approximately 1.618 | Interview with fiveighthirteen

A mesmerising soundscape with a plethora of organic elements, an evolving drum section that gets more and more saturated, great atmosphere and a simple but to the point, addictive chord progression. Splendid! 

Read our interview with the artists below.

Describe your sound in three words

Textural, organic, subversive

The way you blend samples with electronic elements is impressive. Tell us a few things about your new work and your creative process.

Effenberger: We have a lot of fun with that part. We want the music to develop slowly enough to let listeners fully explore the sonic world in which the record lives without having the repetition (which is necessary for that to happen) become problematic. In addition to freshening the environment up, samples of things like the human or animal voice recontextualize their surroundings. We are interested in the juxtaposition of natural sounds along with electronic elements and acoustic percussion because their combination can create new textural worlds to occupy.

Phaneuf: Each layer often has a final sonic form that we know it will appear as at some point in a track. From there we will often give each sound multiple different types of processing so that we can create the sense that everything is evolving at its own right over the course of the track.

Do these elements of your sound (electronics, samples etc) make it very difficult to perform your music live?

Phaneuf: All of those elements were present when the band started before we ever made a record. So our drummer was used to creating and having available a broad pallet of interesting textures and I was always juggling samples along with playing an instrument. That said, we do often in the studio create layers that are impractical to try to execute live. When performing live the studio tracks are treated as material with important plot points that we will get to but we build in flexibility for how and when we get there.

Effenberger: Speaking as the bass synth/keyboard/delays guy, I have the easiest job of the three of us when it comes to playing live. Mike Walsh (drums) has the unenviable position of figuring out how to play these grooves, which are often more than one layer of percussion at a time, as well as figuring out how to approach drum sounds from our records that have a good deal of filtering, downsampling, and tape delay. Somehow, he manages to do this live with only acoustic tools.. he’s a wizard. Nick Phaneuf (guitar/bass/Ableton) also has a lot of heavy lifting. That said, the live shows are really rewarding for all of us, both when recreating music from the records and when improvising together, which we do about half of any given set.

You mainly focus on instrumental music. Is the absence of vocals an extra challenge when it comes to promotion?

Effenberger: That can be the case. It’s easier to market music with a vocal foreground, for sure, but it’s also true that people who seek out instrumental music can connect to it in a pretty different way. We all also love vocal music but this band’s identity would change quite a bit if we went that route. We also like the instrumental landscape because vocals can sometimes impose a particular narrative on a listener whereas instrumental music can allow positive ambiguity.

Phaneuf: I’m sure that it does impact who are the music appeals to on a first listen but we never really considered doing it a different way. I think it would be difficult to achieve the subtle textural narratives we try to create if there were lyrics.
Lyrics tend to dominate the narrative. I could imagine us making an album with the singer from Sigur Rós if he isn’t busy.

Which track of your new album represents you the most?

Effenberger: I would point to something like Atlantic Drift for the more sprawling, ambient side of us, and to Early Winter Late Day Sun for the moodier, groove-driven side.

Tell us an instrumental electronic, post rock flavored song you wish you have composed yourselves

Effenberger: I love everything that guitarist-composer Jeff Parker has done but especially love his work with Isotope 217. There’s a track called Harm-O-Lodge on “Who Stole the I Walkman” that is one of my favorite opening tracks of any record because it goes to so many places in a relatively short time but is paced perfectly and manages to never feel frenetic.

Phaneuf: Do Make Say Think- End of Music
In general this band does a great job of avoiding one of the major pitfalls of post rock where every song it’s just a slow build to a giant crescendo. This track has a great shape and rate of change. This is a larger group and most of them are multi instrumentalist, they do an excellent job of not playing all the time so they can achieve a really wide variety of textures and levels of density and their music.

Which book should we read while listening to your album?

“If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler” (Italo Calvino) shares a similarly labyrinthine approach to the short novel as we decided to take with this record. In both, the same elements recur at various times but in new contexts, and with new and unexpected layers of meanings as a result. It makes for a lot of re-read / re-play value.

If you were asked to rescore a film, which one would you choose?

Effenberger: I’d love to re-score many wildlife documentaries, but Microcosmos (Claude Nuridsany, Marie Pérennou) would be my #1.

Phaneuf: I would love to make a really sinister and claustrophobic sounding soundtrack for the triplets of Belleville

What is the story behind your name?

There is a sequence of numbers called the Fibonacci Series that is built by adding the previous two numbers of the series together: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, etc. The ratio between two consecutive Fibonacci numbers (a value that gradually approaches 1:1.618, the Golden Ratio) shows up all over art, music, architecture, and especially in the natural world. To take plant growth as an example, many plants form spirals as they grow, cell by cell, because the cells need to connect to one another and also to turn and stay contained in the organism while they do so. The ideal ratio to solve for both of those qualities while also prioritizing a large surface area for photosynthesis is the Golden Ratio. Ask any sunflower.
Anyhow, five, eight, and thirteen are the only three small, consecutive, Fibonacci numbers where the last letter of one is the first letter of the next. The next trio after [5,8,13] is [53316291173, 86267571272, 139583862445], and is not as sexy.

Thank you!

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