Top 15 Deadmau5 Songs

 

This month is a big month for Deadmau5. He released his eighth studio album named W:/2016ALBUM/ – he’s never been one for actual album names. Deadmau5 is probably my single favourite electronic music producer. He was introduced to me in 2009 by my friend Andrew and although I didn’t fall for mau5 right away, it wasn’t long before I was blasting his album For Lack of a Better Name nonstop.

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This was really the beginning of my unconscious transition into electronic music. I had always loved rock and alternative music, and still do, but now I had entered into a different realm altogether. Deadmau5 was the first electronic music I enjoyed and he really opened up an entire genre to me. One that inspired me so much, that I ended up abandoning my rock-music-thinking ways to adopt an electronic music producer moniker, which would become Poly Gecko.

I guess what I’m getting at is that Deadmau5 kick started this whole thing for me. He taught me so much about electronic music, the importance of developing your sound, and that you can make a global impact as a producer as a small-town Canadian.

And later this month, Deadmau5 is about to teach me much more. I have punched myself a ticket to his Masterclass and am about to absorb all the knowledge he has and is willing to release. This is going to be pretty surreal to me. Imagine taking lessons on Catholicism from the Pope; or hockey lessons from Wayne Gretzky. This is how I feel about this course. I’m sure I’ll have lots of mau5-y feeling demos on the Soundcloud soon.

But enough about this one-sided bromance between Joel Zimmerman and I, here’s my top 15 Deadmau5 songs – including the new album:

15. Telemiscommunications [> album title goes here <]

14. Mercedes [while(1<2)]

13. One Tricky Pony [4×4=12]

12. A Moment To Myself [while(1<2)]

11. Ghosts ‘n’ Stuff [For Lack of a Better Name]

10. Snowcone [W:/2016ALBUM/]

9. Imaginary Friends [W:/2016ALBUM/]

8. Sofi Needs a Ladder [4×4=12]

7. Raise Your Weapon [4×4=12]

6. Monday [while(1<2)]

5. Somewhere Up Here [while(1<2)]

4. Cat Thruster [W:/2016ALBUM/]

3. Seeya [while(1<2)]

2. Strobe [For Lack of a Better Name]

1. Maths [> album title goes here <]

 

Although this list doesn’t make it fully clear, my absolute favourite album of his is while(1<2). It’s the most innovative work he’s done, and with it challenges the thought that he is a one-trick-pony dance producer. His ability with pianos and layering and sound design proves he’s much more than your bedroom DJ with an 808 and Massive.

 

Thanks for reading as always,

Stay warm,

Ryan.

 

 

Top 15 Red Hot Chili Peppers B-Sides

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The-GetawayIt’s been over a month since I’ve written a blog to you guys. In fact, the last time I did write to you was Mother’s Day, and today it’s Father’s Day. This Friday past, the Red Hot Chili Peppers released their 11th studio album: The Getaway. It followed up their album I’m With You which was the first album with new guitarist Josh Klinghoffer after my favourite musician of all time, John Frusciante left the band. I don’t think anyone can argue that the band is better without Frusciante, but that’s not to suggest they’ve lost all their talent and creativity either. I thought since I did a Top 15 Radiohead songs when their new album came out I would do the same for my other favourite band! But to make it a little more interesting, I’ll only do a countdown for songs which didn’t appear on an album. RHCP has one of the best b-side catalogues of modern bands and hopefully I can shed some light on it if you haven’t checked these tunes out already.

 

15. How Strong [Californication]

14. Let’s Make Evil [One Hot Minute]

13. Bunker Hill [By The Way]

12. Mercy Mercy [Stadium Arcadium]

11. Whatever We Want [Stadium Arcadium]

10. Save This Lady [Stadium Arcadium]

9. Rivers of Avalon [By The Way]

8. Body of Water [By The Way]

7. Sikamikanico [Blood Sugar Sex Magik]

6. Victorian Machinery [I’m With You]

5. Lately [Stadium Arcadium]

4. I’ll Be Your Domino [Stadium Arcadium] 

3. Over Funk [Californication]

2. Million Miles of Water [Stadium Arcadium]

1. Quixoticelixer [Californication]

 

Did I miss one your favourites? Let me know below 😉

 

Ryan

 

Top 15 Radiohead Songs & 0110 Download

As the internet – specifically my internet presence – would have you know is that Radiohead just released a new album. I have been waiting on this new album since 2011’s The King of Limbs, which by most measures was a pretty solid album but I, along with likely a lot of other Radiohead fans were also excited for a change. Almost every day for the last 5 months I had been tweeting “no new radiohead today. maybe tomorrow” And finally that day came. Finally.

A Moon Shaped Pool, 2016

The long awaited, A Moon Shaped Pool.

A Moon Shaped Pool was released on May 8, 2016. Happy Mother’s Day! I went into work, plugged in my laptop and downloaded it immediately at 3:00 PM local time when the album was released and blared it from front to back. Five days later, I still love the album. Of course, I could be in a new music bliss where everything is good … until it isn’t. I really do enjoy the depth of the album; how dry and ethereal it is. Nothing on the album seems forced. I also love that they reworked some old tracks like Identikit and True Love Waits.

To honour the release of A Moon Shaped Pool, I thought I’d give a top 15 Radiohead songs of mine (excluding AMSP because it’s just too early to tell).

15. Everything In Its Right Place [Kid A]

14. Paranoid Android [OK Computer]

13. The National Anthem [Kid A]

12. 2 + 2 = 5 (The Lukewarm) [Hail To The Thief]

11. Myxomatosis (Judge, Jury & Executioner) [Hail To The Thief]

10. 15 Step [In Rainbows]

9. Packt Like Sardines In A Crushed Tin Box [Amnesiac]

8. Like Spinning Plates [Amnesiac]

7. Idioteque [Kid A]

6. Jigsaw Falling Into Place [In Rainbows]

5. Lotus Flower [The King of Limbs]

4. The Daily Mail [The King of Limbs sessions]

3. All I Need [In Rainbows]

2. Airbag [OK Computer]

1. Videotape [In Rainbows]

 

If you couldn’t guess, In Rainbows is definitely my favourite Radiohead album although OK Computer isn’t far behind. If you haven’t heard it already, I followed the instructions to create a mashup of both of these albums which the internet refers to as “tens piracy” or “0110“. It can sound a little insane, but even if they didn’t do it with intent, it still sounds awesome. You can download it here from my Dropbox. It’s 93:33 of solid gold.

Anyway, that’s enough for me for a little bit. Much love as always. Shit is happening behind the curtain, don’t you worry.

Ryan

 

2015 Year End

Today is my favourite day of the year: Boxing Day. One of the only days of the year where I have absolutely no commitments. It’s nice to just have one full day of absolutely whatever I want. Not to mention, it’s one day after Chrimbus and I have a bunch of cool stuff to mess around with.

Most notably, I received a Komplete Kontrol S61 from my parents. Though, I partially paid for it, and then acted really surprised when I opened it Friday. I believe Kontrol is close to the final piece of the puzzle to make my creation studio complete. Of course I’ll always want different toys and gadgets, but with this I can write much faster and intuitively.

In other news, I submitted an offer on a home I’ve been admiring for months and it was accepted. Of course, there needs to be a home inspection and a bunch more conditions before it’s actually mine but, if all goes well, and I’m guessing it will, it shall be mine. I’ve been saving up for years to buy a home and I’m ecstatic it’s finally come true. So the next project for the studio shall be acoustically treating the room for the most accurate listening experience possible. I know a decent amount about acoustic treatment but actually doing it will teach me much more.

Since we talked last, I finished my 12-week course at Berklee Online. It went by so quickly but I learned quite a bit – more than I expected to. I finally kinda know how to compose. For everything before this course, I could stumble my way through a song but now I have a much better understanding of song construction and form. Feel free to check out my final project, which I’m quite proud of. It’s called Hills. You can also download it too if you wish.

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But anyway, I find once late December comes, I end up reflecting on the year – as cheesy as that is. I’m pretty happy with myself in 2015. I accomplished a lot that I set out to do. Mainly releasing PGEP and completing a term at Berklee Online. I also ended up buying a house at the tail end of the year, too! 2016 is already set up to be pretty dope year. I’ll be playing live as Poly Gecko for the first time; moving into a new home; releasing hopefully two more EPs (one solo, one collaboration); continuing to learn how to swim; continuing vocal lessons. There’s some other crazy exciting news but I’m too superstitious to post it 😉 But, yes. Exciting times ahead. I think the band will get together for the first time in the next few weeks and start jamming and piecing together a live Poly Gecko set. If you’re reading this and have experience with Apple MainStage 3, drop me a line. We need to talk.

So to end my final blog for 2015, I thought I do a quick countdown for my favourite music of the year. Only four of these artists I knew before 2015 – the rest are all newcomers to my life. Here’s the list of my top 12 favourite albums released in 2015:

12. Noontide – Humans

11. Transition Roads – Ominar

10. How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful – Florence + The Machine

9. 2nite EP – TWRP

8. Play With Me! Collection – Matador

7. Taking Flight EP – Ryan Hemsworth & Lucas

6. Caracal – Disclosure

5. Siren EP – ATTLAS

4. Ep5 – Nerve

3. Do Androids Dream – Andrew Bayer

2. Scene EP – ATTLAS

1. Another Eternity – Purity Ring

No album was as exciting to me as Another Eternity was, and still is. And seeing Purity Ring live in October only solidified my love for their music. It’s just such a sweet blend of innocent vocals and aggressive bass and I love it.

Anywho, that does it for me this year. I hope you had a splendid holiday and I hope you all have a sweet New Year. If you’re looking for a sweet party on NYE, come to Marquee / Seahorse for 90s Night / Tupperware Remix Party. I’ll be there, drinking Horsepower.

Stay true,

Ryan

 

Process Vs. Product

It was pretty early into my teen years when I knew I wanted to be a musician. I was playing bass guitar in a band and playing mostly covers but we’d write the occasional original tune. At that point, being a musician in the loosest definition, I just wanted songs. I didn’t want to actually write them. I just wanted to have them, and to brag and to play them for people and be famous. I was in search of a magic button that just created fun songs that I could attach my name to. Of course, that’s not how music works.  Even when I started writing electronic music I still struggled with this. I wanted to obtain songs with my name on them but not bust my ass to create them. Looking back, that’s a pretty selfish way to look at music, and writing music.

Now into a few years of writing electronic music, I’m starting to really appreciate the process. And it’s not just the songwriting process I’m enjoying, it’s choosing the title, choosing artwork, collaborating with other people and learning from them. Even when a song is in it’s infancy, a title really matters to me. I’m not the kind of guy who can name a song “untitled_1“. Even little voice recordings on my phone have titles. Since I first thought of Poly Gecko as making mainly instrumental music, titles really would be the only word used to represent a song, so I instantly gave them more value.

Artwork is a fun process, too. Lately I’ve been really into visual art and photos. *cue hipster music (on vinyl)* I’m starting to really put stock into a good cover and visuals for a song / EP / album, etc. This part of the process however is a task that I can not perform. I’m lucky to have a few good friends who are talented with a camera and Photoshop to make things I envision come to life. My friend, and collaborator Karver Hitchcock have just finished a song, State of the Obvious and it’s now my duty to find or create artwork for it. Wish me luck.

But, okay, back to the actual songwriting. As you might know, I just finished my submission for a remix contest hosted and judged by Tupper Ware Remix Party, one of my favourite groups – certainly my favourite to come from Halifax (not to mention the FUTURE). Upon finishing the remix, multiple people were telling me “oh, you have to win”, “this is amazing! Nobody can beat this!” While I truly, truly appreciate those words and am so flattered by them, that’s not exactly how I’m looking at this. TWRP released the stems to their song, I experimented, learned a lot, worked on a deadline, and completed a remix that I’m really happy with. You could say regardless of the winner, I’ve already won. It sounds cheesy but that’s honestly how I feel. And besides, if there’s another cooler remix to The Hit, I really wanna hear it. Of course I would be honoured if I was selected as the winning remix but because the process was so enjoyable, I feel like I’ve already met every level of fulfillment.

The more I write music, the more I’m really developing a love for the process instead of just the end product. It didn’t happen overnight, but now I’m really beginning to feel it. It’s still so important to have an amazing end product because that’s what ears will consume but the real magic and fulfillment comes from the creation – because that is the art.

Have a good week,

Ryan

Music Genres in 2015

Once upon a time, before I had written any music under the name Poly Gecko, I found myself trying to forecast what genre I should be. My internal monologue sounded like a few music buffs on an indie radio station who felt the need to give every artist their own specific genre: “this, to me, sounds like experimental-indie house-punk”, “no no no no. To me, this sounds like post-alternative ska-jazz”. I guess I was trying too hard to select a niche genre to fit into before even having any music written. I often times put the cart before the horse in my head but I had to learn some discipline and just start writing music and not worry about genres at all.

Eventually, I had some songs. People would ask me “what kind of music is it?” and I would ponder and come up with a different story for every different person who asked. I guess it really depends on what I’m writing or working on at the moment. Some days I’ll feel more like a dance music producer, somedays I’ll be more interested in writing spacey soundtracks for movies and then other days might become centred around Lorde-esque drum beats but with just piles of synth. Chances are if you’ve asked me what genre I fit into, I’ve given you a story that only made sense for that specific day.

The problem I have with genres is that almost every artist is influenced by more than one genre and those genres / influences are reflected in their music. One of my favourite bands of all time is the Red Hot Chili Peppers. They can go from rap in the verse to funk and rock in the chorus. Even Deadmau5 can switch from club-banger mode to spacey acoustic guitar mode for the next song. I don’t want to compare myself to the likes of RHCP and Deadmau5 but I’m heavily influenced by a number of different artists in different ‘genres’: Lorde, Trent Reznor, Purity Ring, The Mars Volta and Hey Rosetta! I’m humble enough to know I’m not the only one being influenced by a multitude of genres but we’re left with something fantastic when genres collide – we’re left a lovely potluck of music, where genres are becoming less relevant than ever.