Zoltan Fecso is a musician and composer, known for his ambient live performances on an augmented guitar designed in collaboration with luthier Ian Noyce. His compositions are created by combining small fragments of single notes repeating at varying speeds, inspired by Pointillism—a painting technique using individual coloured dots to create images.
Fecso’s desire to find simplification and therapy in his music stemmed from a particularly turbulent time in his life, which led to a complete change in his approach to writing and the use of his unique instrument. An interest in the 1970’s New York school of Minimalist music, as well as a love of modern art prompted the questions which eventually led him to his pointillist manifesto.
His biggest inspiration however, would be a painting by his partner, Melbourne artist Claire Lefebvre, titled ‘Shimmer Raga’. In the late 19th century, painting practices expanded with breakthroughs in optics and colour theory. Scientist Charles Blanc explained that optical mixing (by the spectator's eye) produced more vibrant and purer colour effects than the traditional process of pre-mixing pigments before applying them to the canvas. His publications were closely studied by artists of that period including Vincent Van Gogh, Paul Gaugin and Georges Seurat; the latter’s works being the first in the Pointillism style.
The Pointillist understanding of colour theory to create luminescent and pulsating imagery inspired Fecso’s approach to composing. By adapting the pointillist properties of colour to the properties of sound, Fecso explores note relationships as they are placed against each other. Slow, sparse note cycles combine into melodic phrases and shift with each pass, as the notes intersect at different times. Fast repetitions make individual notes harder to detect, forming shimmering soundscapes.
'Shimmer Raga' was painted by Lefebvre in 2016 and it hung in the couple’s shared studio for a year before it was sold, quietly shaping Fecso’s experiments. Lefebvre’s work explores the psychology of viewing, but equally focuses on the emotional act of making. Day after day, as ‘Shimmer Raga’ slowly made its way into Fecso’s subconscious, he formed what would become his most genuine and self-reflecting work yet. His process of composition and performance became the one act. The recordings on his 2018 album Shimmer Raga tell the story of the creation of the music, note by note.
Fecso's debut album, Shimmer Raga, caught the attention of KEXP Seattle’s Alex Ruder and was released on August 18th via his record label Hush Hush Records digitally and on cassette. Fecso will be launching the album in Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney with live performances from some very special guest artists.
You can see Shimmer Raga in the Salon at Melbourne Recital Centre on Friday 5 October 8pm. Click here to discover more and to book tickets.