Thylacine gives sound to his adventurous escapades around the globe, including the likes of Norway, Ukraine, and Anatolia, on his latest album project 9 pieces. In a fashion typical of the French producer, who made his name with previous albums Timeless and Transsiberian, in which he drew inspiration from his travels across Siberia and conveyed these through stylistically complex pieces, he has created nine immersive pieces combining sound and visuals that showcase the wonders of various musical traditions.
9 Pieces does distinguish itself from previous travel-inspired pieces by the way in which it acts like a scrapbook, collating tracks made at different points and times into one album. Each track entails a unique element telling the stories of places that he has encountered.
“It’s the first time that I’m uniting tracks made at different places and times. My goal was to unite very different tracks and see how altogether they could tell something about my musical research. So, for me the common thread on this album would be.. not to have one! But I guess the working processes are similar, it’s just the environment and sounds that change at the end. Each track has to be able to stand on its own and couldn’t really hide in between other pieces, so maybe I was a bit more rigorous about selecting them. And it’s also interesting to be able to communicate and develop each piece at a time.”
Translating a place into music
There is no formula for encapsulating a place in music and so Thylacine prefers to focus on those things which stand out to him and how they made him feel, using this to direct each track. He recognizes that translating a place and its intricacies into music is an impossible task, acknowledging the subjectivity of travel and the different ways in which we can experience a place.
“It’s always entirely subjective and that’s what is interesting for me. Everyone can do the same travel and react differently to it. I can’t translate a whole place but I can tell the emotions that I felt whilst there.”
Anatolia, for example, is centered around the strings of the Bağlama and was recorded in troglodyte caves. It is in these unknown spaces, experiencing the unfamiliar, that the artist thrives. He explains the creation that is spurned from this can be manifested in many different forms. “From translating the mood of a place to meeting and recording people, instruments, or ambient sounds. There are a lot of possibilities. I don’t pretend to understand and control all aspects – I just get more creative in unknown environments.”
Thylacine has spent the past few years creating tracks that usually fall somewhere on the electronic spectrum. However, his creative background has involved the exploration of various art forms. At university, for example, he studied Fine Arts, crediting this with influencing his creative process now.“Art school taught me to build projects where I can control and develop every artistic aspect. It pushed me to build bridges between sound and image.”
Prior to his production of electronic music, he studied classical and jazz music. He explains that the less rigid rules of electronic music allowed him a sense of liberated creative freedom.
“Electronic music is for me having access to all kinds of sounds and instruments. Everything can be mixed, there are no pre-established structures. I feel like everything is possible with electronic music. Also, you don’t have to be a good pianist to put some piano on your track or know how to sing properly. What matters is the emotion and the energy that you can share.”
Nevertheless, he fully embraces aspects of the jazz tradition within his electronic music, namely the importance of spontaneity and improvisation. Thylacine says, “I’ve never really asked myself what kind of music I would like to compose or what direction I should take. I just try to make music that makes me feel better. Improvisation is something I’ve learned from jazz music and that really helps me.”
Given the eclectic range of influences and inspiration for his work, it is unsurprising that tracks sound original and authentic, guiding listeners through evocative and textured soundscapes. Within nine pieces, despite the independent nature of each piece, the tracks manage to work together bound by the character of exploration and adventure.
9 Pieces is out now via Intuitive Records.