“Imperfect, impermanent, incomplete”

An introduction to rising young composer IOKOI.


She’s one of Glamcult’s dearest discoveries of 2016, yet we don’t know exactly how to define IOKOI. As much an introverted musician as a public performer, the multi-disciplinary artist brings together the real and the surreal, at all times powered by an ethereal voice. With her promising debut album to be released very soon, we figured it was high time to get to know IOKOI a little better. And so should you.

What does Absolutide mean to you?

I often melt two words into one to name a personal sensation or situation. At times it’s quite hard to sense the difference between our “real” self or what “real” really means to us in today’s digital age. “Absolitude” describes a state of absolute solitude, where you lose yourself completely while floating through various states of the self: your still self, your felt self and your melted self.

Whatever it is that you release, there’s always a sense of nature as well as a sense of the virtual. How come? 

Nowadays, we constantly float between two spaces: the virtual one and the one that physically surrounds us. Observing myself, I have found that the more time I spend in front of a screen, mostly being quite vivid within virtual spaces, the more I lose the connection to my body, to other bodies and to my physical surroundings.

There are a lot of things that yet can’t be perceived in virtual spaces; like the warmth of breath on skin or the feeling of infinity, for example by the sight of the sea and the horizon melting into each other. Still, our eyes grow restless and want more: light, contrast and action. Often we look, but don’t really see. This is why I try to balance my focus and dive out of the blue-screened tunnel vision into what actually surrounds me. None of it is perfect, but of immense beauty and worth at least a part of my attention.

Do you feel equally attracted to the physical and the virtual? Where would you position yourself as an artist?

I do feel an equal attraction to both. But even more I’m attracted to “augmented reality”; that space where the physical and the virtual melt into each other. Generally, my focus lies on those areas where different sources affect each other and melt into something new. Through the years, this has brought me to spread my work into various creative fields, even though sound and music is still at the core.

I’m currently working with artist Maria Guta and some great engineers on an interactive installation, which questions the meaning of “real” in an augmented reality setting and is connected to the release of my debut album Liquefy. 

For those who may not know IOKOI, how would you describe yourself in a single sentence? 

Imperfect, impermanent, incomplete.

Aside from your own music, what is your ultimate summer-of-16 track? Who do you like to listen to?

My ultimate summer-of-16 track is Fan by Nisennenmondai. It’s a perfect battle cry to my overheated computer and apartment. Ultimate live discoveries of the year so far are Anna Homler, Francesco Cavalieri, One Man Nation and Jerusalem in my Heart. Besides that I really listen to all kinds of artists like Midori Takada, Ravi Shankar, Oneohtrix Point Never, Holly Herndon, The Kills, Björk, PJ Harvey, Meredith Monk, Terry Riley, Jefre Cantu-Ledesma, Inga Copeland and Lorenzo Senni—just to name a few. 

We love the artwork for your forthcoming debut album Liquefy. How did it come about?

While surfing the web, I came to cross and fell in love with the works of Mathieu Missiaen and his creative studio, Le Creative Sweatshop. I immediately knew that I wanted to work with them, as their aesthetic matched my idea of Liquefy. I sent Mathieu the album and asked. I’m still very excited to have worked with him and most of all about the outcome of our collaboration. The inner sleeve and the packaging are to be credited to Mathias Forbach alias Fichtre, who works closely with my label OUS.


Words by Leendert Sonnevelt

Photo: Mathieu Missiaen

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