Veritas est Rock -rws -dlh

Paul Karner

After Radiohead released their electronic infused “Kid A,” Johnny Greenwood responded to millions of curious fans by claiming that laptops were soon to be the new guitars. It was a bold statement then, and four years later, after reuniting with their rock roots on “Hail to the Thief,” one might think that these art-rock pioneers were being a bit too prophetic for their own good. Although rock musicians continue to swear by their guitars, Greenwood’s words were perhaps more true than we think.
One musician who shares this sentiment is electronic musician He Can Jog, known to the Lawrence Community as Erik Schoster. He attended Lawrence from 2001 until last year, when Fork Series Records picked up his latest album, “New Ground has not yet Broken, Soil Last Week and Dirt Today.” The album was released last year and contains some of the most subtly gripping music ever to come from a computer. Beats comprised of clicks and scratches set a raw yet delicate foundation for the array of textures and soft tones that make the album so inviting. The most remarkable thing about He Can Jog is the way the music has a real voice, a sensitivity one wouldn’t expect from music composed on a computer. This preconception, unfortunately, is a typical one.
In the past couple years electronic music has been rapidly changing and growing into an entirely new scene beneath the radar of mainstream, even so-called “indie” culture. Unlike rock ‘n’ roll’s long list of canonized historical figures, electronic musicians have faced the task of severing their association with their predecessors, as most people view them. As pop music has perpetually bastardized the use of computers in music production, electronic musicians have always faced the challenge of being taken seriously. Artists like Schoster have joined forces with other musicians around the country to form one of the tightest knit musical communities out there. Beyond the typical shows and record labels, electronic musicians have found outlets for their music using their instruments, so to speak.
There is a familiar spirit of camaraderie in the electronic music scene, and coupled with its unwavering disregard for mainstream culture, it resembles the underground rock scene of about 10 years ago. As so many rock musicians these days try to separate from the rest of their respective scenes, desperately trying to make a name for themselves, artists like He Can Jog are choosing to be part of some greater movement. Who knows, maybe the next great revolution in rock isn’t going to come from the inside, but rather from something right around the corner.
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