TUNE Planetary Group - "Codify" - Kurt von Stetten
Kurt von Stetten: "Codify represents somewhat of a departure for me. I wrote much of this song on a plane with my lap top. I had been messing around with this guitar melody for a while and thought that it would be nice to try to make an electronic version of it. What immediately struck me was that I could make this texture out of the notes by electronically speeding them up to a much faster pace than I had originally been playing it. Depending on the synth voice I chose the texture became very different. What I began to find is that with a little reverb some of the more 'bell' sounds became eerie. This feeling seemed to match a scenario I was writing about a couple trying to escape some terrible war zone. I imagined them on a boat, at night, listening desperately for voices carrying over the water. I think that the long reverb trail at the end really captures this."
Kurt von Stetten has announced the December 13th release of his sixth full-length solo album, Cyclops, through Static Motor Recordings. Diverging from the pop-centric sound of his last release Pyramids, the eclectic and intricate garage rock on Cyclops deals with fantasy and the fever of awesome ideas; everything from war to fashion. As with each of his releases, he relies on minimal story telling and the power of simple song structure.
Von Stetten began experimenting with music and making recordings in Boston in the summer of 1996. By that time, he had fronted the Drama Queens and was (and is still) the drummer for Americana popsmiths The Longwalls. It’s during this time that Kurt began to experience terrible bouts of human-repelling bromhidrosis, forcing him to record alone in his bedroom. For a period of 10 years Kurt retreated to his home studio and learned how to play guitar and drums by recording himself over and over again. After much-heralded scientific breakthroughs by Mennen™ in 2006 and Kurt’s indoctrination of their Speed Stick into his daily routine, he gained confidence and began releasing his recordings as albums.
Kurt has released a full-length album every year for the last six years. He embodies the DIY spirit, recording and playing every instrument on each of the albums, including guitar, cello, drums, bass, banjo, hand percussion, harmonica, and keys. His lyrics are comprised of overheard conversations, notes taken during art school, and created stories of love and desperation. Each album borrows from different genres. “I am not married to one genre or the other,” describes Kurt. “Usually songs will take me in unintended directions--I don’t fight that.”
Cyclops was recorded in von Stetten’s home studio with drums recorded in The Longwall’s rehersal space. It was mixed by both Kurt von Stetten and Owen Curtin (The Bridge Sound and Stage) and mastered by Mike Quinn (Moontower) at Q Division.
Kurt’s artistic sensibilities extend to his career as a photographer and as a long-time practitioner of BMX flatlanding (stunt riding). He approaches music in the same way that he approaches flatlanding—“dedication and brutal repetition.”