Starthief: Float

Announcing my new album, Float

(ambient/drone, with Eurorack, Lyra-8, Reface CS and software)

I enjoy music that speaks of alienation, tension, the dark and the unknown and eerie, of dreamscapes where the rules might change at any moment, of vast elemental forces. That’s the kind of music I have been creating. But there’s a lot of fear and worry in the world right now and it makes me think about what I’m putting out there into it. My spouse says she can hear my anxiety in my music. On the one hand, I feel like this can be a positive thing – like how the blues can make one feel happier, and angry protest music can make one feel solidarity and hope. On the other, I kind of wanted to hedge my bets a bit.

For a few years now, I’ve held onto a concept I call “painting the mirror.” If art is a reflection of life, perhaps the artist should perhaps create the reflection that they want to see – a little sympathetic magic to change the world. If nothing else, art is a part of life and so this can fulfill itself either way. But I struggled with making music that felt right and genuine to me, and listenable, without necessarily expressing all the darker stuff. The balance I had found was “calmly foreboding”, and I settled for making the world a bit of a weirder place and emphasizing its mystery.

I think with this album, I have reached a sort of emotional neutral buoyancy. It’s not cheerful and upbeat, or (I hope) bland and ingratiating, nor truly “ambient” in the “meant to be ignored as much as listened to” sense. But it’s not as dark and troubled as my previous work. I latched onto the idea of floating – of not taking things too seriously, of drifting on the tide and relinquishing both control and worry. Jellyfish became sort of my icon for this line of thinking, and the recent opening of St. Louis Aquarium, which has a display of several jelly tanks in a sort of twilight atmosphere with gentle ambient music playing, was a lucky coincidence. I’m personally pleased with how this album turned out, in both an emotional and technical sense.

Further notes on production etc. are here.