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4-04-2016 2:36 pm
fuzmeister: Tracing My Romance with Electronic Music
I remember a time in my life when I scoffed at the idea of drum machines and synthesizers. I feel like this was mainly out of ignorance and misinformation I had received up until that point.

At some point in the late 90s/early 2000s, I warmed up a bit to the idea of dance music as its own thing. I was specifically into very generic house and trance around this point. I'd be lying if my interest in this simple electronic music wasn't directly tied to my lack of exposure and understanding.

Around 2001/2002, I was first exposed to what is referred to as big beat. Specifically, I remember being interested in Propellerheads and Fatboy Slim quite a bit. I didn't actually understand what was being done in the music or how it was being created - I only knew it was significantly different than the trance music I had been listening to and it seemed to be more complex. At this point in my life, I hadn't activated the musical part of my brain outside of being a fervent listener.

It was around this same time that I was pretty engrossed in rock music and the idea of a cohesive creative unit around this time. As I grew to accept electronic music itself, I also realized that the blueprint of what makes a cohesive rock unit could easily transfer to electronic music. Bands like Fischerspooner and LCD Soundsystem bridged the gap closer than ever before in terms of what is rock and what is electronic. As I continued to absorb new music, I would foolishly sometimes dismiss the older things I listened to as too simplistic or uninteresting.

In late 2005, I saw Jason Forrest perform at the knitting factory in New York. I had no idea who he was before the show, but you can bet I wanted to learn everything I could about him afterwards. On that autumn night in New York, I had a realization that entire songs could be made out of samples - later artists such as Girl Talk would only reinforce this idea. Jason was armed only with his MacBook and passion that night and he staged one of the most energetic performances I have ever seen by simply pulling from old R&B samples and huge-sounding beats at frantic tempos.

About a year later or so, I started recording my first album and while I was fully in love with electronic music and the idea of it by then, I had no idea how to go about creating it or even a basic understanding of audio synthesis. It was around this same time I started to get into old-school hip hop where sampling formed the foundation for many tracks - a record like Paul's Boutique by The Beastie Boys was inspirational to me in that it pulled from so many sources in this most absurd ways.

My initial leap into electronic music and programming came around this time, but I didn't attempt to incorporate electronic sounds into my music until 2009 when I recorded the album Score. This was my second album and I tried to take a completely different approach than on my first by blending rock guitar music and elements of electronica. At its core, this album was still very much a rock record with embellishments of electronic sounds. After the album, I maintained a growing interest in electronic music, but relied much more on the songwriter/rock side of my brain for the two album releases that would follow.

Around the time God's Justice was released, I was very concerned how I could continue growing and shifting my sound into new areas. I became bored listening to most new rock music at this point and got really into artists such as Tobacco, Kraftwerk, Com Truise, and new John Frusciante. I demo'd a bunch of songs in early 2013 and played with my new band The Professionals for a handful of shows through late summer. After our last scheduled show, everyone kind of decided it was time to step away from playing out for a little while. For a little while after this decision was made, I felt lost again about how to continue musically.

In early 2014, I decided to start working on the next Steve Thompson album. I wanted to attempt to blend styles again in a way I hadn't previously done. Without immediate access to additional musicians to contribute drum parts or other things I was incapable of, I set out to get creative and do what I could on my own. I turned to my recent interest in electronic music and decided to continue my education of creating this sort of music. I wanted to rely much more on my own programming and patch design this time around than I had on Score. I went back to the start of writing with basic square, sine, and sawtooth waveforms. Simultaneously, I was learning about breakbeats and splicing drum loops in place of traditional drum machine programming. Many elements from this time period have found their way onto my new album "Broken Mirror." I've done my best with this album to try and fuse some experimental sounds with some of the most accessible songs I've ever written.

The moral of this story is always be open-minded and never write anything off for too long. You could end up needing it to continue your own progression.

Mood: Verbose

Tags (beta): music, super post

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3-11-2016 9:57 pm
fuzmeister: RTROFUTR
Well, after my previous post about financing creativity, I've decided to release an EP of some electronic music recorded over the past few years.

I'm sure this won't be everyone's cup of tea among my usual audience, but hopefully a few people enjoy these random pieces.

You can listen to the whole thing and pay what you want to download here:

Mood: Tired

Tags (beta): music

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3-10-2016 5:28 pm
fuzmeister: Financing Creativity
A second quick note with regard to recent happenings - I've been trying to work out the financials for finishing up my new record. It's been completely tracked and mixed for the last month, but sitting dormant as I try to figure out the business end of things.

I guess I'm curious how people generally self-fund these sort of things. I used crowdfunding for my last album, but I couldn't escape a sense of grime from essentially asking people for donations. Maybe I'm too proud.

Truthfully I have no interest in being part of the music-making machine either, so I don't think trying to hook up with a small, independent label for distribution and finalizing the album would do me any good. I also don't have any delusions of grandeur in thinking I've even be something some company would be interested in as a product.

I guess I thought I'd have this figured out better by this point in my life, but this is the part of music I hate the most. Unfortunately, it's a necessary evil if you want people to actually hear what you've poured your heart and soul into... it's incredibly frustrating though to have worked so hard and not gotten very far in what you're able to do on your own.

Tags (beta): music

Comments (4)

2-16-2016 8:01 pm
fuzmeister: Kanye West
What's this guy's deal?

Kate thinks he genuinely insane.

I think it's all part of an elaborate promotional plot to stay relevant and get media coverage.

Either way, I think his shenanigans outside the studio have overtaken his music as the most entertaining thing about this man.

Sorry 'ye.

Mood: Kan-fused
Music: Gaelic Storm - The Devil Down Below

Tags (beta): music, crazy people

Comments (1)

1-11-2016 2:51 pm
fuzmeister: What David Bowie Means To Me
While maybe not immediately apparent, I found a source of constant inspiration for my own creative works in the music of David Bowie. Like many fans of his work, I was very upset to learn of his passing this morning and I was immediately reminded of the robust catalog of music he leaves behind for us.

Often, Bowie was described as a musical chameleon by the press, but I've always wondered how many casual listeners truly understand how true that is or, more so, how unlikely it is that he could fit this role and continue to be successful over the years. We live in a society of conformity and one of expectations. Creativity itself is a battle against this mindset. It takes great courage to venture outside of the box just once let alone to repeatedly do so. That's just what David Bowie did his entire career. I'm not going to sit back and claim that I have loved every single phase of his long career, but I give him all the credit in the world for being a true artist never satisfied with the status quo.

In my own limited, musical adventures, I've constantly used Bowie's approach as a beacon for my own direction - always growing, always learning, always evolving. Stylistically, my music shares very little in common with much of Bowie's work, but, ideology-wise, I've worked hard to stay in the same vein of discovery and the creative spirit he did for so many years. I hold David Bowie in the same echelon of artistic spirit I hold Miles Davis or The Beatles in.

We'll never have another David Bowie in this world, but we still have the exceptional breadth of his work for inspiration and enjoyment. Never be afraid to venture outside of what's generally-accepted. More than ever today, the world needs people who push the envelope and continue to challenge the status quo artistically. One flame may have been extinguished, but there's no reason a hundred more can't be lit from the same spark. Thank you for everything, David Bowie.

Mood: Reflective

Tags (beta): music

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