Static Motion by Voga shows us that language sometimes fails at communicating greatness.

There are just some things that words can’t adequately describe. However, this doesn’t stop us from trying. The tools available, nouns, adjectives, verbs, etc. are often deployed anyway and on some occasions in contradiction to their own meaning. Take for example Static Motion by Voga. The two words of the title live in antithesis to one another and act as a launchpad for contemplating Voga’s ephemeral effects.

Whenever I see an artist or musician use words that contradict themselves my interest is always piqued because it’s a symptom of the sublime. It tells me that someone is trying to somehow express something ineffable. It’s logical that contradictions like this usually appear in titles to works of art, music, film, and literature. After all, art is the home for transient meanings and nuanced perceptions.

What does Static Motion mean?

The name ‘Static Motion’ was actually one of the first things I came up with for the album, well before most of it was recorded or even written. It could very well be a metaphor for contemporary music – there are elements of analog nostalgia featured that composers commonly like to play on, with a sort of awareness regarding the falsehood of nostalgia, such as in the track ‘A Render in Sepia.’ I try not to comment too much on the broader state of music though, and see these as more a comment on myself. Static and motion are two sides of the same coin, depicted in the music as repeated cycles that slowly change. It’s a stillness, a routine, a shift in perspective, growing and aging. That’s how I see it, at least.

Like its title, Static Motion’s music has a dualistic character. In fact, the album is filled with conceptual dissonance. For example, it’s both hot and cold as bright strings blend with the warming crackle of vinyl records. It’s synthetic and analog as repeating synth tones pulse through piano, cello, and violin. It’s big and small as dust, dirt, and minutiae are amplified. It’s elegant and then rough as negative space is truncated by the clunk of machinery and the creak of a performer adjusting posture. Static Motion is characterized by its contradictions.

Even Voga’s album art shares this duality and aligns with the character of Voga’s sound. The visuals by graphic designer and artist Aaron Rinas blends the purity of geometric and non-objective shapes with the impermanence of wabi-sabi. The sleeve typography encourages eye movement from one letter to the next, reinforcing the idea of static motion. It strongly illustrates the transience that exists in Voga’s compositions.

Album artwork by Aaron Rinas

You music is saturated with strange textures and unusual sounds. What are they?

This is the other meaning of ‘static’ in the title. It’s the white noise and textural elements found throughout the album. The piano tracks were recorded at Brady Kendall’s (Alaskan Tapes) home studio. What you’re hearing with the piano is a mixture of room tone, a wooden bench, and the mechanisms inside the piano. There are sound packs that emulate this kind of sound, but I much prefer the real thing. Other sounds were created from recording places and objects I had easy access to – a public train station, a boiling kettle, recordings I had on my cell phone, etc. I’m drawn to these ideas because they turn something ordinary into something exciting with some digital manipulation and filtering. I enjoy the ruggedness as well, things like the looped noise in ‘Husk (feat. Alaskan Tapes)’ coming from an old guitar that has a noisy pickup. When recording strings, I asked violinist Alex Toskov to try a section again but with less polish – he joked that he wasn’t used to being asked to play something worse. Having had conservatory training as well, it's true that we don't usually perform in this way. These imperfections and rawness are a necessity for me.

Voga’s music exemplifies the contradiction at the root of the Contemporary Classical genre. It exists both inside and outside of the conventions of traditional Classical music. This is what makes the genre so exciting. It gives musicians the freedom to experiment and pioneer new effects within a traditional framework. The message in Voga’s music is clear, all genres are in motion, even classical, because music is fundamentally divorced from static barriers of language and is in its very essence ineffable.

Composed and produced by Voga

Recorded by Dennis Patterson, Brady Kendall, Voga

Piano and synth by Voga

Violin performed by Alex Toskov

Viola performed by Laurence Schaufele

Cello performed by Raphael Weinroth-Browne

Mixing by Voga

Mastering by Taylor Deupree

Track 2 co-produced and composed with Bedroom

Track 8 co-produced and composed with Alaskan Tapes

Artwork by Aaron Rinas

Photography by Justin Athanas, Jamie McSorley