Pressing Play on Joel Feitzinger

On Saturday, March 7, the Barge Canal Coffee Co. held its weekly Saturday Nite Music Series — but this week was hardly business as usual. On this Saturday, senior Joel Feitzinger, who goes by the stage name “Ept”, performed. With an experimental style that has been described as “a blend of electronic music genres including drum and bass, breakcore and dubstep, with an undercurrent of busy experimentation,” Feitzinger was not performing the kind of dull, dry concert people had heard a million times before.

Aside from the music itself, Feitzinger’s performance was unique in that it had all been created and stored on his computer. Although he was using numerous MIDI controllers during his set, he never seemed to be doing much more than pressing play. Because of this, the audience could witness Feitzinger enjoying and appreciating his own music as another observer. The music became a separate entity, the musician gracefully fading into the background. In fact, the front of Feitzinger’s black t-shirt stated, “I’m the guy who sucks.” His attitude clearly expressed, “Please ignore the man behind the curtain.”

The first song of the set, the “Ept National Anthem,” was a fun introduction to the concert. As its notes faded away, Feitzinger’s computer requested that the audience “Please stand for the National Anthem — left hand over right lung.” The audience obeyed, confused when the song failed to resemble “The Star Spangled Banner” in any way. The concert, at this point, had begun taking off into Feitzinger’s creative voice.

His music is hard to describe and certainly cannot be pigeonholed into one genre. Though it was not typical café music, it complemented the atmosphere quite well, as much of the audience chatted among themselves and played board games.

“This reminds me of Mario for some reason,” sophomore Caroline Callahan said, amidst a rousing game of Rummikub, as cheerful-sounding, high-pitched beeping noises were integrated into the song.

Yet for Feitzinger’s other songs, this description would not have fit at all.

One of Feitzinger’s songs had a creepy, haunted sound to it. The next repeated a lot of numbers in a mechanical voice. After that, he played “his take on a very special genre from the 80s,” the mash-up, in which he played Ludacris’ “Stand Up.” Then he played two songs that he “wrote in a fit of vodka drunkenness.”

“This is about a guy exploding. His name is Howard,” Feitzinger said as an explanation of the latter of these songs.

Possibly the only common element between all these songs was Feitzinger himself. Feitzinger clearly showed a love of his music. As he stood behind his computer, smiling, laughing and using excited hand gestures and dance moves, it was obvious that he would be happy with his work as long as he was entertaining himself. But he did more than this. The concert began with a modest-sized audience and slowly but steadily filled to a large crowd of appreciative faces. Though Feitzinger did not seem overly eager to remind the audience of his connection to the music they were listening to, no one seemed to want to hit ‘pause’ once he hit ‘play.’