How would you describe Aspectee to someone who doesn't know your project yet?
Michael Frenkel > I would say that Aspectee is anything but mainstream. It lies in a marginal of a marginal and at the edge of the edge of normal music.
I have described my music to a lot of people who didn't know its style. I think that often they had higher expactations of it, as this kind of music was completely unknown for most of them.
I would describe my music as dark and melancholic. The main points are sounds in combination with dark strings and harmonic elements.
Where does the name Aspectee come from, and what does it mean? Also, what is the most important purpose of Aspectee for you, yourself, and what kind of an effect are you hoping for it to have on the listeners? Is it a project for you to let off frustration and other emotions, or do you have some higher aims with the it?
Michael Frenkel > Aspectee means, in my opinion, making the music the way I like it. It is important for me to make the music for myself personally, and not to make the music that other people would want to hear from me. Every music critic tells me to "do this, and try that," but that is out of question for me.
It is my thing, and it's my decision on which elements I use and how I do it. My opinion: Aspectee. There are no patterns, barriers or rules.
I fulfill myself in my music, and in that time to I try escape from the everyday life and stress. It's a good time for me to just shut off. The music and even single sounds have so much power and energy... I need it like I need air to breathe.
Where do you find or get the inspiration for your music? The album artworks let me assume that at least a part of the inspiration comes from nature.
Michael Frenkel > A big initial inspiration was the "Dissolved Sampler" in the '90s. The hard and forceful music with a lot of reverb impressed me and made me get a synthesizer immediately, so that I could make music like that by myself. Okay, it was a different kind and style of music, but you can still find a lot of similarities.
At that time "Evoce Scurvee" came into being as well. It was a band with two musicians, which still has a strong meaning for me today. My project Aspectee is carrying on with its method of "music for the moment."
I am a very thoughtful person and need the music to fulfill myself and/or to retreat from the everyday life. I need this atmosphere and strength. It inspires me again and again.
Your works sound original, and their beauty hides an undercurrent of deep darkness. The songs are very detailed, yet have a smooth and easily approachable (and very deceptive) surface. How do you create these songs? Are they often inspired by some written thought or a visual idea, or do you solely focus on what the music sounds like and where the compositions lead you?
Michael Frenkel > I like the music of Hans Zimmer. You can notice his music immediately, because it is melancholic and beautiful. Of course I also like other artists within the styles of Dark Ambient, Industrial and/or Noise.
Surely also Oliver Petersen, the other founder of the band Evoke Scurvee, inspires me. Playing together with him in the live-sessions was a lot of fun. I like to think back to the concerts and the time with him. Our way of working was something special.
I try to put samples (like sounds and voices) in harmony with each other, but keeping the inspiring sounds as separate. The interaction is important and it's not easy. Interesting combinations are often created, and they are surprising to me and surely to others as well. When you listen to the songs more than just once, you will find out that there are always new things to discover within them. I try to use simple elements, so that the songs don't sound too overloaded or complicated.
I always play everything live, because the moment when you try to make the right choice and develop a feeling is crucial. Also, I break away from the normal song-structures with their strophes and choruses. My song "poudure" is an exception for that, though. It just doesn't fit here.
It's very important for me to to create something on my own instead of just copying other artists in the same area of expression.
Your works are not the easiest ones in the field of ambient or dark ambient. How have they been received by the people who've purchased them? Your albums have been released as relatively big pressings when it comes to dark ambient, so the labels certainly seem to have a lot of faith in your works.
Michael Frenkel > Thats true! My music isn't so easy to handle for most. For a lot of people it sounds too complicated and strange. The listener tends to try to get hold of a note or something else that would accompany him/her until the end of the song, but most often you can't find that in my music.
Some describe my music as a masterpiece, others as average, and some as unlistenable. The reviews you can find on the internet are all positive though, which makes me very happy. It's motivating to me.
Prior to Aspectee, you had a project called Evoke Scurvee. Would you like to tell us something about it? Was it an earlier form of Aspectee, or a different project entirely? I must also ask you if the Evoke Scurvee-releases are still available, as I haven't managed to find any.
Michael Frenkel > Evoke Scurvee was developed in a jam session 1997. The way of working is the same as in Aspectee, with the difference that in Aspectee it's only me who makes the decisions about the music.
Most of the songs of Evoke Scurvee were made between 1997 and 1999 with the guest musician Nikolas Wiese (tapes, saxophone, samples, noise). Everything was played completely live without the support of a computer. We called it "music of the moment."
The sounds, samples and noises which we used for the songs were each selected independently from the others. Then everyone would have the freedom to comment and guide in which direction the song could go. When everybody was ready, we pressed record and Evoke Scurvee came into being. It was a great time.
But where there is light, there is also shadow. Our tastes and opinions were drifting away from each other. Barriers and rules narrowed us down, and so we stopped Evoce Scurvee. It's now in hibernation, and nobody can tell whether it/she will awake again.ŽAll the musicians went into different directions and are now living far away from each other.
Out of curiosity, are you personally more into ambient and experimental music than traditional band music in your free time? Have you ran into any great music (ambient or not) lately that you'd like to recommend people to check out?
Michael Frenkel > I like to listen to a lot of different musical genres. It wouldn't be good for me to only listen to ambient or dark ambient. I like classical music, soundtracks, and music by Depeche Mode, Skinnny Puppy, Dead Can Dance and lots of other artists. I am also interested in what my kids are listening to.
It's been a while since Jour Cinq was released. What is Aspectee working on today? Do you have any new releases or ideas in the works? If yes, is there yet anything you could reveal about it/them?
Michael Frenkel > You can find the latest published Aspectee-song "The Element" on the "Dark Ambient Radio Vol. 3 - Muzak For The Final Elevation"-compilation CD. At the moment I'm again working on a new album, after a long break.
I always try to have goals. Where all this will eventually lead me, I still don't know. But in any case I want to try something different. Maybe something rhythmical, or film music.
I would love to make the soundtrack to a movie. My first try was with "Cask" by Ruckus Productions, but I would be better working with a serious movie, I think that is where my strength is.
I would also like to go live on stage. Maybe a good possibility for that will appear soon.