Friday, May 20, 2011

Epsilon-Blue ... get down to business.

By Peter McLennan, originally published in NZ Musician magazine, 2002

'We have a responsibility to our shareholders' is the delightfully obtuse title for the latest album from Epsilon-Blue, one of the aliases used by a talented young chap called Leyton, who also records under the names Son Sine, and Rotor+. The different monikers indicate differing styles of electronica, from house to techno to more ambient experimental material.

Epsilon-Blue is best known for the beautiful song One in a Million (from his debut album Waterland'), which has been hugely popular with student radio across the country. That album, released in 1998 on Kog Transmissions, has sold 1500 copies here. The Epsilon-Blue sound is an enticing blend of techno, deep house, and dub, dishing up sexy melodies and funky rhythms.

Leyton started working on his new album about a year ago. "I'd been heavily involved with the Rotor+ album (Aileron), and when that was all done with, I started thinking about, what is the next thing? Is 'it Epsilon-Blue? I didnt know, so I just started writing, and as it went along, it became an Epsilon-Blue album. I wanted to write things that worked sequentially - I'd write a track and then go 'okay, what happens after this track?' It's definitely a journey, with a start, a middle and an end.

"This time I wanted it to be more about the body. The first one was quite mind-orientated. That's how I saw it, anyway. Five of the tracks on the new album are oonsty, they've got a really good pace to them. That sense of movement brings it back to a dance angle. It's about moving."

The recording has been done in The Library (Leyton's studio], surrounded by books, with mix down and mastering completed in Kog Transmissions studio room. The Epsilon-Blue sound is generated with a Mac B3 500 laptop running Logic and Digi 001. Leyton also used an Emu 6400 sampler, Yamaha C52X and 0X100 keyboards, Korg EX8000 and Emu Virtuoso sound modules, and a Yamaha 01V mixing desk.

Vocal contributions on the new album include Barnaby Weir from the Black Seeds on the track We B Moving, Tama Waipara, a New York-based classical oboeist and jazz singer on May U B Free, and Josephine, an Auckland singer/songwriter on U R a Star. The simple, repetitive vocal lines add character to Leyton's highly melodic take on house styles, giving the album a real warmth.

Leyton explains that the delightful album title evolved from thinking about the body. "I was thinking of the earth as a body, this big chunk of rock hurtling through space, an organism complete of itself. Then one morning on the radio, I heard this interview with a CEO talking about restructuring their company, making people redundant. Then he said 'We have a responsibility to our share-holders', and I just laughed out loud. "That's the be all and end all these days, and it just sucks. I thought of the birds, the animals; we're all here, we're all shareholders, we're all sharing this body of the earth."

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