© Album cover : Julien Ducourthial  / Artificial presence by Rico Zerone / 2017

Rico Zerone is back with another beautiful music album, called Artificial presence, it's due out jan.1, for the new year 2017. It is more philosophic than the other albums, sometimes grave, meditative, lively, exotic, cinematic, inquiring, with deep harmonies and cinematic innovation. The result is the very best of Rico. Visuals and animation was made by The jazzist, wonderful graphic designer, Julien Ducourthial, here : http://artificialpresence.thejazzist.nu/

© Visuals and animation by The jazzist, for the music album : Artificial presence by Rico Zerone  http://artificialpresence.thejazzist.nu/

When everything falls, the sparkling and joyful creation appears.
Congratulations ! Sensual synchronized shapes, round, square, trophies, accordions, orgasmic circles, sights and snipers, minimal, pop, smart, sexy, kinetics arts waves and rhythms, multidimensional and virtual movement, with pink and coffee, chocolate and apricot, in philosophical music of mirages of harmony and a phenomenological perspective, sinusoidal, depth, hypnosis, monument, horror of the vacuum, the strange foreigners of the science fiction, estrangement, desirous synaesthesia, representation of visual, auditory, haptic sensations, left and right, painting, serious, comic trip, sweet and calm.
An electronic colored machine that might facilitate the creation of a sonic standing wave.
We are convinced that we can see something in an image even though, at the same time, we are certain, that this something is not really, but only artificially, present.
The album the most elaborate by Rico Zerone and gifted animations by Julien Ducourthial joined together, combined. Some ideas of meetings, and they found in a fabulous, serious, vampiric cosmic vessel.
Unity, Fragmentation, Cellular Automaton 1, Cellular Automaton 2, Cellular Automaton 3, Second Nature, Estrangement, Horror Vacui, Monuments (Artificial Presence - Rico Zerone)
I am filled with emotion. What a beautiful end of the year, apotheosis, pink !
In highlight, hypnotic !

Happy new year 2017 !

Mil abraços e beijinhos ❤

© Visuals and animation by The jazzist, for the music album : Artificial presence by Rico Zerone  http://artificialpresence.thejazzist.nu/

Interviews of crossed keys : Rico Zerone & The Jazzist / by Kiwaïda


K : - Can you describe the process of creation of your music ?
The main theme of this project are several variations on Technoromanticism, or in other words the re-enchantment of a rationalized world through the means of technology. This is a very ambivalent program: on one hand it is very nostalgic about a lost past of ancient unity, a place in time when paradise was real and humankind was united with it, on the other hand it lives from the projection of the said ideal state in the future transcending the present fragmentation of modern life. So it goes in both directions: back to the past and into the future,  both transcend the present. The polarity between nature and civilization provides the point of departure for these kinds of narratives. I will try to illustrate it by reference to the tracks of "Artificial Presence".

K : - How did you narrating, all the title ? Like Horror Vacui, Second Nature, Monuments ?

If we take Unity it has a very idealistic, absolute, omnitude demanding character. I leave it up for the listener to affirm it or not because the same glorious, harmonizing atmosphere can be perceived as compulsion and unfreedom. 

Fragmentation is the fall from this state of perfection and at the same time it represents the act of liberation. Stillistically it breaks with harmonic, tonal conventions and such. Also there is a beat something material, non-spiritual but concrete, terrestrial so to speak. It is possible to contrast Unity and Fragmentation with the ancient dualisms of light and darkness, spirit and matter, etc. but I wouldn't give any of the two a preference over the other.

Horror Vacui or the fear of vastness is a sublime motive. In this particular case it represents the abscence of clear form: infinity. Something truly fearful but at the same time fascinating is happening. I had a particular quote of the French mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal in my mind as I began to write this track. It is from "Pensées sur la religion et sur quelques autres sujets". I came across it through reading an essay by Hans Jonas who describes this quote as Pascals characterisation of the solitude of man in the physical universe of modern age cosmology: 

Je vois ces effroyables espaces de l'univers qui m'enferment, et je me trouve attaché à un coin de cette vaste étendue, sans que je sache pourquoi je suis plutôt placé en ce lieu qu'en un autre, ni pourquoi ce peu de temps qui m'est donné à vivre m'est assigné à ce point plutôt qu'à un autre de toute l'éternité qui m'a précédé et de toute celle qui me suit. Je ne vois que des infinités de toutes parts, qui m'enferment comme un atome et comme une ombre qui ne dure qu'un instant sans retour.

Monuments is directly linked to the fear of vastness. Memorials, landmarks are collective strategies to dam back contingency, established for eternity. But there was also a quote by Schiller which inspired me to write this track. It is in particular the root of the theory of the unconscious. He writes that in consciousness the I only finds monuments and memorials of a path, but not the path itself (unconscious) - it is up to transcendental Idealism as science to bring to mind (anamnesis) what is buried in a region beyond consciousness. Again we operate with dualisms this time between the realms of conscious and unconscious, which is the foundation of psychoanalysis. 

Second Nature is the very general term for the area which was created by man and is supposed to be similar to (first) nature. 

Estrangement is directly linked to it - also a marxist key term but has its historico-cultural roots in the theological discourse. For the track itself: it is more lighthearted, think about the first half of Charlie Chaplins "Modern Times" :)

Cellular Automata (1-3) are dynamic systems who seem to visualize organic lifeforms within a determined set of rules. This is also linked to Second Nature, but in a more playful way. I'd like to add that Cellular Automaton 2 is the most Kraftwerkesque track I ever made. I think in their early period they also were pretty technoromantic - simple sequences, almost naive melodies and a hypnotic motorik beat. This is something I tried to incorporate in that particular track. Complexity through iterations, emergence - btw this was also the main theme of "Morphic Resonance" a track on my previous album "Passenger". Alex Bond made a fantastic video piece with feedback:  it could represent self awareness of determined systems (thematically this is also the ground for many science-fiction movies and novels) or just be a trippy experience overall. Musically it is a droney meditation on cosmic nihilism - it culminates and ends in a big implosion as the camera zooms out of the screen. I can truly recommend this video, as it is directly linked to the creation process of "Artificial Presence". 

K : - What's the origin idea of this philosophical artificial presence ?
The title "Artificial Presence" derives from phenomenological image theory. My intention differs - I want to expand it to a wider category than only images. Music itself is produced - it has a presence, in a sense  it is artificially manufactured- (even instruments like an acoustic guitar require craft and tech to build). Same goes for the computer, or any object of utility. But also art - all these have in common that they aren't generated in a natural way (a house doesn't give birth to a house), they are constructs made by humans. I am also thinking of the common root of arts and technology in the aristotelian téchne. Another connotation is again - a true (techno-)romantic topos : the entanglement of organic life and mechanical machines. 

K : - What studies did you make?

Movies i liked and which delve in the same area: Silent Running, Amphibian Man, Solaris, 2001- a space odyssey.

Concluding I want to ask you: Is there a better way to reflect on the process of rationalization in the postmetaphysical age than writing songs in a tracker ?

K :
- Yes maybe, there are lots of way to reflect, it takes time and a great distance, a wisdom, but I think that even by walking, we can think in a postmetaphysical way ;.)

K : - What kind of music you listen to while you read ?
I can't read and listen to music simultaneously, I get distracted either by the music or the text. So I have to say I am not a multitasking person :)

K : - What are your future projects ?
My next project will focus on a more carefree attempt of writing good old module disco tracks. Therefore Orchestral Disco Instrumentals of maestros like Barry White are my primary source of inspiration. There is still much to discover.

K :  - Something to add ? Some wishes for 2017 ?

I came across Juliens artwork through the online label/community micromusic.net- in an instant his graphics fascinated me. He has a very distinctive style which I profoundly admire.

Wishes for 2017: to keep on with writing music :) And best wishes to you two in 2017 !


K : - How did you imagine the shapes and colors animated to illustrate the sounds of this musical album ?
I wanted something minimal & ambient to fit the music of Rico Zerone, that morph to the mood & atmosphere of the album. I started from circle shape and deployed loops around this idea. For the colours used, I have a swatch of 34 colors that I use in general, here they are working by cycling.

K :  - Your animation is very enthusiastic and joyful, what makes you so happy ?
I don't know, maybe the joy of building animations around shapes & colors, and trying to make it nice. That's been quite a while I didn't do animated visuals so maybe this spontaneity can appear as enthusiastic.

K :  - What kind of visual artists do you like today ?
I like swiss & japanese graphic design in general with a focus on experimentations.

K :  - How do you met Rico Zerone ?
I met him on Micromusic I think, after a release called Microdisco Bleepy Ballads if I remember but Rico Zerone has to confirm !

K :  - You live in France, where the best place to dream ?
I like Bretagne a lot. Not much to do but good for riding a bike along the coast there and clear my mind.

K :  - What are your future projects ?
I'm thinking about them, I didn't decide yet !

K :  - Something to add ? Some wishes for 2017 ?
Best wishes to you and Rico & people who will appreciate this project !