it. It’s fantastic using the electronic sounds. It’s easy to manipulate the tones and textures and create multiple layers quickly, filling up a lot of space in the songs.
I think it’s fascinating that you can create such rich sounds just by using a computer. I know a lot of critics discount electronic music as not being authentic. However, any music can be a beautiful form of expression not matter how it is created.
I agree. I’ve always enjoyed samples and different forms of electronic noise. I remember looking at the liner notes of a Coil CD when I was a kid and they had to explain what sampling was to the audience. Information Society sampled an ancient dial-up modem on a track. Is that art? Is that music? I would never consider hip hop unauthentic. Real hip hop is one of the most beautiful forms of expression. Could you discredit all it’s years for the use of beat machines and sampling?
The EP engages the listener with mainly “instrumental” songs. However, explain what the spoken word part in “Pyramids Between the Fingers” means.
I think a lot about dream consciousness. We spend so much of our lives dreaming. Are we awake in our dream state? Is our awake state the real dream? These are questions I enjoy exploring. Also, I feel like I have grown so much personally in the past few years. In one way I’m referring to “the dream” as my life up until a few years ago. “Not fully awake”, in a way would be that I still have much more to learn. It’s left open for interpretation, and I am still figuring it out, as well.
How would you describe the EP to a listener wanting to check it out for the first time?
I’m not entirely sure. How would you describe it?
I would describe it as an escape or “vacation” from reality, a place to feel calm.
Or maybe, the vacation is the reality?
I know you emphasized listening to the whole thing as one entire loop, what was the reasoning behind that?
The looping process is a fascinating thing that you can get lost in. Also, it was instrumental in creating A Short Vacation. I thought looping the whole record would be fitting, and with the help of Bret Phillips, we made it happen. I want you to lose yourself in the sound and by the time it’s finished not know where you are.
Describe your personal connection to the EP and what it meant to you to create it. How long was the process, etc?
The naming of the EP, A Short Vacation, is really personal in itself.
The track that featured me on Triopical was titled, “Planning A Short Vacation”. By naming this record A Short Vacation I feel that I created some sort of loop in time. There was no planning for these songs, and there were no plans of this record when we were recording the Triop track. A sort of traveling back in time… bending the rules. A reverse planning from the future.
In one way I wanted to give thanks to Bret and Dave for including me in this musical adventure. They really have made a huge impact on me. In another way, it describes the fifteen minutes of your life it takes to listen. In yet another way, it describes my past year in California… a short vacation. It seemed to give me some punctuation.
What was it like working with Bret Phillips on mastering the EP?
Bret Phillips is amazing to work with. We are always on the same page and things go really smoothly with any session we are working on. I’ve worked exclusively with him, since the first project we ever did together.
Do you plan on playing any shows and performing as Giant Colors?
Absolutely. I have some strange ideas. Once I’ve ironed out the proverbial wrinkles, it’s on.