I have been listening to music for a long time, though not all music is to my liking. Some is forced upon me by other people, in situations where I cannot make it go away, or make myself go away. Like waiting for tires to be fixed, or at the dentists office before having some teeth drilled on. La la ping ping tinkle tinkle, I guess the dentist is trying to show his level of culture or something. Maybe it is music specially created to make most people relax. It sometimes makes me sick. If the dentist knew how close I was to throwing up because of his music, he probably wouldn't say "Open wide and lets have a look."
During times of audio trial I feel like I am a captive audience, in every sense, and I don't like it. Sometimes it even makes me angry, but what am I to do? Nothing, thats what. There is no recourse but whining and crying, and that is unbecoming. So I sit and fume, and try to think happy thoughts. I am not normally taciturn or grouchy, but crap music has been known to make me so.
I am not always hostile to other peoples music, either, and on occasion I have even heard good music from unexpected sources, which is nice. Trouble with that is I have no control, I cannot get up and crank the devil out of the volume, so the walls shake and the windows rattle, or replay the song as often as I like. Why, back before the internet there were sometimes years between the hearing of a song somewhere and finding out who did it. That is because it was not usually a pressing matter, and because music as it is today was just being born. Willy nilly serendipity reigned. You might like a certain song that fit in a genre not played on the radio station you regularly listened to, so to hear it again somewhere when you were out was really something. To hear it AND have the idiotic disc jockey say the artists name was usually too much to ask.
Did I just say idiotic disc jockey? I did. So sorry kids, Disc Jockeys in my day were not what they are today, no slight intended. It was all totally barbaric, back in my early days. You had to become a pest at the record store, or CALL THE RADIO STATION to get any info at all, like some little groupie, and that meant you had to sit and dial and dial and dial because of course you were lumped in with all the people trying to be caller number 37 for the 100 dollars free gas, or whatever. The disc jockeys were many times aspiring musicians, now as close as they would ever get to stardom, so they acted like godlets and goddesses, which was perfectly ridiculous because the vast majority were fat and ugly from sitting on their behinds all their lives.
The whole mess was like riding in a covered wagon across Death Valley with your mother-in-law, a mother-in-law who spoke only in old TV commercials: its not NICE to fool mother nature...You're soaking in it now! And on and on. Before the internet everyone was parched and starving, sick in mind body and soul because no one realized how to eat right. We should thank Ja and our lucky stars every single day for the internet, and the will to use it. Which brings me finally to the subject at hand, namely a music review of some sounds that grabbed me and might even be fitting revenge against the dentist and his artless tinklings. It also says a lot for the artist because I am getting aged and jaded, and all the time hearing more and more music, and only the special stuff grabs me now. Its not a lot.
The last big thing in music I listened to on the radio was grunge rock. That lasted a long time, but by then the internet was blasting off and me with it. I never listened to another commercial again. One of the first things I did was search for music I had purchased in the past, that was lost to me because of faulty media like vinyl, and 8-track, and cassette, and cd. It took a long time for me to catch up, and I also looked into and listened to many bands I had been curious about, like "Box Of Frogs", old Yardbird Era British stuff, and "Hawkwind", which was so good it embarrassed America. The penny boys took over then, and music became simply a numbers game of advertising dollars and privilege and computer generated statistics. They were dead but they were grateful. Those meatballs were way more interested in the technology to keep people from copying their product than producing anything redeeming. They lost the yearning for redemption long ago. They became shameless and tawdry and mean.
After I caught up with things to my liking I began ranging out and it did not take me long to start catching sound waves. Synthwave, Chillwave, New Retro Wave, and others. There are a lot of compilations put out by the promoters of internet music and I listen to them almost exclusively now. Every once in a while I will hear something that catches my ear and I go look up the Artist and their other stuff. I have found so much good music this way I sometimes wonder if I am dead and have gone to heaven and don't realize it yet.
So here I am listening along and all of a sudden, at the very beginning of one of the selections named Omen - A Darksynth Cyberpunk Mix for Aggressive Robots, there is something there. It is different yet familiar, reminding me of some of the best Electro-Rock I have heard out of El Paso, not the new stuff. There were musical distortions throughout the song which old guys like me have trouble adjusting to, but it does grow on you. I think the distortions are called breaks and drops, but I am not too sure yet. They may be somewhat the same, distinguishable only by nuance, which is beyond me at this time.
I've listened to a lot of Daniel Voicians and Daft Punk and Sonny James Moore (Skrillex). I am familiar with their particular electronic distortions which seem to be very popular with the younger set, the kids who like to listen to music in cars with huge bass. I imagine those Spaceship drivers really go for hard core distortions, in fact I know they do, because I have been there when they drive by and all the windows around me start vibrating. Makes me jealous. We sure didn't have that when I was young.
The distortions I am used to are kept in check (I think) by the marketers who realize how difficult some of the hard core window breaking transitions are for older or uninitiated listeners. Thats because those distortions border on discordance, and in some cases wallow in it. There is no wallowing when the promoter is trying to reach a larger audience though, and here is exactly where the boundary lines meet, this is the crux, the toughest nut to crack. Is it going to be formulated music based on pleasing the crowd for increased revenues, or experimental music with the chance to be famous once you are dead? Or maybe even something new, that no one has heard before? That last one is just about impossible, but does happen. What I was hearing from that very first song called "Destruction Man", was a radical contrast within the song itself. Musical distortion came shining upon high order Rocktronics, and vice versa. It was a borderline discordance in the sense of being different, not anti-melodic. It really did grab me.
I went to the net, looked up the artist.
N O W A V E.
Well that's different too, I thought.
It was just the beginning.
I listened to everything by N O W A V E that I could find. I was immediately hooked on "Obey", along with the first song I'd heard "Destruction Man". The graphic on the singles was cool too, and later I found out the musician is the graphic artist as well. I cranked those two songs loud and put them on cycle. I was enjoying them immensely, and in the mean time I'd found what I consider the Artists best work:
N O W A V EXXXX Cyberpunk Mix
which is 45 minutes or so of killer music including Destruction Man and Obey, along with quite a few others. I listened to that work a few times and got hooked on another song called Boundaries which is usually not the style of music I listen to. I thought things like that were outside my line of interest, but this I like a lot. It might be my favorite so far.
Sometimes a twist here, a twist there, suddenly things work. I was intrigued. I wondered if this was an entire band, because it sounded like it, or was it a single electronic Artist? I doubted it was a single Artist, mostly because of the vocals and their true variety, but some could be samples and I am not well versed in what is happening in the realm of music making right now, except for the end products. The world has moved on very fast, and I have had to take other turn offs. I decided to contact the Artist and see if anyone would be interested in allowing me to review N O W A V E music for my blog. To my pleasant surprise I received a letter back complimenting me on my blog, and saying a review would be fine, send my questions, which I did. Below is the email interview pretty much as it happened:
N O W A V E: Bill, thanks for your questions. Below are my answers to them.
BG: Where do you come from?
N O W A V E: I was born in Kyiv, Ukraine.
BG: How old are you?
N O W A V E: I am 31, for good or ill.
BG: Where did you learn music and how long ago?
N O W A V E: I became interested in music in my early teens. I tried my first musical instrument when I was 16, and that was a bass guitar. After that I started writing songs and performed as a vocalist. I taught myself how to play guitar with the help of books, then took private lessons of extreme vocal, trained breath, learned arpeggio, played drums, was DJing, tuned in the synths. I got a lot of knowledge from the practical experience shared by my colleagues, and from the internet as well. It was never enough for me to play one instrument, so I became interested in musical sequencers.
BG: Where do you live now?
N O W A V E: I’m still living in Ukraine.
BG: How do you employ your music in your life?
N O W A V E: The music is like a part of me. It’s something intrinsic and inseparable. It’s always with me. This is a form of communication: I can convey and receive information by means of my music.
BG: Do you perform? Raves? Concerts? DJ?
N O W A V E: Yes, I really love to give live concerts! Before the pandemic, I played my music as a DJ at the raves, cyber and underground parties, as well as at ski spots - it's exciting. Now I am preparing for summer, I also plan to use my electric guitar and vocals in concerts.
BG: Are you married or do you otherwise care to say anything about your personal life?
N O W A V E: No, I’m single. I could say that I’m in the constant search of beauty.
BG: Any passions other than music you would like to mention.
N O W A V E: I’m a true fan of snowboarding. The other day I came back from the mountains, it's very groovy, especially riding the board to music! Also I enjoy martial arts.
BG: What is your favorite music to listen to?
N O W A V E: Depending on the time and place, but mostly it is driving music like breakbeat, rapcore, metal, punkrock, techno, trance and what is now called cyberpunk.
BG: What or who has had the greatest influence on your music (Not just one)?
N O W A V E: Without a doubt, this is The Prodigy, who have been with me from childhood, and up to this day! And also it’s Pink Floyd.
BG: Are you 100% electronic/synth, or are there any other instruments?
N O W A V E: I also use an electric guitar and my voice in my music.
BG: What are your goals?
N O W A V E: I want to live my life without a single boring moment, surrounded by good people and music. I want to explore the world, climb Everest. And leave something good to the world after death.
BG: Have you gotten any radio play? Is radio play a factor anymore or has it all gone internet?
N O W A V E: I don’t listen to the radio and, to tell you the truth, I don’t know what’s going on there, but I know that some online radio stations play my tracks. Mostly it’s online cyberpunk radio.
BG: Do you have a promoter, agency, or agent, or are you self promoted?
N O W A V E: I release my tracks on the largest music label in Ukraine, but I do not have a promoter or agent and at the moment I do everything by myself.
BG: Do you produce from a home studio? What are your favorite music programs?
N O W A V E: Yes, I have my own music studio. I prefer to work in Ableton Live.
BG: Who are you reading/listening to/watching now? Who is your favorite painter? favorite author? Favorite actor?
N O W A V E: Now I am rereading Lao Tzu's DAO. I also listen to punk rock. And recently I watched the Predator films. Actually I'm a fan of the Matrix and Transformers. I love Banksy's works, books by Jack London, Hermann Hesse, Stephen King. I really like films with Keanu Reeves, Christian Bale, Jim Carrey, Keira Knightley and Uma Thurman.
Well I never. To find an artist who will communicate is a rarity. Even getting through is not possible a lot of the time. To have an Artist communicate with interest, and in a manner so engaging, that is exceptional. Thank you NW !
I tried to dissect my feelings over the music and was surprised when I realized that the songs I like especially, the ones that grabbed me, were the songs where there was anger evident, even sarcastic anger. Thats how I feel about most things on most days. In one of the songs (Boundaries) I think I heard the words videosphere and maya, and if that is so then I'm sure I am in agreement with the spirit of the anger as well as its manifestations.
I am drawn to music that is angry in varying degrees. Its either that, or the real Up stuff the Europeans call German Happy. I do like angry the best though. Its like 65/35. In the song Discrete I heard a few things which reminded me of Jezebel by Noisuf-x, and in some of my favorites by NW I have heard other things reminiscent of Janes Addiction, and some Ministry songs. "Deploy" vocals remind me of Sepultura. Its like he is experimenting, putting things in his way, trying them on for size, and who knows where that will lead? I am looking forward with great interest to the future doings of N O W A V E.
This music pushes me, it grabs me with new things, but also stays familiar, it makes me question and wonder. And it makes me want to dance. NW has an uncanny ability to insert vocals and alternating sounds into his compositions at just the right time, with a completeness I haven't heard before. Everything fits, fits just fine. As far as I can see its all dependent now on how far and in which direction the Artist wants it to go.
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