Part 1

Name: Oksana Linde
Nationality: Ukrainian/Venezuelan
Occupation: Musician/visual artist
Current release: Aquatic and others worlds on Buh Records
Recommendations: La Mer by Debussy / Up and Down, lithograph by Escher

Oksana doesn’t have a website, as this is the first time her music has been published and this record comprises music she recorded between1983 and 1989. You can find Oksana on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

When did you start writing/producing/playing music and what or who were your early passions and influences? What was it about music and/or sound that drew you to it?

I used to play by ear as a child. We used to listen to music when the family bought a turntable. Ukrainian, Venezuelan, Italian, French, classic, baroque music, popular music, etc. My grandmother gave my sisters piano lessons. Once I sat at the old piano, and played (empirically, of course), Ukrainian songs. My grandmother taught me basic lessons. But I continued with no studies playing my way. The Engulfed Cathedral by Debussy impressed me very much when I was 3 years old. Those mysterious sounds made me imagine strange, surreal places. I imagined the huge cathedral drowning, colours blue and grey is what I remember associating with that piece. When I could hear the sound of sea waves when I was 5 years old I was very impressed. I loved the songs of the birds.

Music is important to almost all people in the world and it’s been this way for thousands of years. Maybe the collective unconscious that permeates us has an influence on many…

Some people experience intense emotion when listening to music, others see colours or shapes. What is your own listening experience like and how does it influence your approach to music?

With some music, I feel deep emotions. Some makes me feel energetic, some sad, and some makes me feel what I felt a long time ago. Some inspires me to be experimental. I am transported to landscapes that can be mountains, rivers, the sea, or unknown places. Sometimes, I begin to see with closed eyes, a kind of kaleidoscope. Some music makes me spin around immersed in vivid colors, in an indescribable changing scene with hundreds of elements moving. Sometimes I feel that I am in an open space, almost flying. Sometimes, when concentrating on a concert, I begin to see an enormous transparent yellow sphere. It can also happen when I meditate.

I like to compose music for meditation. For calm feelings. Non-depressing. I like to compose symphonic-like pieces.  Also, sometimes I want to make music that is kind of weird. Also, Venezuelan folklore polos, kirpas, golpes, other. Calypsos, which are typical in the Bolivar state, in places like El Callao, with electronic sounds. I want to catch feelings in a mental cage and transduce them into sounds. What was called descriptive, cinematic music is something that I am attracted to.

How would you describe your development as an artist in terms of interests and challenges, searching for a personal voice, as well as breakthroughs?

I do not intellectualize what I do, unless I have the intention to make a project for some purpose. Music for the love of doing what comes to my mind and feelings. The most important thing is to try to reflect in my songs the feelings and images that come from inside me, or inspirations related to any situation, object, nature, persons, drama, animals. Maybe most of what I want to do, once I can have a small home studio again, is to continue making music dedicated to rivers, waterfalls, oceans, the sea, creatures that live in the sea, anything.  Meditation. Music to raise emotional, physical energy. Kind of classical contemporary music too. In my mind, I have the intention to continue making music related to time and its peculiar quality. Music for Sci-fi films, and documentaries.

Tell me a bit about your sense of identity and how it influences both your preferences as a listener and your creativity as an artist, please.

I would say that my family origins, the environment, and other things influence me. We are beings surrounded by a huge amount of sounds, images, environments. I felt that having Ukrainian parents and living here was natural. To listen to Ukrainian and other languages at home, learning Spanish. To have friends of many nationalities and cultures. Never thought too much about what all that meant, but it’s part of my life.
I live in a city which is different to being surrounded by nature, or near the sea. Having the opportunity to listen to many musical genres is a factor that stimulated my creativity, also the buildings, parks, and all you find in a city. Being away from cities can be a wonderful experience for inspiration, imagination.
My visual artworks deal mostly with fantasy, surreal environments, sometimes abstract, anything that comes to my mind and that I have the tools for. Some works are complex, some very simple. And many seem to have something to do with my music.                                                                                                                                                

What, would you say, are the key ideas behind your approach to music and art?

I am not always able to know why I improvise the way I do in music. Sometimes I like to make something that reminds me of works from Sibelius, Khatchaturian, Brahms, Rimsky Korsakov, Debussy. In other opportunities, Alarcen, Mahavishnu orchestra, Tangerine Dream. Or Satie, Philip Glass, Genesis, Yes, King Crimson, then Venezuelan,  Ukrainian songs, etc. We are like sponges, and we’re influenced by a huge amount of sounds and different things.

Concerning visual arts, I close my eyes and see extraordinary scenes, try to reproduce them, and it is impossible. Sometimes I draw “mechanically”. I paint birds, fish, strange animals, beings with wings, castles, impossible perspectives, abstract art. I am not good at figurative painting. Digital art with my old Photoshop is amusing. Sometimes a bit frustrating, but I accept the limitations.

How would you describe your views on topics like originality and innovation versus perfection and timelessness in music? Are you interested in a “music of the future” or “continuing a tradition”?

Originality is something that all musicians pursue. We never know how many people have already explored certain creative spaces. Much has been done in music and timelessness can be important. Ancestral music is a field of interest for me. To combine harmonically the old and the new attracts me.
 I had a friend who was a biologist. She told me that she “did not understand music”. To her, it was something like noise. Probably a neurological condition (Amusia). The brother of one of my best friends is deaf-mute. He enjoyed having headphones with extremely high volume because he liked the vibration.
When we want to compose music to heal, it could be important to study neurosciences, biophysics, other fields of scientific knowledge and the influence of the spiritual world, the unknown. Scientific research suggests that music (sounds) can change the brain.

Being a descendant of Ukrainians, today, more than ever, I want to incorporate more traditional Ukrainian musical motifs in my compositions. Too much is being lost, so many cultural treasures of all kinds. Another attempt to exterminate all Ukrainian vestiges of identity. For centuries, Ukraine has been subject to attempts of annihilation. 

Our evolution took place in a natural environment, and many people feel good when they are not subject to the strong EMF, the cement, asphalt, and noise of the urban environment. Maybe the music of the future would be good old music, maybe with some innovation. Or something we still do not know about.

Over the course of your development, what have been your most important instruments and tools - and what are the most promising strategies for working with them?

I used to play almost every day until I went to university in another city, near the Caribbean Sea. I lived for more than two years in a residence. They had an old piano. Some days I was able to play. When I had to return to Caracas in 1969, I continued studying at Central University. In 1973-74 I had a piano again. I worked in different research laboratories (radiochemistry, biophysics, biochemistry, heterogeneous catalysis, homogeneous catalysis & organometallic chemistry). I had to leave the labs due to the damage caused by the toxic compounds and I was very ill (the irreversible brain damage was demonstrated years after). When I was better, I bought a second hand Polymoog, then a TEAC 4 channel reel recorder and I don’t remember exactly when I bought the CZ1. It was sold here immediately after its release.  An Echo chamber. Later I bought a Moog Source. Then in the late 80s, early 90s, I worked with sequencers too. MIDI allowed more possibilities. The Polymoog would often break down, and had to be fixed several times. I have not had it for more than 30 years. I think that it can still do a lot.  The CZ1, a good instrument, I gave to a very talented young musician.

These instruments allowed me to immerse myself in a “new world”. I lost some, had to sell others, the Moog Source was stolen. I had a Kawai 4, a Proteus module, these I sold. A Korg M1, which I gave away to a nephew. I had to sell too my wonderful TEAC recorder. For some years I had no equipment due to family circumstances (A clinic bed was needed to take care of my mother where I had before my small studio). Then, years after, I was able to buy the keyboard that is waiting to be repaired, a Korg TR88 (some of the works I have on the web were done with this keyboard).

Now and then I do something with elemental digital means. The new technologies provide many possibilities but I have to learn about, and am waiting for an adequate computer. In the meantime, I’m recording some sounds to employ in the future. Electroacoustic music is a fascinating field. I had projects with my daughters years ago and I hope that we can do some experiments when the opportunity comes.
Take us through a day in your life, from a possible morning routine through to your work, please.

Right now I am not making music, only once in a while. Because, as I explained, I don´t have my old equipment and the rest is damaged. I use elemental means. Of course, everyday is different. Some days I am not able to do anything. The symptoms of the chemical intoxication and other conditions mean that I often have to rest. But I take some rudimentary notes for the future and I record some sounds with my phone to employ in future projects.

I spend time listening to several musicians. I dedicate some time to painting, drawing, digital arts. I read about scientific topics. Science has always been an immense passion for me. Climate changes, ecology, geochemistry, biochemistry, evolution, extinction, materials science, cosmology, health sciences… I used to write about scientific subjects, non-formal environmental education, for local groups. I have domestic chores, and want to classify hundreds of papers with annotations about science, health, and other subjects. Slowly, I continue to write a small book in Spanish about my grandfather. My mother’s memories are also in stand-by mode.

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