James Kirsch is a classically trained pianist who decided to plug in. For the last few years he’s been releasing albums that have down-tempo moods and jazzy improvisations under the name of General Fuzz. Kirsch is part of an eclectic generation of electronic musicians who might see a jam band one night and go to a techno-rave the next and that makes for a music that defies easy categories and expectations. Cool Aberrations was a favorite Echoes CD from 2007. (Kirsch likes wordplay. Read Cool Aberrations as Collaborations). Cool Aberrations was #5 on our 25 Essential Echoes CDs for 2007. Our audience placed it at #20 on our 2007 listener poll.
He’s just followed that up with an album that taps his classical side, while maintaining the quirky trip-hop grooves of his earlier work. It’s called Soulful Filling (read: So Fulfilling)
It’s a more elegant affair than Cool Aberrations, starting out with catchy grooves and funky keyboard, but each track starts getting less groovin’ and more classical, culminating in the final piece, “Goodbyes,” a serene classical chamber piece based on a piano theme.
But it’s in that deliciously impure zone where Deodato-like jazz, chilled trip-hoppy glitched beats and classical ambiences converge that General Fuzz operates best. Tracks like “Eye Heart Knot,” “Comfort Zone” and “Warm Steel,” get toes tapping and heads floating.
James has released a beautifully packaged conventional CD, but you can also download his disc for free off his website.
He also has a detailed analysis of the composing process for each song on his site, complete with audio of early versions laid out in a custom, multi-track player. It’s pretty phenomenal actually, to hear individual elements that often sound diametrically opposed to each other, yet General Fuzz finds a convergence. He likes musical games as much as word games. You can also hear that James is a player as much as a programmer.
You can hear an interview with General Fuzz here. General Fuzz has a track he recorded live for Echoes that appears on our CD, Resonance: The Echoes Living Room Concerts Volume 13. You can stream it off our myspace page at echoesspace.
John Diliberto ((( echoes )))