Gravity – Ben Lukas Boysen (2013)

Ben Lukas Boysen

Album artwork for Gravity

The best part about music blogging is, as you might have guessed, listening to the music.  Of course it is, why else would anyone start a music blog?  Even so, sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the daily grind of searching for new music, going through album after album. When consuming music at such a rapid pace, it can be hard for things to have a truly lasting effect.  That being said, I live for the times when I connect with an album on a much deeper level – when everything else fades away into the background as the music surrounds me and brings about intense personal revelation. It is for these beautiful moments that I invest so much time and effort into searching for new music, connecting with new artists, and helping to expose new audiences to their amazing potential.  Thus, I take it as my solemn duty to extend to you an amazing opportunity.

It is one that I, myself, took advantage of just yesterday.  It is the opportunity to let go of the world for just forty minutes or so, and be transported into the realm of Ben Lukas Boysen. He has been making music under the name Hecq for many years now, specializing in sound design and electronic composition.  He has done a lot of work in the past writing music for commercials, with clients such as BMW, Greenpeace, Lacoste, and MTV.  On his website, he states that his main idea behind each new project is “moving away from music and sound as a product and perceive every project as a customizable and individual challenge.”  He strives to find a way of make each project unique and to achieve the strongest emotional impact in everything that he does.  Anyone who is familiar with his work as Hecq can confirm that he follows up on these words with incredible music.

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Wisdom of Crowds – Bruce Soord, Jonas Renkse (2013)

Bruce Soord, Jonas Renkse

Album artwork for Wisdom of Crowds

I always love it when two musicians who have both put in the time developing their individual careers and finding success with their respective projects decide to come together to create a collaborative album.  We saw this a few days ago with Storm Corrosion, the joint endeavor of Steven Wilson and Mikael Åkerfeldt.  Today, I’ve got another such project, just released about a month ago on Kscope, a sub-label of Snapper Music which specializes in “post-progressive” music.  Ladies and gentlemen, I present you with Wisdom of Crowds, an album released by Bruce Soord and Jonas Renkse.

Bruce Soord is most popularly known for his role as the founder and creative mastermind behind The Pineapple Thief.  Started in 1999, The Pineapple Thief has released nine studio albums over a thirteen-year career, including the most recent record, All the Wars.  The group has become well-known in indie and progressive rock circles as a result of their unique stylistic crossovers between the two styles.

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Hardscrabble – The Flashbulb (2012)

The Flashbulb

Album artwork for Hardscrabble

To be perfectly honest, this is probably one of the craziest albums of music I’ve listened to.  And I’ve heard a lot of weird, bizarre music.  Don’t let me scare you away with such a description, though.  It’s crazy in a good way!  Great, now I sound like I’m crazy.  I need to stop saying crazy.  Okay, moving on.

The point here is that in a world where it seems almost impossible to come up with any sort of new, original music, The Flashbulb has succeeded in bring us Hardscrabble, one of the most unique electronic glitch records to date.  I can only imagine how much time and effort must have been put into making this album.  And it’s all the work of a single man: Benn Jordan, a.k.a. The Flashbulb.  As it says on the website of Alphabasic, the record label he founded himself: “The only common quality that Hardscrabble‘s songs share is unorthodox time signatures, microtonal piano melodies, and the most accomplished synthesis that we’ve seen from Jordan, in both analog and computerized website.”

Are you intrigued yet?  Even if you’re not a huge fan of electronica music, I would urge you to check out this guy’s music for the sheer purpose of expanding your mind and hearing something that I can assure you you’ve never heard before.  The music on Hardscrabble isn’t just made up of a bunch of random noises (well technically it is, if we wanted to get esoteric here).  There is a level of familiarity present that helps us connect.  Although everything is digital synthesis, it’s easy to picture a virtual band playing.  There are clear distinctions between drums, bass, keyboard pads, and guitar, plus a large helping of other processed effects.  One track, entitled “The Basement Trio,” brings to mind a strong mental image of an actual trio playing music in – you guessed it – a basement.  In a way, we should actually give The Flashbulb an extra wave of applause.  Despite being limited to nothing but digital sounds, he manages to create music in a form that is absolutely recognizable and relatable to the common ear.

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Drive (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) – Cliff Martinez (2011)

Cliff Martinez

Album artwork for Drive (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Today’s post is a groundbreaker for Audio Intimacy.  The original score written for the 2011 film Drive, directed by Nicolas Winding Refn and starring Ryan Gosling, has officially become the first soundtrack album to be featured on the site.  This summer, I am in Los Angeles interning with a composer for films and TV shows, so it seems only fitting that I expand the blog to include this particular brand of musical expression.  Now that the floodgates have been opened, be on the lookout for more soundtracks to follow this one! With that said, let’s move on to the main event.  The score for this movie was written by Cliff Martinez, former drummer of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and current film composer who’s been tearing up the scene for several years now.  What makes Drive unique is the sole use of electronic music in the soundtrack, capitalizing on the strengths for which Martinez has been gaining widespread influence throughout the film industry.

Film music has certainly come a long way since its formative years in the early 20th century, when cinemas would employ in-house pianists, organists, or even orchestras to play live music overtop the mechanical noise of the projector.  It has evolved into a formidable job that fuses together evocative composition, collaboration with the movie’s production crew, and the highly refined skills of syncing audio cues to picture – choosing the exact frame at which to start and stop the music.  Nowadays, just like in any other professional industry, we have developed technology to assist us in accomplishing such a massive undertaking. Electronic music, being a reflection of human society’s adaptation to the digital revolution, has inevitably started to blend with traditional approaches to film scoring, and it is the work of visionaries like Cliff Martinez that has paved the way towards this new period of musical innovation.

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Lux – Brian Eno (2012)

Brian Eno

Album artwork for Lux

Today’s post focuses on a style of music that is drastically different from anything else featured here on Audio Intimacy.  Today, we’re talking about Brian Eno.  There’s a good chance you may have heard the name before.  After all, he does happen to be one of the main proponents and principal innovators of experimental electronic music production.  There is, quite literally, too much to say about the man to cover it all in a post here.  When Eno first came onto the scene in the early ’70s, the music industry was undergoing an intense period of transition (isn’t it always, though?).  More specifically, it was going through something of a technological Renaissance as multitrack recording became more and more expansive. Music recordings became subject to a continuously increasing amount of manipulation and editing.  This set the stage for Eno to find inspiration in his innovative philosophy of “The Studio As a Compositional Tool.”

The main premise behind this philosophy is that the art of recording music is just that – an art. It is no longer simply a means of transmitting a single performance as accurately as possible. With the development of multitrack recording, producers to have the incredible ability to manipulate everything from the arrangement of the song to the individual timbres of the instruments.  They can put an echo effect on the entire song, or just on the guitar track for two seconds on the bridge.  This affects composition on both the macro level and the micro level.  The infinite amount of unique combinations of sound that were made possible by this new approach is too awe-inspiring for words, yet it is something that we take for granted in the 21st century.

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