w/ Nudge, Supersprite
Wed July 25
When Marumari says, "I don't really like iDM," it seems like the Cookie Monster claiming no affinity for Soft Batch. (iDM, an acronym for "intelligent dance music," is characterized by random spurts and stutters of digital noise, and in practice bears little resemblance to dance music.) 1999's Ballad of the Round Ball was Josh Presseisen's first release under the Marumari guise, and it fell in line with the current crop of digital henchmen, albeit with a touch more structure than your average iDM bears. After releasing last year's The Wolves Hollow, a hodgepodge of styles reaching out from under the iDM umbrella, Presseisen has found a new fountain of musical inspiration: '80s pop.
Having played guitar in a self-described indiepop band, his subsequent explorations into computer music have brought him full-circle. His focus is back to an interest in melody and composition (two things iDM sorely lacks) that apparently can only be harvested in bands such as The Motels. "I listen to '80s pop music strictly, and I'm trying to work on catchy melodies in a pop format." This is not the typical soundbite from an artist with labelmates such as Jake Mandell, Kit Clayton, and Kid 606, all long-standing laptop illuminati with a penchant for pushing listeners' boundaries through barrages of audio mulch.
On Supermogodon, his sound is comparatively palatable, but not at the expense of innovation. Songs are densely layered webs of bubbly synth melodies, carbonated percussion, and pop samples that have been filtered and mutated nearly beyond recognition. Aside from picking it apart bit by bit, it's hard to classify or describe an album that moves experimental electronic in such a new direction, and yet is versatile enough to be played alongside anyone from Thievery Corporation to Aphex Twin. All the while, those feeling Marumari's funk unwittingly get down to the likes of Kenny G, and other samples of some of the greatest dentist-office music of a decade gone, but not forgotten. "I don't care anymore, I just sample whatever and people don't even realize where it came from."
For his live performance, Josh has a similar attitude. Armed with a typically minimal equipment set-up (laptop and mixer), he nonetheless tries to buck the trend of electronic performances seeming like some kind of morose computer lab. "It's so boring to see shows where people just stand behind a laptop; when I do that, no one gets into it at all." Although one guy on a stage with some gear is inherently limited, he tries to make the most of it, "I want to actually interact with the crowd, and I like to dance, which makes people laugh."
For next few months, the road will take him on two treks across the US, and a stint in Europe. Current projects on the horizon include a remix album on Darla Records (essentially a compilation of iDM artists giving his latest their signature treatment) and a 3-D animation video for Supermogodan's "Baby M," which he is hoping to have completed before he begins his tour. "It's an epic tale of sci-fi," in which Marumari is a "James Bond/Hans Solo-type" who drives around in a Porsche. "I'm enjoying working on the video, but it's also my job, so it's not like making music," he explains. "I only do that for fun."