Trying to get a clear picture of every project that Sebastian Meissner is behind could be a difficult road and perhaps the best way to approach his music would be to look at each moniker or alias as a separate set of work.

From his home in Frankfurt, Meissner's music and working names have been morphing and adapting quickly, as his influences and production methods are always changing. Just as any personality does, Meissner seems to have his serious and fun moments and they come to light in the various sides of his music. One of his most highly publicized albums was Jerusalem that he recorded for Mille Plateaux a couple of years ago. Sound sources of the traditional Jewish and Arab music are combined into his own work, taking on a highly controversial issue and merging conflicting sides of the region yet keeping each side divided on separate sides of the album by a long silent space. This rare occurence of socially conscious electronic music has recently been re-worked on "Walking In Jerusalem," it which Meissner invited other artists (Electric Birds, Andreas Tilliander, Dub Taylor, Tim Hecker, Ran_Slavin, Mikael Stavostrand, and others) to rework his material around the theme of an unrestricted walk where their are no divisions between the Jewish and Arab worlds and the sounds that Meissner recorded in Jerusalem co-exist without separations.

Another and seemingly opposite side of Meissner (at least in theory) is his Bizz_Circuits project. On his recent Deluxe records release, The Very Best Of... Meissner kicks his feet up a bit and digs through his record shelves and yanks source material from his favorites and then deconstructs and reworks individual sounds into completely new work. Despite the fact that each track title comes from a pop song, the end results sounds nothing expected. Bizz_Circuits sounds more like what may exist in that secret place between the groove of the gritty records in which the crackles, test tones, and secret heavy metal messages try to keep hidden from teenage ears.

These are only a couple of the projects Sebastian Meissner is involved in. He has an arsenal of other projects in the works. There are Quicktime videos on each of Random_Inc. and Bizz_Circuits albums, he's working with collaborators and even spent time working for Force Inc/Mille Plateaux as a web designer and distribution coordinator and wants to begin new work on installations.

Could you tell me a little bit about how you made your way into electronic music production and give me a bit of a musical background on yourself....

My first electronic music productions, which moved my ass and my spirit were by Shut Up and Dance and Ragga Twins - the beginning of the new school in hip hop and the Berlin-Detroit connection and through that early breakbeat sound I discovered tracks by Alec Empire on Force Inc/Mille Plateaux which were all very exciting to me...everything was fresh and new.

I started my own sound adventures after buying my first PC in 1994. I was using some crappy standard software for Microsoft Windows 3.11 and was sampling digital feedbacks and other technical abnormalities, but also my favorite records. Together with my former soulmate Ekkehard "Ekki" Ehlers and somehow by accident we crossed paths with Achims Szepanskis and together we have started working on our first album La Via A Noir as Autopoieses.

You work under a ton of different names. Give me a run down of your different names and why you have so many separate projects.

So far AUTOPOIESES, RANDOM INDUSTRIES, RANDOM_INC, BIZZ_CIRCUITS and kLIMEK are the names I've used. I am getting easily bored with one sound or method of work so I am trying to move along with my stuff. As I move along I am changing project names and since I don't have an attitude of an artist (as a whole), but see myself as a split-personality in my approaches to my music projects. Time is moving by and I change myself and I am listening to new music styles and trying to introduce new sounds into my work. The same goes for my methods of work. You always learn something new but if I ever should return to the frameworks of my old projects, I wouldn't hesitate to use old names.

Why not work under the same name?

It doesn't make sense to me to use my family name or a single name for everything. I couldn't say that I have something like my own unique sound that all my projects have in common. The purposes and backgrounds for each project is different so separation is necessary. It was a huge fascination for me to see the anonymous nature of the early techno scene with the black and white sleeved vinyl -without any kind of an information -coming from nowhere -the sound was the only vehicle of information and associations. I am using names as toys. Why should one name (even my own family name) represents my different approaches? It's just me , myself and I.

I'm very interested in the Jerusalem album that you recorded as Random_Inc as well as the remix version, Walking In Jerusalem. I understand you were trying to combine Arab and Jewish influences together? I'd really like to know more about your work on the album and what inspired you.

Jerusalem is for me a place which is totally torn apart and so are my emotions about the land of Israel/Palestine and trying to understand this conflict. I have started to work on Jerusalem - Tales Outside The Framework Of Orthodoxy. Each part of the CD symbolizes all those various ethno-cultural sides of Jerusalem, which are divided (and summarized) in Judaism and Islam. While trying to look inside them, I have found out that those two sides are not only fighting against each other, but also against themselves. On the CD I have divided the worlds of Jews and Arabs, separating them by an acoustic wall and a mine field of silence and for me it was like an attempt to separate those two fighting parties.

Jerusalem is a place inside of me, which reflects my split feelings and thoughts. They don't work on a black & white level, but have multiple shapes and stages and are all connected between each other, sometimes contradicting one self and sometimes floating smoothly into each other. So are my motives of interests for Jerusalem since they come from different corners of my soul and of the world.

Jerusalem is a good exercise to learn something about human being in general (how conflicts are debated, how they are battled and how can they be solved), but about oneself, too.

Do politics play an important role in your musical or personal life? Are you trying to simply represent both sides of the Arab and Jewish struggle musically or is there other issues you're trying to address?

Of course they do. You can't be non-political person in this society. Even by rejecting involvement in (common) political action is political. Politics are about taking sides and expressing one's positions and decisions. All of those "little" everyday choices...they make you a political person.

I understand you visited Israel. Can you tell me what your experience was like and how their response been to your music?

It was extremely exciting for me to go and play there that's for sure. I didn't know what to expect there and somehow I was feeling bit ashamed to go there and present my little CD project, a project about madness by which the people living there are surrounded everyday, especially in Jerusalem. I received a ton of press and I have met some very dear people, who I will describe now as friends like Ran Slavin, a multimedia artists from Tel Aviv and Eran Sachs, an artist and activist from Jerusalem. My contact to people during my visit was sadly limited to Jewish-Israelis only and which I have interpreted as a sign of how deep the separation inside the society is, even in the art scene. Contact with Arabs is not a matter-of-course. It was a very intense time for me in the middle of war and at the same time the 1st occupation of Arafat's headquarters had started.

In the inlay for Walking In Jerusalem, each track features an excerpt from different writers, could you tell me a little about those excerpts?

Well, the idea of this extensive quotes in Walking In Jerusalem started on the first CD (there you have those short quotes only). Sound can tell some stories, but some other stories can be told only by words. The quotes are underlining the aspect of the multiple faces of Jerusalem which can't be simply divided in Jews and Arabs. I am working with the theme of a walk through the city - no such walk is likely to happen in reality in a Jerusalem where citizens hardly ever leave their residential areas -but diverse neighborhoods are touched, visited, crossed and—after a short stay— left again. Every track works with a particular quarter and the order of the tracks no longer distinguishes between the underlying Jewish and Arab sound sources...it reflects my own position...the perspective of a visitor...hopefully not of a tourist

Around the same time I received Walking In Jersusalem, I also received your Best Of Bizz_Circuits album which is a whole different vibe from Random_Inc. You seem to be sampling from you favorite records yet reworking them into something very new and abstract...is this more of a pop record for you?

Yes, on The Very Best of... I am sampling but that's what i am doing all the time! I don't care about an accurate quotation, because my working process isn't that way, too. When I like a part of track, a sound, a beat or whatever, i just take it, rework it, maybe use it or maybe not and put it back in my folders and maybe come back to this folder after years or maybe not. So after a time (since I am not labelling the samples) I have no clue where a sound originally is coming from. Pop? well, so let it be pop (or better, rock). Nearly every electronic musician these days is trying to find his own definition of pop-music...that's ok...but all those people are talking about something else...which is good, too...but at the end it's only summarized by: "ah, so you doing pop-music"...like we had a strict formula for pop-music. I like pop music.

I understand you even sampled Metallica and have a very Metal inspired font. I don't hear a metal influence at all but has it made an impact at all?

Metal music is part of my music history/background (either the very early Black Sabbath, or grind-core metal of the late 80's) so, it's also part of Bizz_Circuits. Yes, I have sampled Metallica a long time ago and it might be that part of this sample are found somewhere on the CD. Bizz Circuits is not about recognizing my favorites samples but if you do recognize, than have fun with it. Bizz_Circuits is about electronic music is metal = rock'n'roll.

Judging by the extra video tracks you include on your album, visuals seem to play an important role in your music...

Yes, I do care a lot about visuals. I would do much more of these things on my own, if i only had the time to.

Could you give me your thoughts on the current music scene in Frankfurt?

Electronic music in Frankfurt? Don't ask me about it... I'm am an autistic person. There is me and Random_Inc, Bizz_Circuits are coming from Frankfurt and of course Klimek. I heard even rumors that Autopoieses are from Frankfurt....

What do you have in the works?

Right now I am working on my new Klimek tracks as well as some installation works with my Israeli friends Ran and Eran. I am planing to start my own label with some friends of mine, Disc On Demand. Everything will be sold online only and everything has to be produced at home. It will be sort of a response to the idea of the DOGMA-movies and I am working also on my photographic works.

 

 
 
 
 
 

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