Airspace is a new audio-visual collaborative work between LA-based producer Steve Nalepa (The Acid, TeamSupreme), innovative guitarist Tony Bevilacqua, and London-based visual artist Zak Norman. The first work to emerge from this union is a 45 minute juxtaposition of Nalepa and Bevilacqua’s ambient drone pieces together with Norman’s complex analog visual processing of each piece into a transient painting of color and light. The work has been designed for home viewing, as well as live performances and a bespoke installation.
The project began with Nalepa and Bevilacqua experimenting with an Electro-Harmonix Freeze pedal, running various instruments through it and creating frozen textures. Layering them together, they created lush, dreamlike drone compositions that took on a mesmerizing life of their own. To give the project a structure and create a set of limitations to work within, they decided to create drones for each of the seven ivory keys, starting with F and following the circle of fifths. Iterating within these confines, the artists are exploring the possibilities available to them, adding a level of complexity with each subsequent release. The songs have simple titles, named after their root note and the number of the LP, a loose reference to Manuel Göttsching’s classic E2-E4. Airspace generates an immersive universe with a depth of sound and understanding of pacing and restraint that places this music firmly beyond a simple meditation categorization and into the otherworldly spaces of the horrors and beauty of the soul.
The visual elements have been created by Zak Norman, his first work following his collaboration with Squarepusher on the Damogen Furies world tour. The visuals were created through a painstaking process in which each musical element was individually analyzed and run through an array of analog equipment, individually colorized and composited back into a single entity, frame by frame. The process is cartographic in the way it creates landmarks that are represented both audibly and visually inside a vast canvas of color. From a distance the imagery looks almost singular, it is only on closer inspection that all the intricate relationships between the layers are revealed.
Norman says “By using this process, the content invokes a visual ethos which entirely mirrors that generated by the music; the creation of an environment that is at once both expansive and extremely complex, and can be experienced on either a collective or deeply personal level. The visual themes are loosely meditative in so far they aspire to create a space to totally immerse the audience, but in a way that eschews any defined spirituality. Each track is given a treatment, based around a color from the natural spectrum and can be displayed as both a closed and open environment.”