SLBR001: Asleep With Headphones - Hypersomnia You Shouldnt Have To Topsie 1,6,7,8,9 Sunny, Mid 70's Hypersomnia Nine Of Eight Ascension
"The title “Hypersomnia” fits the album all too well. This gigantic musical patchwork quilt is held together by assorted electronic textures, with a slight underlying rhythm that blankets your whole body. This is what I consider to be the pure definition of experimental IDM music.
From Sleepy Bass Recordings, I present to you Asleep With Headphones. Hailing from Cleveland Ohio, Jason Mowry should be considered a focal point for breakthrough electronica. I had the pleasure of meeting Jason through SoundCloud, and from that point his tracks have found their way to the “time to get work done” playlists on CMF’s computer.
Holding true to the very things I love about Boards of Canada and Aphex Twin, Asleep With Headphones is the lantern that guides you through the corners of the ocean, with each track pressing you deeper and deeper into the depths of Jason’s mind. Vicious melodies playfully dance around a mind absorbing bass, for a 30-minute tug of war with your body, fighting the urge to get up and dance. Branching into acoustic tones at times, allowing a split second for you to catch your breath, you are molded into electronic madness that seems to take away any problem you might have had. Expand your mind for the better and download the entire album right now.
I pick out a track in particular, “1,6,7,8,9”. Utilizing standard home telephone noises as well as mind bending drum patterns, four minutes and fourteen seconds is almost not enough time to enjoy what kind of medication your ears are absorbing. It requires multiple listens.
I had a chance to sit and chat with Jason:
CMF: “What pushed you into the realm of IDM? Have you always had a fascination with electronic music or was it something you just stumbled upon?”
Jason: "I've always been into progressive, experimental music... I cut my teeth on Zeppelin, Rush, Yes, and other prog rock/art rock bands. Growing up in the 80's, I also got a healthy dose of New Wave and early alternative music. It wasn't until the late 90's, however, that I was introduced to experimental electronica and IDM... artists like Mouse On Mars, Aphex Twin, The Orb, The Books, Boards of Canada, and DJ Shadow. My gateway drug, as it were, to electronica was probably Nine Inch Nails. Pretty Hate Machine blew my mind. Once my fascination with NIN merged with my enduring love of prog, I suppose that left me wide open for IDM. If that makes sense."
CMF: “Have you played any live shows of your production? Where do you see Asleep with Headphones going at this point?"
Jason: "I've done some live mixes of my work, but I don't consider them to be live "performances" per se. At this time, I basically dj my own tracks, but very timidly as I really want to spotlight the work I'd already put in... sound design, composition, editing, etc. I basically just try to create a nice consistent soundtrack, and obsessively tweak the EQ and gain to get the most out of the tracks. My next step is to incorporate a live element to my music, so I can perform my work and improvise a bit more. Just saving up to acquire some of the necessary toys I would need to do this."
CMF: “When/where did you meet up with Sleepy Bass Recordings?”
Jason: "It was serendipitous, really.. I met Scott Sparx and Dee One through a mutual friend we had in Struct 7. Struct hosted a weekly radio show, featuring Soundcloud artists and anyone else who was giving away their music for free. He stumbled upon me on Soundcloud in July of 2012 and played a couple of my tunes on his show. The timing was great, because I was actually starting to doubt myself a bit at that time.. I wasn't getting a lot of plays on Soundcloud, and I really didn't know any other producers. Anyway, I tuned into Struct 7's show, Circadian Tales, every week from then on, and became friends with him and many others who were regulars in the show's chatroom. Scott and Dee had already been running a drum n bass label called Bizzy Bass Recordings, but were looking to branch out with a new sister label, featuring experimental and chilled music. Struct told them about me, and they approached me about releasing this record as the first release for Sleepy Bass Recordings. And the rest is recent history."
CMF: “Do you have any other projects running at the moment?”
Jason: "Not with any consistency. I help my buddy Napoleon Stevewil run a monthly concert series called Earport, here in Cleveland, and I DJ there as "Dr. Venkman". It's a project where I mash-up and remix classic pop and rock tunes from the 60's through the 90's, all with a sort of tech-house ravey kind of groove. I play a little heavier on the 80's tunes, which is why I chose the moniker Dr. Venkman. It is pretty much nothing like the music of Asleep With Headphones."
CMF: “Is most of your production digital? Or analog? Both?”
Jason: "My sound design is a mix of both, but all the programming, edits, and production are done with my laptop. I use a $60 program which is extremely limited in what it can do. Most of my "work" is in the sound design and the composition. I create virtual instruments using templates I crated in Sony Acid. It is set up like a guitar... 6 multi-tracks, each tuned to the 6 strings of a guitar. I'm a guitarist, so this makes the most sense to me. Then I create sounds to voice the guitar's "strings" and import those sounds into their corresponding track - basically "stringing" my virtual guitar. Once my "instrument" is created, I write music on my acoustic, and replicate what I've written in the program. Once the melodies are all programmed, I spend weeks editing and tweaking everything, creating glisses and bends, fades, and glitch edits. Almost every "instrument" you hear in my work, including the drums, are composed and programmed in this manner. I think this approach is what makes my music unique."
To be honest, Asleep With Headphones’ name almost doesn’t fit for me, as I would never want to fall asleep while listening to his music. Beyond being engaging, I have to spend every millisecond analyzing the taste that is left in my mouth, but boy does it taste better with every bite. Like everything coming from the boys at SLBR, Jason stands tall, pushing the envelope of electronic music. I suggest you download this album for free right now at http://sleepybassrecordings.co.uk.