When L.A. songwriter Aaron Ferenc rather nonchalantly stated a couple of weeks ago that he had just posted music as Run Spirit Horse, I was absolutely brimming with curiosity. The last I’d heard was his lyrically rich acoustic music, a long time ago. I made haste.
Result? The best decision I made this month. I’ve been listening for weeks – we’re talking heavy rotation – and I could not be more deeply touched by what he’s made.
Run Spirit Horse is both a musical moniker and label name. Aaron is interested in artistic community, and his website features not just his music but a hope to seek a deeper connection with musicians of like interests. “What I intended to create with Run Spirit Horse is a place to showcase recordings that I have had a major hand in creating,” he says. “I don’t think I would feel right representing an artist if I had not actually recorded them myself. I would want to be a collaborator … to feel that a given artist was saying something musically that I wanted to help them represent in the world.”
The War e.p.
- The Run Spirit Horse e.p. is called The War. You can stream it and better yet buy it with an exclusive extra track here.
I’m not sure I ought to describe it in detail, but it will connect with EDM fans who are lyric listeners. It’s electronic, linear, deeply melodic, striking, poignant, soaring, atmospheric, melancholy. If you can imagine a silent rave cohosted by U2’s largely unknown Passengers album and The Flaming Lips (hungover), you might get a sense of the slow trip ahead of you.
Aaron’s take? “Non-corporate confessional drag queen rock? I love wine? Wine and songs. Yes, that’s it. Wine and sounds.”
Oh how I love that.
we have all fallen back into the sea / we have all felt dreams we cannot believe / movement is true
I read lyrics. I listen to how they’re delivered. They’re as important to me as the music. When I can connect the two, my experience as a listener is complete. I’m the guy who reads every word in the liner notes. Aaron was nice enough to post the words of The War online. Treat yourself by listening and reading. Cancel your appointments.
As I’m famously tech-challenged, I was fascinated by the process of how Aaron created The War, and you bet I quizzed him on it. I’m including his comments here at length; I believe it will encourage others who seek a way to “let out” the music in their heads.
“About two years ago, I thought, ‘I want to make my own album.’ Then I finally got Ableton Live. Of course, there is quite a learning curve with software like that, so with every song I learned something more about how to organize and create within that framework. Then, about a year ago, I said to myself, ‘I am making an album,’ which meant that every time I began working on music, I wondered, ‘What the hell am I doing?’ Over the years I’ve learned that you have to remind yourself that you are doing something specific, or you will just endlessly create and nothing will materialize into a form that you want to show anyone.
Then I got very frustrated. And in my frustration I decided to take off a month off work, do my taxes, live on what I had, and finish making this ‘thing’ I was calling an album. I had two very real song ideas at that point, and then I found something of a flow, and these other songs just came out that seemed to go along with the first two. There are four or five other ideas that I didn’t have time to complete, and I decided to pick the best of the batch and call it an album. It was just me alone doing all of this, and I am notoriously indecisive so this was quite a feat for me. I recorded all the songs into Ableton Live 8 using a Duet for an audio input. I used whatever I liked from the instruments that amazing program provides. I love tweaking sounds and creating atmospheric sounding stuff, so that part was always really fun. I also used a Yamaha SO3 on a few tracks because I really like the more analog sound it has. And I played a live bass on a few of the tracks because I mainly wrote those songs by creating a bass line first.
I almost never write lyrics first. I start messing with sounds and ideas for beats and so forth, and then somewhere out of the blue these words just come to me (when they do), and I literally couldn’t force them to if I tried. I have always said, ‘I want to make music so that I can SING,’ and maybe that’s just why it works that way. I hope it never stops because it’s one of my favorite things to do in this world. When you begin to write a song and you find a melody or even a snippet of a melody, your subconscious mind automatically attaches certain feelings to that sound, which you are not completely aware of. I think that people find this experience to be something akin to a pregnancy because they were having these feelings for a while before they could take any real form, and then all of the sudden there’s this song coming out. I find making music to be very therapeutic in this sense. That’s why I keep doing it!”
It’s rare than I’m blessed with such an eloquent response to questions about creative content. I hope my readers are enlightened. I don’t always press like that, but The War is too beautiful not to hear the voice of the artist. And speaking of voices, here’s Aaron on who might connect with the music of Run Spirit Horse.
“I have a sense that anyone who has struggled with feeling they have a voice (or want to have a voice in a way that they don’t) might feel this music. Also anyone who wants to get a good night’s sleep? And anyone who makes music and is maybe intimidated to show anyone what they make. I hope they might feel like this inspires them a little.”
So, bedroom songwriters, ya been served. I’m such a fan of this music. Please take time out of your day or night, grab a glass of wine, and listen.
p.s. Aaron’s got Boards of Canada, Telephon Tel Aviv, Hot Chip, Gold Panda and lots of jazz in his headphones.