“Metamorph” is available now for streaming or purchase via the following outlets:
Firstly, I wanted to express gratitude to my supporters and listeners so far; it’s been motivating, heartwarming and reassuring to read your comments, and I appreciate each one. As I’ve written about previously, the internet has become such a huge place and releasing new work can feel like emptying an eyedropper into an ocean of music. As of this post there are something like 50 million songs on Spotify alone, so having anyone listen and enjoy enough to drop me a note feels truly remarkable.
I wrote a bit about the album in the preview post but figured I’d elaborate further on some of the themes and influences.
As parts of this are somewhat inflammatory, I feel like I should qualify my thoughts by stating that they’re completely subjective and result from my experience largely as an armchair listener, bedroom producer, overall outsider, and certainly not a professional. That said…
I think a major part of my renewed interest in IDM comes from the current state of electronic music in general. An extremely brief history of my interest would start in the early 90s with Rave, Techno and Demoscene music, closely followed by Hardcore Rave evolving to Jungle, early Drum&Bass and Trip Hop, which led me to Atmospheric Jungle/DnB, which branched off into ambient (which of course had been around for decades,) and then by the late 90s, IDM – some of which combined my favorite aspects of all of these genres.
From the early 00s to 10s I still mainly followed Drum&Bass, but also branched out into some more mainstream and accessible sounds, lounge and disco house, 2-step/garage, stuff I could listen to in the car without weirding out new friends. At this point I think I fell out of the more niche experimental genres as I had personally associated them with a less mature, more introverted part of myself that I felt I’d grown out of or wanted to leave behind.
So here we are in mid-2020, and I feel like the unfortunate mainstream adoption of electronic music, its commercialization and commodification into predictable, polished, festival-friendly frameworks and the cult of DJ personalities has drained so much of what was interesting about it in the first place. Looking at Drum&Bass in particular, to me its origins and spirit were about forward-thinking and innovation. (As an aside, my impression of most of the “Future ____” genres implying innovation seem the most straightforward and resistant to experimentation, but I digress.) As the structures of its subgenres solidified, they became increasingly predictable and boring. Early Atmospheric/Intelligent Drum&Bass was such a mind-bending fusion of cleverly chopped high energy breaks contrasting with the stillness and beauty of ambient music, but after 20 years of solidifying its framework to the point of paint-by-numbers YouTube tutorials… today the beats just sound so bland and mindless to me, blurring together into a light sludge of hihats, shakers, gutless kicks and mushy snares at the most obvious intervals, lazily repeated ad nauseum for the duration of the track.
So I’ve been asking myself where that leaves me and what that drives me to create, my creative roots having been appropriated by the insatiable machine of capitalism and eroded to banality by an endless stream of producers trying to do the same thing.
I think that’s why I’ve had a renewed interest in IDM these past few years – a genre I ironically steered away from because of its inaccessibility, its esoteric and obtuse qualities. It seems to me these aspects also make it innately immune from being clearly defined and iterated into monotony. While it certainly can have qualities of Jungle, Drum&Bass, Acid, Techno, House, Ambient, Downtempo and of course purely experimental sound, it isn’t any of those things in particular. It’s nebulous and flexible by nature, and that’s what makes it so interesting and full of potential for artistic exploration.
And that’s also why I’ve tried to look back to said roots without creating purely for the sake of nostalgia. While there’s certainly some nostalgia in the form of break selection or patches that harken back to the genre’s progenitors, my goal was to try to extract the essence of what made those things so inspiring at the time, present them in a fresh form, making the most of the contemporary production techniques at my disposal.
I guess one could also say it’s fairly reactionary to all of these things – broadly the state of electronic music and its connection to my own identity, as mentioned, but also the state of the internet and social media: connected to millions of people around the world but more isolated than ever, increasingly fast machines saving time through automation, but still busier and working harder than ever, uncertainty and fear looming as we cope with this pandemic, and the desires that all of those contradictions and issues lead us to reach for.
Well, I’m not sure if I entirely succeeded by any of those accounts, but I certainly tried, and to that extent I’m satisfied with the result.