Andrew Bayer electronic music’s sonata man

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Updated 04 January 2013

Andrew Bayer electronic music’s sonata man

The productions on his first debut album “It’s Artificial,” which dropped on the Anjunabeats label last year, is stuff true musicians can perhaps dream of — a total genre-breaker. Everything from melodic trance, classical jigs, grindy glitch-hop, stucky dubstep to trippy techno — it’s all there, composed in a hauntingly layered thematic narrative. And the man behind it all: Andrew Bayer, a true-blue electronic music composer from Washington, DC.
Arab News met him backstage before he played his eclectic set at Above and Beyond’s final Trance Around the World (TATW) 450 radio show.

Andrew, you’ve been associated with Above and Beyond’s record label for a year now. What are your sentiments on playing at the last TATW 450 with them?
I’m really excited about it, because I’ve been guest-mixing a lot on TATW. I think I’ve done about three or four guest mixes, so I’ve been a part of Trance Around the World for years. It’s kind of nice that I get to be here to close out this final show, so I’m really excited.

You released your debut album last year. DJ Mag called it an “outright winner”. Did the album sort of place a precedent for your future album sounds? Are you going to continue experimenting or have you found the niche “Bayer” essence yet?
I think I’ve not found it, and that’s going to be the goal of my career: to keep on pushing to find whatever sound I’m going to be making next. But yes, you’re exactly right. The album was definitely a turning point in my career, in which I started experimenting with different styles and textures that I wouldn’t normally use in dance music. The album platform was so much more open. A wide palette of sounds that musicians all over the world could enjoy to use, you know. I’m going to be releasing another full-length album that is all experimental. So yes, It’s Artificial paved the way, to say in the very least.

The sound on the album with its elements of glitch-hop and dubstep was entirely unique to be on the label itself. What do you think appealed to them sonically?
The thing that they’ve told me is that the musicality of my work kind of sticks through whatever style I work on. I could do a dubstep tune, or I could do a full on trance record and it still has kind of … I would say … the soul of an Andrew Bayer music production. I try to really make all of my stuff musical and cohesive from each genre, to tie them all together even though they are very different.

What kind of music were you inspired by while growing up?
I loved Michael Jackson. That’s probably one of the main reasons I got into dance music.

Yeah, we all did, didn’t we?
Yeah, everyone did (laughs). I was a Michael Jackson nut. And then I got into alternative rock while I was growing up. I was really into radio in the early ‘90s. I would just come home from school and play the radio literally until I went to bed.

Who were your favorite rock musicians?
Oh, I loved Nirvana. They were a huge favorite. And Smashing Pumpkins, I loved all their stuff. And then I got into Nine Inch Nails later, which kind of bridged the gap into the whole electronic world. Nowadays, I find myself listening to … Electronic music is probably the least popular music that I listen to. I listen to a lot of classical and indie rock stuff.

You’re heading back into the studio for a new album. Can you tell us what we can expect from it and when?
Hopefully, it’s going to be released sometime in the first quarter. I’m not too sure of the exact dates yet, as we’re still finalizing everything. The album is a little longer and will be split up into many different tracks, because It’s Artificial had only eight tracks but was very long. So, it’s a different approach to songwriting, and I’m pretty excited about it. It’s experimental, but also something that your mom can listen to, you know what I mean. It’s very universal.

Have you thought about the title of the album yet?
‘If it were you, we’d never leave.’ It’s a long title.

Any three tracks that you’re looking forward to remix?
Let’s see … I would love to do remixes of some of the indie bands. That would be great, because it would bridge my interest in indie music and dance music. If I were to do that, it would probably be Solange. She’s been doing some great work lately. I’ve been really into Hyne — it’s a new band produced by Ariel Reichstadt. He’s just amazing, a great producer. And then, let’s see … I would probably have to say someone like Sieger Ross would be incredible, just because I’d be able to merge the epicness of the Icelandic musical style with mine, and I think that would be a nice combination.

Any destinations you want to play at in the future that you haven’t yet?
You know what, I’m going to change the question slightly and say I would love to go back to Hawaii, because I’ve been there before already, but honestly the hospitality and the people … It was so much fun. And I was with these guys here [referring to Norin and Rad], so we had a blast.

Any musicians you’re digging at the moment?
At the moment, I’m obsessed with Icelandic contemporary classical. So probably one of my favorites is Jóhan Jóhannson. He does these really long epic pieces that are very thematic, gorgeous, and very deep. So I love him. I’m also a big fan of this record label called Erased Tapes records, and they do contemporary classical with an electronic twist. I really like both of them.

Any plans to play in the Middle East soon?
You know what … I don’t have any plans as of now, but I would love to.

Would you be looking at any city in particular though?
I’m open to suggestions. I grew up with a family from the Middle East that I’m very close with, so I have a lot of Middle Eastern friends. I would love to go over there and finally see where they came from and go party, you know.

The first track from his new album “If it were you, we’d never leave” was released on the Anjunabeats record label on Dec. 17.
You can track the artist on: www.facebook.com/bayermusic

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At 90, Alaska Native woman is 1st counted in US Census

In this Monday, Jan. 20, 2020 image, Lizzie Chimiugak looks on at her home in Toksook Bay, Alaska. (AP)
Updated 22 January 2020

At 90, Alaska Native woman is 1st counted in US Census

  • The decennial US census has started in rural Alaska, out of tradition and necessity, ever since the US purchased the territory from Russia in 1867

TOKSOOK BAY, Alaska: Lizzie Chimiugak has lived for 90 years in the windswept western wilds of Alaska, born to a nomadic family who lived in mud homes and followed where the good hunting and fishing led.
Her home now is an outpost on the Bering Sea, Toksook Bay, and on Tuesday she became the first person counted in the US Census, taken every 10 years to apportion representation in Congress and federal money.
“Elders that were before me, if they didn’t die too early, I wouldn’t have been the first person counted,” Lizzie Chimiugak said, speaking Yup’ik language of Yugtun, with family members serving as interpreters. “Right now, they’re considering me as an elder, and they’re asking me questions I’m trying my best to give answers to, or to talk about what it means to be an elder.”
The decennial US census has started in rural Alaska, out of tradition and necessity, ever since the US purchased the territory from Russia in 1867. The ground is still frozen, which allows easier access before the spring melt makes many areas inaccessible to travel and residents scatter to subsistence hunting and fishing grounds. The mail service is spotty in rural Alaska and the Internet connectivity unreliable, which makes door-to-door surveying important.
The rest of the nation, including more urban areas of Alaska, begin the census in mid-March.
On Tuesday, Steven Dillingham, director of the census bureau, conducted the first interview after riding on the back of a snowmobile from the airport to Chimiugak’s home.
“The 2020 Census has begun,” he told reporters after conducting the first interview with Chimiugak, a process that lasted about five minutes. “Toksook Bay isn’t the easiest place to get to, and the temperature is cold. And while people are in the village, we want to make sure everyone is counted.”
Dillingham was hours late getting to Toksook Bay because weather delayed his flight from the hub community of Bethel, about 115 miles (185 kilometers) away. Conditions didn’t improve, and he spent only about an hour in the community before being rushed back to the airport.
After the count, a celebration took place at Nelson Island School and included the Nelson Island High School Dancers, an Alaska Native drum and dance group. Later, the community took over the commons area of the high school with a potluck of Alaska Native foods, including seal, moose and goose soups, herring roe served with seal oil and baked salmon.
Robert Pitka, tribal administrator for Nunakauyak Traditional Council, hopes the takeaway message for the rest of the nation is of Yup’ik pride.
“We are Yup’ik people and that the world will see that we are very strong in our culture and our traditions and that our Yup’ik language is very strong,” he said.
For Chimiugak, she has concerns about climate change and what it might do to future generations of subsistence hunters and fishers in the community, and what it will do to the fish and animals. She talked about it with others at the celebration.
“She’s sad about the future,” he eldest son Paul said.
Chimiugak was born just after the start of the Great Depression in the middle of nowhere in western Alaska, her daughter Katie Schwartz of Springfield, Missouri, said. Lizzie was one of 10 siblings born to her parents, who lived a nomadic lifestyle and traveled with two or three other families that would migrate together, her son said.
Lizzie and her 101-year-old sister from Nightmute, Alaska, survive.
In 1947 Lizzie married George Chimiugak, and they eventually settled in Toksook Bay after the town was founded in 1964 by residents of nearby Nightmute. There are five surviving children.
He worked maintenance at the airport. She did janitorial work at the old medical clinic and babysat.
Like other wives, she cleaned fish, tanned hides and even rendered seal oil after her husband came home from fishing or hunting. Her husband died about 30 years ago.
She is also a woman of strong Catholic faith, and told her son that she saved his life by praying over him after he contracted polio.
For her own hobbies, she weaved baskets from grass and remains a member of the Alaska Native dance group that performed Tuesday. She dances in her wheelchair.
She taught children manners and responsibility and continued the oral tradition of telling them stories with a storyknife.
Chimiugak used a knife in the mud to illustrate her stories to schoolchildren. She drew figures for people or homes. At the end of the story, she’d use the knife to wipe away the pictures and start the next story with a clean slate of mud.
“She’s a great teacher, you know, giving us reminders of how we’re supposed to be, taking care of subsistence and taking care of our family and respecting our parents,” her granddaughter Alice Tulik said. “That’s how she would give us advice.”