I’ve been writing and publishing electronic music — mostly dance tracks — since around 1991 (the heyday of rave). In those early years I released a few tracks on my own as “DJ JD”, but the music quality took a jump a few years later when I met and started collaborating with Spesh. As part of the Trip ‘n Spin Recordings collective/dance label, we released a series of polka-dotted house music vinyl 12″ singles as Jondi & Spesh.
One of our releases, “We Are Connected,” caught the attention of a world famous (yet still up-and-coming) UK DJ named John Digweed. We learned that our odd track somehow fit into a new category of music called “progressive house.” Fine with us. The track was included on Digweed’s Bedrock compilation, and became something of a hit.
Spesh and I did our best to capture the momentum, and wrote and released a large number of dance tracks through the early 2000’s. We collaborated with Jerry Bonham on a project called “JSJ” that produced two wildly successful releases on Renaissance Recordings. We started our own record label (Loöq Records) and released a full-length album — also called We Are Connected — that did pretty well (especially in San Francisco). At the same time, we were running a weekly in San Francisco called Qoöl that for a long time was wildly popular — lines around the block and so forth. For several years running we were voted into Nitevibe’s Top 10 San Francisco DJ list. Fun times!
Around 2004 our music careers came to something of a fork. We released an album on Spundae Records called The Answer. It got some good reviews, but never really took off. I’m still proud of that album, but it veered away from the known dance music genres, and some people didn’t know what to make of it (maybe the incredibly weird cover art had something to do with that). Spesh and I toured the U.S. (supported by Spundae), and then did a self-organized tour in Europe that was both fun and exhausting. I knew for myself at that point that I didn’t want to pursue the possibility of becoming an international superstar DJ (even though we had a pretty good start!). It just wasn’t for me.
Spesh continued to pursue his own DJ career, and together we continued to promote Qoöl and run Loöq Records. For a time, producing as Jondi & Spesh fell by the wayside. I was burning studio time on my other music project — Momu — and Spesh was spending hours and hours listening to tracks and making mixes. In addition to all the music stuff, we’re also both married guys, and work other gigs for money (I do database/programming work, and Spesh is a freelance advertising producer).
Excuses? No way! We were just taking a breather until we figured out what we wanted to do next. After almost twenty years of producing dance music, we were both ready to try something different. The “different” turned out to be a complete change of direction — we started experimenting in the studio with some ambient tracks. Using parts from previously produced tracks, we deconstructed and reconstructed our way into an entirely new album.
The result is “Angles of Estrangement,” out today on iTunes, amazon.com, Beatport, and everywhere else. For now it’s a digital only release, though we might follow up with a CD release (and I wouldn’t rule out vinyl if it does well).
The music came together quickly and easily — it was a blast to produce. That said, we were extremely meticulous in the mixdown phase, working to get the feel of each track just right. We made every single track on the album seamlessly loopable; each one starts exactly where it begins. The original idea was that the music could be used to accompany art installations. From the (rather dramatic) press blurb:
This album is comprised of previously published material that has been radically altered. Certain rules were applied to the re-composition process. For each of the “songs” in this collection, elements of soft and loud were deliberately used in search of contrasts designed to provoke the listener. There is little or no percussion. Each composition contains a dramatic arc, and within that arc, an event. Each piece begins exactly where it ends, and thus can be played in an endless loop.
Individual interpretations guide the listener.
Uses for these compositions stretch beyond the simple delivery of sensation or emotion. They are also meant to accompany life’s occurrences as alternate soundtracks to common events or carefully constructed realities such as films or other works of art.
Let us know what you think about the project. It’s a new direction for us — a real break from the pounding four-on-the-floor stuff we’ve been doing for years. I’d love to know what you think.
Oh yeah … you can download the 14 page digital booklet right here. Enjoy!
ANGLES OF ESTRANGEMENT — SOME FULL-LENGTH PREVIEWS:
Underneath It All
Gone for Days
I Drank It
Also available on Juno, eMusic, and your favorite digital outlet.