The Maker #34 – Phonsonic

For the final instalment of The Maker before tomorrow’s release day, Alexander Caminada joins the conversation. Alexander is a sound artist, videographer and photographer based in Stroud, and has been recording and releasing music under the project Phonsonic since 2016. Alexander is also one third of Konstruct,; alongside fellow Stroud-based musicians Andrew Heath and Simon McCorry; the trio’s new album ‘Three (squared)’ (RTR041) releases tomorrow (May 31st) via RTR. The album follows on from last year’s ‘Costal Event’, a (very!) long-form improvisation condensed into a six track album.

In this feature, Alexander talks about ambient and experimental music creeping into the 90s mainstream, learning instruments inside out, collaboration and archiving, and releasing music on cassette for the first time in decades. Alexander also gives a number of recent listening recommendations to check out this Bank Holiday weekend!

Alexander Caminada – Phonsonic

How did you first get introduced to ambient/drone/experimental music?

I started producing in the late 90s and this coincided with becoming more aware of electronic music. A lot of the artists I’d been listening to were more mainstream and used qualities of ambient and experimental music to create their songs. I gradually discovered that there was a whole undiscovered world of hidden gems releasing work on specialist labels.

What inspires you to create a new body of work?

I’m fascinated by sound experimentation and sound design and I’m constantly trying to find something new and different. When I do, I will start to create tracks with it. The process is organic and always slightly different. The sound sources could be anything but at the moment I’m really inspired by a basic setup using just a couple of analog synths and some Eurorack modular. I like keeping things simple and really getting to know my tools and eking out all the possibilities the instrument has to offer. I’m also rediscovering my field recorder – or rather, the sounds I’m finding with it.

How do you approach working on a new release?

This varies. Sometimes I put something together from tracks that have not yet found a home. At the moment I’m working on a more planned album of new tracks created with granular synthesis. Later this year, I’m considering bringing out a release based on patches created on the Moog Subharmonicon. I also collaborate with other artists and the approach for this is different again.

Konstruct – ‘Three (squared)’ (RTR041)

Can you tell us about your favourite new release from the last 12 months?

I love Loscil’s work and his ‘Faults, Coasts, Lines’ is just really nice. His productions are always full of depth and detail, and I like how he’s slowed his tracks right down compared to his early work. I’m also a big fan of the Faitiche label with Jan Jelinek work always on the top of my playlist. His ‘Tierbeobachtungen’ was released last year – but recorded in 2006!

As RTR is a tape label, we have to ask: What attracts you to the cassette medium?

My main interest in tape is in the mixing process. I use 90s Sony cassette-corders to experiment and create new sounds. Having had no releases published on cassette since the 1980’s, I’m really curious to hear how it will sound now. Back then the 4-track reel-to-reel was the best media available with the first CD’s just making an appearance, no one would have thought back then that technological regression would ever become such a craze and a form of creative expression.

Konstruct’s ‘Three (squared)’ (RTR041) arrives tomorrow, May 31st, and is available on cassette and digital. Be sure to check out the album and also give a good listen to the solo works of Alexander, Andrew, and Simon.

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