Johannesburg, South Africa: Alec Larsen, it turns out, is a prolific musical creative. We’ve followed output from projects linked to the metal musician which include Surdus, Abhorrent Anomaly, Omentum, Hilliker and Ion Mesa.
Some projects are collaborations, and others solo. Today, we’re giving a first listen to Alec’s latest solo effort; an EP by his Asonicism project, and titled Sonus Absque Vita. For those who need to brush up on Latin, this infers living in absence of sound.
Sonus Absque Vita
The title is intriguing and in itself suggests a story to be told. We asked Alec, a software developer by trade, for a little help in telling it.
“Music, specifically metal music, is a huge part of my life. The creative process of composition is a relaxing contrast to the hectic, logic-intensive world of software development. I’ve often wondered how I would cope if I lost hearing; never again being able to hear music let alone create it. Then I saw a couple of YouTube videos by Rob Scallon and friends about creating music without hearing it and I felt inspired. Could I create music and release it without hearing it? Well, the product before you is the answer to that question and while it’s clearly not perfect, I am quite happy with the result.” ~ Alec Larsen
He describes his rather unorthodox creative process in detail. It starts with turning off the speakers.
“I would compose songs in Guitar Pro; never listening to the tracks. It is also important to note that I did not pick up a guitar and test out riffs during the process; that would’ve given me an indication of what the riffs would sound like and that would be cheating. I also did not base the songs or parts of the songs on reference tabs, because then I’d know what it already sounds like and that would be cheating. After a song was completed in Guitar Pro then I’d imported it into Ableton and program the various virtual instruments.” ~ Alec Larsen
Still not listening to any of the material yet, Alec uploaded the rendered songs to bandcamp for a first listen.
“I documented my reactions, in all my cringe-worthy glory, in a YouTube video.” ~ Alec Larsen
Is there a method to the madness?
Absolutely! In addition to being a fun and exploratory exercise for Alec, the project itself has meaning. Alec published it in the name of a worthy cause, and any proceeds raised will go to charity. The beneficiary is the Foundation for Children with Hearing Loss in Southern Africa
“When inspiration hit, my instinct was that this should have a humanitarian impact. I guess partly because of the fact that metal music is always stereotyped as misanthropic and I felt like this would be a good opportunity to show that we’re loving people too. I chose the Foundation for Children with Hearing Loss in Southern Africa because their goal is to help children regain their hearing and if I can be a part of something to help children be able to appreciate music then that, to me, is a worthy cause.” ~ Alec Larsen