MIDI Jragon

Random Acts Of Arpeggiation

MIDI Jragon - Random Acts of Arpeggiation

1970six Compact Disc Club is a small Bakersfield label focusing in on the works of Jesse Carrigan. True to its name, 1970six puts out CDs, and while the music is all essentially the works of one person, there’s enough variety in the sound to think otherwise. This is where Random Acts of Arpeggiation lives, more of Jesse’s work, under the name MIDI Jragon.

1970six Compact Disc Club is heavily and unapologetically DIY, with artwork, sounds, and packaging typically all made by the same person. CDs shy of $5; it’s rare, but they’re out there, and it’s a steal at this quality. The artwork and the CDs look great.

Jesse works under a number of aliases on Compact Disc Club: jmmy/hmmy, belPHf, Daft Drifter, and MIDI Jragon. They’re all fairly different.

jmmy/hmmy is the most beat-centric and pop-minded, though it’s a far shot from anything pop as it’s hyper-edited like Jacob 2-2’s music, glowingly neon, and fairly glitchy as all hell.

Daft Drifter appears to be the most compositionally savvy. Each synthesized piece is overflowing with harmony and melody, as challenging and engaging as Disasterpiece, but with more emphasis on analogue synthesis (or what sounds to be – emulators and other soft synths can take you far these days).

belPHf’s compositions can be as sophisticated as Daft Drifter, though elongated, more brooding, and more from outer space. belPHf is arguably the most texturally engaging of the Carrigan personalities.

It’s a bit of an injustice to boil down the complexities of very different personal outputs into a few sentences – the real truth is that they’re all worth listening to.

The notes for Random Acts of Arpeggiation read:

Synth arps, noise, samples, warble, some low end and lo-fi finesse.

The MIDI Jragon moniker is indeed noisier than the others, seemingly featuring more of a kitchen sink approach. Lots of the tracks contain weird synth creatures that have a life their own, not necessarily expressing a melody or harmony, not necessarily tonal, but not explicitly atonal – it’s nebulous, both in terms of harmonic characterization and also in its spaciness.

Like jmmy/hmmy, there are some beats here, and when they’re paired with the other-wordly synths, an IDMness is channeled into the track.

“Duck Beach” is maybe the most harmonically grounded of the tracks, but even this one has microtonal clouds hovering over.

“Learn To Reprogramming” follows, a noisy transmission not unlike Jesse Osborne Lanthier’s As the Low Hanging Fruit Vulnerabilities Are… etc. (it’s a long title).

Throughout the album, vocal samples make their way into the tracks, mostly single voices, but very occasionally the din of a room or a large crowd. The samples feel motific, even if unintentionally so.

Altogether, Random Acts is extra-dimensional in quality. Like hearing an approximation of human music as performed by aliens. Human voices were replicated. Scales were studied and an attempt was made to incorporate them, but the result is something else entirely (in a good way).