Striking an Unlikely Balance:

Amanda McKeon

Baked goods, comfy chairs, steaming lattes and… electronica-inspired music? What seems like a cacophonic combination was actually a harmonious blend on Saturday evening, as junior Joel Feitzinger performed within the cozy confines of the Barge.

Within the dimly lit café, a small mix of students and local residents gathered for the concert. The atmosphere was calm and intimate, lending itself well to Feitzinger’s relaxed performance style.

Feitzinger has been playing the electronic sequencer, the medium with which he composes and plays his music, for over a year; however, he has been performing only for a month. Despite this relative inexperience, he still maintained composure throughout the concert and seemed to be an adept and natural performer who was comfortable communicating with the audience.

The music provided an eclectic range of mood and tone that flooded the confines of the Barge. The first song in Feitzinger’s set was loud and intense-almost frenzied, while other songs were decidedly more ambient and soothing; however, each piece carried a different range and tone. In general, Feitzinger imbued a capriciousness of mood in every song, often alternating between calm and frenzied within the same composition.

The audience clearly enjoyed the music and seemed enraptured by the electronic sound, which powerfully enveloped the cafe. After the concert, many audience members lingered to ask Feitzinger about his music and question his influences, which speaks to the interest sparked by the unique style.

When he was asked about the inspiration for his sound, Feitzinger cited a number of bands including Squarepusher and Venetian Snares. Additionally, he then explained that he was, “influenced by 20th century classical music and neoclassicism.”

Feitzinger composes his own music and draws upon a variety of inspirations in writing each song, explaining that what he bases most of his music on, “varies from piece to piece.”

He elaborated on this point.

“Often I’ll have a melody or bass line in mind and begin development there,” Feitzinger said. “Other times I’ll build a track from a specific rhythmic motif or through refinement of a randomly generated sequence of pitches.”

Composition is clearly a diverse creative process for Feitzinger as he also draws upon a mixture of influences and production styles:

“There are other instances where I have sliced up bits of recorded sound and rearranged them to create new melodic shapes”.

He continued his explanation, stating that there are moments when he returns to the more traditional methods for composing.

“Occasionally I’ve written pieces with conventional notation, though it is not one of my stronger suits,” Feitzinger said.

Though Feitzinger has set compositions, he acknowledges that there is, “an element of the fly” in his performances, despite the fact that in “making music…I get familiar with it.”

While Feitzinger’s music meshed well with the casual atmosphere of the Barge and relaxed audience, his sound and performance style also seemed compatible with what he described as a “club setting.” This point was especially valid for some of his songs; particularly his more frenzied and fast-paced compositions, which had an element of “techno” in their sound.

Though the music deviated from atmosphere’s usual laid-back tone, the sound still maintained a pleasant compatibility with the café. Fietzinge’s performance struck an unlikely accordance with the serene ambience, delightful treats and piping-hot teas of the Barge. Who knew that coffee and electronica went together so well?