Everything is autographical for Luis Vasquez, from his post-punk project The Soft Moon to his more experimental work under his name, the composer and multi-instrumentalist has composed a visceral scope into the frailty and mess of life on A Body of Errors (2 Mondi Collective).
“All my music is a weird autobiography of my life, my thoughts and things like that,” shares Vasquez. “A Body of Errors is a little bit more literal. I am creating an actual soundtrack to what it feels like, for me to be a human being.”
On A Body of Errors, the Los Angeles-based artist offers a more self-reflective narrative on the fear of death—and some aspects of life—describing it as “a collection of themes to living in the human body.”
A beautifully sinister soundtrack, Vasquez’s shape-shifting instrumentals hover over mortality, fear, and all the noises in one’s head, shifting from dark to light and darkness again on opening intro “Inferno” through an unease of opening gasps on “Poison Mouth,” the frenzied stomp of “Under My Teeth,” and trepidatious flutter of “Decomposition 1.”
Still in its transitional phase, “The Wasp” gives some sensation of clarity through the industrial scrape and pulse of “Surgery,” exploring Vasquez’s own phobia with the human body and fear of surgical procedures. The claustrophobic hiss of “In a Cage” motions into the ambient ache of “No Longer Human” closing around “Decomposition 2,” a more tribal, second take on its earlier counter. Some hallowed vocals move into the hallucinogenic “Used to Be” as A Body of Errors ends around a stiller “Arms and Legs” and “World of Fire.”
“I like to work in terms of a stream of consciousness, just like letting go,” says Vasquez of A Body of Errors’ sequencing. “Whatever it wants to be, it’s going to be that. With The Soft Moon, I control it a more because there are more pop elements, but with this I just wanted to let go.”
Vasquez started working on A Body of Errors two years earlier, towards the end of his previous release, 2018’s Criminal, and all while living in Berlin. Throughout the writing process, which ended around March 2020, Vasquez lived in several places—Cuba, Italy, Mexico, France—each place leaving its essence on the album.
“I would fly somewhere just for 24 hours and come back,” says Vasquez. “I would take some stuff with me to write. I just wanted to be alone and in different environments. It inspires me.”
Detouring from the The Soft Moon’s more dark wave, A Body of Errors was an intentional shift into something more expansive and cinematic. “Sonic exploration is what I like,” says Vasquez. “With The Soft Moon it’s mostly minor chords and usually about depression or anxiety. It becomes kind of limiting in terms of being a musician. I can’t play every note, because then all of a sudden, it could sound happy.”
Vasquez adds, “I just needed to breathe new life and some fresh air into my music career. I wanted to take a left turn. I’ve always wanted to start scoring a film, and this music suits that world.”
Instrumentally, Vasquez admits that he likes to limit himself in terms of gear. “It allows my brain and my imagination to kind of soar,” he says. “I tend to explore and experiment and find sounds that I would never have used.”
Admitting that it sometimes takes him years before he realizes the deeper meaning of a song, Vasquez admits that A Body of Errors is his facing the reality of death and accepting his ultimate fate. Still, he says everything is left to interpretation, which is why he uses mostly one-word titles. “Everyone can interpret a word in a different way,” he says, “and it can be a completely different experience for you.”
Cohesively, A Body of Errors is partially a preparation of death, says Vasquez. “Perhaps I’m super scared of it, and I might play with it during my existence and express it, so it prepares me and kind of softens the whole experience,” he says. “It could be part of the reason that I’m fascinated with death. Maybe I am fearful in a way.”
Preparing for a livestream around A Body of Errors, Vasquez is working on several remixes of tracks and finishing up the next The Soft Moon album, which he started recording several months ago for a 2022 release.
The creative process extracts so much from Vasquez, who found this year challenging as he’s worked in place. “Even the idea of being a musician is like a dream,” says Vasquez. “Being removed and having the motivation to write was the hardest part. Everything just stopped. I’m not at airports anymore.”
He adds, “It’s difficult since it’s been 10 years of writing albums, performing on stage—and crying and screaming.”