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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari


REMY talks about Exhibition of Dreams (2006)

S&S: Remy, first of all I would like to thank you for having concocted a so brilliant album in Exhibition of Dreams. Can we have a history of this album?

REMY: Between 1997 and 1999 I recorded a lot of music. During these years plans arose to release an album, and at a certain moment there was decided that a selection of the tracks had to be re-recorded to fit on a single album initially. I moved all my equipment to Ewout Koek's attic and during the recordings it became clear that there were more tracks that fitted together, so finally the release consisted of two cd-r's. We (Ewout and I) worked out the first plans of our own record label, AKH Records, to make this release possible, and the album "Exhibition of Dreams" - which is (as the title suggests) a compilation of dreams and visions put together - got available in a couple of specialized record stores in the Netherlands.

In first instance we decided to only print a limited amount of the album, just because we didn't have any idea what to expect of the sales.

The album sold out very fast, and before we could even think about a re-release, a copy got in hands of Dutch label and mail-order Groove Unlimited, with which it was decided to release the first official Remy-album, "The Art of Imagination", nearly a year later. Because of this release, the production of "Exhibition of Dreams" had been stopped. The demands for this album remained, so as soon as the production had been stopped, I always had the idea to re-release it ten years after its debut; and so it happened!

S&S: Why recording it on Mini-Disc? Wasn't it restrictive as procedure?

REMY: At the moment of the recording of "Exhibition of Dreams" I only worked with an Atari computer, in combination with a minidisc to record my music. So every additional track had to be recorded in one take with the sequencer. Besides that, I wanted the music to sound as organic and spontaneous as possible, and also thanks to these recording limitations, I've recorded all solos and effects in real-time, without any editing.

S&S: For the reader's benefit, can you explain the evolution of EOD releases?

REMY: Exhibition of Dreams (2-CDR, AKH12991/2-2, 1999)

My debut album, released in limited quantities on double cd-r. It contains a selection of tracks I've made between 1997 and 1999.

EoD (CD, AKH10091-2, 2009)

It contains a selection of the tracks from the original release from 1999, newly interpreted and recorded in 2009.

New title / original title

1. Entering The Dream / Into The Dream

2. Velocity / Lost Forces

3. Lunascape / La Luna

4. Silent Conversations / Silent Voices

5. Mirage / Mirage

I've used some of the original bases and sequences to maintain more or less the same atmosphere and feeling as the original recording and I completely recorded new tracks, based on my musical views, experience and new feelings towards them. The main intention was to expose the musical progression I've made in the past years.

For some of the existing tracks I've used different sounds. I removed entirely some tracks and others are completely new! I used the 24 bit / 96 kHz technology as remastering.

Exhibition of Dreams - 10th anniversary remaster (2-CD, 01103-2, 2010)

This is the entire debut album as released in 1999, completely remastered with the 24 bit / 96 kHz technology. Some parts have been technically adjusted (such as unwanted compression and differences in volume, which have been caused during the master recordings on minidisc).

Exhibition of Dreams - bonus tracks (CD-R, AKH SUB 001, 2010)

A limited cd-r (just for an "exclusive part" of the release, intended for the "real" Remy-fans, to accent the limitation of the original release in 1999, and to stimulate the first sales (and because of this reason not sent as promotional copy) of the Exhibition of Dreams releases) which contains never released before tracks from the same recording period as the debut album (between 1997 and 1999). The main ideas behind these releases are firstly to give people the opportunity to listen to my debut album, which has been unavailable for a lot of listeners due to its limitation, and temporary availability during its release (there was decided to stop the production of the album, because of the contract with Groove Unlimited for my first official release, The Art of Imagination, one year later). As soon as the release sold out, I've already decided to re-release it ten years after (in 2009) because of the continuing demands.

In my opinion this "anniversary release" had to be more special than only re-release the original album.

So there has been chosen to release all above mentioned editions!

S&S: Was there a need to redo it?

REMY: Mostly I think there's no need redo anything that has already been finished in the past. But in this case, I already had a re-release planned as soon as we saw it was an out of print album. Even if it took 9 years to do so, I felt there was a need do redo it, mainly because of the evolutions of the tracks when I played them live. Even if I had to struggle a bit to start this project, it became a great musical exploration and a journey through creativity which make this project even better than I initially thought.

S&S: Also, why did you release EOD with a bonus cd-r? Is it in the same spirit of Schulze rereleases on SPV Records? Will you do the same for the other releases?

REMY: Besides above mentioned explanation the music on the bonus cd-r should be a nice addition for the listeners of my music, so you could say it's more or less in the same spirit as the Schulze re-releases!

In the past I've done the same with most of my other albums:

- DisConnected & Connected, with promo cd-r DisConnected sessions

- Different Shades Of Dust: with A-Live!

- Sense: with Sense

- This Is Not The End: released as single cd, but also with bonus cd-r

- Exhibition of Dreams: with bonus cd-r.

All cd-r's contain music - often track who just didn't make it to the album - from the same recording period as the album.

Actually I try to focus on officially pressed cd-releases, but these exclusive cd-r's are a nice extra for the listeners of my music.

S&S: When we listen to EoD, we really have the impression to evolve through a dream and its meanders. Did the music inspire the title, or the title inspired the music?

REMY: It did in both ways. I always have certain feelings and images associated with a recorded piece of music. I name a title which covers the content of it at the moment of recording it or while saving it to my computer. In the case of the tracks that appeared on "Exhibition of Dreams" I've changed a lot of the titles (as the tracks initially hadn't been written with the intention to appear on an album together) to let all tracks fit into the context, and to send the listener into a certain direction to experience the music. A title mostly inspires me to develop the rest of the track. so finally the music takes shape around a chosen title and vice versa.

In the case of the new version (which appears on "EoD") of "Lost Forces" (appearing on "Exhibition of Dreams") I reverted to its original (working) title, "Velocity", which fits better with the 2009 interpretation.

S&S: In what state of mind Remy was during the writing of EoD?

REMY: At the moment of the composing and recording process of the original recordings of "Exhibition of Dreams", back in 1999, I lived in my own dreamworld, often losing sight of reality. Later on, dreams still kept being reflected into my music, but reality also became a more important element of it.

This, in combination with the intention to explore and develop my music into new directions, is why "EoD" sounds more "reachable" than "Exhibition of Dreams".

Although having used some essential elements of the original "Exhibition of Dreams" I wanted to approach the reinterpretations of the "old" tracks as completely new pieces, so I actually started the recording process all over!

During the process of "EoD" a lot of radical things happened in my private life which affected the recordings of, and my vision on, the chosen pieces, which made the album a logical follower up of my previous albums.

S&S: You said ‘’losing sight of reality’’, can you elaborate on that or is it too personal?

REMY: It's more complicated than I can explain, but I used to relate most of all-day situations to my music. I had (and sometimes still have) the idea that my music affected the real life and vice versa (and it definitely does in certain ways). To evaluate situations into specific directions I just thought a lot could be solved or conducted when writing a musical piece about it. Which does work when living in a dream world, but reality actually works a bit different. It is very important not to confuse those situations.

S&S: Tell me on what bases did you select the tracks that fitted on the 1 cd edition AKH10091-2. Do you have special feelings about those?

REMY: I chose the tracks of which I thought I could do most with related to reinterpretations and which fitted best together, also keeping in mind the maximum length of a cd. So "Unidentified Dreaming Objects" for example, which is a track of 42 minutes, was not an option. Although I prefer certain tracks above others, I had no special feelings (but I had stronger ideas for working out some of the tracks) when selecting. The tracks had to embrace each other like they did on the first version of the album, and the overall feeling and atmosphere had to be maintained.

S&S: Can we expect other anniversary releases from your discography? I'm thinking especially about The Art of Imagination which was release on Groove?

REMY: There are no plans. "Exhibition of Dreams" was a project of which I had already decided to do a re-release and a reinterpretation of a lot of years ago, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of my debut.

With another anniversary release I would think of a sortlike construction (not limited to a remastered version, but it should also contain a lot of extra's to make it a worthy anniversary).

As said earlier, I actually don't like to redo projects that have already been finished. Unless it has a very, very good reason to do so (for example in this case of "Exhibition of Dreams")!

If I decide to remake any of my older albums nowadays, it would become something totally different without any doubt, but life goes on, and so does my musical journey. I think that creating completely new music is far more interesting than getting back to already finished projects.

Sometimes I adjust or edit certain tracks for my live performances, but that's all.

S&S: How do you feel about the continual comparison between your music and Schulze’s?

REMY: People use to compare with familiar things. The task of a reviewer of music is to write down in words what is being heard on - in this case - a music album. A certain atmosphere or listening experience can be more or less described in words, but when it comes to the category or style of the music it's very practical to compare with already known artists and their music.

Yes, I am inspired by Mr. Schulze a lot and because I've listened to his music more than once, and because I like the same kind of sounds and use some of the same instruments he does, and because it seems that we share a comparable style of converting our feelings into music, there can be noticed some very clear similarities. So it's a compliment to be compared with Klaus Schulze.

Although I am always trying to discover new ways to continue my musical journey, it's very difficult to create totally unheard things these days (but I try to keep surprising myself and the listeners every time). But it is very nice to hear when listeners distinguish my music from those of others, noticing the own touch and elements I am putting into my music.

S&S: What years of Schulze inspired you the most, on all of your works, and especially on Exhibition of Dreams, during the 97-99 eras?

REMY: "Dreams" (the original Brain release, which includes the - in my opinion - necessary track "Flexible" - on the Thunderbolt release this track has been removed for unknown reason) was the first Schulze album I've ever heard, and it blew me away. The music covers the title (and reversed) entirely and reflects the dreamy world of Klaus Schulze in those days very well. I remarked a lot of elements from this album had very clear comparisons with my own "dreamy" world. This album did absolutely influence "Exhibition of Dreams" a lot.

Although I prefer most of Schulze's music, it seems that his late 80's - begin 90's period influenced me most, without being conscious about that.

S&S: Beside Schulze, what were your major influences at this time? Are they still of influence to you today?

REMY: Jean Michel Jarre, Mike Oldfield, Vangelis and Didier Marouani (Space) for example have been great influences to me, and they probably are the reason that my music sounds as it does now. They certainly are still influencing me (unconciously) nowadays, but in the lapse of time more and more other inspiring artists opened my ears, like Craig Armstrong, Massive Attack, Radiohead, Jeff Buckley, Kraftwerk, Björk, Enigma, Lamb, Velvet Undergound, but also Karlheinz Stockhausen, Aphex Twin, Steve Reich, Brian Eno, Antonín Dvorak, Zbigniew Preisner, and so on...

S&S: At those times, EM was at a reborn state in the Netherlands, what was your opinion about Exhibition of Dreams? Did you doubt about its impact and was it for this it was released on such a few copies?

REMY: The tracks that formed "Exhibition of Dreams" were, simply said, 'just' a compilation of my best tracks at that moment and besides I wanted to expose my dreams and feelings to people, I was very curious to receive reactions on my music. I had absolutely no idea what it would do with the listeners. After some years I found out (also concluding from the reactions) that the album sounded far much better than intended in first instance.

Because we didn't have any clue what to expect, there was decided that "Exhibition of Dreams" would be released in a limited quantity. If there hadn't been negotiations with Groove Unlimited for the "The Art of Imagination" the production of the debut album would probably have been continued. As soon as it became clear that a new album would be released, it was decided not to do a repressing of "Exhibition of Dreams".

S&S: The Bonus CD-R of EoD contains some really good material. I’m thinking about Waiting for Dusk and the epic The Storm. I understand that you composed lot of music during the conception period of Exhibition of Dreams, is there enough room for another EoD surprise?

REMY: There is still enough unreleased material from that period but there are no concrete plans to do anything with it yet, but you'll never know what will be released in the near future (Maybe a 50-cd box when I reach that age or so).

I still have lots of unreleased music, but to be honest it really doesn´t have any sense at all to release everything (except the music which indeed is very interesting to do something with, which does cover a big part of the unreleased recordings). There has already been released enough crap, so I don't want to bother people (and destroying the music scene) with music that's - in my opinion - not good enough!

S&S: Leaving EoD besides, you own your record label AKH Records, can you talk about it? What are the artists on it and what kind of music can we expect? It’s not only EM?

REMY: We (Ewout Koek and I) have released some very fine music, always with an electronic basis, actually differing quite a lot in musical styles, of which only my own music nears the 'Berliner Schule' style.

Sutrastore (Belgium) could be categorized as "trip-hop" (think about Massive Attack, Portishead or Lamb), just like Iuno (Netherlands) which also contains more jazzy elements. Fractional (Belgium) makes experimental electronics in the vein of Aphex Twin and Autechre.

Very soon we hope to have a great release by Lebenswelt (Italy) and we are doing exclusive distribution for SoapKills (Lebanon), Francis Rimbert (France) and Space Art (France).

S&S: You gave lot of concerts lately, mostly in Germany and Netherlands, and also in strange places, what are the ambiances at Remy’s concerts and where was the most special place you played in?

REMY: My concerts are always about the music. I don't want too much distracting elements during a performance, and I hope to make clear to the audience which parts I perform live. The problem of performing electronic music mostly is that all music could easily look like it's being play backed (and indeed most of the times a large part is playback as it's impossible to play live all parts of a track during a solo performance). That's the problem I have with artists performing with for example only a laptop. The audience has absolutely no idea what is being produced live.

So I am trying to handle my electronic equipment like for example a violin player handles a violin.

In an orchestra its always clear which instrument produces which sound. The source of the sound is at the same location as the instrument.

With electronic instruments in most cases the sound can only be heard through the speakers, which are not necessarily located at the same place of the instruments. This in combination with the artist hiding behind his equipment makes it often hard to see what you hear.

I've performed several times in the Great Church in Haarlem, which is an unique location to perform, with great acoustics and an excellent atmosphere.

The concert I gave in the Grugapark in Essen, Germany, was in a very relaxing atmosphere, and besides that the combination of the other performing artists, as well as the (unprepared) jam-session we all did together at the end of the day was very exciting and inspiring!

S&S: What can we expect from Remy in a short period of time? Any new concerts and music releases planned?

REMY: At this moment I am preparing for at least two upcoming concerts (July 17th - Schwingungen Garten Party, Hamm, Germany, at the end of October I will be part of the Ricochet Gatherings concerts in Berlin and on November 13th I will be at the Grote Kerk, in Haarlem, Netherlands).

Besides that I have just recorded an ambient piece, starting up a collaboration projects with some familiar names in the EM-scene, and working on tracks with vocals.

S&S: If you have to choose only 5 albums (or cd) to listen until the end, whom they’ll be?

REMY: My deserted island albums are (on the moment of writing and in random order):

- Craig Armstrong - The Space Between Us

- Jeff Buckley - Sketches For My Sweetheart The Drunk

- Didier Marouani & Paris France Transit - Concerts en URSS

- Massive Attack - Protection

- Klaus Schulze - Dreams

S&S: What is your work you prefer the most? The one you are the proudest about?

REMY: It's indeed very cliché to say my latest work is the best so far (but in fact I think it always is!). Besides that, after listening to my previous albums a couple of years later, I mostly like them more than I did on the moment of its release (this probably has something to do with hearing the tracks over and over again during the recording process)! If I really have to choose an album (except my most recent ones) I am most proud about "Sense".

S&S: Thank you Remy for your time and, on behalf of Synths&sequences readers, have the best of luck with your musical projects and life.

REMY: Thank you and hope to meet you at one of my upcoming performances!

Sylvain Lupari (June 26th, 2010)

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