Vocalist and producer Eliza Bagg’s new music provides polar opposites collectively. A classically educated singer with a specialism in Renaissance polyphony, she’s also working at the bleeding edge of modern day experimental new music.
Bagg has invested the past 10 years collaborating with renowned innovators – Ben Frost, Nico Muhly and the pioneering ensemble Roomful of Enamel, to name a couple – though utilizing her function as a solo electronic artist to dissolve boundaries among Medieval and modern, minimalist and maximalist, male and device.
Similarly snug soloing with the New York Philharmonic as she is processing vocal improvisations as a result of intricate effects chains in Ableton Dwell, Bagg synthesizes a spectrum of diverse influences into a singular venture via her tunes as Lisel.
On her new record, Designs for Vehicle-Tuned Voices and Delay, Bagg stretches the sonic capabilities of the human voice to its extremes. Commencing with vocal improvisations grounded in Medieval choral music and 20th-century minimalism, she transformed these raw supplies into new sorts through vocal processing strategies knowledgeable similarly by the experimental approaches of Holly Herndon and Lyra Pramuk as they are the sugar-coated hyperpop of Charli XCX.
“I depend on my body as an object and resonant instrument,” Bagg tells us. “But I have made a vocal processing system that permitted me to transform the plan of what my instrument is. Now, what begins inside my physique and proceeds on the computer is a single process, and the strategies that end result from it are my instrument.” We caught up with Lisel to locate out far more about the ideas, equipment and studio strategies behind her radical strategy to audio-making.
When did you commence earning new music, and how did you first get commenced?
“I’ve been creating songs in different capacities for my whole lifestyle – I grew up taking part in classical violin, switched to classical singing (opera) in college or university, and started off participating in in a folks band around the exact time. In my early 20s I was in a synth rock band with four fellas, and I began building songs on my individual as Lisel about 5 yrs in the past, in 2018.
“To be honest, I commenced producing my own songs in earnest when I bought Ableton and permitted myself to improvise and idiot all over with much less of an agenda, objective, or structure in brain — imagining initially about sound and gesture. I put in that first yr improvising just about every working day, and finished up with so significantly content to layer and manipulate.
“I seriously love a procedure that combines the freedom of improvisation with the precision, toil and scrupulousness of listening, editing, manipulating — that portion is where Ableton genuinely permitted for a new type of creative movement.
“I was inspired at the time by a very good friend of mine — composer/digital musician Daniel Wohl — who definitely inspired me to use the platform. I was capable to crack cost-free from some of the mental hurdles that had been in my way for a prolonged time, a dread of breaking absent from common varieties and permitting myself to follow impulses.
“I received into artists who used each seem and kind in abnormal ways – Oneohtrix Point Under no circumstances, Kelela, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Kate NV, Meredith Monk, SOPHIE, Carl Stone. I went by a related approach when I was creating this album — a daily program of vocal improvisations.”
Inform us about your studio/set-up.
“I have a property studio that is been established up in my recent residence considering the fact that March 2020. I have a number of synths I depend on greatly – Juno-106, Moog Sub 37, Korg Minilogue, Korg Volca Keys, and an Omnichord.
“All of the vocal processing even though, is performed on the laptop — I use Antares Vehicle-Tune plug-ins and most of the delays are just in Ableton. I like the simplicity of doing so a great deal within the DAW — it makes it really clear and there’s a great partnership to the artistic intention and how it manifests visually on the computer system.
“However, occasionally I sense the reliance on the personal computer can inhibit a form of randomness that can encourage inventive impulses. I’d like to include much more hardware into my vocal setup, just for the compositional approach — my connection to particular plugins and processing has grown so common that often it is good to introduce a new, unfamiliar piece of gear that thwarts the comfy pathways and recurring artistic styles.”
What DAW (or DAWs) do you use, and why did you pick it?
“I use Ableton — I have utilised Logic in the past, but I truly choose Ableton when making perform mainly because it feels like a much more intuitive space to follow inventive impulses. For whatever rationale, it has just generally authorized for more experimentation, and a compact aspect of chaos, in the listening, editing, manipulating section of my process — which is generally when pieces really begin to acquire form.”
What a person piece of equipment in your studio could you not do with no, and why?
“The Antares Auto-Tune plug-in has become just one of my most treasured artistic equipment, and it is at the basis of most of my compositional work for voices. While my voice is my major instrument, I actually experience like I have designed a new instrument that is my voice in relation to the different Car-Tune plugins and anything they do, and I develop get the job done close to that unique instrument.”
What’s the latest addition to your studio?
“I acquired a Moog Sub 37 final calendar year although I was generating my most modern album, for the reason that I desired an instrument that had its own character and voice — and also had a large amount of darker, grittier, much more abrasive traits to contrast the organic femme, ethereal mother nature of my voice. The Sub 37 feels like it has opinions and company, and its seems are an lively collaborator in the studio.
“I appreciate the Korg Minilogue, but it is very compliant — it fulfils my desires. The Sub 37 brings its individual individuality to the social gathering, and I really like the activity of forming a connection, producing a dialogue amongst my voice and 1 of its people.”
What desire little bit of gear would you like to have in your studio?
“Honestly, I would adore a genuinely really wonderful vocal mic – a Neumann or a little something. I recorded this overall album with an AKG C214, which is completely pretty. But I’d adore something seriously unique, that provides its individual top quality to the vocal instrument.”
When approaching a new keep track of or project, in which do you start out?
“I start off with vocal improvisation. My voice is my most intuitive resource, I have invested pretty much my overall lifetime creating intimacy with it, and have confidence in and understanding of it. I have finished that through classical voice lessons, singing in church choirs, singing in folks trios, singing operatic arias, singing around the residence, singing together to Mariah Carey, singing acrobatic 20th-century new music like George Crumb and Philip Glass, improvising with pals.
“I genuinely feel in the deep effectively that is the several years I’ve spent nurturing it as a creative instrument, and I think there are infinite suggestions that can come from that. I permit my voice to make impulses of sound, gesture, and melody — and then I edit!”
What other artists do you look to for inspiration?
“So several, and from all about the location. I’m genuinely motivated by the world of Renaissance and Medieval choral singing: masses, motets, and chant by Hildegard, Tomas Luis de Victoria, Carlo Gesualdo, Thomas Tallis, Guillaume Dufay, William Byrd, Monteverdi, and many others. — as nicely as the cantatas and passions of J.S. Bach. I have used so a lot time singing this new music, it has worked its way into my human body. This applies too to the get the job done of contemporary classical composers like David Lang, Caroline Shaw, Meredith Monk, Philip Glass, and Steve Reich.
“I essentially commit a whole lot of time listening to existing pop artists as well, like Charli XCX, Rosalia (my most listened to artist!), Kelela, Empress Of, Tirzah, Grimes as nicely as artists from my childhood Mariah Carey, Brandy, Air, Aphex Twin (before albums), Stereoloab, Broadcast, Cocteau Twins.
“Obviously I’m also inspired by so many current electronic/experimental artists like Kate NV, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, Lyra Pramuk, Holly Herndon, Anna Meredith, Laurel Halo, Mary Lattimore, SOPHIE, Lucretia Dalt, Jlin, Jenny Hval, Eartheater, Oneohtrix, Floating Factors — and quite a few extra. And of system, experimental legends Laurie Anderson, Carl Stone, Suzanne Ciani, Kate Bush, and Jon Hassel.”
If you experienced to pick a single song/album which is been most influential on your get the job done, what would it be?
“So tough! I suppose I may possibly say a thing like Björk’s Homogenic, just for the sheer total of hrs I have expended with the tunes over quite a few yrs, and how I felt like it gave me authorization to experiment with seems and type.”
What do you believe makes you unique as a producer and musician?
“I imagine my expertise as a expert vocalist in an entirely distinctive willpower allows me to deliver a distinctive set of references and musical languages to my operate — and that a single of my artistic problems is making substantive musical relationship amongst the globe of digital/experimental songs and that of both of those historical and new classical songs.
“The other fifty percent of my lifetime is expended in a critical marriage with vocal new music composed prior to 1750, as nicely as new music at this time staying published inside the “classical” institution, which just usually means it is having into thing to consider the values and traditions of that style as significantly as anything at all else.
“Working in that discipline arrives with a knowledge of a full different set of idiosyncratic issues that are deeply acquainted to me, in rehearsal procedures, in discussions about variety, harmony, and notion — it has its own inner language that one particular can only discover soon after spending several years in the rehearsal rooms, backstages, live performance halls with the tunes and the practitioners. Apart from that, there’s just a deep fluency with a full different repertoire that I’m continuously attempting to deliver into dialogue with present-day sounds and systems.”