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PETE SAVILLE & VIK GUDI, maths, sound & sculpture

Interview by Meritxell Rosell

We tried to make a record label that was art-focused. This was the starting point of Re·search, a new experimental music record label launched at the end of last year. Re·search is the brainchild of  Pete Saville and Vik Gudi, the two minds behind Split Music, a publishing agency that has become widely known for placing music on trailers such as ‘Blade Runner 2019‘, Mother! Or the acclaimed horror movie Raw and brand films for adidas, Dior and Puma. With a roster of experimental electronic music creators, they found a way to run away from conventionalities via an utterly weird and unusual combination of music syncing with images.

With this new label, Pete and Vik aim to bring together artists from different disciplines and musicians to create something unique. Spheres is the first of the ‘documents’, as they call their releases, a compilation LP which intends to unite a diverse selection of artists around a common theme.

For Spheres, their main source of inspiration comes from artist Timothy Cresswell.  Cresswell was one of the artists that exhibited at the Serpentine’s First Show in 1970, where he showed sound sculptures and got the most significant write-up of the whole exhibition: I used to make recordings of underwater microphones, water running over in streams, a tape recorder with four different speeds and you can slow it down and start sounding like xylophones”, the artist himself told us.  

Timothy recalls becoming interested in platonic solids at the age of 10. Geometers, mathematicians, artists and philosophers have been fascinated with mathematical beauty and symmetry since their early days. Plato wrote about the Platonic solids in the dialogue Timaeus where the titular character Timaeus of Locri talks about order and disorder in a long monologue.  He then notes how the fourth elements, fire, air, water and earth, were made of solid forms and concludes that the round figure is perfect.

Then, since 1995, Timothy has been exploring the nature of the universe’s patterns: waves, spirals and orbits as a part of the function of everything. I am following this exploration of the patterns of the spheres -inspired by Sacred Geometry and the Regular Solids- to bring about the relationship between harmony, geometry and mathematics.

The artist has been carving spheres covered in mathematical figures for over fifty years now. I am a bit of a mathematics dyslexic, and that’s what allows me to do this because I think if I knew mathematics like a mathematician in a traditional sense, I wouldn’t come up with this. There is an element of uncertainty I never know what really is going to happen’, he shared.

There was one sphere representing the year that took six months to make; it was pretty complicated. I started doing it in my 60th year. There are 60 spirals regular with 12 centres and 5 spirals that come from 12 centres, that’s 60, which is an important number, there’ 60 secs in a minute, 60 mins in an hour (…) so there is a relationship between the 60s and the 12 in the interconnections, each intersection is a day of the year and 24 hours in a day

The art director responsible for the sleeve design of the ‘Spheres’ LP is the designer and musician (and longtime collaborator of Split Music) Daniel Cresswell, who is also Timothy’s son. Spheres features music by These Hidden Hands, Mondkopf, OAKE, Headless Horseman, SNTS & Grebenstein, who have also taken inspiration from Timothy’s spheres. Crafting six tracks of abrasive, experimental noise that move from the more ambient to the harshest, transfixing us into a meditative journey similar to the one needed for carving the spheres.

With projects like this, creatives bring together several of their most personal interest, a dedicated and beautifully curated selection of art and sound. We hope future publications are as enticing as this one.

For those unfamiliar with your work, could you tell us about Split Music?

We professionally put music on film and TV; billions of companies do that nowadays, and it’s become very generic. In the last year, we won awards for putting industrial and experimental techno to horror movies, like the golden trailer award, which is the best music on a trailer in the world.

Re·search is actually a celebration of Split music being 3 years old, and these ‘hidden hands’, Nowa and Montkopf, were the first acts that created Split Music, and headless horseman is a recent join. What we wanted to do with the record [Spehere] is work with artists we’ve worked before as a core and with absolutely brand new artists. If you want to change your industry, try different things than the clients ask.  We work with creatively challenging projects, not for the masses.

You have a new project called Re·search label; what drove you to launch a brand new record label?

Pete: Re·search label releases us from those more commercial constraints (in the end, Split is a commercial company) and has let us distance ourselves one step further from that planet. For example, working with Tim [Cresswell], the things that he makes are not about trying to make something for people to admire, the whole point it’s the process, and Re·search is about everybody getting embedded in exploring something for the act of exploring it and see what happens.

Vik: it’s about depth and doing things outside people’s comfort zones. You know the spheres aren’t paintings; they are not that easy to analyse and view; it’s not obvious, the same as the music we do, is not obvious is left-field, avant-garde, and a little bit challenging to most normal ears.

Spheres LP is the first album of your new record label Re·search. It takes as starting point the work of artist & mathematician Timothy Cresswell. What is the intellectual process behind its inception?

Pete: For me, it’s a method, if you think about techno and techno moving into experimental versions of itself and then splintering in all the genres of electronic music you are looking at. They are explorations of reinventing. We didn’t know how the record would be when we came to Timothy’s house. We had to get there and improvise.

Vik: I saw [Timothy’s work] for the first time in Hackney Wicked 4-5 years ago. At that time, I was into sacred geometry, making very basic 2D versions of your [Timothy] spheres, and struck by the synergy between everything happening in the world. I was like, this feels right like now, but then it was just not the time to do anything with it.

Then it came back around now that we have a project that suits, an idea we had, let’s do something art based, are we going to do a record or we going to make art or an exhibition? Let’s do all of it. The idea behind the record was: what would the imagery represent the music of the people we are working with, but how would that be represented? We thought through many ideas, but then it came to the sculptures.

How did you meet his son Daniel Cresswell?

Daniel and I collaborate all the time, and when seeing this was so ahead of the time, and nobody still knows about it, this opportunity is not only to promote the record is also to promote the story, the whole history of Tim; this is how a very organic idea works, when the seeds are planted we didn’t do any work, it all falls into place. The concept of the label is not about selling records and making money. It is trying to raise awareness of this art and our artists, promote our artists and show people how incredible they are.

What has been your craziest project with Split Music?

The Raw trailer was great because we wanted to go and try it. But also, projects like the Lexus project are probably my favourite because it was like the first time I worked with my friends, and I managed to make them quit their jobs.

What is your chief enemy of creativity?

Pete: Time. I’m from a creative background and still do lots of creative stuff, but time.

Vik: Assumption, it kills creativity.

You couldn’t live without…

Pete: I have two: one is quite pretentious, and one’s really basic. One is that I don’t know where I’m going and will do it until I’m dead. So the unknown. And the second one is my daughters.

Vik: I can’t live without my dreams. I do exist because I have dreams, and they go in one direction

(Photos Split Music and CLOT Magazine team)
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