With so many of the modern era’s producers often creating their music on computers in their bedrooms we’ve had a dramatic increase in DIY solo artists that have developed their sound in tandem with the evolution in new technology. Programs such as Ableton and the like have enabled and empowered people, giving them a virtually limitless ability to create – mostly electronic – compositions. The only boundaries that now remain for musicians are their imaginations, and with today’s recommendation we have a mind so open and inspired that once it was paired with his geeky love of technology and contemporary methods we received a selection of music as bright and brilliant as anything we’ve heard in recent years.
Welcome to the world of Pepepiano, the solo artist David Bird, who was originally based in Laguna Beach, California, although he informed us that he’s recently re-located to New York. He is currently unsigned and relatively unknown in the UK, but he appears to be one of those artists that has music constantly bursting out of him. He takes to not only making the music entirely alone, but has so far self-released a couple of EPs, before finally self-releasing two albums in the space of just eight months last year. His self-titled debut album seemed a compilation that pulled together a series of singles and that was swiftly followed up by his second album, King. Were he to be signed up we imagine the label would treat any new full release like an official debut album, but this remains to be seen. Through his valid DIY approach he has been floating around the alternative edges of blog adoration with every new tune and any praise is entirely justified, as his music is nothing short of astonishing.
He writes songs that, on the surface at least, you might dismiss as just another set of experimental, sample-heavy tangles. There’s a unique madness to his work. He can knock together a set of sounds, made by methods and instruments that you cannot decipher, and he’ll call the song something just as oddball, such as the tune, Squeem. This track seems to go absolutely nowhere and simply leaves you looking for the song that never comes. However, he’s also capable of designing pieces that are both soft and comforting whilst still over-flowing with ideas. Take the track Fire Hands and you will witness something that sounds like it was made by the throned god that The Flaming Lips secretly worship in their spare time. His signature move seems to be his ability to meander through a Wonka-styled factory of oddities whilst still keeping one ear out for accessibly sweet pop melodies. Experimental, sample-heavy music like this can seem self-indulgent and inaccessible, but he wraps it all in an invigorating and reviving warmth, occasionally reminiscent of Lemon Jelly‘s adorably childish and friendly atmosphere.
Among all the eccentricity is an exceptional sense of balance, as he masterfully juggles samples and loops, but it’s with his perfectly-placed vocals and beats that we find his songs elevated to a spectacular level. With Baby Pigeons, We Are OK, Right, you get half a song of meandering, layered-up samples, but once it reaches his voice he hands us the rewarding refrain, “but baby we both turned out right“. Take the track, Flesh Rails, and although it starts out with reversed loops and virtually no momentum it is soon ramped upwards. What he does with vocal samples on this particular song deserves an award all its own. It’s an absolutely awesome composition. An exceptional mess. Fallopian Dudes continues the awesomeness, this time coming armed with a wonderful, high-quality video, so great that you won’t just enjoy every second of it, but every micro second, as it’s filmed in super-slow-motion, capturing young people leaping through the air. It’s an utterly mesmerising video and as refreshingly original as Bird’s endearing composition. He’s confirmed to us that he has the next album is nearly completed and is figuring out when and how to release it. In the mean time his next work is a project that he’s recently arranged with LA based artist, Aaron Axelrod, a 20 minute multimedia piece designed for the Vortex Immersion Dome in downtown LA that’s due to premier on October 4th.
When scanning around his Facebook page we came across a Youtube link he’d placed there. It shows off an old clip about the dimensional behaviour of fractal objects through computer graphics, from a technique mastered back in 1989. Now we couldn’t particularly care for this video, but it rather brilliantly shows off exactly how passionate Pepepiano is for all things geeky and technical, weird and wonderful. There really isn’t any better description for his music. You couldn’t imagine a more contemporary DIY artist than that of Bird. By understanding the technology that’s available to him and by testing new techniques and running with his imagination we have a producer that couldn’t be any more 2012 if he tried. He has set about giving us not only a broad and full library of work, but by exploring his imagination and by avoiding the restrictions and pressures of a record label he has created music that is genuinely fresh, endearing and fantastical, and ultimately free. Here is an artist that simply couldn’t have existed just one decade ago, yet it is precisely the musicians such as this that broaden horizons, as they find entirely new avenues in which to meander. If you’re looking to uncover new pioneers then producers like Bird aren’t just evolving music they’re pursuing an entirely new frontier. (MB)
PEPEPIANO – FIRE HANDS
PEPEPIANO – FLESH RAILS