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.
I’ve got to say that one of my favorite things about the current music industry is this strong resurgence of jam band music and culture that’s been going on for the past several years. As someone who wishes they had been alive to witness the explosion of psychedelic rock, progressive rock, and the jam band scene in the ’60s and ’70s, I am extremely happy about the genre’s relatively unimpeded longevity. After the Grateful Dead’s disbandment in 1995 as a result of guitarist and frontman Jerry Garcia’s death, the band Phish stepped in to fill the gap. Although they never achieved quite the amount of success and popularity that the Dead had, they certainly helped to keep the scene alive for the next decade. They were also an integral part of the rise of large-scale music festivals in the modern era. If you think about all of the festivals that host yearly events now – Bonnaroo, Coachella, Camp Bisco, Rootwire, Lightning in a Bottle, All Good, Wakarusa – the list goes on and on.
Dopapod is a group that is quickly rising to the forefront of the jam band scene. Born in 2007, they recently released their third studio album, Redivider, on 12/21/12. The entire record was recorded in a barn at Tyrone Farm, a solar powered farm in Pomfret, Connecticut. Despite the fact that it was released less than a year after their previous album, Drawn Onward (side note: if you haven’t picked up on this yet, the band really likes palindromes), there is nothing about Redivider that gives away any sense of rushed preparation. As a matter of fact, the entire thing is pure, musical gold.
“Submotion Orchestra have rapidly built up a reputation as one of the most interesting and original projects emerging from the UK today. Drawing upon dubstep, soul, ambient electronica, jazz and dub, their unique music is at once delicate and heavy, spacious and dense, highly atmospheric but firmly rooted. Earth-shaking bass and drums combine with lush keyboard and trumpet textures to create the perfect bed for the fragile beauty of Ruby Wood’s vocals, and the celestial effects of sound designer Ruckspin.”
The paragraph above is an excerpt pulled from the bio posted on the group’s website. Let’s take a minute to reflect on those words. Dubstep, soul, ambient electronica, jazz and dub. Those of you that keep up with my posts on this site will know by now that I’m always a big fan of cross-genre mixtures. In that regard, Submotion Orchestra have certainly gone above and beyond with their newest album, entitled Fragments. It’s actually the ideal combination of styles – many opponents of the advent of popular electronic music will use the argument that it such genres sound too “robotic” or “repetitive.” If we posit for a moment that such a claim is true, then surely we could turn to jazz as a musical style on the complete opposite side of the spectrum. Just about everything about jazz is based around live improvisation and the interaction between players.
GRiZ released his debut album, Mad Liberation, less than a week ago, but it’s already making huge waves in the electronica community. In lieu of joining the horde of current EDM artists releasing fairly straightforward house music day after day, GRiZ has taken a more alternative approach to creating his unique brand of electronica. He has combined the heavy sub-bass tendencies of modern dubstep with a medley of other styles, including jazz, funk, and hip hop. The 21-year-old producer describes his music as “electro soul” and “future funk,” titles which, upon listening to Mad Liberation, seem to be quite accurate.
I would first like to quote GRiZ’s own description of the album, as there is certainly no individual more qualified to address it than he:
This collection of noise – to me – became an album, a sound in a whole, an idea free from limits of thought and more an idea of the heart and soul. Mad Liberation is a piece of me that is representative of my past, breathes life into my present, and is a taste of the future.