Q+A with Silhouetted Horizons

A lifelong musician, Silhouetted Horizons aka Benjamin Hurd has always been intrigued by the subtle nuances that differentiate sound from music. His goal is to craft distinctive and immersive electronic
productions that draw inspiration from a myriad of genres within the electronic realm. His new track ‘Overtone‘ , released on the 22nd September, ticks all the boxes. Cinematic, haunting, and extremely fine-tuned, ‘Overtone’ displays Silhouetted Horizons ability to craft dance music that is both intricate and unique in its differentiation. No stranger to the music scene, his work has been showcased at prestigious events and venues such as the Locarno Film Festival, The Venice Biennale, Tate Modern, The British Art Show, The Berlin Biennale, deYoung, Bonniers, The Serpentine, ICA, and various collaborations with Nike. We took some time out to talk to him on all things music, life and creativity.

Walk us through your creative process?

Well I try to not be formulaic about things, which can make the process a little lengthier. More often than not I’ll start off in ableton as its so speedy for sketches and ideas, it might that I’m picking sounds based of an overarching idea for the sound design but then I’ll move over into something with a more conducive workflow when it gets close to mixing things down – I like what heat does in PT for stems and have an analog suming mixer too. Drums and bass are more often the backbone of where I start but it can start with synth groove or a lead and build the harmonic relationships out of that.

What has been the most defining moment of your musical career? 

I guess being fortunate enough to work the sound design for Larissa Sansour’s ‘Heirloom’ at the Biennale in Venice – I’m kind of a studio bug so haven’t done a lot of live shows in recent years but getting involved with installs can not be dissimilar.

What equipment or software are you using the most?

It depends really, as I mentioned ableton is very quick to work stuff up I’m, but most of the major players all have their merits so I’ll tend to dip in and out of most of them depending on the trajectory of a track. Recently I’ve been finding cubase very satisfying (which is where I first stated ironically) Reaper and Bitwig both have alot going for them too. Plugin Alliance for 3rd party stuff, it’s all really nice sounding ha ha! I have a few analog boxes to play with for harmonic variation on mix down.

What’s your performance setup looking like?

Pretty sparse Right now to be honest – I’ve got a low key live show later in the year so aiming to pull something together using Push and Live – most likely a kind of mash up engine for stems and ISOs to rework my existing catalogue on the fly, maybe dub it up a touch.

Who are your biggest inspirations at the moment?

Wow, difficult to say, there is so much strong material out there at the moment. I’m really enjoying all kinds of nostalgic future garage and rave material, That O’Flynn and Frazer Ray collab is pretty special – Rival Consoles often delivers for me and Dark Sky never disappoints either. I like the unconventional perspective Throwing Snow casts on things, I guess that his take on electronic music is very close to the ethos I try to implement myself.

What’s your favourite way to pass the time? Any hobbies? 

Ha ha honestly no – I’ve set up Seductive Noise and a small record label and I’m actually enjoying proactively listening to new and relatively unheard of acts, making time to be a music consumer again rather than just dealing with it for work or personal pursuit is quite refreshing.I’ve tasked myself with all the design work too which is another passion of mine too I guess

Please tell us more about your work in the fine art space and how it relates to your creative process with music and production?

It’s always been a parallel consideration, the studio I run is named Music and Sound Design as I studied Sonic Art and have always been intrigued by the grey area in-between sound/art/music so my practice has always looked to utilise standards from other disciplines in an inventive way within the others. I’m currently working on a 8 channel surround mix for Installation artist Zach Blas that’s going to be at the Arbyte as part of the Frieze here in London. As it’s not cinematic in nature and there is no emphasis on the screen, so to speak, it actually offers up much more freedom to experiment with spatialisation and 360 mixing. The work itself is wild its like a combination of sculpture and live experience and part night club and part media install, part cyber church – it’s always super exciting to get to work on those types of pieces.

What’s next for you as an artist?

I’m going to focus on the label and finding other fringe‐dwelling talents to develop – I’ve got a good catalogue of my own material to release too but like I say I’m enjoying really dedicating time to becoming familiar with other people’s sounds.

Thanks really appreciate you asking if it’s been interesting to reflect on all of this with intention.

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