20JFG doesn’t normally run interviews, but when they’re conducted especially for us by Daniel from Mi Ami (aka Ital) who are we to uphold the rules? Especially when they’re with the awe inspiring entity know as the Hieroglyphic Being, who is also giving 20JFG some exclusive new tracks, Does it get any better than this!? Over to you guys……..
Jamal Moss, aka Hieroglyphic Being, has been making outre house meltdowns longer than you’ve been aware of underground music in any regard. A protege of acid master Adonis and working out of Chicago since the late 80s, his mind-bending excursions into deep space have pushed house far beyond its too-frequent 303 squelch/gear fetish MO. Under various aliases and collaborations, Moss has plumbed the depths of the cosmic, ecstatic and transcendental, shying away from the spotlight in favor of a life submerged in a constant swirl of psychedelic expression. Beyond his own tracks, he tirelessly releases music by like-minded peers on his Mathematics label, with a roster that includes Steve Poindexter, John Heckle, Ministry, Marcello Napoletano and many more. He is interviewed here by Daniel Martin-McCormick, aka Ital (and also of Mi Ami), whose “Culture Clubs” he recently remixed. Moss also generously supplied 20JFG with two tracks which will be released on the Cura Sana Album CDR, edition of 77, 5.29.11.
Moss’ music often feels like a direct, unmediated connection with the mind and spirit of its creator – messy, strange, exciting and beautiful. Thankfully, this interview was no different.
Your music is very unique and definitely subverts a lot of ‘rules’ and genre tropes. Can you describe your artistic process a bit?
I don’t have a certain artistic approach i just do it cause it’s the one thing i can control Sound Experimentation make it unique/Subvert rules & genres it’s a form of Meditation/Therapy for me hacking my code/matrix bringing harmony 2 oneself I use this one Artistic approach as a form of Sound Healing or Sonic therapy and i utilize certain Drum Modules/Field recorders/Synth’s as meds cause I’m not taking prozac or adiral 2 properly align my mind.
I heard about a show you played in DC where you only used two drum machines, a Boss and a Zoom, if I’m not mistaken.
Yes U are Not.
The way the Future Times guys told it, you worked out a bunch of patterns that morning, basslines and piano parts on the presets and then just let it rip, no midi cable or anything.
Yes i did 4 I Am The Midi & The Sync i Quantize from my mind & i sequence in real time ! I know that was way cheesy but i had 2, bwaahwaahaaaaaa.
Sounds crazy and awesome.
It is normal for most not all but some but yes it is Awesome but challenging.
Is this what your live show is always like?
Most of the time when i do it live i Compose most of the material the same day or a few hours b-4 the performance and some times i will do beats on the fly in mid moment at a show for past 16 years. (ableton What ) please ?
Is it important to have things be raw and on-the-fly?
Very important you get a feel for the environment & people that you encounter and empathetically feedback or have a precognitive call and response. Plus you can feel and flow with the energy right along with the people being surprised from it’s come abouts or short comings you can learn a lot from the experiences 2 enhance the next engagement or gathering.
You are an accomplished techno producer, and yet your recordings have an extremely raw, lo-fi feel which, although awesome, probably prevents a lot of people from djing them. Why do you choose this tactic? Are your records for djs or are they more like art objects?
No offense I’m not a techno Producer let the people/region who created the Sound medium/Energy reap the Rewards/Praise from it . I Come from Chicago And lean more towards the Fringe Sound and all Things Music Box (Acid/Jack/Deep/Gherkin/Classic House). A lot of the worlds most influential Experimental Artists/Composers Came or got there affirmation inceptions from my Region (Illinois) Sun Ra /Miles Davis / Ruth Anderson /Herbie Hancock / Quincy Jones /Sinyan Shen/Ministry/Eddie Vedder/Tom Morrello/ Laurie Anderson Donny Hathaway, Von Freeman, Earth Wind & Fire do i have 2 say further i do i have 2 hurt some feelings if i haven’t already.
Well my recordings are low fi because i choose 2 deal in that medium it’s sonically safer / everybody’s ears have been trained 2 deal with cleaner non-organic frequencies because of Tech and that isn’t always a good thing cause everyone focuses on knobs/cables/software/amps/mixers/effects/Headphones/Computers etc and forget about the Human Experience or emotion 2 engage & energize the Sound . And science has yet 2 come forth and explain the true Destructive harm that certain tech advancements in Soundwaves can have on the Mind & body.
And my projects are meant for whom ever is open 2 listening and applying it for a positive force & Change . There about 100,000 Working Dj’s (Radio/ Club/Festival/Bars/Weddings/Internet) on the planet there are close to 7 Billion inhabitants i aiming for any of the Inhabitants & Descendants thereof with Art objects that will become Art Artifacts hopefully a 1,000 years from now.
I get a sense from your name, titles and sound that there is a cosmic/spiritual/metaphysical theme running through your music. Is this true?
What are some concepts or experiences that drive your music?
Books i Read / People I meet / The Love i Lost / other Music / Other Art / Dreams / it goes on but at times you got 2 filter it 2 make it apply in your creations.
You have a number of aliases, if i’m not mistaken. Hieroglyphic Being, IAMTHATIAM, Africans with Mainframes, Compositeurs Sans Frontiers.. any I’m missing?
1. A few but I’m letting go off all except 2: Hieroglyphic Being / IAMTHATIAM the others was a one-off experimentation of identities or collaborations with other artists that never fully developed properly.
What is the defining element of each?
Hieroglyphic Being is from a Afro-Futuristic /Ancestral Worship /Kindred Spirit Influence And an Homage 2 all things Fringe based in Music / Art / Literature / religion / Philosophy / Science. A form of Therapeutic escapism 2 help Further or enhance my Human existence. IAMTHATIAM is more of a Tribute 2 the self, the spirit, the ID(Ego) , The New Age, obtaining Higher Existence / Self awareness from helping others 2 excel Artistically. The A&R Part of Me the Giving back part of me the power & Strength in me that allows me 2 be me .
I’m also curious specifically about the CSF alias. I can definitely hear an connection in your music to some of the weirder electronic composition of the last century. Do you feel aligned with that world at all?
I don’t feel aligned with the world around me because the Planet as a whole is not in it’s proper balance or harmonic alignment 2 much division, 2 much chaos, 2 many genres to process. The concept of CSF isn’t weird the frequencies composed on the project are very normal they are influenced by the Biofeedback that i absorb from everyday interaction or assimilation from this worlds bipolar activities. The World is not normal this project was or is a product of it’s environment Composers without borders is propagating that Music should be Music Art should be Art , Experimentation should help evolve the world not devo it. Perception & reception are powerful mediums 2 break down those Borders if applied in all aspects of Human Existence.
Your label, Mathematics, puts out a ton of stuff. How do you decide what to release? Is there a specific vision for the label or is it just whatever you dig?
It’s Kinda like trying 2 figure out the Meaning of Life or How the Universe came 2 be. I can’t define or i wont define the real purpose of Mathematics anymore I just wanna add more 2 it’s equation and hopefully do it right do it justice and give it meaning 4 others 2 enjoy and benefit from it’s creation. So it stopped being about whatever i Dig it came 2 be about what is healing for me and others with Sound. I Tune in (Decide) 2 certain Harmonies & Vibrations, Melodies & Rhythms that i hope that will translate well 2 all whom will listen. I manifest certain situations or conditions 2 procure/obtain or connect with the right people that can create this special Environment on the label . Sometimes i get it wrong sometimes i get right and if i get right and do right then more releases will come 2 fruition if i do it wrong and do wrong then the universe make it slow down or expire.
Also, you are personally very prolific. Resident Advisor wrote that the CSF project alone has over 1,000 tracks to its name, and there is no shortage of HB records, either. How quickly do you pump out tracks and what’s the criteria for whether or not they get released?
Well resident advisor report was a little off it’s my SoundBook (SoMuchNoise2BeHeard) that has over 1,000 Experimental compositions in it CSF is one of many sound concepts from it.
At this point it’s not about how many i can mass produce it’s about how i can make them translate well enough for the world 2 except and understand it. Some material that was composed 16 years ago didn’t translate well with others but are somewhat but not fully accepted nowadays but may be fully accepted 16 years from now. Then there’s material that i do have that could be accepted on a huge commercial scale in the industry that could make me really well off but i don’t do it for the Industry’s approval i do it 4 my own personal growth/enhancement that determines what gets released or not my on Id (Ego) which can be my savior or my own worst demon.
Your music sounds insane, which is of course the appeal. So I realize this is an odd question, but why does it come out so crazy? Is there some meta-commentary of electronic music going on, or is this just how you feel it?
I touched on that thru out this Q&A already No Prozac / Bending the Code / Self therapy / Defining Purpose 4 Self (Ego) / And having that Release
Maybe if i am able 2 feel that certain rapture again then maybe i will have balance and not sound so insane as people claim but if i do achieve conformed balance will it have that same appeal and at what sacrifice.
Any new directions your music might be taking?
Changing up some sound approaches in my set-up and getting a more finite feel of the primordial ooze of sounds that tap into.
Any big projects coming down the line?
There are always projects but if they’re considered big it is left up 2 the Universe.