This coming Friday—April 7th—I will be releasing a new album of music, entitled Electrical Gremlin. The new album is up on my Bandcamp page, where you can also preview (and buy with pre-order) the third track on the album, “Poltergeist Activity”. (And yes, I did the cover art myself.) If you buy on release day, it happens to be a Bandcamp Friday, during which Bandcamp waives their fees.
It will also be up on the streaming services, too–here is a pre-save page for Electrical Gremlin on Spotify.
Electrical Gremlin is, in some ways, a major departure for me—in fact, I’d probably class it as my own personal Kid A. Suffice to say, it is a wild ride–eight tracks of instrumental music for strings and electronics, ranging from Neu!-style krautrock, to quasi-ambient synth-hymns, to modal viola freakouts, to Rihanna-meets-Larks’ Tongues-era King Crimson absurdity. And there’s a cello tuned down a fifth. (Also, for those of you who follow my theoretical heresy, aside from a brief incursion on the fourth track, “Sapphire Requiem”, there’s not any Locrian Liberation going on–but there’s plenty of Corinthian, Leucadian, Thasian, and Cyrenean to go around, among others.)
The music on Electrical Gremlin is a type I’ve wanted to make for a very long while—at least since discovering the aforementioned Kid A and Larks’ Tongues in Aspic back in 2006, and even moreso after Beak> burst onto the scene. The impetus for finally going for it came after a lot of reflection in the wake of what has been a long and especially trying period of time—I went through some rather rough personal stuff right before the pandemic lockdowns happened in March 2020, which made an already bad time much, much worse.
Despite being flooded with the sensation of (as Darius Milhaud once put it) “a thousand simultaneous musics rushing towards me from all directions”, and filling my manuscript book with all kinds of sketches in the time since, while also making considerable progress on the theoretical end, my tried-and-true way of creating music felt increasingly counterproductive. In fact, I haven’t completed a “piece” in the classical-academic sense in almost four years—Cyan Egg Music, Op. 59 remains my most recent.
It’s not the first time I had felt that—indeed, I went through a similar sort of ennui in the early-middle period of my doctoral program, though this was more intense. However, in this case, rather than waiting and wading around in the mire, hoping I get an excuse to write Gray Egg Music again (the piece that let me climb out of it the last time), I decided to finally and truly embrace the leftfield “popular music” (if you can really call it that) weirdo that had been percolating under the surface for over a decade-and-a-half.
Very little on Electrical Gremlin was notated out beforehand, aside from little sketches. Instead, the process for making this new music was based more on a feedback loop of improvising, recording, and adjusting, working primarily out of Pro Tools. The immediacy of this approach has felt very, very refreshing, and effective at clearing that creative logjam that had been stymieing me for the past three years. In fact, I’m already working on a sequel—an “Electrical Gremlin Boogaloo”, if you will.
Electrical Gremlin will be available in just a few more days, and I hope you all check it out and enjoy it, in all its weirdness. Here’s the full tracklisting:
- Evergreen Parkway (10:15)
- Viridescence (4:50)
- Poltergeist Activity (3:48)
- Sapphire Requiem (5:40)
- Electrical Gremlin (4:24)
- Gilgamesh (5:43)
- 424242424 (5:39)
- Kyrene Road (8:12)