Arthur Lee Land combines acoustic music with electronica
June 4, 2013
Arthur Lee Land has bridged the gap between folk rock, world-bluegrass and electronica.
The multi-instrumentalist who hails from Lyons, Colo., found the secret of this combination while working with his co-writer Carol Lee and electronica producer Aaron Shier on his fourth CD, "Cracked Open" a few months ago.
"Carol and I had been listening to a bunch of that type of different stuff including Morcheeba and Zero 7 when we were writing songs," Land said during a telephone interview from his home in Lyons, Colo. "We liked the elements of that atmospheric vibe and the grooves are always cool."
So, Land sought out Shier.
"I got together with Aaron, who had come from that world as a brilliant producer and engineer," Land said. "I approached him about combining these styles, and when I played my song ‘Cracked Open,’ he heard this blending in his head."
Park City will get a chance to experience Land’s unique sound when he performs a night of live and looped music at Shop Yoga Studio, 1167 Woodside Ave., on Saturday, June 8. The music will begin at 7:30 p.m.
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Although Shier was keen on recording some of Land’s music, the two didn’t think they were going to make a full-length CD.
"It was a very organic and mysterious process, and when we got together, we decided to do only one song to see how it goes," Land said. "During our recording process, it became something far more than what we originally intended, so that we worked on one song every week."
To start things off, Shier created a kick-drum sample.
"I added the other percussion parts and then played all my instruments — including a six-string banjo, an acoustic guitar and a mandolin — and added a bass part," Land said. "Aaron would take the recordings home and tweak things up and bring them back to show me what he did."
The sounds blew both musicians away.
"One of the cool things he did involved a cowbell that I played," Land said. "He decided to stretch out that sound and not use it as a percussion element, but as a melodic element."
Shier compressed the sound, added reverb and manipulated it, before pitching it.
"The result was a sound that was in tune with the song," Land said. "It actually comes into the mix as a prominent part of the chorus.
"That’s what’s cool about electronic music," he said. "You can take anything and change it, because it’s all digital ones and zeros."
"Cracked Open" is comprised of 10 songs, which, by the way, were sequenced in the order they were recorded.
"It’s perfect," Land said. "I couldn’t have tried to make that order as perfect as it could be."
Of all the songs on the disc, the tune "Good Enough" has some special meaning for Land.
It’s an autobiographical tune about the musician’s struggle with Attention Deficit Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
"I was one of the forerunners in the labeling of creative kids that wound up being labeled ADD or ADHD," Land said. "And I was a guinea pig for the drug Ritalin because I was diagnosed right at the beginning of that whole movement."
The song talks about the dilemma Land felt when people would try to force him to settle down.
"It’s been something that is a part of my reality," he said. "People call it a problem and a disorder and have told me that I have an issue and that I am not normal."
For years, he despaired because the symptoms wouldn’t go away.
"Then I read a book called ‘ADD a Different Perception’ by Thom Hartman," Land said. "He showed me that I have a hunter personality and the whole world wants everyone to be farmers."
that, Hartman wrote that society wants these restless and creative kids to follow certain methodical points to exist in life.
"But that’s not the way most of the creative people, inventors, entrepreneurs and artists live," Land said. "They are always on that hunt to do something over here and over there and are searching for the next project over there.
"So, I had to reframe my condition and tell myself it’s a gift," he said. "In fact, we all should do that, we’re drugging all these kids and squeezing them in a box that they don’t fit in."
During his research, Land came across a national nonprofit organization called Ablechild, which is comprised of parents and caregivers who want a label and drug free education for their children, and work for the rights of children who have been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD.
"All proceeds of sales of the song will go directly to raise money for this charity," Land said. "If you or anyone you know has children that are labeled ‘ADD/ADHD,’ they need to check out the website, http://www.ablechild.org ."
During the live performance, Land will show how his hunter-personality is a benefit.
"I’m going to plug in a programmed electronica beat and then move back and forth through and play a bunch of instruments," he said. "The live show is my ADD mind at work and is like spinning plates."
Arthur Lee Land will perform at Shop Yoga Studio, 1167 Woodside Ave., on Saturday, June 8. The night will start with a potluck at 6:30 p.m. The music will begin at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20. Contact Rebecca Hilly for tickets by emailing email@example.com.
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