Brian Case is a Chicago-based guitarist known for his work with the band Disappears. Tense Nature is the firs solo full-lenght that will be out on June 27th via Hands in the Dark and Negative Days. The sund is quite different from his band sound: there are reshaped ambient textures (loop of “Active Enemy” and the tension of “Zero Key“) and a minimal approach (title-track is silence turned in music) and noisy vibes (rumbles of “IKEE“, thunderous echoes of “Japanese Version” and “Sisix“). “Drum Gun II” is one of tracks that shows best all the shades of the album: essential composition with cloudy mood and little tremors. Twelve tracks that show the effective involvment and the ability of control with different slight shades. Full streaming is available. Listen and read our interview below.
It was born out of wanting to do something musical alone, which I’ve never done. I started doing shows with guitar and keyboard but that evolved into another project called Bambi Kino Duo. I took a few ideas from that project and really focused in on them, basically i was trying to play by myself and having to sample on the fly so I could use my hands to play something else. The loops were always off and weird, but instead of correcting that I used it as the basis for this solo stuff – start with the “mistake” and build off that.
The sound has different shades and 12-tracks show a strong will to explore different styles (ambient, noisy vibes, dark mood) with a minimal approach. Is ti right? Can we consider it as a development of your side project Bambi Kino Duo sound?
I’m definitely focusing on keeping things minimal, trying to put two things against each other and see what happens, keep it simple and make a mood. But I don’t think it developed too much from what Bambi Kino Duo ended up being, but more from the things that lead me to it. So maybe it’s what I was initially trying to do with the group of music that became Bambi Kino Duo….does that make sense?
The visual part of this album seems to be a big part of it. What about the artwork and the video of the first excerpt “Pattern 1”?
I came up with the title and it seemed to fit the mood of the music, it felt right. I’ve been a big fan of Alexander Stewart’s work for a while, we’ve collaborated before with Disappears, so I’m always interested in what he’s got going on. The series that the cover is from felt perfect right when I saw it – I knew that was what it needed to be. He liked the music so it was easy, we’re friends so it’s nice to keep up the collaboration. I think it helps both of us. Same goes for the video – Nick Ciontea works a lot with Disappears (among a lot of other great bands) doing live video mixing so I knew he’d get the music right away. I’m hoping to have him make some sort of live visuals for me as well, I think it’s pretty boring watching me stand behind a box and push buttons.
This kind of exploration will have effects on Disappears sound, in a different way, or are they two separated things? What is the difference between solo creative flows and the work with the band?
They are separate but I think all creative things flow into each other in some way. Everyone in Disappears has other projects and I think it’s really important for how we bring new things to the band and make our music move forward together. The solo stuff is different because you don’t have it being shaped and influenced by anyone else, there’s no one to tell you that it’s not working or how to make it work so you have to trust yourself to edit which can be difficult. I found that you just have to find a mindset and be able to go there and create, sort things later. That’s easier to do alone than with a group for sure. I like both for different reasons, I’m glad to have them to go between.
What about the live shows related to this album? Are you planning a tour?
Yes, there will be some Europe dates in the fall. The shows so far have been OK, I still really don’t like playing solo – which was one of the reasons this whole things started – get uncomfortable, do something that I don’t like. I’m still trying to get comfortable playing without a guitar. It’s hard to stand in front of people and basically stare back at them – I’m doing some modular stuff and using a sampler so it’s not a lot of performance. It’s still a test for me, which is good I think.
What are the best releases that you have appreciated this year?