A wide array of composers come to mind when a prolific score is thought of. There are a few that can dictate the scene as close to perfect without a visual. Saun Santipreecha might be an indie composer with a big dream and unfettered talent-reaching to the skies. His latest album Dandelye is an avant-garde dynamic soundtrack-imbibing sounds of nature, low-fi drones and synthscapes as dense and populated as a forest. Keep reading for an interesting interview as well.
From cinema themes to your own passion project, your art seems to transcend boundaries. How do you choose the ambience that guides your music?
I think what connects both of those, and really all aspects of what I do, is a constant compulsion to explore the interiority of experience; how we perceive the outside world. The physicality and tangibility of the world through the tinted lenses of our own experiences and who we are, and how we grow, change and evolve over time through these experiences.
I’m also particularly drawn towards those singular moments throughout our childhood that latch onto us and do not let go, that bind us through life. Experiences such as trauma and loss—and how we struggle to free ourselves from them later in life.
Life dictating lessons yet bordering on simplicity and contextual prowess.
So for instance, in my latest album Dandelye, the exploration and manipulation of ‘outer’ sound, field recordings which captured a moment in time. These are distorted through our ‘lenses’ juxtaposed against a felt piano,intimately recorded which springs from a more ‘interior’ urge. It helps to create a soundscape that to me represents that internal space we all occupy, those contrasts between internal knots and external experience that intermingle and become interwoven in a dreamlike tapestry.
This is an interesting view to this creative process. The natural sounds remain virtually undisturbed by our intervention, hence the nature. Saun aims to have his inputs juxtapose the complexity with relatively simple notes in time and space. This is heard perfectly in Conjoined Time, the soundboard dominated by the natural sound while the swell of the keys overlap to create a powerful contrast. It even tends to dictate the feel and add a dramatic layer that has to be curated carefully.
Crafting a visual with sounds
These are wildly experimental avant-garde snippets that only a fortunate few might connect with. What do these compositions mean to you?
For me personally they are a space where opposites, reflections and refractions co-exist, that internal space I spoke of. These of course have personal significance for me. Santipreecha means the ability to be at peace, and Dandelye is one of the first pieces where I feel I finally fully captured that space for myself.
Of course terms like ‘experimental’ and ‘avant-garde’ all have different meanings depending on how it is framed right? In other words, to some who are more familiar with mainstream music, this would certainly seem ‘experimental’ . Whereas for those that have experience with or a keen interest in perhaps other kinds of works not as much.
A dip into unknown territory
Of course it all depends on what one turns to art, music, film etc. for and there is of course a place for one’s return to what has moved one in the past, hence the retro-tinted works we often see and hear today. For me, aside from that, being able to try to listen, read, watch something for what it is. Than what I hope to get out of it has really opened me up to experiences I wouldn’t have thought I’d enjoy or even understand before.
So in that spirit I hope that people may give Dandelye a shot and hopefully it can open up a space for them to experience something perhaps they haven’t previously. I received one of the highest praises for this album recently where someone told me that the album made them felt seen but also that they were seeing me. That’s exactly what I hoped to achieve with the project, that kind of internal and external dialogue with the audience across time and place, through the album.
Into the unknown with nature
Among Broken Sculptures plays with the absurdity of unnatural sounds overlapping eerie synthscapes. In a dystopian setting, it creates an image of an android life powering up, assessing and analysing. The synth flows in its own pace, creating the drama necessary. On the contrary, Rain Dance uses the constant pitter-patter as a beat almost and plays with the “voices” of the synths, pianos and drones. A fair share of drama, pain and joy take the spotlight-and a tale is told.
The title track is a summary of sorts-borrowing from all the themes explored. Each sound takes you to a different narrative, and in it Dandelye forms its own. It is harrowing in parts, tense and wound up, relaxed and even mesmerising. Unlike other projects that deem their fate on the orchestra-Saun turns to the hills, streams, brooks and rain. They are the 16 piece he might not be able to conduct, but can observe.
Viewing through a different lens
Are there specific experiences that guide your ability to create an arrangement, or are they devoted to a preconceived visual?
Many people have described my music as cinematic, or filmic in the sense of creating a world that envelopes them. I can’t quite say that I consciously came up with a specific story for Dandelye other than knowing the kind of internal space I was wanting to create but inevitably for me, there are elements of story present in the general arc of the piece, the epilogue at the end etc. as I do tend to conceive albums as movements of a symphony of sorts, or with a kind of internal narrative.
It drives the structure of the album. In a Forest Dark, my first solo album, for instance, was structured partly after Dante’s Inferno, hence the title, but also was very personal to me in that it dealt with my own complicated feelings towards my relationship with my homeland.
Taking a purely instrumental twist, Weeds Along A Tunnel’s Edge makes its mark as the closing track. Featuring only piano with minimal thematic layers, it gives us the salient lens we require to see Saun for the artist he is.
I’m currently working on a collaboration with a blues harmonica artist which I’m very excited about as well as a collaborative project as part of an artist residency. I’m also arranging and producing a song for a great singer-songwriter friend of mine Luc Trahand which I’m very excited about. I also have a few other collaborations in the works which I can’t wait to share.
Creating new approaches with projects
Broadening his palette and creating more music, we can’t wait to hear different approaches to music from Saun. This is a style he has become virtuoisic in, there are many more genres to touch upon. Dandelye manages to create a balance of thematic dominance and instrumental intervention-something difficult to get right. Saun Santipreecha gets it right in this case, so explore his album below.
Is there a mission statement your projects would have? Or do they relate to a pre-assigned theme?
I would say an overarching ideal I strive for with each project, particularly my own solo works, is to create a sonic womb. Where multiplicities exist,a questioning of the interiority of our experiences. How they shape and form us in relation to the outside world.
Put another way, I am interested in the shadows that stretch out from an object equally if not more so than the object itself. Each work shines a different light onto the same, or a related object. It’s that observation of the shifting shadows in relationship the object, often a question, that I’m very interested in.
Of course that object could be anything, it could be a life experience, say trauma, whose shadows stretch and warp further into our future; it could be say an emotional spark, musically a thematic motif perhaps that grows, shapes, distorts, for example the theme of obsession and the spiraling of one’s obsession—that was the heart of my score for the film Black Jade.
Confining ideas with objectives
Or perhaps as in Dandelye, the object is more an idea—the attempt at creating a space. It is a void of mirrors where reflections and refractions co-exist, a kind of lived dream.Of course each project will present its own angles but the pre-occupations remain, questions that cannot be answered by a single clean answer. Yet each work posits, questioningly, an answer from a certain angle, or a vague sketch of one, another work a different angle, a different shadow that lengthens from the same inquisitive object.
Saun morphs a visual that is an allusion to the allegory of the cave. It is his perception of the visual we supposedly see, and he varies it through molding his experiences via them. It is an interesting project, and more is definitely coming our way from Saun.
Listen to his album here:
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Discovered via http://musosoup.com
Self professed metalhead, moderately well read. If the music has soul, it's whole to me. The fact that my bio could have ended on a rhyme and doesn't should tell you a lot about my personality.