In conversation with Progress Bar artist Swan Meat
Swan Meat plays during Progress Bar – part of the Sonic Acts Academy 2018 night programme – on Friday 23 February. In anticipation of her performance, editorial platform AQNB spoke to the Cologne-based artist about her path into music, her practice of programming and her interest in language. Swan Meat's jarring compositions incorporate a range of influences, from Suicide and Sonic Youth to Mozart and Pauline Oliveros, and are often paired with poetry and spoken word.
"I’m concerned with the sonic material of language, how not ‘the capital-V voice’ but poetry and its corollaries: spoken assonance, consonance, rhyme, etc. might function as actual instruments", she says. "In some of the earliest things I made as Swan Meat, I would bring a dry audio recording of a poem into Ableton and literally build a track around it; in this way poetry served as musical notation, words and passages and articulations being guideposts for rhythm, sound selection, melody."
The artist's visceral, raw sound is informed by her experiences with chronic illness, while her debut EP, Bounty, released on the Parisian PERMALNK imprint, explored recovery from bulimia nervosa through the lens of Samus Aran from the Metroid series. Swan Meat also builds her own instruments and makes plug-ins using SuperCollider, Max, and Chuck, which add to her distinct sound.
Read the full interview here and find out more about the Academy's Progress Bar double feature via the Programme page.