Interview by Douglas Lucas with Vanessa Sinclair and Carl Abrahamsson about their debut album CUT TO FIT THE MOUTH released on Arcana Machine:

DL: As the readings on CUT TO FIT THE MOUTH were composed by means of the cut-up method, I wanted to ask you how has the practice of the cut-up technique affected your own life?

CARL: I’m a creature of habit, so allowing for chance elements to affect me is important. Life is not wholly causal, and the really good things come when you sidetrack the expected. That’s as true for the music making as for life in general. It’s very true of filmmaking, writing and all other creative practices too. Valuing all the creative stuff in my own life makes me a more openminded human being.

DL: What are some of the text sources used to create the cut-ups on the album?

VANESSA: I began by cutting up my own writing, specifically writing about psychoanalysis and the arts. I have written pieces on Dada, Breyer P-Orridge, Burroughs and Gysin, Jarman, Zorn, all from a psychoanalytic perspective. Then I began to cut up and integrate texts written by these authors with my own writing about them. The interesting thing is that much of this writing is about process, personal identity, sexuality, disruptions… concepts that are integral to and explored in psychoanalysis. So the cut-ups often speak about the concepts that they are demonstrating. I also integrated the writing of other artists, psychoanalysts and magical practitioners, such as Katelan Foisy, Carl Abrahamsson, Robert Ansell, Alkistis Dimech, Peter Grey, Charlotte Rodgers, as well as Freud, Jung, Lacan, Spielrein and Klein. Katelan had once explained to me that cut-ups are more than an artistic technique; rather they are a magical tool… by cutting your writing together with the writing of others, you facilitate the bringing together of those worlds; you can bring people into your life. I experienced how this is true after I had been practicing cut-ups daily for about a year and realized the conference Carl and I organized on Psychoanalysis, Art & the Occult was mainly comprised of people whose writing I had placed into my cut-up box. Even the ones who were deceased, such as Jhonn Balance, ended up having their artwork in the show. All were present in some way.

DL: The interplay of the words and sounds/music have a spellbinding effect – what was the process for composing the sounds to accompany the spoken words?

CARL: We wanted to integrate sounds from life, so there are some “field” recordings in many pieces. When structuring and recording the other sounds, I have been very open to chance and not too editing. Letting things grow in an intuitive way is important, so I just basically recorded one channel at at time, hoping it would make sense and sound good in the end. And it did!

DL: What kind of reactions do you hope the recordings will evoke from the listener?

VANESSA: My goal is for others to experience cut-ups for themselves. I hope listening to the music helps to disrupt the every day and promotes creativity in others. I recommend that everyone take their own writing and/or the writing of their favorite authors, or even any magazine or newspaper that is laying around, cut it up, rearrange it, and see for yourselves!

CARL: I hope they will appreciate the dynamic range. It shouldn’t be predictable music, and I hope it isn’t. I hope that when people return to a track or the entire album, they will find new things each time. Vanessa’s poetry is revelatory and always surprising and I hope the sounds work in the same way. And I also hope the totality will affect the listeners in an emotional way. It highly emotional music and I want that to penetrate and shatter the preconceptions and expectations that usually are rooted in a rational, intellectual mind frame. Sometimes it’s rough, dirty, primitive and brutal and I find that very beautiful. It’s poetry for the body as well as for the soul.

Teaser track:

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