INTERVIEW WITH CHANGING IMAGES JUNE 2005
Sergio Vilar interviewing Martin Kornberger
Sergio Vilar is editor of the website NUCLEUS and Musical Director of the radio shows "Una Larga Pasión" and "Radio Babel", both dedicated to symphonic/progressive rock and
avant-progressive/new music, broadcasting in
Avenida Horacio Cestino Nº 709
1. Let’s do some history, how was Changing Images formed? What was the idea you had at the beginning?
MARTIN: We met in 1978. In those days I was active in a band dedicated to psychedelic music, called SOMA. Volker saw us at a live gig at our school and joined as a bass guitar-player. As far as I remember, after a short time it was clear, that Volker would play guitar and he never played bass again… Since all went to different colleges and universities after school, SOMA decomposed, but the friendship to Volker survived and we continued to produce music together.
Musically we had similar roots and ideas, mostly impressed by the progressive Bands of the early 70th decade like Genesis, Pink Floyd, Yes, King Crimson. Beside this, I was interested in Electronic music as from Tangerine Dream, Ashra, Klaus Schulze or Kraftwerk and even Avantgarde Jazz.
2. From where does the name come? What does it mean ?
MARTIN: Very early we tended to instrumental music like soundtracks and impressive concept music. Because the style and mood in our music is sometimes rapidly changing and versatile arrangements are the base of most of our music, the name CHANGING IMAGES seemed to match. On the other
3. Do you consider yourself as a band of Progressive Rock or next to
Progressive Electronic Rock?
MARTIN: Though there are strong aspects of Progressive Rock, especially in THE CASTLE, a charismatic lead vocal is missing and the electronic elements shift it more to Electronic Rock or something like this. Finally, we don’t care in which drawer we really fit
4. Which are the bands that you see close to your sound?
MARTIN: Not easy to answer. I am thinking of Faithless, Gandalf, maybe Pink Floyd or Alan Parsons and a bit Robert Fripp and Porcupine Tree.
5. How do you compose your material? Based on improvisations or with
MARTIN: Both. Some of the concept works were planned and composed based on a theme or story. Single musical ideas or riffs give a base while experimenting with it. We also do lots of improvisations to refine the music or add solos.
6. Something about your discography… How would you describe each one of
your four discs?
MARTIN: THE CASTLE – Our Debut CD. We did a few tape releases before, but this was the first real thing, done with a lot of work and heart-blood. Musically ambitious. It is a strong concept work, probably closer to Progressive Rock than the others, also due to the fact that it was produced by the French ProgRock label MUSEA.
produced by Angel Romero from Lectronic Soundscapes in
THE ART OF DREAMING – again a bit more progressive. But not easy listening, somewhat broken like Gustav Mahler – but it fits to the concept. Wonderful and complex arranged.
S.E.T.I. – fresh and innovative, a bit more upbeat style but also cosmic – close to the intention. We had a lot of fun doing it.
7. Musically, which where the aims to follow with
MARTIN: Since Years we wanted to make some science-fiction related stuff. Our track “Cyberspace” on the album VIRTUALITY we did 1991, long before the internet and virtual reality got popular. It was successful in the EM scene and we liked it a lot.
William Gibson’s novel “Neuromancer” and of course the work of Phillip K. Dick provided some of the atmosphere at that time.
S.E.T.I. now should be less intellectual but straight forward. As I played around with an artificial voice PC program, the idea for the title track came up: to generate a story of a female spaceship computer GAL, on a quest for intelligent life in universe. GAL develops a devoteful but self-destructive relationship to the only human on board, Dave. Facing alien intruders and before the final explosion, she reveals that she had been a transformed human falling in love with Dave. Anyway, the reprise “Seti Warp” implies an open end. Of course, everyone will know it is a homage to Kubrick’s “2001 Odyssee in space” with HAL, the board computer. Musically, it was somehow a unique sound, expressing the groovy flight, with positive but also desperate moods. It was the first time we used two independent guitar solos from Volker simultaneously on both stereo channels – very dense and impressive. It took also a long time to program all the background stuff and rhythm section, dominated by a KORG TR-Rack. Most of the drums I played live on key-taps. Interesting for insiders maybe the tricky rhythm- and tempo changes.
The mystic track “Gates” was recorded live shortly after the total eclipse of the sun in August 1999. “Robot” was an older track from the area of THE ART OF DREAMING, in the spirit of “Cyberspace”, now it would fit to the album’s concept.
“Survey” and “Fear” are somehow in the ‘old style’ of Changing Images, close to the former albums, more constructed. Insofar, the album S.E.T.I. has something of a breakpoint in the music of Changing Images.
8. After four years from the edition of that album, I guess that you
already have composed
new material ?
MARTIN: Yes. We have some material and are working on more. But we both have less time for music than we would wish due to our jobs and private life. So it will take it’s time…
9. What will be on the next Album? Does your current music differ in
relation to "S.E.T.I."?
MARTIN: I think there will be some change. The newer music is perhaps more direct, with live character and more rhythmic, simpler, with rock elements – on the other hand combined with modern amazing capabilities which contemporary technologies offer. Also, we are about to free ourselves from thinking in drawers like Progressive Rock or Electronic Music or whatever. It is time to be what we are…
10. How would you say has Changing Images's
sound evolved until today ?
MARTIN: Some of the aspects I mentioned already before. There is naturally a strong relationship to the technical possibilities. We started with very simple equipment which also determined the sound. Now, almost everything is possible and feasible. But I try to keep a line; Changing Images should be recognizable. So, there are some favourite instruments and sounds which appear continuously, and I use the similar reverb- and recording settings since years trying to keep a warm analogue character.
11. Is this your only group or is some of you
participated in other parallel works?
MARTIN: I did from time to time some Solo works on a small level.
12. What music type are you listening recently?
MARTIN: Cross garden! Peter Gabriel, Enchant, Porcupine Tree, U2, Steve Reich, Didier Squiban, some Ambient DJ’s, Soundtrack and classic music.
13. Where do you plan to arrive with the band?
MARTIN: At home ? Well, trying to catch the inner symphonies from beyond…
We will never be a popular band with bigger success. Music is our passion, not profession, doing it for fun. If we can enjoy some other listeners, even better.
14. Lastly... something what you like to address to our readers?
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