MUSIC: "Archkeeper" - Creating Different Spaces for the Same Story
Updated: Feb 11, 2022
by Alec Viera
Hello! My name is Alec Viera; I’m a musician, music producer, and sound engineer from Danville, California. Although I’ve only recently been introduced to the ARCH-HIVE, the art, ideas, and perspectives that are shared here are dear to me.
Not long after learning about this community, I took part in the #archtober2020 challenge. I created a two-sided musical work titled after the subject of October 31’s prompt: Archkeeper.
The name instantly impacted me. Someone who protects “something strange and precious” — if that “something” doesn’t encompass “unique perspectives & peculiarities of Utah, Mormonism, and the American West”, then I’m not sure what does.
I’ve spent much of my life wondering how I can describe and share these “strange and precious” things with a wide range of audiences. As I began to work on the music for the prompt, I realized that I couldn’t see a clearly effective way of thoroughly exploring the “strange” while also giving time to the “precious”. I imagined an experience (even including some field recordings from the American West in the production) that takes the listener on a short, visceral journey, climaxing in an otherworldly encounter with the Archkeeper. What would happen upon meeting them? I don’t know, but I believe that it would be a powerful and joyful encounter.
As a long-time lover of electronic music and storytelling, I’ve worked hard to understand the different ways that music impacts audiences (especially those on the ‘fringes’ of society). Using orchestral, electronic, and soundscape elements, I aimed to catch the attention of a wide range of listeners in this project; my original plan was to release one track (the first of the two that’s listed), but I came to understand, especially after sharing the work-in-progress with close friends, that one of my goals -- to invite a large number of people on the Archkeeper journey -- wouldn’t work if its climax was so intense, atypical, and “strange”. Although it might do well for lovers of intensity, dance and rave culture, it may not prove palatable in the long run for others and, therefore, fail in its ultimate purposes.
Because of the reasons detailed above, “Archkeeper (Precious)” was born. Though I haven’t spent time marketing the project to large audiences, a consistent response I’ve received from those who have heard it is that this second track has been their favorite. I’m so glad to hear that the journey was crafted in such a way that evoked strangeness and preciousness in both pieces, yet allowing space for one or the other to be more present in each respective track.
Such is the way, I believe, that the ARCH-HIVE members respond to “strange” and “precious” things: some embrace more of one than the other, some embrace both equally; for both kinds of people, this is a welcoming place. I love the idea that all people interested in the Archkeeper can journey to encounter them in their personal way.
About the Author
Alec Viera is a musician, music producer, and sound engineer from Danville, California. He creates original music productions, scores dance film and choreography for modern dance, and collaborates on house music productions. His other work experience includes mixing live bands at various events, accompanying BYU's modern dance classes, and providing live audio support at BYU's sports events. Guava juice and Yerba Mate are his fuels of choice. If you ask him about the Kingdom Hearts video game series, he will profess his complex love for it in an essay-like format.