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re. The Science Group

Osamu Sakamoto Interview

18 October 1999

(The part of this interview was used for liner notes for Japanese version of The Science Group / a mere coincidence released from Locus Solus)


1a. What is the theme of the album?

Most texts are derived from ideas current in various disciplines of science: cosmology, particle physics, quantum theory, mathematics, complexity theory and so on. The remainder concern technologies (engineering), psychology (lab notes). My technique - as with Winter Songs, Domestic Stories &c. - is to use descriptive language in such a way that, whatever the surface meaning, the text is equally 'about' some human or philosophical problem. I usually write about one thing and think about another, so as to stretch and exploit the ambiguity and suggestiveness of language and its juxtapositions.

1b. Why did you choose Science?

I have always been interested in the discourse and practice of the sciences: its method, rigour, and scope. It seems to me that sometimes that there is more poetry in science today than in poetry, or at least as much; and, for imagination, there are concepts in the sciences that can compete with any contemporary literary work. Moreover, it is surely time to be done with that old, meaningless separation between the 'sciences' and 'the humanities'? Of course, there are different kinds of knowledge, as there are different kinds of question to answer but I think, to grasp the world more roundly, epistemologies should come together where they can?

1c. From when have you ever been interested in Science?

Since I can remember.

2a. What does the album title mean?

Only what it says

2b. Is it about the coincidence of the ratio which Paul Dirac found?

It could be, among many other things.

3a. I can't understand the lyric of "Lab Note".

It's a description of a psychology experiment; it is meant to be mysterious and unclear.

3b. What is "AM" or "Am"? - is it Americium?

No, but that's a nice idea! I mean it to be the same word as 'am' in 'I AM, she is, we are', signifying a state of being.

3c. What is the meaning of "Half-full bodies"?

Incomplete, nascent, forming...

4. What means the titles of the songs "Mnemonic" and "Love"? 4b. I feel that both titles are different from each text. 4c. Why did you chose the title "Love" to the song about Chaos and Butterfly Effect?

A mnemonic is an easy way to remember something. 'Mnemonic' is a kind of mnemonic. The title belongs to it directly.

'Love' - you are right, the song is 'about' attractors and chaos theory - but attraction can take many forms, and emotions are nothing if not chaotic.. The title is a suggestion to read the text in different ways..

5a. Is the text earlier than Stevan's composing?


5b.What was the reason to call him to join this project?

I met Stevan many years ago in Novi Sad (Jugoslavia). We kept in touch. He moved to France some years later to work with choreographer Josef Nadj. I released a CD of his ensemble around this time and soon after we worked together on one of Josef's dance programmes. We did some recording and I asked him if he would be interested to collaborate on a new song CD. He agreed. I thought his way of composing would bring something new, he is trained and thinks as a contemporary composer but is equally happy with electronics - and he understands folk music and rock also from the inside.

6. How were the musicians gathered?

Stevan, Bob and I put down all the basic tracks in France. Stevan you know. Bob because I have worked a lot with him, he is great engineer and one of the only bass players I know who could play this music convincingly. He is a consummate musician. After this, I invited Fred to add guitar parts and then Amy came. Fred, obviously because he is a master, Amy because she is one of the few people I have met who could overcome the complexity of the music and sing it as if it were simple. Stevan's writing for winds is extremely complex and demanded a trained contemporary music interpreter, so I asked Claudio with whom I had already worked with in Fred's 'Tense Serenity'.

6a.What was the reason to call 2 singers, Bob Drake and Amy Denio? Do they have different roles?

No. It was not so specific as that. It depended only on the suitability of the range for each voice.

7. How are you feeling to complete this album?

It's always exiting to work on a project - and this one stretched over about three years, so it was also good to be finished with it! I think it is unlike anything else I have ever heard? Now it is out of our hands. I think about other projects, but we are all interested to see how this one gets on in the world.




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