Minuscule: The Making of Vespertine


Vesper, Vespers
     1. The evening star, Hesper
     2. The evening song of a bird
     3. Evening prayers or devotions
     4. The eve of a festival, or of the Passion

Hibernating (with suitcase)

     The character I made – Vespertine – is fictional: a lady-in-waiting, hibernating
     in winter. Slightly, sort of a domestic creature that would prepare and play
     instruments like harps and celestas.

     I first saw her sitting on top of a snowy hill with a lot of suitcases.


Curiousity (very very quiet)

     I was very interested in trying to create the same mood that you have when
     you have the patience to sit down and read a book. And for me, this was of
     course impossible.

     When I did Homogenic, I wanted to do an outdoor, nature, extrovert album.
     And Vespertine was an indoor, internal, introvert album. Maybe [because of]
     the amount of traveling I’d done for fifteen years, anything domestic became
     a paradise, an untouchable perfect beautiful thing.

     I think also, on just a pure sonic level, being obsessed with a laptop and
     working with headphones, all sounds that are quite quiet and indoors and
     wrapped up in boxes. I found them very exciting.

     On an emotional level, I was for the first time in my life very interested in
     emotional peaks that are very very quiet. Because I guess I’m the sort of
     character that was always fascinated by volcanic explosive emotions and
     sharp peaks. I thought more was better.

     Suddenly, the complete opposite became very curious to me.


A Secret (microcosmos)

     When I did Homogenic, it was all about boosting things up, and being extra
     extra extra large, and extra attention seeking. We ended up finding, almost
     always, one beat per song. One big beat. That’s all you needed.

     In Vespertine, it was the opposite. You’ll have the tiniest beat in the world
     and then you couldn’t stop there. You had to sort of make a microcosmos of
     thirty or forty beats interacting.

     So, I started collecting noises that were tiny, and literally had a library. I was
     working with programmers and we’d basically just gather together a lot of
     sounds, and found out that the key to what we were looking for was taking
     something very very very very tiny and magnifying it.

     It sort of gave you a sensation that you’ve been told a secret, the same way as
     if you see a picture of a cell in the body magnified very big. You get this feeling
     that you’re being trusted with some inside information.


Nadis (sensitivities)

     I’ve had a craving to do this for so long. I felt so many times when I did those
     big rock arenas that – I’m probably exaggerating this but – that sixty or seventy
     percent of what we were giving out was just lost in some sort of rock cliché.

     All the sensitivities were bulldozed over. And since I’m a listener, these are
     exactly the sensitivities that nurture me. They make me walk home from a gig
     and I’m fulfilled.

     So, I had a craving to do this for a very very long time. It was of course quite
     scary – you can’t hide anything – but also it was a craving that I had for such a
     long time.

     It felt like a relief.


Hamsa (vahana)

     I started craving it myself, to go to a concert where I have a comfortable seat
     and I can enjoy all the little details and nobody’s in a hurry. You can just sit
     there with your box of chocolates and then you can go and have a break and
     talk a little bit. Then you come back. The pace is very slow, you know?

     I don’t know if it’s a local joke between me and myself, maybe no one got the
     joke, but for me it was the biggest challenge, especially in the beginning.  To
     just do a calm song, and then do another calm song, and then do another calm
     song, and another calm song. And then have a break.

     I’m just so programmed to have a multiple orgasm on stage in like three
     seconds. And to have to put all my energy into pacing myself for two or three
     hours and never peak or explode was very curious, you know?

     I just hope other people enjoyed it, too.


No Body (whispers)

     Looking back now it becomes more obvious what I was aiming for. Sometimes,
     when you’re in the middle [of things], you don’t see out. I think I was aiming
     for how you can express yourself when you’re absolutely … when you’ve
     exploded five thousand times and there’s nothing left.

     You’re just lying there, the ruins of you. You still want to make something, but
     you have no muscle and you have no blood. But you still want to create beauty.

     So you end up using instruments like harps, celestes, microbeats and whispers.
     You’re creating music with no physical-ness, with no body.

     And that’s supposed to calm you and soothe you, like hibernation … to wait
     until you become strong again.

So-ham (reversed)

     I feel, to a certain degree, I’ve documented, I’ve mapped out, all the sides of
     me. Vespertine being the last side of me, probably the one I have least in me.

     It’s sort of more uncomfortable [like] the moods you have when you wake up in
     the middle of the night and you can’t sleep and you’re on your own and when
     you feel alienated … these kind of transparent moods.

     But I think like with everything I’ve done, especially when I have freedom to be
     very extreme, like with Vespertine, to go all the way in that direction, it means
     I get it out of my system. And then I’m ready to turn to other things.

     I feel now very liberated. I’ve done Vespertine, I’ve done Homogenic, and I’ve
     covered all the different areas that were always fighting inside of me. I’ve
     mapped – tried everything of the biggest things inside me – and it’s done. It’s

     Now I have a clean slate. As much as it’s scary, it’s also very very exciting.
     I could do absolutely anything right now.


The swan (Hamsa), the vehicle of Sarasvati, embodies the union of the mortal enemies Garuda (hawk-eagle) and Naga (serpent), and therefore stands for the highest wisdom teachings concerning the union of opposites.
Reputed to be silent or mute, the swan moves gracefully as if suspended above
the water’s surface, evocative of the detachment born of meditative practice.
It represents the presence of divine inspiration in our world, as well as the
freedom of inquiry and independence of spirit needed in the search for Truth.


~ by mistified on December 30, 2014.

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