Before we begin with this week’s Unsung Heroes, it seems pertinent to put a sort of disclaimer upon this article. In order to fully appreciate this particular mix, listeners must grasp a very open mind and be willing to delve into new, musical possibilities. This isn’t to say that certain people can’t listen to this; any genre of music is open to all who decide to listen. It is to say that we are heading out of the vast outskirts of EDM and into the trenches of IDM (Independent Dance Music). Because of the clear, experimental nature of this type of music, some people will decry that this mix doesn’t constitute as music. Some people will even bring thoughts of pretentiousness and snobbery towards this mix. I am open and respectful of all opinions, accepting or opposing. However, if you wipe the slate clean and allow the music to take over, it can cause all sorts of wonderful surprises, from awe-inspiring moments to the possibility of a musical transformation of sorts. Don’t worry, we will be back with a more EDM related piece next week. But for this week, just remember to take everything in with a grain of salt and listen.
On this week’s Unsung Heroes, we delve into the highly experimental side of EDM with a beautifully crafted mix by the underground Ambient label, Silent Season. First created in British Colombia, Canada, the Silent Season record label is one of many labels that support a highly unusual and diverse niche of experimental and Avante Garde electronic music. Throughout history, music has maintained structure and rules that were absolute. But within the last couple of hundred years, we have seen these once unshakable systems questioned, bent and broken. Within the 1900’s alone, there has been a rapid decline in creating music by rules that were once sacred and instead to create music based upon the interpretations of artists in a rapidly developing time period. This has only increased exponentially with the creation of computers and electronics, as the search for sounds has broadened to incorporate the infinite possibilities of electronic production. Featuring such sounds as Ambiance, Noise and Deep, Silent Seasons‘s Resident Adviser Mix is a whirlwind of emotions and sounds, focusing more on the journey of the organic sounds of the subconsciousness while pushing the boundaries on what can be considered as music.
The mix is all about the journey. A journey into sounds, atmospheres, colors and the mystical adventures it takes us through. It almost has a stream of consciousness sense of direction, as it wonderfully rotates through the mysterious grey areas of music. Emotions such as peace, fear, anxiety, groove and longing might be experienced. The mix starts with just sound; no notes, no chords, no rhythms and no musical ideas. Instead, it forces us to focus our energies upon the sounds of everyday life and to witness to sheer beauty of sound as a aural basis of pure aesthetics. Sounds of an empty city street, a thundering rainstorm and the vulnerable heartbeat start, as the open atmosphere is immense and even overwhelming at times. Once the stage is set, it morphs into driftless chords suspended through the void of time. After a tense track of Sargyll by Purl, it moves into a more structured form of music with the deep philosophies of Axs. It moves back into the realms of Ambiance and pure minimalism before finishing out with some intimate, tribal sounds and a particular track that garners its main strength purely on a single sub-bass synth.
Silent Season states that its sound is a combination of “deep, ethereal music and the mossy rain forests of Vancouver Island” and that it is “a soundtrack to some of the most radiant and aural beauty in the world“. But many question the constitution of what music actually entails. Some may say that music must have clear rules, such as notes and chords, while others say that the pure pursuit of sounds constitutes the makings of music. But how does this notion pertain to EDM? In a time where EDM is increasingly being squeezed on all sides to become one specific sound and one specific way to craft a piece, one must realize that music is more than just a monetary formula: it is a journey into sounds that challenges and intrigues the listener. It is an art that can fully encapsulate all of the senses into synaesthesia, if pushed hard enough.
This is seen everywhere, from the EDM movement in America that has many tracks sounding the same, to the mixture of Trouse and Trance as a whole. The creative rules of mainstream EDM are currently breaking down and blending into itself as time goes on in order to appeal to the cut-throat masses for the pursuit of fame and money. But music is more than that, and by watering down the process, we risk losing the entire point of making music in the first place. However, the underground is still holding strong. Silent Season attempts to keep musical discovery at the forefront and their voyage of their RA Mix is a testament to that. Even though the challenges of the future seem daunting, one listen into risky territory may give fresh perspectives and creative outlets towards the pure art of music. If one wants to take the risk and dive into the depths of the unknown, one may find the answers that would never be found any other way.
“Have you ever wondered what your subconscious looks like? Well today, I can show you.” –David Icke
Keep the music alive. -Q
Unsung Heroes is a weekly segment where we take a look back at an amazing production and bring it back into the light for older and newer fans alike. These tracks were often overlooked, overshadowed by a huge release or are just not that well known to the public here in America. Here, you can find all the hidden gems in many genres and find a new favorite track (or another tool/weapon for aspiring DJ’s).