The Willson Center for Humanities and Arts, in partnership with the UGA Graduate School, UGA Arts Council, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, and Flagpole magazine, has awarded 34 micro-fellowships in its Shelter Projects program. The $500 fellowships support graduate students and community-based artists and practitioners in the creation of shareable reflections on their experience of the current pandemic through the arts and humanities.
Artist Statement by Killick Hinds: Since moving to Georgia in 1995, I’ve heard many times “We’re going to the Lake this weekend” …I’ve never known which Lake, as there are multiple contenders, but I’d like to think it’s capitalized like going to the Club. The Lake/Club dynamic is something I balance abstractly: Naturalistic (serenity, stillness, reflection, stasis, solitude) and Social (rhythm, motion, expansion, development, participation). When I found out about the Willson Center Shelter Projects micro-fellowship, I applied and am grateful I was chosen as one of 34 fellows. I immediately jumped in, creating a long-form musical work performed live with guitar and computer using nearly every cable I have and off-piste signal routing in Rube Goldberg fashion. The result is something I am very glad to have the opportunity to present among such excellent company. Thanks for listening.
Flagpole: Were there specific ideas or emotions you set to explore through Lake Nonlinear? How would you describe your headspace or where you were in your life as you went into creating this improvisational work?
Killick Hinds: The past couple years for me have been filled with travel and incredible musical situations with many dear friends and kind listeners. The 2016 election was such a horrible setback for the world, and I resolved to go headlong offering what I do as widely as possible: abstract music made with all my heart and soul to bring healing. I feel if the music inspires more questions than answers it suggests flexibility and creativity and equanimity is possible in all aspects of life. At its core, my music is a dialogue with all the elements, internal and external.
When our momentum came to a halt in March, I was firmly in go go go/share share share mode, but suddenly without an outlet. The Willson Center’s Shelter Project support was a big psychological boost; the framework for Lake Nonlinear came together quickly. As I write this, I’m looking at the flowchart. It’s not a music chart, rather it articulates the complicated cabling for this real-time “ensemble” piece. The parameters were limited only by my 33-minute time cap (which I exceeded slightly). My guitar playing was converted into MIDI information for instantaneous computer augmentation. And these words, an accurate summation of my corona-era impressions, are repeatedly rendered by speech synthesis also actuated by guitar:
I thunk gestalt
and the world turns
When I improvise, I’m working to make the moment interesting, enjoyable and edifying, and simultaneously keeping a log of what’s transpired so it accords with what’s to come. It’s important to me the architecture makes sense in short bursts and for the duration. The gestures and textures generated by relaxing habit energy build on themselves. I trust the process completely. And the title made me laugh when it came to me… I knew it was a good fit. I’ve never actually been to Lake Lanier.
Flagpole: The physical restrictions of social distancing have made in-person practices and recording sessions feel next to impossible for many musicians. Though you’re identified primarily as a solo performer, collaboration is an essential part of your creative practice. I see that since the recording of Lake Nonlinear, you’ve released collaborations with Greywood and Brad Bassler. How did these collaborations come about? Has the pandemic influenced the way you approach musical collaboration?
KH: I usually divide my time and creative practice about 50/50 between solo (which I contend is never really solo since so many people help make performances happen) and collaborations: duo, trio, or beyond. I’m fortunate I can record at home (most of my albums subtly feature uncredited dog and kitchen sounds), and it’s been wonderful interacting with musicians in Athens and around the globe who do the same.
Greywood scores tv and film shows, and has a very textured and complete presentation. He reached out for our duo by sending a bunch of cues. I variously added to or remixed his sounds. It’s a really nice merging of sensibilities. There’s so many things his music called for that I wouldn’t instinctively do otherwise. I love how it draws out new colors and rhythms from my palette and lets me grow as a musician. The end result is a pleasing, unified whole.
Brad Bassler and I play together in Thunder O(h)m! & Pocketful of Claptonite. For this remote duo, I had the idea to act like we were one person playing the piano. He would be the left hand (and played his piano indeed with only his left hand). I would be the conceptual right hand, accomplished by playing non-idiomatically-guitaristic lines mostly in the higher register with my guitar. With the magic of MIDI, I sounded two different sampled piano sets. I blended Brad’s left with my composite “right”…et voilà! Admittedly, Brad had the more difficult task. It sounds plausible-as-piano and flowing to me.
I have a few other collaborations germinating now. Some are getting pretty close, including my duo with brilliant Mexican-Swiss guitarist Nick Vander. And this one, a silent film score with my pal Henry Kaiser, was a treat:
Much of what I’ve done in these recent months wouldn’t likely have happened without the upending of routine. New pathways are being formed. I’m deeply appreciative for the unexpected opportunities to create.
Flagpole: Last year, you released your first vinyl LP, Stay-At-Home Monk, a title that feels all the more relevant in 2020. Has your view or relationship to the album’s title or concept taken on new meaning or significance for you during the pandemic?
KH: Stay-At-Home Monk does feel prescient in light of all that’s happened. I’m amazed at how meaning can change dramatically in a short time. But when I put the LP together last year, I suppose I was riffing on the typical balance of professional and personal activity. I usually go from the stimulations of concertizing, catching up with old friends and making new friends, and exploring new cities. Then there’s the quiet interval where I regroup at home. S-A-H M also references my meditation practice directly and playfully. The poetry on the sleeve and insert and label was written over about a year and a half, another type of meditation. The music is generally languid and contemplative… and, serendipitously, long held tones are really more where it’s at in 2020. Freneticism (in music! only in music!) holds a special place for me, though calmness is a desirable quality at the moment.
Unfortunately, I don’t have an easy way to distribute the LP right now since concerts were the mainstay. It’s available through Squidco.com but anyone interested can drop me a line through my website www.killick.me. I never want any barrier to listening, so I make them and my CDs and cassette available for free to whoever would like one.
Below, watch Killick’s most recent Appalachian Trance Metal performance, streamed by Tweed Recording, in which he plays the H’arpeggione, Symbiote, banjo, one-holer, Pink Hack, Walrus and Vo-96.
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