Collection
/ Feb
2021

In conversation with Moullinex about his work as a composer for the Barro Negro collection.

Lisbon based DJ, musician and producer Moullinex (aka Luís Gomes) thrives in intersections: science and art, spontaneity and formalism, organic and artificial, isolation and community. Made in Situ paired up with Louis Clara Gomes AKA Moullinex for the first collection Barro Negro, a collection rooted in the Tondela region, Portugal. 

 

What was your involvement in the Made in Situ project? 

 

I was responsible for putting sound and music to it. It was a very interesting challenge to compose a score to a collection of objects, as despite them being static by definition they can evoke emotional responses which are dynamic, subjective and ritualistic. The first medium was the documentary film, which I have more experience with, but I was also tasked with sonifying the actual installation, which was both a technical and creative challenge – those are the ones I’m most drawn to.

 

You are from Viseu, the district of Tondela, for those that don’t know this region could you describe it to us?

 

I can’t help but be affected by the granitical landscape of Caramulo. Knowing these geological formations appearing to have fallen from the skies millenia ago is a helpful reminder of “the speck of dust” Carl Sagan alluded to in Cosmos. Being faced with something vastly bigger than the scale of humanity is an emotional experience for me.

I would characterize the people in my region as these rock formations: they are peaceful, austere but soft around the edges.

"I can't help but be affected by the granitical landscape of Caramulo. Knowing these geological formations appearing to have fallen from the skies millenia ago is a helpful reminder of "the speck of dust" Carl Sagan alluded to in Cosmos."

Has growing up in the region made a difference in the person you are today and in what way does it reflect in your work? 

 

Because of the distance to the coast one can suffer from isolation. Also, being away from the main cultural circuits, you always feel like you’re missing out on something bigger. So on every trip I did with my parents or on my own I would just absorb everything I could: music, theater, cinema, museums, architecture. I think it helped me avoid becoming blasée from having all of this available around me. Early on, a group of like-minded friends and I realized that if the culture we wanted wasn’t available, we’d have to create it ourselves. That DIY approach to life has stuck with me since.

 

How is working on an exhibition and a short film different to your usual creative process? 

 

It’s a dialogue, which I love. I am serving someone else’s artistic vision, my purpose is to illustrate. Of course, my own subjectivity is present in the work I did for MIS, but I think that’s the beauty of it.

 

"Unorganized textures are just noise. So layering and shaping them is an important task - as important as the raw material. This collection was very textural and evocative"

What part of the Barro Negro collection or experience inspired you the most to create the soundtrack? 

 

The Soenga was a very ritualistic experience, and it certainly impacted the soundtrack. Its solemnity, geometry and symbolism were very emotional. So I attempted to recreate that in the music.

 

As we often speak about sound textures, when you imagine a sound, does it have a volume, a materiality? If so, are the shapes of this collection inspiring the shapes of your sound? 

 

Yes, I’m very textural in the way I perceive music. There’s a high level (rational) response to complex ideas and concepts, but the true emotional response is in the details. Much like in a work of fiction, it’s the small details that make up the characters who “sell you” that fiction. I see details in music the same way, they create a convincing sonic narrative. Obviously, unorganized textures are just noise. So layering and shaping them is an important task – as important as the raw material. This collection was very textural and evocative: fire as a transformational tool, mechanical processes, nature, barro negro’s own dystopian qualities – these were amazing raw materials to begin with. But the shapes of the resulting pieces were themselves very inspiring.

 

Keeping this in mind, did the materiality of the pieces influence your work? 

 

The Soenga process is like a filter: there’s an input which is altered into an output, so I recreated that in the soundscape. Many sounds I used were from actual field recordings from the actual creation process, which I then processed, augmented and treated to magnify their materiality.

 

What is  the most inspiring for you? the experience (the process ) or the result of the action (the object)?

 

I love diving deep into someone else’s craft, especially if that person is passionate about it, which is definitely Noé’s case. When I collaborate I am as interested in the result as I am in the process, as I believe it can deeply impact the way I work on my craft too. Sometimes I enjoy the process, sometimes the object, but this was a case where I loved both.

I read about your brutalist experiment with AI generated images for single ‘Ven’. How often do you try and push boundaries and experiment with new techniques in your work? 

 

I need to do it in order to feel inspired and motivated – learning something new (or something old) is a very important part of my process. I often joke that I make music as an excuse to remain learning new things.

 

In the current context we are living in do you think music, art and design can make a difference? If so, in what way? 

 

They always make a difference. For any society, culture is its most precious product, as it encapsulates shared values, emotions and reasons. It’s a very powerful tool for change too: many social and political revolutions started as artistic movements, some even on dancefloors. Right now we need music, art and design more than ever, as for many it is a form of therapy, a way to deal with a harsh reality, an escape.

 

And finally… fun facts

If Tondela was a soundtrack what would it be? 

 

If I were to do it, there would be many similarities with the Barro Negro soundtrack. The terroir of the region is inescapable.

May I ask a question back? If Tondela was a collection, would it be Barro Negro?

 

Where does the name Moullinex come from? 

 

Long story short, I loved french electronic music when growing up. French electronics…

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