Everything – Michael Lejeune
Guest Vocals – Jenn Barnett
Visit the Bandcamp Page to stream audio
Synth, sequencing, and electronic music have always been a part of the music I love. And the genres that rely more heavily on these elements have been a part of my listening catalogue since I was a kid. But composing in that arena has been beyond me, until recently.
With the expansion of my musical endeavors into the realm of serious recording, I made a point of acquiring certain things that would be needed for electronic sounds complimentary to metal, rock, etc., including some kind of in-the-box softsynth and midi controller. I found myself behind the keys of my ancient Yamaha keyboard with an incredibly expansive set of software tools at my fingertips. The voices I could simply click on and activate were…legion. The potential for creative composition was just too broad to keep sidelined.
So, thinking about the artists that inspire me in electronic music (like Wisp, Lusine, Proem, Cloudkicker, Future Sounds of London, etc), I started putting together a song. Of course, it sounded nothing like any of my influences, but that’s a good thing.
The compositional process is very different, as the ideas about where the song is going, what is coming next, and where it will eventually need to be, are utterly unlike rock or metal or folk compositions, where the parts are larger, more unlike each other, and must be fitted together carefully because of their disparate nature. With electronic music, the focus for me is on establishing an emotional state, and then subtly altering it over time, rather than creating a song-wide arc. Deep shifts occur only once in a long while, and herald a shift into a whole new direction for the song. The compositions simply started at 00:00 and went forward from there, adding on one or two or four bars at a time, thinking visually about what is happening on the screen a lot more than other styles.
And that is how Cincture came about. The first electronic song. The section of real drums and guitar I added have remained a question mark in my head: Are they good? Do they derail the track too much? What is the point?
But I loved the track so much, I had to try again. And that is how Axiomateer came around. For this song, I hit the style of my influences much more precisely, but the influences were different. I had in my head the sounds of classic science fiction and horror films. The soundtracks to dark, grainy movies with tiny budgets and overreaching themes. It’s been compared to the theme from Stranger Things. You can listen to it for free here. You can read about my love for those movies at my blog entry on the topic.
With two songs out, the rest of the album had to happen. Multiformant Cynosure continued in the classic soundtrack vein, though with a much grander scope (fourteen minutes!). Jenn’s spoken voice came out perfectly on this track, and on Dull Boy, my attempt at creating something with a somewhat urban vibe. Wax Homeostatic was all about putting symphonic grace to a groove, and An Itinerant Rubric came out as an homage to classic electronic or “dance” music I heard growing up.
Passager stole the show, for me. The ill-sounding tiger growls embodied a strength and a weakness at once that I fell in love with immediately after hearing the sample. I knew it needed to be a preface to something impactful. The acoustic drums that dominate the latter part of the song appear on the track nearly untouched from their original recording, done in a large church. I could not imagine a more honest, engaging dirge. The keys and instruments that dress the beat all flowed from that inspiration.
And so the album was born. Two parts sci-fi soundtrack, two parts symphonic dirge, one part each classic synth melody and industrial edge. You can stream the album free at the Bandcamp page. If you like it, consider purchasing a lossless digital copy or better yet, a CD.