Serving The Song, Not The Career Makeover.

I’ve always enjoyed augmenting my songs with electronic elements, but the last chapter of gloves/Winter Of 82 was by default entirely electronic. When I think about what I’m doing here, fusing heavy guitars into this, and whether this is going to even work… I have to remember one inescapable conclusion.

I have run out of things to say with “electronic” music.

Why the “electronic” quotes? Because, by definition, anything I do with the gloves is electronic, they have no inherent acoustic properties, and require a computer to make them work. It’s obviously an electronic instrument, but there’s no reason they have to be bound by the sounds we associate with electronic music.

That’s really what I’m talking about; the Route One electronic music sounds. Swapping guitars for synths and drum machines. It’s almost obligatory in this era: the list of artists who ditched their guitar sound in favour of electronic music. Radiohead, Coldplay, Linkin Park, Maroon 5, Chris Cornell… it’s a “thing” major artists do, and has been done to death to my ears. My heart sank when I heard the last Linkin Park record because it sounded – in it’s audible DNA – like everything else on mainstream radio. The mid-career electronic “surprise” makeover is so grimly predictable, so audibly homogeneous. I’m reminded of a few articles around the time of Kid A. While most of the music press hailed it as the single greatest plot twist in rock history, there were a few journalists protesting that making music that sounds like “Warp Records in 1993” and singing over it was not *quite* the groundbreaking event Q Magazine hailed it as…

When I think of electronic music expertise, a few familiar names surface. My undying fanboyism for Frou Frou was largely because it was music that sounded organically electronic. It wasn’t a beats-and-bleeps makeover; it was a beautiful, living electronic sound. Imogen has continued this concept beautifully in her solo work. A bold statement, but if we’re talking about electronic music in a songwriting landscape, I think Immi is literally the best there is. She’s untouchable. Every glitch, every crunchy beat, every dance floor kick sounds like it grew with and out of the song. Not a single song breaks that rule; it’s never tacked on electronica for cool points. And that’s where I started to come unstuck with Winter Of ’82 – my music was starting to sound like tacked on electronica.

Ditto for anything Bjork has done and (an obvious link) anything Guy Sigsworth touches. Electronic music can be organic and beautiful, and some of the best music I’ve ever heard is in this context – swapping your drum kit for a TR-606 (Cuz an 808 would be too obvious) is not how it’s done.

So I’ll return to my happy place, where flashes of electronica arrive because they serve the song. That balance is evident in my pre-gloves work; Hand At Emotion needed it’s piano ballad to Drum N Bass bait-and-switch. Dialling in Ableton packs to replace guitar parts isn’t the way forward.

There’s a lot of reasons why my rock roots as a guitar player was the only available place for me to go now, I’ll write about those in depth in good time. I will say that I am very excited by the music tech headf’ck of how the Gloves and Ableton Live collide with Extended Range Guitars – the mechanics of that feel extraordinarily disruptive in my head. I hope that this project is really going to mess with how people perceive the gloves and modern music technology… 😉

The Leak.

My good friend Imogen Heap has an interesting habit of doing career things on and around her birthday. So that’s another idea I’m borrowing from her… Today is my birthday, so I’m making today the day to let you in on all this!

There’s two weeks of blog posts to dig through if you’re keen to get up to speed, explaining the various aspects of this project and how I got here. So where is here?

In short, I’m starting this new Rock/Metal flavoured one-man-band, and it’s called Dyskinetic. I thought I’d made that word up, a portmanteau of ‘dis’ as in disability and ‘kinetic’ to reference the movement of the gloves. But not only does the word exist, but it’s another name for the very medical condition that finds me disabled.

It’s a return to my earliest roots, with the latest technology. I’m using the gloves of course, reimagining them as a rock instrument. I see a lot of futuretech, and nobody plays rock with it. But why should heavy music be solely commanded by guitar bands?

I’m ‘leaking’ this blog ahead of any new music to give an insight into the process. Sitting on things until I have a single or two up my sleeve feels very ‘old way’ and this is all about the new. Sharing, demystifying; that’s what this is all about.

The blog will be central to this conversation; I don’t see Dyskinetic as solely a music project. It’s a conversation about music, technology and disability. As well new music and a new live show, there’ll be visual and written works. You can find this on instagram as @dyskinetic. That account will attempt to tell the story visually, and only this story. Pictures of kittens and toddlers and pizzas will be saved for my regular personal account. There’ll be a new Facebook page too. Twitter will stay as is (@krishalpin) because the conversation there has always been this, I think.

With the recent web server hack, I have lost a huge chunk of my digital presence anyway, so there’s a neatness to this reboot/reframe, I think. Gotta start over, and I’ve gotta be productive,so why spend the time repairing and rebuilding what was?

There’s loads of new music on the way, and I’ll be doing a lot of behind-The-scenes process stuff to do with that over the coming weeks.

I am forever grateful for the support I’ve had over the past two years with Winter Of ‘82 and The Gloves Are On. It’s been an extraordinary adventure so far; But now it’s time to start a new one. I hope you can join me xx