The Berkeley-based duo's debut effort Something Like Nostalgia, out July 21 from Dynamaphone, is aptly named: Its airy compositions sounds like they've leapt fully formed out of Twin Peaks or 4AD's back catalog. They differ in that the Abbasi Bros often first formulate their songs using math, before letting them organically evolve into soundscapes. But just because Yousuf was a math major doesn't mean they make math rock.
"The complex theorems and properties of math I learned do not enter our music the way you are thinking," Yousuf explains. "It's simpler than that."
Listening Post: Do you consider your work to be an amalgam of cinema and music?
Abbasi Brothers: What drives our work is the ability to convey a message, or tell a story, both through film and music. The difference is that with film, the story is less subjective and adheres closely to a meaning set by the director. Whereas with music, the story is guided by melody and tone, and takes on a meaning that its listener identifies with. Both forms of storytelling are effective in their own respect, and we choose which is more appropriate for a given theme we are working with. For instance, if the story is about childhood, we create music that gives listeners the chance to feel the melody and emotion in their own way, relating the music to their unique memories. It all depends on what type of story we are trying to tell.
LP: Something Like Nostalgia is a good name for your debut: It reminds me a lot of Harold Budd's work with the Cocteau Twins, especially on The Moon and the Melodies.
Bros: To be quite honest, we are not the experts on Harold Budd. His music that we have heard is excellent, and many of our listeners draw comparisons to him. Yeah, we will have to spend more time digging deeper into his work.
LP: Were you influenced by the 4AD label?
Bros: We love their past roster, such as Clan of Xymox, Richenel, and Lush, as well as their new roster, including Magnetophone, The Late Cord, and TV on the Radio. In general, our influences come from many genres, and so we have never really identified exclusively with one music scene. There is a world of music out there, and so much to listen to and know. There isn't enough time in the day to hear everything, but we try our best.
LP: What other bands do you share an affinity with?
Bros: Our list of influences is very lengthy, including the Pixies, Archive, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, and Wu-Tang Clan.
LP: Wu! Tang! Wu! Tang! How about film?
Bros: We like the films of Gus van Sant, Quentin Tarantino, Cameron Crowe, Alfonso Cuaron, David Lynch and the Coens. Time after time, this is a tough question to answer, because there is always someone accidentally left off the list.
LP: Are you looking into soundtracking?
Bros: It would have been fun to soundtrack Lost in Translation, although admittedly the existing soundtrack is just fine as it is. Scenes were beautifully photographed in that film; having an opportunity to score them would have been a good test for our music. But soundtracking any film would be fun, because we love how music can add dimension and connect audiences deeper to film. And the filmmakers we know have offered positive comments about our music, most likely because they can envision the possibility of using it in their own work. But soundtracking is definitely one of our goals.
LP: What kind of gear are you using to compose these atmospherics?
Bros: We wouldn't really call ourselves techies, but we are continually trying to experiment with new instrumentation and gear. What we have worked with in the past include acoustic and electric guitars, keyboards, and whatever hardware and software we can get our hands on. We use the standard set of digital tools: Reason, Logic and Pro Tools, and a handful of plug-ins.
LP: Has the internet come in handy for you?
Bros: Tech and the internet have definitely helped us in experimenting with new software packages, as well offering a wider palette of hi-fi samples. The possibilities are so much greater now for independent musicians than several years ago. That said, the caveat for us is that sometimes too much tech takes away from the music itself. So we constantly try to remind ourselves that ultimately the music is about a feeling or a theme, and not so much about technical appeal.
LP: You say you use math concepts to formulate your pieces. Can you elaborate?
Bros: Actually, Yousuf was a math major in college, but the complex theorems and properties of math he learned do not enter our music the way you are thinking. It's simpler than that. We start with building blocks of sounds and melodies, upon which we add many layers of more sounds and melodies, creating a pattern akin to how simple axioms in mathematics can be used to build complex systems.
Source : wired.com
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