Interview & Album Review: Audiolepsia

There are albums capable of making the listener realize after the very last sound that they are truly great. Principio de Incertidumbre (Uncertainty Principle) is not one of these albums – it had my full attention after only a few first notes and proved to be worth every recorded minute. While starting rather softly throughout the journey AUDIOLEPSIA might surprise with their heavier side, however never drifting away from the core of their music – splendid composition and a rich atmosphere, both being a means of revealing emotions veiled by the indifference of the ordinary day in life. These songs are meant to be not just simply listened to but rather felt, thus being a captivating experience. Principio de Incertidumbre is an open invitation to a journey with the band and while the invitation itself is the same for each and every of you, the roads shall be quite personal.

As if the mood of the songs wasn’t enough, Audiolepsia has also quite a distinct sound to offer and while post-rock is known for its very extensive use of various effects, echo, reverb and many many other guitar pedals, electronic bows and far more than I can list some may argue that after all this effects kick in the music stops becomes just the background to the army of gadgets taking the precedence? I had the pleasure of asking band members Jordi, Ángel, Álvaro and Kilian what’s their stance and how much they process their own music:

Well, we as a band, are quite “newbies” in the post-rock genre. We all have different musical backgrounds: post-rock for sure, but also metal, hardcore or alternative rock and Audiolepsia as an instrumental band has been existing just for three years. This means that we are not used to overload our music with a lot of effects: just distortion, delays, a bit of chorus and a couple of tricks, but not too much. We are still learning about effects and investigating, and it’s possible that we will incorporate more of them in our new compositions. What we all share is the idea that any sound effect shall work for the song, and not the other way around. It must have sense in the context of the composition, improving the original idea, expanding the sound, the impact… The process with us always begins with the song itself: the melody, the dynamics, a good structure and only then we try to find the best sound to express the idea, and proposals appear in a natural way. So, we think that our music is not at all overprocessed. A good song is always the main value for us.

I was especially surprised by an ingenious trick in Distancia where after a rather peaceful intro a heavier guitar part begins by playing only in the right channel – the effect was truly marvelous especially since I listened to it on noise cancelling earphones which induced a beautiful contrast between the riff in my right ear and ringing silence on the left.

And while Audiolepsia can be very resourceful when it comes to sound and production, tracks like Estigma or Cenizas prove beyond doubt that at heart they remain true to the music they are writing and creating. Even if post-rock is well known for songs which slowly build up only to grip the listener with a climaxing sequence in Estigma this most intense part is extended to a couple of minutes leading to a whole new experience and it’s merely a part of the vivid atmosphere present in songs on this album. While there are no vocals to be found in any of the tracks, I cannot escape the thought that the lead guitar in Cenizas is in a way speaking to me, forcing me to drop whatever I’m doing and focus on this spectacular instrumental feast.

While this approach is certainly more artistic, it also expects much more from the band in terms of creating – it’ll always be easier to show-off a sound effect rather than composing a well structured song, especially since it’s one of the fundamentals in post-rock and neighbouring genres, which led to another question: when it comes to Audiolepsia it starts with an idea, which you then transform into a song, but where do you look for the ideas? Or how do they find you?

Some of them appear just by playing with your instrument, having fun. Usually these are small guitar parts found at home or at the rehearsal room which are later commented and elaborated. Sometimes ideas come from a different song or from another band of any genre. A small part that inspires you… a nice riff, a vocal harmony, a rhythm… which makes your mind fly and try new things on your instrument. We also love the cinema, good TV series… and the mood of a film, or a scene, the soundtrack… it changes the approach to your instrument for a time. It could make you play a little different, therefore new and interesting things could appear. And of course, we let our emotions be expressed through our music. We try to have a look behind the curtains of our everyday life and then translate our personal mood into songs. At the end, these little bits of music are brought to rehearsals and become the seeds of new songs.

And however bold statements like “we express our emotions through music” may seem there are cases when they are true and Audiolepsia is not only one of these cases but also a great example with every song being a part of a greater journey aimed at the listeners themselves – feeling and the mood of the musicians were channeled into their songs to enhance the already vivid experience served to us listening to Principio de Incertidumbre. There was but a single flaw in the story told on the album – the main riff in the very first song Vicodina seemed misplaced for me. I couldn’t fit it with the beautiful flow of the rest tracks, it seemed very harsh, almost brutal. It might be blamed on the fact that Audiolepsia is a young band, but then again each and every of the remaining songs proves their artistic maturity, which made me ask them about it:

Regarding the riff from Vicodina, well, there are really a couple of explanations: First, we like to make these little breaks in some of our songs, where a big riff appears like a “lovely slap in the face” to the listener, like a little surprise to engage him in the musical ride.
On the other hand, Vicodina was the first instrumental song that we have made. Our singer had just left the band and, although it was in good terms, everything was a bit “earth-shaking”. This riff is a response to that uncertainty, that bit of anger for the unexpected changes… well, at last, emotions. It sounded good, powerful, and it’s sincere.

Whenever I listen to an album I like to mark songs that stand out to me for various reasons – a great riff, intense emotional atmosphere, perhaps lyrics appealing somehow to me or any other reason. Therefore I followed by asking if Audiolepsia would consider any of the songs iconic in terms of the album or them as a band or is it the album as a whole, being the result of the inspirations, composition and the entire artistic work put into creating this set of songs?

Principio de Incertidumbre is the final result of much hard work, previous experiences, formation changes and many other factors. Around a year ago, we felt that we needed to make a little stop in our musical path to say “Ok, this is Audiolepsia so far. This is Audiolepsia right now.”. We thought that we had put together a quality bunch of songs and we could deliver a good debut album.

(Reviewer’s note: Yes, they were right.)

So, we think that our album works as a whole, it’s a cohesive effort. But we also think that every song is like a little story. They work also as individuals. Dynamics are very important in our compositions, so, in our humble opinion, you can start a song in one place and finish in another, and feel a lot of things in between. And when you’re finished, better get ready for the next ride! Therefore it’s difficult for us to say that one of our songs is more “iconic” than any other. “Lunes” for example has been always very well received. Maybe it’s our most emotional song but not the most representative of our style. “Estigma” is well varied, a little roller-coaster that maybe defines better our music right now, very intense… “Cenizas” is quite direct and balanced… Sorry, obviously we like them all, but it’s great when everyone has their own favourite. One person likes the proggiest side, other the more riff oriented, and another one the more melodic… We believe that most of our songs have a bit of everything, so, by now, we are not a band of “singles”. We hope anyone could enjoy the whole album.

While Audiolepsia insist on keeping their albums as a whole to maintain their integrity and a perfect composition many genres release albums containing so called ‘fillers’ – tracks that aren’t part of initial composition but are included to make the album reasonably long. However unartistic this may seem, it might sometimes result in true wonders – for instance initially ‘Paranoid’ by Black Sabbath was meant to be a filler, but turned out to be their hit single and one the most signature songs. Here’s their opinion on this phenomenon:

For now, we maintain “fillers” out of the table. As a band, we are absolutely free deciding the length of our albums. Principio de Incertidumbre is almost 50 minutes long but maybe the next album will be shorter and we will not include fillers to make it longer. We can record an EP also… so “filler” is a concept that we do not manage.
We try to make and offer the best quality music that reflects the band’s moment. It does not depend on the time we have invested in its composition, three weeks or three months, but everyone enjoying the song, feeling comfortable and proud of it. A couple of songs, already mixed, dropped from the last cut of Principio de Incertidumbre. We believe they were good songs, but we were not “connected” to them anymore. They would have made the album longer, maybe more diverse, but we were not sure that would have made it better, so we decided not to include them. So we hope that when we find our “Paranoid”, everyone agrees to record it!

And this is what I would like to wish Jordi, Ángel, Álvaro and Kilian – the fantastic people behind the name Audiolepsia. They are not only fantastic musicians, as you can hear, but also great lads willing to share their time and all these detailed answers with us for which I would like to once again thank them.


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