ISM – Savant (2012)

Album artwork for ISM

Album artwork for ISM

Anyone who has ever attempted to produce electronic music knows that it’s a lot harder than it sounds. To be frank, it’s damn difficult.  With the dramatic rise in popularity of electronic dance music in recent years, producers have been expanding their horizons sonically, leading to the development of several new subgenres.  The new wave of dubstep, brought to the public eye by the (in)famous Skrillex, often referred to as “brostep,” is a perfect example. Love it or hate it, no one can argue against the fact that the compositional attitude of such artists has taken a dramatic turn towards a much more complex mindset.  In my mind, this movement is simply a reflection on how we, as a species, have a continuous desire for innovation in our creative pursuits – one of the most remarkable traits of our intelligence.

Let’s dial our focus in a bit.  Aleksander Vinter, more commonly known by his artist moniker, Savant, is a producer from Norway who has been making increasingly large waves in the electronic music community.  His first album, Outbreak, which was released back in 2009, was nominated for a Norwegian Grammy Award, and two of his most recent albums, Vario and Overworld, reached #1 on Beatport’s list of Top 100 Releases.  Here’s the really interesting part: according to his official Facebook page, Vinter is an actual savant with Asperger’s syndrome, and he has been blessed with the gift of extraordinary creative genius.  To quote directly from his biography, “He thinks out songs in seconds and produces them within few hours.  To this date Aleksander has composed / produced over 10.000 songs in various genres. Most notably metal, orchestral / classical, hip-hop and electronic music.”  Not only that, but Savant released four full-length studio albums just in 2012. In other words, his past four albums were all composed, produced, and released in 2012, with the fourth one being released in December.  If that’s not enough intrigue to get you to check out his music, then you may as well stop reading now.

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Rise of the Obsidian Interstellar – Disasterpeace (2011)

Album artwork for Rise of the Obsidian Interstellar

Album artwork for Rise of the Obsidian Interstellar

First of all, I would like to extend my best holiday wishes to each and every one of my readers!  Your support has been truly inspirational, and I thank you all for it.  I hope that all of you had a very Merry Christmas!  As a holiday treat, today I would like to present you with one of the most musically unique albums that I have encountered in the past year.  Let no one say that Rich Vreeland, also known as Disasterpeace, does not have a distinctive sound.  He is the mastermind behind Rise of the Obsidian Interstellar, an album that combines the glitchy wonder of retro video game music with the musical complexity of progressive rock.  Well, that’s certainly an interesting twist.  If a band like Seventh Wonder or Dream Theater had decided to write electronic-based music for an 80s adventure game, this might have been the result.  Let’s take a closer look!

This music represents a bit of an indulgence for me.  Those of you that follow this blog regularly have probably realized by now that I am a big fan of progressive rock.  It is the genre that I grew up with, and it will definitely always hold a special influence in my musical endeavors.  I am also a passionate video game music enthusiast.  The world of video games is the perfect theater for compositional experimentation.  Different moods can be created for different scenarios in the game, characters can each be assigned their own musical themes, and dramatic interpretation is an omnipresent element.  There is so much inspiration that can be drawn from various components of a game, and composers use this inspiration to create a sonic world that helps the game take on a whole new life.

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