Album artwork for The Science of How Things Unfold
When I feature music on this site, I frequently refer to albums as “listening experiences” as opposed to just a collection of tracks. I think this is an important distinction to make – music is created as an art to appreciate, enjoy, and be inspired by, not just a utility to be consumed and discarded. Different artists aim to create different types of these “experiences” with their music. In the case of Ben Lukas Boysen, his new album Gravity was created as a deeply personal, meditative experience. Brian Setzer’s The Dirty Boogie was more of an upbeat swing experience to inspire dancing and grooving. This is a foundational aspect of music, and part of what makes it so beautiful: incredible diversity in both style and intent. So today, we’ll be looking at an artist with a whole new philosophy behind his music. That artist is David Krantz, more commonly known as Futexture.
Futexture is one of those artists who is able to make electronic music sound like a true extension of his mind and body, as if he were playing it in real time like any other instrumentalist. This is a remarkable achievement, considering the challenges that “robot music” has posed to its innovators when compared to traditional live musicianship. With Futexture, however, there is no lack of creativity or authenticity. None of his music sounds like a groove that’s been copied and pasted several times in succession. I have this mental image of artists like this creating and manipulating their music with their mind, willing each individual sound or timbre to move in correlation with the others. Although that may seem like an idealistic notion (or is it?), the point here is that Futexture’s sounds completely natural, enough so to inspire such a lofty vision.
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.
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.