Interview: Gili Mocanu of Somnoroase Pasarele
Somnoroase Pasarele instantly stuck out to me as one of the most interesting and unusual experimental artists I’d heard in 2014, when I came across ABECD, released by Baba Vanga. This is a wonderfully anomalous electronic concoction of unfamiliar sounds and combinations, as is the rest of their catalogue, though the recordings vary in details of course. I was instantly intrigued, and as the years have gone on and my familiarity with the audio work of Romanian artist Gili Mocanu – otherwise known as Somnoroase Pasarele – increases, I enjoy and appreciate it more. Mocanu is an internationally recognized and exhibited painter. You can view a selection of images of his work here and beyond via the powers of google search. He was kind enough to take time to answer my questions below.
I‘ve meant for some time to ask you, will you pronounce Somnoroase Păsărele for me – that is, phonetically phrase it out?
Somnoroase P[Ə] s[Ə] rele … Perhaps this would help: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VL44lnD_hsM
Why was this name chosen for this sound project?
Because it is the title of the most famous poem by Romanian national poet Mihai Eminescu.
Is SP mostly Gili’s sound outlet, or is this more of a group effort? I believe I’ve seen more than just Gili credited as instrument player?
Somnoroase Păsărele was plurally rare, for certain projects only. Somnoroase Păsărele is Gili Mocanu.
What is Miru’s role in Somnoroase Păsărele?
Miru is more or less the ‘occult sidekick’ who ties up various loose ends prior & after recordings are released. He’s been on board since 2015.
What sort of background do you have with music making and / or production?
Fine art artist, experienced, practitioner and qualified, nationally recognized.
What brought you to create the type of music / recordings that you do? (associations, influences, interests, avoidances, aspirations, ideals…et cetera)
The bewilderment of birth.
Are there any guidelines or limitations used to arrive at SP’s distinctive palette(s) of sounds and approach? Is there anything you are trying to avoid? Is there anything specific you’re usually aiming for when creating these compositions and recordings?
The music (and art) that I make is a natural compromise between the desire to get something and the inherent result.
SP album titles are distinctive (TION, PATRU, VOMA, 0RT0 – that’s zero RT zero, PENE) – how are they generated? Do they have specific references or meanings? If so, will you inform us about one or more of them, say 0RT0 for starters?
They are random and phonetic. At first I used 3 letters and I reached at 5. They do not mean anything, but sometimes they mean something in another language. But the intention was for them to sound in a certain way. They are only indicative titles. orto also means “right”; here I intentionally replaced the letter O with a 0 in writing.
How related are the processes of sound / music creation and painting creation? Are they totally separate practices or is there some overlap or symbiosis between them? Are you a painter who also makes sound work or a sound artist who sometimes makes paintings? Is there any use for you in making that sort of distinction?
Painting is visual and sound is non-visual. But you need vision for both.
And this is in the person of the same man. There must be a connection between them, even if it is not intended by the artist.
What does sound do for you as an artist that images do not? Why do both rather than focusing fully on one?
Sounds are based on the images of the inner world, and it clearly works the other way around, too.
It seems to me that the sounds of SP are not entirely synth-based, but also not entirely software-generated. Is there a bit of both? Is it all computer-based? Can you / will you specify any central pieces of equipment & what you love about them?
The tracks are the result of orchestrating some samples created by myself. I’m building huge banks of samples. The possibility of discovering something totally unusual exists. I’m looking for less conventional synths and perhaps more based on the intention of noise from where I manage to clarify my vision. Like a tiger trained to roar slowly.
What is the process of creation like for Somnoroase Păsărele recordings?
Usually I will work on at least a dozen tracks simultaneously, and they may take several months to complete.
A lot of cassette releases of experimental electronic music emphasize analog equipment and sound sources. It may also seem strange to some to release computer (or fully digital synthesizer) music on analog cassette tapes. Is there any meaning to you in the idea of releasing future-music made with future-machines on “obsolete” past-media?
SP does not have an ambition to only put out tapes. I’m a rather unknown guy and my type of music seeks the unconventional – it’s a conventional experiment. I’ve settled with the tape medium for the time being; it’s a sort of beginning, but would like to release albums on other media as well.
Is there any hope or intention for Somnoroase Păsărele to do live performances?
Yes, I have this intent, only that studio work is so sophisticated that it would not reflect so well in a live setting, for the time being.