THE FLASHBULB guest mix + online q&a, plus new music from TIPPER, LONE + LUKE VIBERT are featured for this week’s archive. WIDMAN kicks it off with a bit of footwork-inspired drum n bass–including STRAY’s tribute track to DJ RASHAD(RIP)–moving into glitch hop + broken beat, techno + acid, closing it out with the latest from experimental guitarist FENNESZ + the great BRIAN ENO’s latest collaboration with UNDERWORLD’s KARL HYDE. an intriguing guest mix from BENN JORDAN aka THE FLASHBULB follows. [aired 15 may 2014]
THE FLASHBULB Q & A [keep scrolling for the playlist]
Tell us about your idea for this mix.
I wanted to make a mix that would really grab me if I was driving on a lonely highway the desert at 2:00am scanning stations out of boredom. I “mixed” the songs abstractly and added lots of elements from my recorded sound library rather than just beatmatching or doing the DJ thing.
You just released 2 new albums, “Nothing is Real” and “Solar One”, the latter a concept driven project, comprised of a single track, while the former is a collection of shorter compositions. Why did you decide on a tandem release?
“Nothing Is Real” could have easily been a double or triple disc release, but I weeded through it and dumped tracks quite a few times before I was comfortable releasing it. “Solar One” was different in that it’s one piece that I’ve been softly working on for about 6 months, and due to it’s nature and length, working on it was almost a meditative process I had to prepare myself to enter rather than a technical or strategical one. In my head, they kind of compliment each other well in a yin-yang kind of way.
Over the past few years, you were commissioned to score several exhibitions at Chicago’s Adler Planetarium under your real name Benn Jordan. How did this come about?
It’s kind of funny, and possibly a metaphor for a lot of the flaws in the composing industry. I few friends of mine were working for an agency on an interactive exhibit there that needed music. Having released “Pale Blue Dot” with quite a bit of success, I wrote some emails and offered to work out an affordable license package or compose for the project. They told me they weren’t interested and had plans for music already, so I kind of forgot about it. Then a month or 2 later, the Adler, having been familiar with my work, actually sidestepped the agency and asked me to work on the same project. Since then I’ve worked directly with them for a handful of projects, including performances. I really value my direct relationship with them.
Since your Planetarium commissions, it seems as though you’ve become more involved in the visual presentations accompanying your releases and live performances. Have you always been into photography and animation? Or is this newly inspired?
I’ve dabbled in photography, motion graphics, and visual programming my entire adult life, but always struggled to find a way to make it work in a live setting, which is a part of my career already struggling with logistical problems, budgets, and various forms of red tape. After my first performance at the Adler, in synchronization with their monumental visualizations, the idea of touring the way I always have seemed terrible. I spent a lot of money and time developing something called “Treefield”, and set it up and performed in a handful of cities through the US. Technically it was a success, and it was received very well, but financially it just didn’t add up with the extra transport and hired help I required to tour. So now I’m kind of in limbo.
You are a DIY expert when it comes to a music career. What advice (briefly) would you give to new producers or musicians who may feel lost is today’s music business?
It sounds almost like a dickish thing to say, but sometimes I envy the musicians just starting out. There is no path behind them, and their only obligation in their hobby or profession of producing music is producing music. When I was 18 or 19, I literally finished 2-3 tracks a day, almost every single day of the year. Now I have this nagging complex to always try and one-up the Benn of 2 years ago, and it gets more difficult and stressful each time I start thinking about putting out another album. Of course, I’m endlessly grateful that I’m able to support myself as a musician, but the reason for that is because I can spend the vast majority of my time writing music. I guess my point of saying this is, if you’re in the beginning of your career, cherish the purity of being free from expectations and financial obligations. If you keep being creative, and if that’s what you nurture and let run wild, then the success will eventually find its way to you. The good news is that the music industry is finally a place where you can be creative from every angle. You can choose how and where your work is released and you can directly communicate with your fans without needing a label or journalist to be the messenger. If the lack of success drives you away from producing music, then you, respectively, may not actually enjoy producing music in the long term.
>CHRIS WIDMAN Addison Groove "Ain't It Love" - Presents James Grieve - 50 Weapons Stray "Long Lost"--RIP DJ Rashad Reso "Pulse Code"- Hospital Tipper "Grabbers Holders"- Forward Escape Mr. Scruff "Friendly Bacteria" - Ninja Tune Lone "Lizard King" - Bleep:10 - Warp Untold "Strange Dreams" - Black Light Spiral - Hemlock Luke Vibert "Overstand Me" - Ridmik - Max Cooper "Supine (Extended Mix)" - InHuman Two Martyn + Four Tet "Glassbeadgames (8 hours at Fabric Dub)"- Forgiveness - Ninjatune Plaid - Tether (Roel Funcken Remix) - Fennesz "Static Kings" - Becs - Editions Meego Eno / Hyde "Strip It Down" - Someday Wolrd - Warp >THE FLASHBULB Future Sound Of London - Accompaniment For Melodious Expression Far Cry: Blood Dragon OST - Resurrection Ceephax - Imperial Lounge ADJOWA - Red Leather Telefon Tel Aviv - The Birds Blade Runner OST - Rachel's Song Teen Wolf OST - Transformation Laura Branigan - Self Control Michael Ozone - Hetrotopia (Young Marco Remix) Yagya - Cold Hands Herbie Hancock - Trust Me Cashmere Cat - Mirror Maru Bartel - Shadows (Acidwolf Mix) J Dilla - In The Night, While You Slept (I Crept) DJ Rashad - Leavin Plaisance - Junk Food The Flashbulb - Neon Wireframe Landscape The Khalsa String Band - Song Of Bliss