Profile: Matthew Collings

Exposure: Matthew Collings

The electronic sound artist explains why 'experimental' music needn't be alienating

The Edinburgh-based electronic composer/ sound artist has played alongside Tim Hecker, Chris Corsano and Nico Muhly. Besides his solo work, he’s a collaboration-loving, genre-embracing machine, making interactive audio-visual installations, or music for film and dance. ‘Experimental’ needn’t mean alienating, he explains …

On his solo work:
‘I used to be this guy in a bedroom, making twinkling, lo-fi ambient music. Then I started listening to post-rock and became obsessed with Sonic Youth. My music wasn’t expressing what I was into. I met [driving, unsettling industrial noise maker] Ben Frost while I was living in Reykjavik, and was really interested in what he was doing. Physical, visceral power became more central to my music. Instead of veering towards the cerebral, or computer-based stuff, which can be really alienating for a live show, I play with guitars, Nintendo Wiis, volume, visuals or rattling amps filled with objects, to make something more dynamic.’

On his mum:
‘I took her to see Tim Hecker – one of the loudest gigs I’ve ever been to. She loved it. She got really into the meditative, immersive sound.’

On experimental music:
‘Apparently, it’s a psychological fact, if you’re exposed to something new, your brain doesn’t recognise it and perceives it as chaos. The second time, you probably get it. A lot of stuff I now love, I didn’t get at first. The Beatles were experimental – they brought all these elements from other styles, and made pop songs. A lot of experimental music isn’t particularly bothered about being entertaining. I am though. I want to give people an ‘in’ and a reason to care about what I’m doing.’

Album launch for Splintered Instruments, Wee Red Bar, Edin, Sat 24 Nov; The Glad Cafe, Glas, Sun 25 Nov.

Matthew Collings, Talvhihorros and Hiva Ova

Electro-acoustic strummings from Collings, plus support from Iceland.

Matthew Collings and theapplesofenergy

Album launch for experimental sound artist and composer Matthew Collings, plus the improvisational soundscapes of theapplesofenergy, aka Steven Gribbin.

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