Some music echoes earth changes in cognitive experience and observation. In the same way that those old written paeons of pagan love notes helped to shatter the ceilings of man-made doctrines; Kristin Hoffmann's vocals on “Ghosts” tear the curtains in two and shatters the clay vessels. Returning with collaborator Rise of Troy, Kristin's vocals are wrapped in the purple skies of 80s film closing ballads that move in slow motion, replete with smoke screens, wind fans, all after the climatic arc and cuing the credit roll.
Taken from their forthcoming remix release The Human Compass: New Directions slated for March, the deconstructed reconstruction of “Ghost” rises to a paranormal electro-holistic state of existence. First Kristin voice sings alone with only the accompaniment of her “distant lullabye”, which summons RoT's ensuing electronic heartbeat percussion. The synths emulate orchestral strings become met with a precise economy of adjoining keys that sets up a soundstage's landscape of environments found in the home popcorn fodder of forgotten grocery store VHS rental titles from the late 80s and early 90s. The Kristin and Rise of Troy combination creates the effect of a reprise overture of an elusive melody ascending from an underscored ground. As proven on The Human Compass album where “Ghost” first materialized, Hoffmann anchors all lyrical action in the earth of her piano rhythms that are serenaded by Kirstin's over dub echoes that fly like vocal pop doves excused from the confines of their chambers.
Kristin joined us to talk about her affection for baroque/renaissance melodies, electronic applications, the collaborative process, her long standing relationship with song, tone, voice honing, and more.
I have always liked the way your voice has this feel of a kind of yarn that knits and weaves around all the instruments. When did you first realize and nurture your inner chanteuse?
I love that image…thank you! I haven't even answered the question yet and I feel complimented! Ha ha, my grand 'ah ha moment' where I first met my inner chanteuse came when I was only about three years old and was going to a little Montessori school in Rockland, NY. One day they had a singer come in who had an operatic style and spent part of the day singing with us. I remember this huge rush inside as I heard her voice, and sang out, emulating her tone. Even though I was small, there was an inner awareness which said, 'wow, I like this…and it is powerful!' From that point on, nurturing my creator within and honing my voice has been an ongoing journey of growth and discovery…the more I evolve, the more my voice and vision evolves.
Having worked with Rise of Troy for many remixes, how did you two strike up a bond?
It has been quite a completing creative experience to work with Rise of Troy on remixes…he gets me and is able to bring out colors in my music and enhance the experience of my songs in a truly deep and raw way, which speaks right to my soul. We first struck up a bond in a cafe 3 years ago and are actually partners in life as well as collaborators. A new experience for me, as I have always avoided working with anyone musically who I am involved with. However…in this case, creative collaboration started to flow naturally and has continued to grow.
I like how RoT brings out the more haunting hallows of the “sing to me once more” pop waves of “distant lullabies”.
I like this too! RoT is a master of knowing when to let the voice have its special moments of vulnerability, allowing the listener to breathe for a moment before diving back into the full sonic experience.
How do you go about the balance of classical, renaissance/modern pop aspects of song with the restrained digitized percussion and other electronic elements?
This balance is something that just begins to emerge as I'm creating each song, rather than a pre-plotted process. I have always loved the collage of different eras and sounds, when done well…as travelers through life and time, I think on some level we pull the best, most potent moments and gripping sounds as we go and they become the timeless symphony of who we are. As I grew up in the classical music world, I always feel baroque/renaissance melodies and chordal structures flowing naturally within me. But living in a very modern world at present, it's exciting to bring in electronic beats, synths and elements from our world now. I like to paint sound with a full palate of possibilities, rather than just the color blue!
Favorite things, literature, icons, and other miscellany that you love about the Renaissance and say Restoration eras, respectively?
I LOVE the music from the Renaissance and Restoration eras…nothing quite like the mysterious and haunting harmonies of chamber/baroque music. Bach is my favorite composer. I love the rich sculpture and art from that period, filled with layers of deeper meaning and wisdom, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci. Overall, I love the zoomed out message of the Renaissance as a time of 'waking up' to existence, exploration and creativity. Ironically, as my record is called The Human Compass, the dry compass was actually invented during the Renaissance and allowed for much greater accuracy in determining direction.
The Human Compass: New Directions will be available this March.