Composer-Curator Q&A: Naviar Records

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Here, we speak to Composer-Curator Marco Sebastiano Alessi, founder of new music label and community Naviar Records, which explores the connection between experimental electronic music and traditional Japanese poetry.

To celebrate the selection of this year’s Composer-Curator cohort, we caught up with all the selected artists, composers and creators for a quick chat about we can expect from their projects. We also talked musical influences, plans for reshaping events in light of COVID-19, and what their lockdown listening has been!

So, can you tell us a bit about yourself and Naviar Records?

I’m an ambient-electronic composer who makes music under the moniker Cryxuss. Before discovering my passion for electronic music and starting Naviar Records, I played the drums in various bands in Italy and the UK. I also host the weekly radio show Naviar Broadcast on Resonance Extra, and write the Haiku Music column on the Haiku Foundation.

Naviar Records is a music community and record label: through regular publications, open projects and events, we explore the connection between experimental electronic music and traditional Japanese poetry. Since its inception in 2014, Naviar’s aim has been to offer an engaging online space to all those artists looking for ways to stay creative. To this day, Naviar is home for more than a hundred musicians worldwide.

And tell us a little more about your project…

The Naviar Haiku Fest is a day event of workshops, talks and live performances focused on experimental music, haiku and how these two art forms can influence and inspire each other: since we started this festival in 2017, the objective has been to help artists explore new ways of being creative by bridging the gap between art forms. The event is a great opportunity to meet artists from different disciplines, as well as learn more about the processes of making music and writing poetry.

How have your original project and plans been affected by COVID-19?

After our latest event at the Corsica Studios in December 2019, I started working right away on the next one. As the COVID-19 situation became increasingly dramatic, it became clear that music venues were going to face difficult times both during and after the lockdown. For some time I considered postponing the event to 2021, but then I realised technology offers many opportunities to connect with your community.

And has it enabled you to develop your work in any unexpected directions?

Since the beginning of this pandemic we’ve started exploring ways to make our events more accessible to those who can’t physically come to the venue. Live streaming, webinars and online contests seem to be the most viable solutions to the current issues for us. We just started hosting online haiku workshops and the feedback has been very positive so far.

So, what should we expect to see and hear?

Naviar Records promotes artists mostly working in the fields of ambient, electronic and contemporary classical music. Our talks are focused on creativity, the importance of online communities, the impact of technology in the art world and more. Our workshops offer participants the opportunity to learn the basics of music production and haiku poetry.

What else is exciting you in the UK new music community at the moment?

The diversity that the UK music environment offers is unique. Artists are constantly blending and transcending genres and there’s no way of knowing what we’ll be listening to in 2-3 years. It’s exciting to be part of such a vibrant community.

And lastly, what have you been listening to during lockdown?

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