Shadow opposites, sonic alchemy and humanoid drums: Insights into the artistic mind of Corin Ileto aka CORIN and her forthcoming EP »Enantiodromia«.
With her newest solo work, set to be released on Lee Gamble’s label UIQ on the 3rd of June, Melbourne-based producer and composer CORIN more than ever lets her interest in sound design and spatiality find its way into dark, heavy club tracks. After her 2019 album Manifest (Bedouin Records), Enantiodromia is the logical follow-up: Industrial percussion is circled by ecstatic synths in a futuristic hall of mirrors. In conversation with Jakob Dibold Corin Ileto talks about the record’s linguistic framework, the relation between sound and architecture and shares her experiences of performativity.
»Enantiodromia« is about to be released. How would you describe your musical and conceptual approach to it compared to 2019’s »Manifest«?
With »Enantiodromia« I wanted to hone in on the sound design of each song, combining textural ambience with hard percussion. I became interested in sound design whilst working in theatre spaces; in particular composing for Carrion (2017), an experimental theatre performance by Justin Shoulder. How to make sounds »dance« within a space, or at least give the illusion of sound moving through or within it.
Compared to previous releases, it’s probably the most club-appropriate set of tracks I’ve produced. I was interested in using filters to create the illusion of space, a way of morphing, conflating and suppressing particular frequencies to empty out the tracks at pivotal moments. This is somewhat of a departure from previous releases which are more layered and sonically full.
It’s definitely club-appropriate, but overall, this new release sounds a little darker as well, sinister even, maybe like a futurist ritual.
Yes, it does carry this kind of mood, especially »Ex Nilalang«. The title is named after a video project I’m involved in with Club Ate, a collective that celebrates members of the queer Asia-Pacific diaspora in Australia and the Philippines. One of their core ideas is the imagining of a future folklore. »Nilalang« in Tagalog has a dual meaning »to create« and also »creature«. With the track I had a similar intention: deriving meaning from mythology connected to my Filipino heritage but with a sonic futurism. My dad is a historian and he’s traced my matrilineal line to a »datu« (chief) who ruled over settlements near Taal Lake – a lake surrounding a volcano that also has a lake within it. I like to dream about my connection to this time and place.
The term »Enantidromia« itself has a long history. It might refer to Heraklit as well as to Carl Jung. Why did you this time choose these very old ideas as a linguistic framework?
In Ancient Greek »enantios« (ἐνάντιος) means opposite and »dromos« (δρόμος) means »running course« or »running into«. In Jungian terminology, »enantiodromia« is the unconscious emerging of one’s shadow opposite within the psyche. An element transforming into its opposite once it has reached its extreme. I liked this as a visual metaphor or symbolic structure that I could apply to the songs and I’m intrigued by transition points. Not just build-ups but also a point of arrival or departure. What would it sound like for a musical element to transform into its shadow opposite?
Lately, I’ve also become attracted to the idea of creating some sort of »sonic alchemy«. Ancient beliefs spoke of lead being »perfected« into gold, inferior forms materialising into something superior. How could I represent this idea sonically? How would I be able to digitally warp a texture so that it materially transforms into something else?
Probably in line with this idea of transformation, many tracks have a dystopian mood to them, yet you tend to interweave doom with ecstasy. Do tales of dystopian futures – be it literature or film – influence your musical output?
I always like to create a sense of dynamic range, whether that be within a track or structuring a set. Compared to previous work, this EP probably has more coldness or hardness to it that I tried to break with moments of ecstatic release.
My music has always been influenced by science fiction, especially film – whether that be through the narrative or the film score itself. With the release, I wanted to give a voice to each sound so that each sonic element almost takes on a life of its own. Drums that sound humanoid. Industrial textures that become embodied creatures swimming through space, like sentinels.
Has the process of composing and selecting the tracks for »Enantidromia« involved plans for a strong live / visual concept as well? To what extent do you consider your own performing body as essential part of your live performances?
The EP has a video coming but not an AV set. I do, however, have plans to develop a live AV show for an album I’m currently working on. The visuals will be made by Tristan Jalleh, who created the live AV show for »Manifest«.
In the past, I’ve considered my body as an essential part of performing, but this is slowly transitioning the more I become involved in productions as a sound designer or composer where I’m operating in the background. Coming from classical piano training, in my first performances I solely used the keyboard as I was interested in re-interpreting sequences that I wrote via midi. I don’t believe that electronic music necessarily needs to be interpreted through a bodily performance or instrument to have a sense of »liveness«. This was just my initial approach as it was the only way I knew how to perform. I’ve had some nice feedback over the years though – I think people like to see this sort of »human expression« of digital sounds, which is perhaps a romanticism of merging man with machine that references early electronic performances like Kraftwerk or YMO.
Finally, as you mentioned your work as a composer: Do Corin Ileto, who scores dance or theatre pieces and the solo project CORIN have a great impact on one another?
I used to think of my composition work and solo project as separate entities, but I’m finding them now to be even more intertwined. There is usually some crossover with the palette of sounds I’m developing at the time.
I’ve just composed an 8-channel surround sound composition for Sky Blue Mythic, an experimental dance work by performance artist Angela Goh that will premiere at the Sydney Opera House this month. The work explores the idea of dance as a non-human entity. Throughout the show, Angela uses her body to shift the perspective of the audience, tilting the axis of performer versus audience. In her words »gestures as symbols that can translate, morph and stretch meaning across times, dimensions, and worlds.« I wanted to echo this in the music via spatialisation, mirroring and augmentation of sound. To create the illusion of the sound being inverted by playing an altered version of it from the opposite side of the room, or by reversing the audio itself.