Title: Electronic Feeling Machine
Artist: Aaron Jasinski
Release Date: 2005 Sept 11
License: CC BY-NC-ND
Label: Kahvi Collective
I know I have gone on a bit at length about Kahvi Collective being one of the first labels I originally encountered when I started getting into CC and netlabels. In fact, I would basically blame this release for cementing my love of independent musicians, and the development of netlabels that came out of the demo scene. So, let’s take a peek inside the electronic feeling machine.
Aaron Jasinski The Artist
Aaron Jasinski is an artist and a musician. According to his website:
Aaron Jasinski’s paintings have shown across the US, and internationally. He also illustrates children’s books, album covers, and creates electronic music. Aaron grew up in in a family of musicians and the love of music is a major influence in his visual art. His paintings often features musical, pop-culture, and nostalgic references peppered with social commentary and whimsical creatures (think morose hipsters mingling with monkeys in space suits), utilizing a Technicolor palette. Aaron resides near Seattle Washington with his wife and 4 children.
His love of pop-culture and nostalgic references is reflected in the cover work for this release. It is a painting of a robot working something that looks like a remote control. While the style of the work is completely his own, the color palette and subject matter are reminiscent of Queen’s News Of The World album, which in turn is a re-working of Frank Kelly Freas’ The Gulf Between.
Inside The Electronic Feeling Machine
The first thing that drew me into this recording is that it has a retro sound to it. From the opening of the first track, it sounds like it would have been in at home as part of the soundtrack for Lost In Space. ‘Apologize To Annie’ is quirky: lots of distorted sounds with a very angular melody, while the rhythm sounds like a lumbering robot that moves at its own pace. This isn’t the modern robots or androids of Star Wars and Star Trek. It’s the robots from the pulp science fiction of the 1950’s.
This is followed by one of the softest and most delicate ballads I’ve ever heard in electronic music, ‘Single Fill Lines’. It’s really breathtaking. While it has a mild mechanical feeling to it, you really get the sense that there is a tenderness in this song, and an expression of wonder. It reminds of the wonder a child feels when looking up at a star filled sky in the middle of the night.
We return to a lumbering robot again for what my favorite piece on this release: ‘Starting At Someone Elses’ Sun’. I almost picture worker robots out in a field on some distant planet, with an orange sun glaring down on them as they pick crops in the field, while another robot is driving a machine to pick up the bundles of produce. (The break beats are the produce being picked up.)
And those are just the first three tracks. There are many other gems on this release: ‘Bleeding Oscillator’, ‘Slap Fills’, and ‘Trip Up North’ to single out a few more.
The overall production I have to admit feels a bit dated, and not in the manner that it is retro in style. It’s more like it was limited by the technology of the time when Aaron put this release together. And, i have to say, I think that some people miss some of the point(s) about how this release was produced: there is distortion and some minor weird artifacts in the sound on some of the tracks, but this seems to have been more of a stylistic choice for the recording than a matter of bad production. In fact, I think this might have been one of the early examples of glitch style before the term was even coined.
What can I say? This is one of the release that really drew me into the IDM, Creative Commons and Netlabel scenes. Inside the electronic feeling machine, Aaron Jasinski put together a real masterpiece in my opinion. It could use a remastering given todays production capabilities, but the music on the original transcends any minor qualms about production.