Monday, October 10, 2011


I am not sure when it began or why. In the late 80s and early 90s, which is my remembered youth, I recall coming to the assumption that as technology grew fidelity and quality would grow with it. Over time this assumption was challenged on many fronts with the "art vs. commercial" war of the past 30 years. Automation and machines gave us Kraftwerk but they also gave us Dee-Lite. "Laptop music" ranges from the most predictable disco to the most impromptu experimental drone noise. There is truly no way to accurately measure how technology has affected the many ways we experience and participate in life.
This becomes especially interesting when you see how people use their computers to make music that harnesses the power and fidelity we were "promised" with technologies growth, as well as the less polished, even intrusive sounds that we always seem to gravitate toward. Perhaps it's another constant struggle, this time between our need to achieve "perfection" and our ultimate desire to conquer/destroy it.
D. Gookin is a man who makes musical creations operating out of new haven. For years he has been busting out seriously energetic live shows. His bio says he is a drummer and vocalist, and that the remaining sounds of his band are "lovingly crafted backing tracks".
His newest set of recordings, Spiral Style, was released September 23rd via Moodgadget and EXPLODES into your ears with infectiously sugary electro pop.
Combining 8bit sounds with glossier synth samples, the listener is caught between decades of technology all while celebrating the pulsing thump of the natural pop music we all share instinctively. The drums are expertly played and programmed, and while auto-tune is definitely a cliche in terms of music fashion, the use of it in these enjoyably cliched pop songs feels fitting.
Opener "Way 2 Grow" makes no mistakes about its sound, coming right into being with an intense musical optimism that carries all the way to the closing number "Stealing Sunchips", with no breaks to relax.
I got a chance to ask D. Gookin's Mike Birnbaum a few questions about his music and tastes recently via email, here's what he had to say:

So, what's the big idea with you anyway?
No big deal. I'm just this screwy dude.

How has your perspective on music changed growing up in an increasingly technological world?
My perspective has continuously changed for the better as technology has progressed. As the internet and music making tools have together become easier to maneuver and more uniform, music for me has become de-mystified in a good way. It all makes it easier to have big ideas on a small scale and vice versa. Before having your own solo act vision seemed like a way too personal endeavor for lots of people to care about. But now this kind of "putting out your personalized vibes and doing you" mentality is fully embraced. Whats the most fun and immediate about making music and being creative in general has become what matters the most.

You seem to make infectious pop while simultaneously mocking it, who's side are you on?
My intention has never been to mock pop music. A giant realization for me though at some point was that music I didn't have a choice to listen to ruled my mind and emotions the same as, if not more so, than music I sought out on my own. I'd say also in the scheme of pop music my stuff is too weird to truly be pop. I think my music ends up being laced with poppy feels sounds and melodies because I want my music to come from a really raw and exciting place. And for me that place is usually some kind of overindulgent sugary wasteland.

What is your opinion of "atom and his package"?
Ya know, you asking me this promptly reminded me that it is my duty to finally check that out. My first listen impressions - I am not really a "clever one man act" enthusiast and him laying on the pseudo nerd core vibes is a turn off but some that "worms going into holes posi synth sound meets some big chords" going on in some of those tracks is awesome! Can't hate on that!
LinkWhat is your dream gig?
Try this one out - Tobacco, Paramore, Millionaires, Super Cat, Andrew W.K., New Boyz, Unicorn Kid, Lady Gaga only performing 'eh eh' and.......Incubus. Secret show too. Ahahah you asked!

Which of your influences would surprise your fans/friends the most?
KELLEY CLARKSON! & as of recent Shwayze & Cisco :)

How do you harness inspiration for songs?
Occasionally I'll go after the "I'm gonna make a song in this style" mentality but mostly looping things that contain vibes I enjoy, trying to hear a melody in it, and staring at something like a recycling symbol or certain girls' facebook photos........YOOOO JUST KIDDING

Learn more about D. Gookin at his website:
Also check out his Facebook Page and Bandcamp

Way 2 Grow by DGOOKIN

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