Paul Jebanasam chose JET as the cover for his album ‘Continuum’. Picture: Camille Blake

Paul Jebanasam chose
JET as the cover for his
album ‘Continuum’.
Picture: Camille Blake

Musician Paul Jebanasam chose a picture of JET’s inside for the cover of his music album ‘Continuum’ long before the music, a mixture of organ sounds and digital noise, was born. Paul says that the Joint European Torus inspired him to create modern electronic music which links the latest science with the ancient secrets of life.

Why did you choose JET for the album cover?

While researching ideas I became really interested in church organs. When they were built, they were one of the most complex machines mankind had made. At the same time, I was reading Michio Kaku‘s Physics of the Future which features an image of the JET vessel. It had an immediate impact on me. Both the JET vessel and the church organ seemed to speak to mankind‘s search for something beyond.

Doesn’t this picture just show a clean industrial environment?

It‘s not so the cleanness of the image but it looks almost abstract and so precise. It’s hard to believe it is man-made. It is as though every single surface is the product of some complex algorithmic process that is working with energies and concepts so vast that they are almost unimaginable. In this sense, it fits perfectly with the ideas that inspired the music.

Paul Jebanasam

Paul Jebanasam

Which ideas?

One of the main themes of ‘Continuum’ is life and, in particular, its relationship with entropy and energy. I was reading about the scientific definitions of life and thinking about it as the behaviour of certain formations of matter resisting entropy. In this way, projects like JET feel as though they are connected to earlier iterations of this process. As though it is the latest step in a single unfolding structure that goes back to the emergence of life and how it has evolved to store and use energy.

Do you see a relationship between sacred music and technology?

It‘s well documented that Bach was fascinated by Johannes Kepler‘s scientific discoveries. They played a part in the inspirations for his compositions. There were new ideas emerging about the nature of the world. He used sound to understand and work through these. This sound was created with the latest musical technologies. The approach seems classical, even though, instead of harmony and counterpoint, I am working primarily with processes involving noise, distortion, convolution and spectral synthesis.

Did you get feedback on the album cover?

Yes, it definitely added a necessary element to the overall work. It has led to people hearing the music in a way they otherwise wouldn‘t have. While it’s always good to question the belief that technology holds the solution to all of the world’s problems, the optimist in me dreams about seeing the fusion project reach its goal and the greater effects this might have. As there are many reasons to be concerned about humanity‘s future, I wanted the music and its association with JET to shine a light on a reason to be hopeful.

Listen to ‘Continuum’ on Soundcloud: Music https://soundcloud.com/subtext-recordings/sets/continuum-paul-jebanasam