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Event: Yann Novak’s The Future is a Forward Escape into the Past at Iklectik London

Text by CLOT Magazine

Yann Novak is a prolific artist and composer based in LA whose work balances field recordings, analogue and digital sound synthesis in interplay with natural and artificial light. In his creations (that can vary from audiovisual installations, performances, architectural interventions and sound recordings) he explores concepts of perception of its audience, researching the unmaterial nature of sound and light.

If you are not familiar with his work, he’s touring a few European destinations presenting his new album The Future is a Forward Escape into the Past, which has been released on Touch in February (this will be his second publication on a label which is well known to put works of the most relevant sound recordist and soundscapists).

This album considers the relationships between memory, time, and context: the inevitable progression of time, our connection to the past, and our distortion of the past through the imperfections of memory. These reflections seem to pinpoint an inflexion and a  reflective moment as an artist and musician. The album concept seems to stem from ‘The Archaic Revival’ by American ethnobotanist and psychonaut Terence McKenna. Yann shared with us:

This idea in relation to my work is still kind of forming––I find I can’t explain something until I have moved past it and can reflect on it. For about ten years I limited myself to only using field recordings because it created this easily defensible concept, but it also painted me into a corner.

As I got frustrated with these self-imposed rules, I started to notice this kind of meditative quality that was always present in my work. I think it was a response to being actively present for my field recording sessions, having to sit silently and still. But I became far more interested in this exchange between the audience and the work than in limiting my process to make it defensible.

I had been a fan of McKenna’s writing since the early 90s but had not revisited it in years. Then I happened to come across a lecture he gave in which he talked about “the felt presence of direct experience.

We will be publishing a full interview very soon, but in the meantime, you can catch Yann in London on the 23rd of March at iklectik, a night presented by Touch alongside Philip Jeck and Simon Scott.

(Photo from ‘The Future is a Forward Escape into the Past’ cover courtesy of the artist)
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