Photay’s debut full-length Onism inherits the same historical tension in an age of climate change and social media addiction. It is also a reflection of personal conditions, a meditation on place, community, and its creator’s own embodied history. The word ‘onism,’ invented by John Koenig, means the frustration of being stuck in just one body that inhabits only one place at a time.
To grasp onism is to be apprised of how little of the world you have experienced, are experiencing, or will ever experience. Photay (Evan Shornstein) composed Onism in the heart of Brooklyn and shrouded by the silence of national parks or on trips home to the woodlands of the Hudson Valley in between touring the urban centers of foreign countries. Scattered but connected, Onism’s music is a constellation that rips across the night sky of time, charting an emotional reality defined by sadness and joy, dread and wonder.
Shornstein contrasts spacious near-silence with bombastic saturated peaks. Fangled robotic tones (‘Screens’) meet with forest floor ambience (’Storm’), evoking visual designs for the built and natural worlds, while the overwhelm of metropolis (‘Balsam Massacre’) and the digital age (‘The Everyday Push’) is eased by the liberatory forests of Woodstock (‘Outré Lux’ feat. Madison Mcferrin) and assumptions into imagined realities (‘Bombogenesis’). The demonic swing of ‘Balsam Massacre’ imagines the sounds of a tree’s innards as it is felled with a chainsaw, while ’Storm’ thunders distantly in triumphant reverie.
On ‘Aura,’ Shornstein sings for the second time in his career (“Take the time to hear yourself”). The message hints at a common denominator to his meditations, resonating also as a warning to the world, an everyday push to the role of electronic music in storytelling the future of the global environmentalist movement.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Benedek is a multifaceted musician/producer who is inspired by genres including funk, hip-hop, soul, progressive rock, jazz fusion, and house music. His melodic sensibilities recall a time when analog synthesizers were beginning to take hold of the musical landscape and musicianship, production, and technology were taking listeners to unprecedented realms. At age nine, Benedek started playing the electric guitar and has been hooked on music ever since. He uses his knowledge of synthesis and production techniques, as well as his guitar, bass and keyboard skills to take listeners on a funk driven, soulful, progressive journey through the deepest reaches of his mind.
Dream Panther is the mind child of a large black cat named Gusto. His humans, Greg and Nick manifest smooth, sexy nostalgia filled music channeled by Gusto. Originating from South LA, the songs document a struggle for survival and a will to see the good in the hard. Their upcoming EP Beyonce's Child is the first step into post-gangster soul wave.