“Disco didn’t die, it just went underground.”

I’m obsessed with both the wondrous sonic landscapes of electronic music pioneers and the driving rhythms of house, techno, and electro. Electronic dance music is an ideal vehicle on which to load soundscapes of abstract electronic sounds. What began as a house and techno project became something else as I added piles of strange sounds atop pulsing kick drums and cycling hihats. Sounds of audio-encoded text files slip next to TR-808 bass drums. Audio-rate-modulated resonant low pass filters growl among a hard-hitting electro groove. Delay units feed back until the original sounds become a distorted wash of rumbling noise while sampled percussion sounds repeat robotically.

This is the Beckstrom interpretation of house and techno.

For this project I tried something new: I mixed the songs together like a dance mixtape, where the beat continues from start to finish. Each song morphs into the next with (widly) varying levels of seamless-ness. Conceivably, you could put this on and dance for 40 minutes, as long as you’re not distracted by the barrage of lasers and mangled samples.

The tone of the music reflects my own feelings about our tumultuous times. A racist, ignorant, sexual predator leads our nation, our elected officials refuse to acknowledge the reality of climate change, our police demonstrate our ingrained systemic racism by continually murdering African American citizens, women continue to be systematically oppressed by the stifling weight of patriarchy, trans people- especially trans people of color- are being killed at a terrifyingly high rate, and so on, and so on.

We live in a sort of utopia – the sum of human knowledge is available to us, at any time, through a small piece of metal and glass we carry in our pockets. We have made incredible strides in equality, science, and the understanding of our world. But we also live in a dystopia – ignorance is celebrated, knowledge and understanding are criticized as leftist propaganda, all but cis-gendered, middle-class, straight, white men are continuously fighting an uphill battle.

If this music is about anything, it’s about the juxtaposition of scientific achievement and a culture that disregards it as fake news. That we have marriage equality but adoption agencies can still discriminate against same-sex couples and atheists. That we finally had an African American as president, but now we have an illiterate buffoon at the helm, disintegrating years of progress. That many believe we live in a post-racial society while brown folks are indiscriminately killed in the street. That women still earn less than men for the same work.

This music is about this contrast. We’ve come a long way. The future is now but we have so far yet to go.


released July 1, 2017

produced by Beckstrom

final mix recorded to cassette

Gear used:
Homemade modular synthesizer, Peavey MD-12 mixer, Eurorack Pro mixer, Behringer UB802 mixer, ART tube MP preamp, Alesis Microverb II, Korg M1, Fisher CR-110 tape deck, Korg Monotron, Fender Rhodes electric piano, Korg Volca Keys, Korg Gadget (iPad), Pure Data, Bitwig Studio, Linux (KXStudio)


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