Making Of An Artist: Language, Creativity & Space Time With Tonik Ensemble - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Making Of An Artist: Language, Creativity & Space Time With Tonik Ensemble

Making Of An Artist: Language, Creativity & Space Time With Tonik Ensemble

Published July 10, 2017

Photos by
Alexander Matukhno

Anton Kaldal is the mind behind Tonik Ensemble, whose simmering, lush electronic album ‘Snapshots’ was named the Grapevine’s Album of the Year in 2015. Here, Anton talks us through some formative influences that helped him become the artist he is today.

Short: Powers of Ten—A Film Dealing with the Relative Size of Things in the Universe and the Effect of Adding Another Zero (1977)
This short film by Ray and Charles Eames is based on the works of Kees Boeke, in his book ‘Cosmic View: The Universe in 40 Jumps’. Sometimes you see, hear or read something in exactly the right moment. The first time I stumbled upon it, it slipped right into my subconscious. It’s something I revisit every now and then, and even referenced in a song title.

Talk: Creativity (1991)
As John Cleese says in this talk: “You know, when Video Arts asked me if I’d like to talk about creativity, I said, ‘No problem!’ No problem! Because telling people how to be creative is easy. It’s only being it that’s difficult.” It’s a great lecture from a legendary creative, and another one I find myself revisiting.

Designers: Wolfgang Weingart, Peter Olpe
Back in 2008, I attended a summer program in Basel, tutored by—amongst others—Peter Olpe and Wolfgang Weingart. Hierarchy, drawing, training the eye and all things typographic: it was a much-needed foundation, and I’ve been grateful for the experience ever since.

Book: Ágrip af sögu Íslenzkrar stafsetningar (“A summary of the history of Icelandic spellings,” 1959)
I went through the schooling system studying the Icelandic language, like every other Icelander. But reading through the history of grammar—that predated what we had been tought—it was interesting to learn that what seened to be a consensus about Icelandic grammar and writing turned out to be an agreement to disagree. This was a read that eventually lead me on a four-year journey in the collaborative research project ‘ð ævisaga’.

Song: Aphex Twin – Equation (1999)
I deal in music and graphic design with the relationship between sight and sound, and this track from the ‘Windowlicker’ EP is quite the literal take on that, using a spectrogram, the visual representation of frequencies, as a canvas. It’s quite mesmerizing to view the song as a deliberate painting.

Animation: La Linea (1971–1986)
I think every Icelandic child of the 80s has this theme song embedded in their brain, alongside Pat a Mat of course. ‘La Linea’ is a humourous take on creator vs. creation, and its simple nature allows you to put that into what ever context you like.

Remix: James Yorkston – Woozy With Cider (Jon Hopkins remix) (2007)
This remix by Jon Hopkins is something special—it goes way beyond the original, and essentially shows the lengths to which you can take a remix. It’s something I’ve kept in mind when doing remixes myself. On the same 12” you have a remix by Kode 9.

Graphic novel: Here (1989/2014)
Appearing originally as a 36-panel story in the 80s comic anthology ‘Raw’, Richard McGuire’s comic breaks the space-time continuum to tell a story of a space, or in the case of ‘Here,’ a corner of a living room.

Read the makings of more artists here.

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