ponedjeljak, 29. srpnja 2013.

HK119 [Heidi Kilpeläinen] - Imaginature (2013)

Photo by Mark Lebon

Ekscentrično-operetno miješanje teatralnog folk-SF-a s percepcijom "prirode" i kapitalizma.



‘Imaginature’ is the striking third album from HK119, aka Heidi Kilpeläinen, due for release on One Little Indian Records.
Produced (with the exception of one track) by Christoffer Berg (The Knife / Fever Ray / Little Dragon / Depeche Mode), and inspired by the world of animals, plants, land and sea, this is an organic synth-world far removed from the hyper-stylised future pop of Heidi’s previous work.
The root of this new flowering of HK119 was beautifully simple; on holiday in her native Finland, Heidi was stopped in her tracks by some birdsong. “I don't think I ever listened to a bird before that,” she marvels. “It was really quite bizarre. And I suddenly realised, I've never listened to a bird. You know, there's a difference between hearing and listening.”
As a whole, ‘Imaginature’s combination of dark, distorted vocals, hypnotic rhythms and spacious, layered production are reminiscent of a spirit journey, a lucid dreamstate where anything is possible. It evokes a sense of intense natural epiphany; ‘Wild Grass’ recalls Dead Can Dance as much as Fever Ray with its melding of that birdsong with pipe-like synth sounds and softly padding, circling beats.
Heidi gathered materials through field recordings - the sounds of waves in the sea, of footsteps in snow, of buzzing insects - manipulating them on her computer and weaving them around songs written on a piano in her living room. The end result is this stunning album. www.piccadillyrecords.com/

Compelling third album of eccentric, operatic Finnish electro-pop from Heidi Kilpelainen. Apparently inspired by birdsong while on holiday in her homeland, she creates an otherworldly journey through laidback, hypnotic rhythms and lucid yet bizarre song-writing recalling a wealth of music we already love, from Group Rhoda to The Knife/Fever Ray, Kate Bush or Planningtorock. It should come as little surprise, then, that Christoffer Berg, producer for The Knife, Depeche Mode and Little Dragon, is the man behind the scenes. Check! - boomkat
HK119 – aka Finnish multimedia artist Heidi Kilpelainen – has made a name for herself in the indie/electro world in recent years. In 2004, prominent Icelandic artist Björk named HK119 her favourite act of the year – an endorsement that did wonders for HK119 and was followed with a record label with One Little Indian, a number of singles, and three albums, the most recent of which isImaginature.
There’s quite a fun story behind the album’s conception, too. While wandering around the Brazilian wilderness, Kilpelainen ran into what I’m going to refer to as a Jungle Shaman named Adailson who inspired her to pay more attention to the natural world. Later, while wandering around her native Finland (she does a lot of wandering), Kilpelainen was halted by a particularly beauteous birdsong. Realizing that she’d never really listened to nature before, and recalling the Jungle Shaman’s advice, she decided to focus on bringing the wonders of the organic world to her music. Thus, Imaginaturewas born.
This is not a Herzogian vision of nature; HK119 takes even the ugliest bits – like ants, nobody likes ants – and makes them pretty. Her dreamlike, heavily distorted electro-pop synthesizes audio recordings of running water, footsteps through snow, buzzing insects, and chirping birds: the result is a lucid, and slightly disorienting, celebration of nature.
Though she accomplishes her goal, there is something intrinsically wrong with the basic concept. Isn’t there a logical fallacy in the utilisation of the most artificial human creations to portray the most organic elements of nature? There’s nothing organic about the album; everything is electronically manipulated and distorted, including the recordings of nature and Kilpelainen’s own voice. From that point of view there is an inherent contradiction in the mere existence of the album, but I’m probably just over thinking things. Obviously, HK119 does appreciate nature and everything in it – probably a lot more than I do – and this just happens to be her preferred mode of expression. If it was really a huge issue, then the aforementioned jungle shaman likely wouldn’t have collaborated on one of the songs.
But enough of that, this is a really intriguing album. The songs range from ambient to energetic, accessible to alienating, experimental to conventional… actually, no, nothing about this album is conventional: HK119 is an innovative force. The most standard thing she does is including choruses in some of the songs. Otherwise, this is as creation-heavy as nature itself, without any of the sheer overwhelming violence that Herzog mentions.
The opening track ‘Wild Grass’ is the perfect start to the album. Running to almost seven minutes in length, the song sets the scene for Kilpelainen’s thought process, painting a picture of the disaffected 21st century lifestyle and the romantic notion of a cleaner, simpler, more genuine natural world. The follow-up, ‘Snowblind’, meanwhile, is an almost surrealistically poetic ode to nature. The music video is similarly odd and pretty; it’s a weird balance, but worth watching nonetheless.
The rest of the album consists of these mini-tributes to particular aspects of nature such as ‘Whale,’ ‘Milky Way,’ ‘Moss,’ ‘Spring,’ ‘Rain,’ and ‘White Owl,’ to name just a few. Imaginature was, to be honest, quite unlike anything I’d ever listened to before. What HK119 has produced here is definitely worth spending time with, though. If experimental electronica isn’t really your thing then you might not like it, but the underlying ideas and feelings in the songs are thought-provoking nonetheless.- Chris Melville

Photo by Mark Lebon

Heidi Kilpelainen’s art practice spans across a broad range of media and creative languages, producing imaginative cross-pollinations that invent new connections between the visual and the performative. There is a dialogue at work across her diverse projects; her music oeuvre as HK119 transmits its pulse to her artworks, reverberating its vibrant rhythm. Conversely, the qualities that permeate her drawings, ceramics and photographs map across her music acts as a coming to life of the otherworldly set of characters from her artworks, staging a sculptural vision that comes alive in theatrical grandeur. - Antigoni Pasidi

by JC Gonzo
Making of Snowblind
HK119, the sci-fi alter ego born of consumerism and greed, was crafted in the early 2000s by Finnish artist Heidi Kilpeläinen. She’s drawn comparisons to Grace Jones, Kate Bush, and David Bowie, caught the eye of Leila Arab and Bjork (leading to a record deal with One Little Indian), and produced two albums’ worth of multi-disciplinary work ranging from video to stage performance to self-made costumes. Typically adorning herself with cheap tech and translucent skintight outfits, HK119 delivers her message in the most direct and personal of fashions – solo portraiture in front of the camera. Alien and occasionally alienating, playfully futuristic, lo-fi and DIY were essential aspects of her aesthetic.
Early HK119 videos from her debut release, songs “23.45″ & “Malfunction.”
However, a few shifts have occurred within the bionic world of  HK119 in her third and latest album, Imaginature, produced alongside Christoffer Berg (Fever Ray, Planningtorock, Depeche Mode). Kilpeläinen’s persona has discovered the natural world, and through a journey, we are presented with fascination, adoration, confusion, and mystery. HK119 embodies landscapes, or to be more precise, the perception of landscapes distanced by technology and ego. While Kilpeläinen has always been able to be one step ahead of the seemingly literal criticism of timely matters by personalizing her subject matter, Imaginature reaches less restricted territory concerning spiritualism and experience. Kilpeläinen’s signature satire and theatrical flare isn’t missing, but doesn’t take the center stage as often.
We held a virtual correspondence with Heidi Kilpeläinen, currently on tour.
When I first read the title “Imaginature” I was thinking it’d be along a more political and/or environmental line, considering humorous take on capitalism in the past. I was pleasantly surprised to hear something very different. What prompted you to take the alienated, bionic-woman persona into nature?
HK: It is as if the long gone ancestors of the bionic alienated woman took ME for a nature ride… singing, whispering, “this is where we need her to go..take her there ..back where she/ all of us belong.” The planet is in crisis , not just this HK chick. It naturally (excuse the pun) seemed the right time to go off. Is ‘Imaginature’ a prelude to disappearing into fantasy off-the-grid life? Sounds like an EP coming up, the saga continues… Some merging of my stage persona and me, Heidi, happened in this process of reconnecting, and that makes sense. When we heal, ‘separate’ parts of our selves ‘that have been all over the place’ come together and create more of a sense of harmony. We even say “oh, someone is so together, :D focused, well-grounded” etc. Well , I can tell you it is not always the case, and it is not easy with stresses of contemporary living (hence the 2 previous albums) one must be vigilant, but I promise to keep trying. ;)  Nature heals, nature is the best. Stressed? Go hug a tree. :)
Do you feel that, by default, using ‘nature’ as subject matter is political/environmental in today’s world?
HK: Yes, definitely! This is and was very much in my mind during the writing process. I didn’t want to preach though, previous HK would have done ‘full on, in your face, tongue in cheek preaching style’ which sounds like fun but too cabaret. I wanted to write from my heart and share something more personal… personal/political. I wanted to go deeper and challenge myself for a more of an intimate song writing process. Singing about love, fears, worries and dreams using nature as a frame. I wanted to highlight it’s beauty as well as it’s beast, to say between the lines, “Look, it’s incredible, let’s preserve some of it for the future generations before it’s too late.” Nature is us, we are part of nature, if we destroy it, we’ll destroy ourselves.
While Imaginature channels more primitive elements you still retain a degree of futurism. Would you say Imaginature is a merging of technology and nature or abandoning one for the other?
HK: Yes, I think again some merging is happening. Wild Grass as a ‘story’ is a good example of a sci-fi vision mixed with nature. Someone is approaching to save us from life beyond neon… dream guy from the off-the-grid world, but does he make it on time? ;)  Also, If I really wanted to go the organic nature approach, I could have gone for an acoustic sound.
I was thrilled to hear you worked with Christoffer Berg. What was the recording process like? I hear the sounds of buzzing insects and running water. Did you record your experiences with nature or just use digital samples?
HK: I recorded some of the sounds on my nature trips. I also filmed video footage on these trips. Obviously, the more exotic sounds like whale and cougar are samples. My favorite is the bee I recorded in Finland for the end of ‘Milky Way.’
Yes, working with Christoffer was a dream come true. As soon as I found out about him I knew he would be the right person. It took a while to get my confidence to ask him, via some friends. He was instantly on board and it felt like a match made in heaven. I loved his enthusiasm and vision about Imaginature. He expressed similar interests and approaches to production, thus making it a very organic and pleasurable process. One of the best, fluent artistic experiences of my life.
Video and theatre were rather integral parts of your previous efforts and fully embodied characters. How will this translate or evolve for Imaginature?
HK: Aspects of the HK119 character are still there, but there’s more of Heidi Kilpeläinen this time. It is interesting to keep challenging and finding new aspects of myself. Playing ukulele for the first time in my life is one of the things I didn’t think I’d do, but now I love it. It was great to play it in the forest in Finland last august, mosquitoes as my audience. But playing ukulele, a more conventional instrument, doesn’t mean there’s no room for a theatrical approach as well. For example, I dressed in paper for Iceberg acoustic version. I fantasize about doing an Imaginature performance in a gallery space, without traditional ‘musical performance restrictions.’
Where you raised in a city or closer to nature? How did this shape your relationship to music/art?
HK: I was raised in a suburb in Finland with a view to a lake either side of the block of flats. In Finland there’s trees and lakes everywhere. It’s never far, even in our capital Helsinki. I love it now. But when younger I didn’t care, it was juts there. I didn’t think about it, but missing it would have been a great loss I realize now. I think it is, because I never had a proper connection to nature, that it completely rocked my world few years ago. That bird song in Finland one spring was a moment of an awakening, a beginning of a life long relationship. Some people go to a church. I go to a forest. It was like an alarm going off saying “Look. Listen. Be.”
Franck Sauvaire

- theendofbeing.com/

Photo by Mark Lebon

Before Tongue Mask and After Wise Pod meet in the forest opening to talk about the disaster


When playing with clay one shuffles through a repository of mental imagery – the ‘lost and found’ of the network of memory. Clay comes from emerging layers of ancient ground, earth of an unknown depth; the images of Heidi Kilpeläinen’s new work echo the same distance of origin. Matter and imagery converge as they emerge, casting dream form into hybrid creatures; beings that graft the archetypal with the abject, cropping up in comical groupings, grotesque but poignant, humorous yet sad, ritual while disfigured. Visceral form onto raw matter, nature through culture.
Kilpeläinen’s new cycle of work in ceramics is an acute vision of fear and its mockery, a visual imagery sieved from dreams, nightmares and the debris of technological domination, resonating with her oeuvre in music and performance. This new production transubstantiates the qualities of HK119’s musical and performative work in a theatre of raw beings and loud visual scores.
Text by Antigoni Pasidi

Mask and Bird


There is an excavating process that is active while drawing that is similar to automatic writing; the distinctive simplicity and freedom of the medium invites an unmediated sourcing of imagery that often haunts an unconscious part of the mind. Kilpeläinen’s pencil drawings graft memory and imagination, as subtle reminders of a life around and within us. Adorned with text, which surfaces on the paper like spoken word in a dream, visions of animals and fictional beings are summoned in these drawings, bespeaking a different order, a genuine animistic moment.
Text by Antigoni Pasidi

interrupting yr broadcast: hk119

interrupting yr broadcast  hk119
On a rainy September evening in East London, a woman with a body like a Cadillac is dressed in fetching white spandex, a red visor cap and sashes. There’s a slightly cyber-ish edge to her but, platform wedges aside, she looks ready to run a marathon. Thrashing her blonde hair from side to side with a wild grin on her face, she gyrates, slides, crawls and robots around a stage while lifting dumbbells and spinning giant foam letters, ‘H’ & ‘K’, above her head. The projector screen behind her explodes into a whirlpool of colour as two more digital versions of our sporty songstress appear on screen to dance, mime, exercise and smoke along to the highly infectious electro-pop that emanates from the speakers. The curious crowd had no idea what to expect, and they certainly got the unexpected.
A few weeks earlier, on a muggy weekday evening in Notting Hill, a pretty blonde lady sits quietly by herself in a quaint coffee shop, dressed in a casual but distinctive blue dress/poncho hybrid. She is quietly fighting with balls of bright red wool and yanking an endless thread of it out of her handbag. She explains to me that she’s knitting a “blank, activist’s patchwork blanket”, and describes in vivid detail the design, structure and meaning of the final piece that sits in her lap, currently barely the size of a Post-It. She is interrupted briefly by a delivery of Marmite on toast, and once we’ve had the love/hate Marmite debate we quickly jump into the difference between Heidi Kilpeläinen, the bubbly, polite artist from Finland who likes Marmite and knitting, and HK119, the pop bitch from outer space who hates propaganda, mobile phone radiation and probably Marmite too, whose eponymous debut was released in early 2006.
“Yeah, there’s a crossover. The debut was a little more like this bitch from hell character with lots of humour thrown in. Whereas on this second album [Fast, Cheap & Out Of Control, out today], HK119 is still a character but she’s softened up and coming from a different angle. I’m writing from a more personal place, and even though I’ve still stuck to the concept [of the character] there were definitely more ways to be personal on this album now. I think there will be even more so for the third album, which I’m looking forward to even more as ‘HK’ might take over ‘HK119′.”
It takes time to appreciate the balance that Heidi/HK119 mastered from the very beginning, that of transgressing the boundaries of being simply a cracking electro-pop performer into someone making some quite astute comments on the world we live in today. “If she was an acoustic guitar version, she’d be like… [huddles over with a mini air-acoustic guitar, smiles wildly and in a high, quiet singsong voice] ‘Be-careful-using-mobile-phones / don’t-use-them-too-much / brain cancer, lalala…’; but it was much more fun to turn it on its head and be the dramatic character that was like… [sits up and gets into scary HK119 mode] ‘STOP USING THE FUCKING MOBILE PHONE OR YOU’LL DROP DEAD AND YOUR EAR WILL FALL OFF!’. Maybe I’m building up to the folk version for the third album,” she laughs.
Barely two topics of conversation into our tea and toast, it’s clear that whether she’s thinking from Heidi’s point of view or from HK119′s, the future holds untold possibilities for them both, and it simply couldn’t get here fast enough for her. Her knitting gets that bit more furious each time she refers to it.
For those who don’t know the origins of HK119, the concept was something of a fusion of passions and interests from Heidi’s time at college. ”At the time I was at St Martin’s doing my MA in Fine Art, and I also made music so I found myself with this dilemma: ‘Oh, now I’m doing Fine Art does it mean I’m going to have to abandon music?’, and I thought ‘no, I shall make some videos for the music and see what happens’. Each song got a character, which I then performed live straight to the camera as performance art, with no editing, and this is how the character of HK119 was formed.”
Fuelled with science fiction references – the name itself is a barcode and a reference to George Lucas and the Hunter Killers from the Terminator series – and more opinions on current affairs than you could shake a glowstick at, these early video incarnations of HK119 saw the character rolling around in tin foil, playing with scissors and fondling credit cards over raw, homemade, DIY electro-pop that warned the world about everything from consumerism to plastic surgery.
With such a distinctive character carved out so early on in HK119′s existence, the comparisons to some of the most legendary pop and style icons of our time were too easy, but highly complementary. “All these fantastic performers and strong characters – Grace Jones, David Bowie, Nina Hagen, Iggy Pop – have been lodged into my memory and every cell of my body since I first discovered them and have never left. It’s like the first time you took drugs or made love; y’know, when it really mattered! So, they were always there, but they weren’t something I was thinking consciously of at the time. I might have been listening to The Cramps and then I wrote [cannibalism anthem] ‘Friend For Dinner’ as a consequence. The influences came from everywhere, like New Scientist magazine or whatever.”
Her reputation as an up and coming force to be reckoned with was established quickly due to some very well crafted live shows around London. “It was a natural progression from my final graduation performance. I was wearing this paper cape, horns and a white suit, jumping around on top of a set I’d built with the videos projected on. I didn’t even have a microphone, just screaming over the top of it. But, it was fantastic and that that was the birth of it, and I just carried on from there.”
The thought of her work ever turning into anything like an actual pop career hadn’t even crossed her mind until catching the attention of a friend of a rather influential friend. “I think because of the strength of the videos combined with the music, a mutual friend showed them to Leila [Arab] who then showed them to Björk. Björk then picked me as her favourite artist of 2005 in Q magazine, which was really nice of her. Her label boss then asked her, ‘What’s this HK119, is it one of your things?’, and she just said ‘no, it’s this Scandinavian bird!’. And then I just got an email from him saying he wanted to help me put my stuff out. No one else would have touched me with a pole, and then I get an invite like that!”
Heidi would probably be the first to admit she’s been pretty lucky in how she’s ended up where she is today. But no doubt, her work has certainly spoken for itself. On asking if there was ever any pressure to conform into more of a ‘popstar’. “Oh god no. I love One Little Indian. They let you do what the hell you want, no pressure. Total artistic control, and I was just myself from day one, and still am.”
The debut album, largely consisting of Heidi’s MA college compositions, finally saw the light of day almost two years after HK119′s conception and a year after her debut on the London gig circuit. It gained Heidi a noble cult following and some great critical responses, enough to spark the interest of curators, fellow artists and festival producers around the world to keep her busy for the next year or two. ”I got lots of invites to perform all around the world, which was lovely. Last summer I worked with a gallery and did a whole new body of work called The Great Non-figurative ‘K’, where I built a huge set and used dancers. It was really funny because we filmed the performance and put it on YouTube and it got a lot of comments because a lot of people in America were confused and thought it was about the Ku Klux Klan, and I was getting death threats and comments like ‘You fucking bitch, die in hell!’
“It’s funny because in my country ‘K’ would be advertising a chain of supermarkets, and here a brand of cereal, or perhaps ketamine or something. I do like how it could mean anything. It could be any letter or symbol of course, but I chose ‘K’ as a symbol of authority. Partly because it’s my surname, but also the title is borrowed from an old friend of mine, Petri Hakkarainen, who used to be in a fantastic Finnish band called Pin-Ups. He wrote a libretto of the same title in the ’80s which was very close to what I was trying to do then. When we met after not seeing each other in years, he loved what I was doing and I said I loved that title of his and asked if I could use it. It just made sense with the use of the letter K.”
It’s clear that whatever project she’s focusing on, they are all met with the same amount of passion as the last. These separate endeavours aside, Heidi has been reinventing her own musical wheel in the run up to the release of Fast, Cheap & Out Of Control. Here we find Heidi evolving beyond the realm of 8-track DIYtronica and into the world of the realm of glossy, co-produced pop. ”During those few years, I had a bit of crossover in writing my tunes. I finally moved from my old 8-track machine and into the world of computers. I got myself some new tools – Logic and some plug-ins – and started from there. The same HK119 concept was still there, but was becoming a bit more tongue-in-cheek and a much poppier approach, and I was singing in a slightly different way. I had actually filled the memory of my old 8-track, so after a bit of an ‘oh god, what do I do know’, I just knew it was time for a change, to move with the times and maybe time to collaborate with other people.
“So as soon as I had done the demos I contacted I Monster in Sheffield and they were happy to collaborate, and later Simon Duffy came on board as a producer. So, I Monster became the main sound behind it with me. I’d send them the tracks and let them get on with it, and they’d send me versions back for me to approve. Sometimes they’d keep quite close to my originals and others they’d completely change a whole beat or something, but 99% of the time I’d be, like, ‘wow!’ when I got them back. They were brilliant to work with.”
Another obvious evolution to the Phase II package is the image. Gone are the alien queen slinky black catsuits, Mohawk hair, eyes painted on eyelids, black capes made of inflated binbags in favour of a new, Earthbound, sporty HK119. “It all extends from my research into modernism, but looking back to the 1920s with the big massive sports rallies in Germany when sports became part of our daily lives. [There was] a new kind of propaganda to be fit, sporty and healthy, and a supposed way of encouraging unity with the Olympics etc.”
When I ask her if she’d been taking notes at the recent Beijing Olympics, she laughs back: “Well, I don’t really like sports. I’m not really interested in who jumps furthest, y’know. I do go to the gym, swim and do yoga, but I guess that’s more personal maintenance and wellbeing than sports. That’s what the album artwork kinda shows: this personal dilemma of loving hedonism but still wanting to be fit and healthy. That’s why there’s smoking while using the dumbbell, the constant battle of being human.”
When we move into the specific tracks on the new album, Heidi seems genuinely surprised and flattered when I refer to the track ‘Celeb’ as “sexy”, as if the she’s so deep in the pool of its concept the more surface appeal of her work is totally alien to her. “Sexy!? Is it!? Wow, I like that…a new life!” Despite the track’s dirty, double bass-driven, cymbal tapping piano jazz pop – complete with the sounds of champagne bottles popping and the buzz of a party deep in the mix – its sexiness is perhaps an easy thing for her to over look when the track is actually a graphic commentary on the typical lifestyle of the current London celebrity circus. “I took cocaine, Valium, acid and some codeine / I had a deep desire to destroy myself from within!” she sings as the song seductively warms up.
“I am not part of that scene, thank god, and I’ve given up reading all that rubbish. But yeah, I remember when all the free London papers came out, and you’re sitting on the bus and you turn to the music pages and that bollocks celebrity section only to see the state of that posse of Amy Winehouse, Kate Moss, Peaches Geldof, Pete Doherty etc., and how off their faces they are. It plays on people’s natural curiosity. It’s just ridiculous that people have become famous for that. If they’d have fucking seen me 20 years ago, they wouldn’t believe it! But yeah, it’s not a competition and it’s just a bit sad now.”
“Politics is a form of theatre that I’m not very interested in,” she admits when we talk about what else in current affairs inspires her. “They are just really dull characters who play their parts really badly. My television broke down ages ago so I haven’t seen the news in ages. But, if I had, I’m sure it’s the same old stories that go round in circles to keep people in check. I go in and out of love with knowing nothing because it’s all the same, but then feeling the need to know what’s going on.”
I try to reassure her that it’s not all bad in the world at the moment and tell her about the recent news announcement of NASA’s plans for the next 30 years, including another lunar landing and a manned mission to Mars. She greets this with a relieved, “yeah I read about that, it’s fantastic!”, as if she has taken comfort that at least one other person has taken notice of some ‘real’ news, finally. And speaking of space travel – which a conversation with Heidi will frequently result in – Fast, Cheap & Out Of Control actually takes its title from an essay by an American writer who “wrote about sending tiny little robots to space and making them multiply, rather than sending big ships which would cost lots of money. I can’t remember how I found it, but there were millions of rejected titles, like ‘Critical’. It just suited better.”
It’s the development and progression of a person, culture or humanity as a whole that drives both Heidi and HK119: anything that might stand in the way of such progression is what ultimately upsets Heidi, and pisses off HK119. With her head firmly rooted in the scientific reality of our planet, Heidi assures me she’s a huge science fiction fan too. “Not furry monsters or anything. But y’know, things that could actually happen one day.”
The brilliant glam, electro-stomper ‘Clone’, which is introduced with a humorous spoken word “Hi, my name is HK / I’m a member if the biological underclass / but not for long!”, and the quirky fluffy pop of ‘Super Bug’ is another example of Heidi’s thoughts on the pros and cons of our (un)natural evolution. ”‘Super Bug’ isn’t about how pissed off I am with the NHS, it’s about the possibility of being wiped out by another bug like AIDS, bird flu or whatever. It goes back to when I was reading more papers and the whole spreading fear in people thing by politicians. Maybe I’m just a sensitive soul, but you can’t help but take it on board sometimes. It’s all blown out of proportion of course though. I spoke to a journalist friend of mine who told me that it’s quite random how they pick they headlines sometimes. It could be ‘We saved a kitten from a burning building!’, but they’ll nearly always opt for ‘Terrorist spotted buying a paper from a shop!’ type of thing.”
"Are we becoming post-human?"
On the surface, lead single ‘C’est La Vie’ may appear to be a straightforward love song but of course goes much deeper than that, almost encapsulating all the worries that HK119 may have about society. “In the grand scheme of things, with all this development in science, technology, where are we heading? Are we becoming post-human?…so it’s basically asking, “what does it mean to be human?” – it’s a question that one does have to ask, and to remind us to please stay human, because that’s all we have left! Going back to that sports thing, too. It’s not really about saving humanity, but about bettering ourselves…but, yeah, we must also remember to save the kitten from the burning building too.”
The wonderful thing about Heidi’s songs is that describing one always seems to lead straight into another. Talking about ‘Tropikalia’ and its evil, dark voiceover, we’re told that it belongs to ‘Über-Machine’, a character from the first album who “only now really has a voice”, and that Über-Machine is laughing at how humanity has destroyed Earth’s climate and how we have forced ourselves to look elsewhere for a home. This leads us nicely into the album’s more beautiful moments of ‘Space’, parts 1 and 2 no less.
Part 1 is a haunting and beautiful epic hybrid of Air’s ‘Sexy Boy’ and Bowie’s ‘Space Oddity’. What could have been a simple homage to space tourism is given much more depth when Heidi explains that we may eventually have no choice but to seek asylum there, while the Über-Machines among us say ‘I told you so!’. To rub salt in the wound a little more, Part 2 finds us floating around in a chilling and spooky ambient wash of beautiful stars, but with the unsettling feeling in the back of our minds that we brought this on ourselves and we’re now stuck with the consequences of our actions.
HK119 might be just quirky electro-pop to those who have only just discovered her, but to deny there’s anything more to her than that is to do Heidi a huge injustice. Everything she speaks about leaves a poignant thought in your mind and a question on the tip of your tongue. She has simply learnt how to turn it all into wonderfully digestible pop, without having to preach, patronise or campaign. Certainly a welcome change in today’s world of toe-curling, ego-driven, eco/sociological friendly popstars. ”All these issues are out there, you don’t need me to tell you them. Just pick up a newspaper,” she says. “I just write about the things around me and the society I’m in. I’m acting like a natural mirror for them. But you can just appreciate it from a pop point of view, too – it’s pop! But if it helps people become aware of something, change their behaviour or how they think about something, then great. I’m really happy about that. But if we only have a little time left, then let’s just have fun.”
By the time we wrap things up, Heidi has a grin on her face like she’s been waiting three years since she made the last album to get all this off her chest in order to carry on with whatever the next creative chapter in her life may be. As we get up to leave, her activist’s blanket is already three times bigger than it was an hour ago as she stuffs it all in her bag. No doubt by the time we’re talking about her third album in a year or two, she’ll have a whole collection of blankets to show us as well. - wearsthetrousers.com/

“Discovered” by an enthusiastic Björk in 2005 thanks to a tip-off from Warp Records very own Leila, Finnish multi-media artist, Heidi Kilpeläinen introduced us to her domineering alter-ego, HK119… An über-machine, electro pop bitch with issues. Dressed in slinky black catsuits and booming-out brittle, DIY electro ditties about consumerism, radiation scares and censorship, HK119triumphantly delivered her message in style, all with her tongue firmly in cheek. 
After her eponymous debut album dropped on One Little Indian Records in 2006, she followed up with one of 2008s most delicious, fun and brain-poking electronic pop albums, ‘Fast, Cheap And Out Of Control’, thanks to some glossy electro-pop co-production courtesy of the likes of I-Monster


Abi Makes Music meets... HK119

No, HK119 is not a robot.

Written by Abigail Balfe / 15 Dec 2008
My name is Abi.  I make music. Sometimes I talk to other people who also make music. But mostly I just talk about myself.  Here is me meeting Heidi Kilpelainen of one-woman futuristic act HK119, before her gig at Goldsmith’s Student Union in New Cross.
So... you write electro-pop songs on contemporary themes such as celebrity culture, space travel and mind control. I also write electro-pop songs on contemporary themes, such as butch dykes, prostitution and shit awful jobs. Have you ever had any shit awful jobs?
[Laughing] Oh my God... yes - PACKING MEAT. And I worked with a lady who kept saying that the tongue we were packing felt exactly like a penis...
Are you a vegetarian now?
[Laughing] No - not anymore...
Ah - so you enjoyed meat after that... Have you ever been a prostitute?
No, but I was considering working in a topless bar, but I didn’t even have enough money to buy the fancy costumes that the girls were supposed to wear. Another dire job was that my mother said if I shut up for an hour she’d give me £10, but that was actually really good pay for those times...
Have you had any jobs that haven’t been shit and awful?
I’ve had some nice gigs in nice venues where everything has run really smoothly. [Pause] That mostly happens in other countries...
True. I’ve had some really awful gigs - once two people pissed themselves at one of my gigs.
One time I was really drunk and was trying to unlock my front door, but I couldn’t work the key in the lock and I needed the toilet really badly, so I pissed on the doorstep and my housemate went out the next day and discovered it. 
Terrible. I wrote a song about my housemate because she wouldn’t take the bins out... You’ve made costumes out of bin liners haven’t you? What are your favourite household objects to make things with?
Silver foil is a wonderful material to work with, but it tears easily. At the moment I’m really into paper. And foam board is a fantastic material, but it’s not cheap unfortunately. 
Have you ever made anything out of faeces?
No but I have songs about faeces. I’ve written songs about faeces coming down from the sky and covering all the machines, but I haven’t made costumes out of faeces. I also made a video using chocolate that was meant to be faeces and my character’s name was Shithead. [Pause] What’s your fascination with faeces?
I can ask normal questions too. Here’s one: You studied Visual Arts at university didn’t you? Do you enjoy working somewhere between art and music? Blurred boundaries and all that stuff?
Yes - That’s my world. I can’t help it. I love making music, I love singing and I love making songs, but I have this whole vision – and that’s how it has to look. I can’t separate the two. I see myself as an artist who does many projects – for example this album I’ve just done is a project. That might involve the video and background visuals, then I might do some painting and that might become the background or that might inspire me to do posters or lyrics about the painting – or whatever.
Once my friend and I videoed some girls from our class that we didn’t like and used it as background visuals for a dance where we wore strap-ons, but we were banned from the dance show because of it. How do you feel about collaborations? 
I enjoyed working with I Monster immensely. There are benefits to working alone, but it’s nice to bounce ideas off other people and to be in company. When I’m on my own it’s not as jokey and fun.
Your second album is called Fast, Cheap and Out of Control. Sounds like a girl I know. She was banned from my house after she had sex with my housemate’s 16 year-old brother on our kitchen floor. I wrote a song about it actually...
What was it called?
Rosie. It’s on one of my Myspace pages. Do you prefer concepts rather than people? To write songs about I mean...
I suppose, yeah – if you mean in an “I miss my boyfriend and my heart is breaking” way...
That’s boring.
Exactly, but if I’m writing about a concept I might create a character. Who knows – my third album might have a couple of people in it.
My friend showed me this yesterday - If you text 118 188 and ask them a question they tell you the answer. If you ask them “Who is HK119?” the answer is “She is the creation of Finnish artist Heidi Kilpelainen. HK119 is under One Little Indian Records. Thx!”
You texted that number and it told you this?  Isn’t that scary...
And just so you know... If you text 118 188 and ask them “Who is Abi Makes Music?” the answer is “Abi Makes Music is an artist from London. Visit http://myspace.com/abimakesmusic for more info. Thx!”
Good advice...
Lead illustration by non other than Abi herself.
To hear more of HK119 visit www.hk119.co.uk

Nema komentara:

Objavi komentar