Isotherme - Flux Gestation
PEOPLE ARE RECORDING MUSIC IN THEIR HOMES AND RELEASING IT ON A WEBSITE CALLED BANDCAMP.COM?
I should have been aware of this reality long before it smacked me upside my skull, but I had been so tuned out, and even worse, perhaps too afraid to notice.
In late 2011, I stumbled upon the Bandcamp website while trawling the internet for new music. On Bandcamp, I found music from all corners of the globe. Some of it seemed to lack direction and was ultimately disappointing, however, I also discovered some amazing independent post-rock groups, skilled electronic artists and the occasional folk duo - in fact, a lot of what I heard was really very well-recorded and performed, and it inspired me, to boot. Surely, I felt I could do at least as good as some of what I heard, and maybe also earn some listeners.
I had spent 20 years playing guitar and some keyboards in various rock and fusion bands--recorded demos, played gigs, written songs, attended music college, all in that formative space between ages 16 and 36. In the wake of the birth of my son in 2007 and my daughter in 2010, I knew I didn’t have any time or energy to play in bands. Any musical aspirations I’d once conjured for myself withered, and by 2011, the creative emptiness I was feeling grew to a gnawing. When I found music by other independent artists on Bandcamp, I wanted in. Never mind that I hadn’t touched a guitar in over 5 years and that I didn’t have other musicians to play with. I needed to be a part of this. After securing my wife’s blessing for a bit of financial carte blanche, I bought a good synthesizer, a computer and some recording software, and by the late summer of 2012, I was ready to work.
For me, composing the music was the fun part-- and easy. I had spent decades writing chord progressions and melodies, hashing out arrangements, dreaming up musical tensions and releases. The challenge for me was in learning to be a technician: sound engineering, recording, mixing, mastering, and producing. As well, electronic artists need to be skilled in programming, executing all forms of synthesis, beat making, sample manipulation, and creating sound textures—a further learning curve presented itself. I had chosen the electronic genre because I felt it was an avenue for total expression while being completely independent--I could do it all myself. Admittedly, I’m not much of a singer, so I realized pretty quickly that writing pop/rock songs was out. But within an electronic framework I could be as weird and beautiful as I wanted. I could mix my favorite sub-genres of electronic music –ambient, downtempo and glitch—and throw in some jazz and classical harmonies and orchestrations, and away I’d go. I could be groovy and light, or I could be powerful and dark. I could be me.
The songs on Flux Gestation (and on its companion album, In Germinal Knots, due for release in December 2016) represent most of the music I first created as a solo musician, composed and recorded in my upstairs bedroom between summer 2012 and autumn 2014. Until now, most of these songs hadn’t enjoyed any particular release. Some were on Bandcamp as single songs and most have been on and off of my Soundcloud page. All of these pieces were orphans to a large degree, not connected in any way and wandering around looking for a home. These songs betray all my shortcomings as a novice studio sound engineer trying to convey my musical conception within a framework of new tools and processes. I can hear the growing pains and the quest for improvement--and the mistakes: all the wrong turns and sonic naivety, badly programmed beats and dodgy synthesizer sounds. But there’s a spirit to each of these pieces. I hear a heart beating, developing, changing, screaming to be heard, and still in gestation.
JK, November 2016
released November 12, 2016
All instruments, sounds, words and music by Jeffrey Kirn
Recorded at home in 2012 through 2014.
See each track for notes on the particular pieces.
Also, be sure to listen to In Germinal Knots, which features nine further early compositions.
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