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7 July

Jackson, a SHAPE artist

Chosen by Electroni[k] for the SHAPE* platform, Jackson will perform in Rennes in October 2016 for the Festival Maintenant, but also in Montreal for MUTEK in June 2016.

Known for his albums under the name of Jackson & His Computerband, released on the legendary label Warp, Jackson presents its new creation, Light Metal Music. From home-made metallic instruments, he transforms the light spectrum into sound frequency thanks to resonance and algorithm, creating a soundtrack semi-improvised. Blending musical mist, vibrating metallic boxes and strange controllers, it brings to mind the world of sculpture as much as the steel industry. Between manufactured pulses and unearthly melodies, Jackson invites us to listen to the light as well as seeing the sound.


Until then, Electroni[k] met up with Jackson :

Hi Jackson, could you briefly explain your new project – Light Metal Music – that you’ll present in 2016 ?

Light Metal Music is the name that I gave to my work translating the light spectrum into sound. It’s the process of translating a diffracted light beam’s colours into sounds thanks to an optical prism and a re-synthesis technique in real time.

As part of the performance, I use partitions from metallic mirrors to transform the shape and position of the light, then changing its twin sound generated by the algorithm of this re-synthesis. The colour spectrum is then transcribed into sound frequency, amplified by large vibrating mirror metallic plates. The light in motion echoes and reflects into the sensory system, going through the same material being the metal mirror.


Until now, we were used to connect your name to your ‘computer band’. Is this project its extension ?

Let’s say that I shortened my name in order to widen my musical practice and initiate this vibratory phenomenon.


How long have you been working on this performance ?

I unveiled the origin of this project at the Ircamlive Festival in November 2014 in Paris.


According to you, the main focus of this project is to invent new instruments ? Can you tell us more about the most surprising one?

I based this production on my desire to create instruments as MIDI controllers, synthesisers and turnables did not match my conception of musical motion. There are a visual and physical side to it that I couldn’t transcribe. Working on what I could actually create, I discovered that the sense and shape of my instruments were as crucial as the sounds they enabled me to make. I then came up with a grammar, a device, a collection of interfaces prone to help me create a new form of art.

The perception of what vibratory fields could be became one of my main concern. I discovered that is was possible to access a suprasensitive perception of reality mixing our senses, particularly our sight and hearing.


How do you deal with live improvisation ?

I see improvisation as a way to communicate with the audience. Like a mean to share the experimentation of the device. I can then make the public part of my research.


As part of the festival Maintenant, you will be performing in a chapel. How do you approach the location when you’re playing live ?

I like the idea of playing with a chapel’s lights. Since the beginning of time, lights have played a huge role in religious rituals. I can’t wait to play with its acoustic.


What is the culmination point of this project ?

It’s a matter of communing with greater strengths and the tangible reality.


Interview by Harmony Touguet.

* SHAPE (Sound, Heterogeneous Art and Performance in Europe) is an initiative co-founded by the European Creative programme. Merging 16 non-profit European organisations from the ICAS network (International Cities of Advanced Sound), it intends to create a supportive platform, promoting exchange between upcoming and innovative musicians mixing different fields, focusing on audio culture.

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