Tag Archives: Electronic

London O’Connor Wants to Make Music for Interplanetary Travel

London O Connor

On O∆ , inventive beats and textures provide the foundation over which London O’Connor reflects on his upbringing, delivering lyrics that channel suburban boredom, the ups-and-downs of friendship, budding romance, and the pains of growing up. A kaleidoscope of tones and moods, O∆ never limits itself to a singular style or genre. Laid-back rhymes and hip-hop rhythms are flanked by ballads and easy-going electronic tracks. And even when he’s at his most heartfelt and vulnerable, O’Connor exudes an aura of cool. He’s been wearing the same yellow sweater for months now, which he says he plans to do until his music makes more money than his parents. It’s an outward representation of his commitment to his dreams.

O’Connor created O∆ in his bedroom after relocating from his hometown outside San Diego to the bustle of New York City. It took O’Connor two years to realize his vision for what O∆ should be: a sonic account of his coming of age.

We spoke with O’Connor about his work methods, his creative aims, and why he doesn’t write songs—he’s just trying to render his surroundings.

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Music for Relaxation: A Meditation Journey

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Nicole Ginelli

This was supposed to be one of those eight-hour nights of sleep. You were in bed by 10pm, but now, as you reach for your phone for the third time, the device stoically informs you that it’s 12:46am. Maybe you flick open a popular meditation app (it rhymes with deadspace) and wait for the man with the ever-so-slightly British (or is it Australian?) accent to talk to you off the ledge. But this time, he’s not helping; neither is your brain, which continuously presents you with items to add to your daily to-do list, offering worst-case scenarios for the stressful day that’s now just a few hours away.

Sound familiar? In this era of non-stop connectivity, the constant barrage of information is nearly impossible to tune out. Your phone, which is likely the culprit of your anxiety, is, in a cruel twist of fate, also your alarm clock. We have become a well-connected society of masochists who are unable to relax.

There’s no choice, then, but to turn to the experts: The composers and musicians in the business of making music specifically designed to help you disconnect, unplug and, eventually, calm down. These are the people who have found enough peace that they can share it with others. They make spoken-word guided meditations, 30-minute ambient tracks, songs with Tibetan singing bowls, meditation for aligning energy, sleep aids—the list goes on. After spending a few weeks rooting around in the meditation tags on Bandcamp, I’ve discovered that there truly is a path to peace for everyone.

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Earthen Sea’s Night Moves

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Earthen Sea by Shawn Brackbill

There are those fleeting moments where the fear of change dissolves, when our vision becomes clear and we accept whatever inevitable transformation might come our way with open arms. For Jacob Long, a musician whose past includes stints in rollicking dub punk group Mi Ami and shambolic noise rockers Black Eyes, the ability to change seems not only innate, but essential to his creative survival. Under the solo moniker Earthen Sea, Long has been exploring the beauty and drudgery of everyday life through remarkably personal electronic music.

An Act of Love, Earthen Sea’s debut on Kranky—a safe haven for fellow travelers in cosmic experimental waters, like Tim Hecker and Stars of the Lid—is night music. There’s a ghostlike mood to it—a sort of halogen-lit, steam-through-a-steel-grate metropolitan atmosphere. Being a solo artist in a city—any city—when you’re unconcerned with popularity can be a lonely, but rewarding, task. Songs like “Exuberant Burning” are carefully textured and layered to evoke that mood, while others, like “The Flats 1975,” feel kinetic and alive. As an album, An Act of Love doesn’t simply drift cautiously through the silent streets—there is intention and grounding to Long’s work.

We talked with Long about experimental music performance, shifting dynamics in art, personal change, and community-centered acts of love.

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On “Reassemblage,” Visible Cloaks Have the World at Their Fingertips

Visible Cloaks

Visible Cloaks by Jonathan Sielaff

As a genre, the phrase “world music” is as imprecise as it is historically fraught. It dates back to a much-storied meeting of music industry insiders in 1987, when a cabal of record label executives, musicians, and journalists gathered in a room above a pub in London. Discussing how to boost the popularity of non-Western artists with Western audiences, they decided on a catch-all term to help shops currently struggling to categorize the artists. As a pragmatic solution, it proved wildly successful, but it’s always implied an uncomfortable, imaginary divide. “World artists” are framed as “authentic examples” of a distant, exotic culture; it positions them outside the shifting musical currents that shape and re-purpose contemporary music.

On Reassemblage, Visible Cloaks attempt to do something like the opposite. A duo, made up of Spencer Doran and Ryan Carlile, their music combines traditional instruments from all over the world. Taking cues from pioneering, Japanese synth meddlers—like Yellow Magic Orchestra and Ryuichi Sakamoto—the pair filter different sounds into a pin-sharp, hi-res clarity, seeking to bridge borders rather than reinforce them. The results sound like a product of everywhere and nowhere all at once.

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Producer Gaffe of a Lifetime Sees Beauty In The Mistakes

Gaffe Of A Lifetime

If the American empire is crumbling, Connecticut producer Gaffe of a Lifetime has seen it coming for a while. His debut The Errors: A Kingdom of Loss was a dark, progressive house project with titles that hinted at socio-political anxiety. The March release predated Donald Trump’s ascension to the White House. The Moroder-esque organs of “Plugged Forth, The Worst Has Yet To Come” now feel prophetic, and Gaffe of a Lifetime’s dark techno does not offer utopian futures. The writing on the wall for Gaffe looks an awful lot like an elegy. The music still offers blissed out, arpeggiated pandemonium, like on “21st Century Collapse,” but it’s bookended by a funereal closer called “And This Is Where You Have Died.” None of it has been incidental. Gaffe of a Lifetime—aka producer Alexandre Louis Petion—transmits his belief that dance music can be more than escapism.

Before he started recording as Gaffe, Petion taught himself to translate emotion into electronic music. He says intuitively he foraged for vocal samples and obscure sounds that encapsulated his feelings. As it grew into Gaffe of a Lifetime, the purpose was to hack his consciousness into the framework. In Petion’s music, glitches are used to elicit emotional feedback. With his new release, Mansa, and the Far End of the Death Spectrum, Petion has created a dissenters’ soundtrack, reminding us to question our reality—or worse, our simulation.

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