Everything is noise, everything is rhythm

By Neshy Denton

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There’s an individual extraneity evoked into today’s, into people’s, quotidian lives. This interplay between the intricacies of evolution and the ongoing urban development has led to the questioning of simple concepts, like the simple exchange of human touch. Everyone questions everything now, yet everyone is just as questionable. Is this false, is this real, does this work, is this safe, is this art bad, is this good music, or is it just noise? But then, everything is noise.  

I spoke to Lolo from the ornamental duo Lolo & Sosaku. They work from their studio in Barcelona but contain blood from overseas. Argentinian and Japanese. Since their union in 2004, they have accumulated a certain spatial awareness in laboratories of unorthodox craftsmanship. Speaking through flashes of paint, robotic constructions, manual restructuring, as well as the manipulation of digitalised knobs and engineering, they attenuate obvious chaos into its purest form of liberation. But, most of all, they make noise. 

They fall upon a construction of gadgets and ornamental complementaries. From dancing sculptures to kinetic objects or painting machinery – there is even an ongoing collision of two classic pianos inside the most prestigious space for classical music: the Auditori de Barcelona. For them, making music is not about composing melody lines within lines of theoretical harmony. What Lolo and Sosaku do is pace the nature of their sound for it to reach a more spiritual level. They don’t stand for remaining on that same layer everyone seems to be comfortable in. They find refuge in discovering the hidden layers of sound to reach what the public may consider chaos, a serene state of relief. 

Clocking machinery into its desired rhythms is their version of a jazz artist writing sheet music. During rehearsals they’ve tried including the input of diverse instruments, but it’s the limited organisation of notes which makes them grow restless. Their rehearsals consist of building machines which, within itself, can be interpreted as the previous composition of a concert. When the time comes to walk on stage – or to the centre of a room – the musical/sound outcomes drift between their knowledge of the engine’s aleatory ticks and manners and their audience’s most important layer. They already know the odds, but they encourage their music towards the call and response with the spectators’ energy in the room. Lolo tells me; “It’s all a mystery. The sound starts to organise itself within the chaos. It goes from organised to chaotic almost instantly. There’s a reaction we feel directly from the public who are standing 15 centimetres away”.

They’ve now started using variable frequency drives. They’ve managed to capture sound directly from electricity, to then amplify through amp controllers. These control how much electricity goes into the motors. By opening the variable drive, like a surgeon does a body, they’ve inspected where the electricity goes through. This electric current passes through circuits and then finds a location where its intensity increases and diminishes. By defying all laws of profession unambiguity, they’ve adopted the role as mechanical doctors with a side hustle of gadget-whisperers. By focusing tiny microphones inside the variables they control the musical outcomes of this new creation of instrumental purpose.

The essence lies in layers – electronic layers intertwined with conceptual layers. Because they aren’t musicians. They aren’t builders or engineers. They’re the kind of guys you’d never want to finish if you met on a night out and embarked upon a conversation of philosophical queries. They see our world via dense eyes and what it is to be a citizen of today’s concrete jungle. They take all those emotions, subconsciously buried within our modern selves, and smack it back into our faces. It is a reminder that we’re all living in a pretty fucked up world so we should allow ourselves a moment to let go. 

People thrive off their shows to allow the industrial gravity of this sound to cleanse them. It’s like when you use salt scrubs to make your skin smoother. It scratches a bit at first and feels a bit uncomfortable but then you feel amazing, especially when you start to notice its benefits. They see the world as their canvas – and those who live in it their paintbrush. But you’d be a fool to think that’s all they interact with. “I have a friend who said she absolutely loved the performance, but she was covering her ears and hiding in the corner” Lolo chuckles. 

They’ve brought art to renowned spaces like the Liceu de la Opera in Barcelona where they played absolute live sorcery. They played another live show “The End” at the music Sónar Festival in Barcelona last year. They’ve held workpieces upon intriguing spaces like a storage building in l’Hospitalet de Llobregat, or the Double Square Gallery in Taiwan, or at an olive grove in the Ebro Delta, Tarragona. And they haven’t tired in seeking out their surroundings as an empty template. 

They are working on a new film as we speak. Or as we read. It explores a phantasmagorical world-building from their most authentic and personal perspectives. It is currently still being filmed to be released sometime next year. I guess you can imagine what the baby of Lolo and Sosaku’s minds would bear resemblance to. Well, this time for their fiction film, it is their most internal angles – fed by an inspiration from Francisco Goya’s renowned art piece El sueño de la razón produce monstruos. Other times it has been Chopin’s guitar playing that has inspired them. Or Mr Let’s Paint’s running machine callings. Their most notorious influences, however, are their mates, people they stumble across. Some people gravitate towards the mountains and nature in order to find inspiration, but there are others, like Lolo & Sosaku, who tend with the city’s essence as a form of stimulation. The people it carries, the decadence behind the homeless, the rumbling of its hums, the energy it evaporates, the noise from cars, etc because; “Everything is noise, everything is rhythm”.

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