SoundTrack web extra: Dep’s Defiant Heart

Defiant Heart, the newest release by prolific local electronica composer Dep, is almost subliminal. You can listen to it cranked up and the pulsing beats and tonal melodies recall biorhythms and lush environmental soundscapes. Turn the volume down and the ambient tracks meld into the background, ebbing and flowing like waves and wind.

It is, by turns, modern and ancient. Part otherworldly, part earth-bound. It imparts, at times, a Bedouin feel — the plodding of camels, the fury of sandstorms. Composed in eight movements, each track flows into the next. It’s a continual story but it’s also chapters. Listening to it from beginning to end is a different experience — imparts a different song — then listing to the tracks out of order. There’s an artistry to the album as a whole. It impacts the listener in degrees and layers as complex (and sometimes as obscured) as Russian nesting dolls.

This what Dep has to say about the recording:
“This is my electronic tribute to a personal hero of artistic creation, Dmitri Shostakovich, whose compositions have always had the ability to move me. The eight pieces below are meant to be heard in succession from start to finish, as one piece builds in to the next. I like to think of the album as one complete sum of parts, divided in to movements — each exploring its own variation on a theme that is prominent throughout. The music takes the listener on a journey, as it builds and builds to a final epic and billowing climax. You will hear layer upon layer of orchestra recording, thoughtfully sliced apart, deconstructed, and re-imagined, alongside hundreds of homegrown samples, all personally sequenced and presented here. If you’re looking for songs built with pre-recorded loops, samples pulled from someone else’s drum machine, or thoughtless repetition, then this album is not for you.”

Dep’s music can be downloaded for free here, or stream the new album here. A CD release party is scheduled for Saturday, July 16 at BoBo Gallery. 9 p.m. Read the Facebook invite here.

Listen to the track “Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District” here:

 

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About Alli Marshall
Alli Marshall is the arts writer and editor at Mountain Xpress. She's lived in Asheville for more than 20 years and loves live music, visual art, fiction and friendly dogs.

8 thoughts on “SoundTrack web extra: Dep’s Defiant Heart

  1. boatrocker

    Sweeeeet, another album to download for free. Having listened to a little bit, I’d be willing to actually (gasp!) pay for the entire album but somehow I think I’m in the minority. How much did that album cost to make again.

    Thanks, fellow musicians for lowering the bar so that nobody feels it necessary and proper to pay you for your blood, sweat and tears (an album, not the band). I guess I know why we starve now. Yay! Free music! OMG

  2. boatrocker

    Every once in a while I read comments that make me question my understanding of my own native tongue (“dancing to architecture”). Did I miss something or is just simple snark?

    Was that a quote from some esoteric source too cerebral for me to understand?

    Or is it just refusing to acknowledge that releasing an album that you spent time, $ and effort on for free online is goofy as you essentially throw money away offering it for free? Oh well.

  3. bill smith

    “Writing about music is like dancing about architecture”

    A quote often attributed to Elvis Costello.

  4. For a smaller artist, yes, it probably doesn’t make much financial sense to do that. Unless, of course, the project was financed in some other manner (kickstarter, perhaps. or a sugar-daddy).

    As for my earlier comment, it is probably not going to make much sense to anyone except the people it needs to make sense to. It’s snark, to be certain, but not for you. Not yours.

  5. boatrocker

    Next question- what does dancing to architecture look like? Really just trying to clear that up for curiousity’s sake. I get enough snark here, two ounces less is a welcome relief.

  6. dep

    Hello! Thank you Alli for blogging about my release. If I may, I’d like to address some of the comments.

    Yes, I release my music for free. As an independent, unsigned electronic music producer, information is immensely more valuable to me than money at this point in my musical journey. I’ve actually tried selling it in the past, but when you’re largely unknown, making people stop to even listen to your music, much less open their wallets for it is very difficult.

    I collect email addresses for downloads. If someone is interested in hearing more of my music, they’ll send me their email in exchange for the free downloads. This helps me in a couple of ways. First, I can start amassing a group of people that actually care about my music and second, I can gather valuable information about where these people come from. How did they find my site? This information is very valuable as I fine tune my release strategy. My goal is to simply get my music in to as many peoples’ ears as possible, and charging for it puts a barrier between me and my potential fans.

    I’d like to think that I’m not “lowering the bar” for other artists. I have my own intentions and goals for the music I make. The internet is so big, and there is so much music out there, that this is the beauty of it: We can all approach distribution in our own way. Just because artist A gives away his music for free doesn’t mean that a listener isn’t going to pay for artist B.

    I have the luxury of a day job in addition to being an artist. I can work during the day and write music in the evenings. I can contribute money that I make from my day job in to new instruments, equipment, and other assets that I can then dedicate to making more music with. I’ve resolved to the fact that I wont be able to quit my day job — probably ever — to just make music all the time. There is only a tiny, tiny handfull of all music producers that make it to this point. Only a small number get picked by a label and get plugged in to that giant industry with big marketing teams behind them saying “This music is good. You should buy it.” Until then, I’m underground. Releasing music this way. That’s just how it’s going to be for now.

    Besides, I’m still honing my skills. Perhaps this is a journey that many artists walk. You spend hours and hours and hours to make something (like Defiant Heart. I can’t even tell you how many hours went in to it). You work and work to release it. You put it out, and then,in a way, you have to beg people to listen to it. You have to give it away.

    This isn’t my first rodeo either. I’ve been making music since 1996 and I’ve been seriously releasing “albums” for the past 5 years. It’s getting easier. More and more people are listening. More and more people are asking when the next release will be. I can feel the ball rolling, It’s just a really big ball. and it doesn’t roll very fast… and I’m always having to push that ball. up hill.

    Thanks for listening. If you like what you hear, tell a friend, and keep in touch. I’m incredibly thankful for each and every listener.

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