Dubstep in Connecticut: Era REdux
We have once again found evidence that some of the best, most creative electronic music in the world comes from Connecticut; further, we are pleased to share another instance where the cream of the Nutmeg State crop is found in sparsely populated and little known places. Hiding away alongside the Farmington River’s Tariffville, CT, yet another census designated place home to only a couple thousand, is the insanely dedicated musicianship of Wil “Era REdux” Ketchin. A life dedicated to music making -particularly that of an electronic nature- has not only made for a wide variety of creations, and an arsenal of skills, but for a degree of originality that is difficult to match.
While there are a seemingly endless horizon of styles in this artist’s repertoire, that which has most potently captured our attention is unquestioningly his “progressive dubstep,” a semi-selfinvented genre that blurs the line between ambient electronic, beats, dubstep, and general chillness. While this Hartford-area, Simsbury local somehow manages to somehow keep these intensely relaxed originals at the 140 bpm mark, the real shocker is that this gifted musician is humble enough to describe his work as, “twiddling knobs.”
Era’s music is something that I just discovered recently, so let’s just take a brief look at some of his recent work that jumped out at me as early favorites.
“VER-24797″ is a great place to start as this track does quite a fair job of displaying Era’s ability to keep things soulfully chill, subtly heavy, and progressively attention grabbing. This very cinematic piece starts off with a big crashing beat and spacey string sounds. Early on, a rhythmic, glitched out yoi’ing bassline rumbles lightly along. While this chattering bass will be the most predominant aspect of this track’s later half, the tune is truly a fine balance between chilled ambiance and more aggressive, emotional sounds. Seeming to describe a scene of desolation, give a listen to “VER-24797.”
The atmosphere of “VER-24797″ flows perfectly into “Krista Waters.” Soaring, sad orchestral sounds continue to make up this tune’s background and a similar but more punched up beat make for a smooth transition into an unquestioningly heavier and equally thoughtful track. The central figure on this song is a choicely varied, grindingly low decimal piece of wobble bass. Some interesting samples make this bass heavy, progressively building track into its own interesting little narrative. Proof of the highly thoughtful programming behind Era Redux’s music,”Waters” took several months to compose and complete.
Riddled with wet crunchy claps and the lowest, fullest bass tones we’ve seen yet, “The Sun Sets On You,” is easily one the greatest things to come from this the mind of this local creative force yet. As “Sun Sets” works towards ending, vocal samples and an increasingly emotional air will easily pierce your heart. Sunny leads wrapped around deep, introspective piano strokes meet thick sub noises to totally reinvent what one expects can be done at 140 bpm. While there are enough individual pieces to make this track recognizable against more typical styles of electronic music, Era’s arrangement of these parts makes for music that is entirely original.
“Rebirth” continues on a theme of contemplative tunes with a bit of an edge. A simple but sharp beat keeps time against a dark melody and full bass sounds. Altogether, this thought provoking track manages to come across as spine tingling and deep without being pretentious. With lots of space to allow sounds to percolate and stuffed with cerebral stylings, “Rebirth” is a difficult tune to get out of your head.
Finally, to give you a taste of Era REdux’s heavier capabilities, here’s “Lounge Lizards.” A collaborative effort, this track is noticably heavier from the intro alone. By the same point, it is also immediately noticeable that “Lounge Lizards” is just as loaded with smartly arranged acoustic sounds and ambient space as Era’s other work – it is just a little more demented and carries and aggressive attitude.