Thursday, January 11, 2018

Blog Assignment #1 - Ryan Cox

Last semester, I really didn't really get much of a chance to really work on many personal projects. A lot of my focus was dedicated to juggling my classes, and improving on my abilities as a recording and mixing engineer. However, I have had some ideas in mind for projects, and have been testing out these ideas.

In the past, I've really enjoyed minimalism, and its influence on music today. One of my favorite groups to sort of incorporate this style is the post-rock duo El Ten Eleven. Over the past summer, I started to mess around with music like this (along with some DIY/Punk demos). The incorporation of looping ideas, repeating harmonic textures, and familiar intervals was something I really enjoyed about the instrumental duo, and something I really tried to emulate.

One of my other projects over the summer was starting to 'electrify' my saxophone. I still haven't come close to perfecting it, but I think I'm getting there. Colin Stetson (an alumnus of the U of M saxophone studio) has been someone whose work I keep finding myself going back to for inspiration. This piece is a favorite of mine, not necessarily because of the instrumentation, but because of the sense of space it creates. I really love how he creates these wide, expansive, colorful soundscapes.


  1. This is a nice piece and the electronic elements are exquisitely mixed in with the acoustic loops. I'm also all about repeated harmonic textures and the particular instrumentation within this track. Almost all of the music I compose is arranged for Bass, Guitar, and drums, but I'm interested in finding ways to incorporate electronic elements such as the ones at play in this piece.

    Wow this sax is beastly. The way it's distorted makes it sound like a synth and the percussive effect of his clamping down on the keys is integral to the momentum of the piece, too. You remarked on the sense of space created by this particular technique and I agree, it's mesmerizing.

  2. I haven't listened to El Ten Eleven before, but thanks for introducing me! It reminded me a lot of a more texturally diverse Explosions in the Sky, especially as far as the song development goes.

  3. El Ten Eleven is great. If you are into this minimalistic approach to rock music, you should also check out some krautrock bands such as Neu and Faust.

    What methods are you using to "electrify" your sax? I'm interesting in hearing more about it!

  4. Really enjoying the El Ten Eleven track. The minimalist rock aesthetic is also something I've always been very into, though I approached it somewhat from the other direction with dream-pop-y stuff. The continuous addition of textural layers is gorgeous.
    And YES Colin Stetson. I love everything he's ever touched. His album with Sarah Neufeld is one on my favorites YES. Cannot wait to see where you go chasing that sound.

  5. The El Ten Eleven track was extremely interesting. A really unique approach to rock music that has so many elements you could analyze, even though it is minimalist.

    I'm also really fond of the idea of creating sort of a "soundscape" with a single instrument. I think this is definitely something you should explore in this class with your sax.


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