Valentines Day: The Mandolin, the Ghost, and the Machine

New music coming out on Valentines Day.

Behind the scenes I’ve been working on a new electronic experimental music project. It’s titled The Mandolin, the Ghost, and the Machine. You can expect release in mid-to-late February as I’m still considering a few more compositions and remixes.

The idea came to me after taking a short trip back to the Northwest and retrieving my mandolin among a few other belongings. It’s a middle-of-the-road instrument, not a cheapie, but no classic Gibson either. It can be finicky. It’s had issues with fret buzz from time to time, but also seems to resolve those issues on its own. I blame the weather. Or perhaps there’s a ghost in the mandolin.

“The Ghost in the Mandolin” is the opening track. It’s a spooky soundscape that might work well on the Grey Castle Podcast. From there, things get even weirder.

The idea behind this project is simple. Take short recorded samples of the mandolin, turn them into programmed bits, and build music around them. Originally, I was going to call the project, The Ghost and the Mandolin. But after adding clock-like drums and noisy synths to several of the tracks the sound of the machine entered the picture.

The project also becomes a criticism of itself. As much as I love to create electronic music, there is often this underlying feeling I get. Something is wrong. It’s not real. It’s a machine. Tracks like “Bloody Machine” and “Bah Bah Boom Chick” are simple semi-chaotic pieces that are critical of the entire idea of programmed music, including my own. Those tracks may or may not make the Final Cut.

After all, I am completely bastardizing a beautiful instrument in the making of The Mandolin, the Ghost, and the Machine.

But it’s art. Or is it? In either case I won’t lose any sleep over my non-traditional use of the mandolin, but perhaps I should practice some good old live bluegrass licks instead. – dse

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Author: Dan Steven Erickson

Dan Steven Erickson is a great undiscovered American songwriter.