Culture of Convenience
***SEMI-FINALIST UK SONGWRITING CONTEST*** 2007 ***RUNNER UP WINNER*** SONG OF THE YEAR SONG WRITING CONTEST, December, 2006 and February, 2007. Five Tracks from this album have REMAINED Broadjam.com NEW AGE/NEOCLASSICAL CHART TOPPERS FOR TWO STRAIGHT MONTHS. 'Andrea's House' reached #2 on the general New Age Charts. If you're looking for instrumental electronic music that emphasizes melody, harmony and rhythm, you've found it. Four songs from 'Culture Of Convenience' have remained in the Broadjam.com top ten New Age Neoclassical charts for nearly a month now. The best way to describe 'Culture of Convenience,' by Sonic Psyops, would be to imagine if Yanni, Vangelis, and Suzanne Ciani were all to collaborate on a CD produced by Michael Cretu of Enigma. Sonic Psyops, has meticulously melded traditional piano, brass, woodwinds, and strings with modern synthesized voices and sequenced rhythms. Each of the ten pieces on 'Culture of Convenience' are like little sonic three act plays with a beginning, middle, climax, and an end, all clearly defined. A couple of years ago, composer Jasen Shawn Smith and his wife, traveled to the jungles of Peru, South America, meeting interesting people and exploring exotic places. One day, while touring the famous waterfalls near Tarapoto, Jasen wanted a picture of himself and his wife near a large waterfall. At first, he was afraid that their guide, a local Quechuan Indian who never set foot outside of the jungle, wouldn't know how to operate the modern digital camera Jasen handed to him. As Jasen pondered how he was going to explain the fundamentals of digital photography to somebody who lives in a mud hut, a cell phone began to ring out of nowhere. The guide answered a pretty slick looking cell phone with more bells and whistles than Jasen's cell phone back in the states and began speaking Quechuan. The site of a member of a very ancient culture speaking into a very modern instrument of modern technology had quite an impact on the composer. Jasen suddenly realized just how pervasive technology really was. Why? People will always travel the path of least resistance and we see technology as a path of least resistance because it's convenient. It's almost impossible these days to walk down any street in any town or city and not see a passerby walking and talking on a cell phone, or listening to an MP3 player, or working on a laptop computer or some other form of modern technology engaged in their lives. It is part of our everyday routine now and, as such, has become an integral part of culture. Whether you like it or not, we now live in a universal culture of convenience and this CD by Sonic Psyops uses symbolism to try and express that idea. Sonic Psyops is a one-man musical movement by Jasen Shawn Smith. Jasen has been playing piano, keyboards and composing music for the past sixteen years. Recently, a friend suggested that he make his compositions available for the masses. Subsequently, he rerecorded and compiled some of his favorite pieces on to his debut album titled: 'Culture of Convenience.' Songs from this CD won RUNNER UP positions in the SONG OF THE YEAR SONG WRITING COMPETITION Instrumental Category for December 2006 Living most of his life in the western United States, Jasen grew up during the so-called second British invasion. In those days, the American airwaves were filled with innovative artists and bands mostly from Great Britain, such as, Gary Numan, Soft Cell, Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark, Depeche Mode, A Flock of Seagulls, The Human League, Thomas Dolby, and Landscape just to name a few. As a child, Jasen was fascinated with Science Fiction and these New Wave artists with their cold and distant sounding synthesizers and robotic rhythm sequencers sparked Jasen's young imagination. By the mid 80's, it seemed as though New Wave split into two different camps, Synth Pop and Modern or Alternative Rock. Jasen began to look for a more mature and intellectual music genre to explore. In high school, a friend introduced Jasen to New Age music and to his favorite New Age artists, Vangelis and Tangerine Dream. Although Jasen was familiar with both artists through their film scoring works he never really gave them much thought. After listening to Tangerine Dream's 'Optical Race,' 'Lilly on the Beach,' and Vangelis' 'Themes' and 'Opera Savage,' Jasen knew that he had found the musical stimulation that he was looking for. Towards the end of his high school career, Jasen took a deep interest in music, attending a music theory course in which he learned the fundamentals of composition. During the class, he mastered the piano and keyboard by studying the classical composers, Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven. Although Jasen found the classics inspiring, a contemporary artist, Suzanne Ciani, so impressed him that he began composing his own pieces that were modeled around Ciani's Electronic/Neo-classical style. After high school, Jasen enlisted in the Army and played keyboards off and on for some local bands while stationed in Washington D.C. However, playing in smoky clubs for a bunch of ungrateful drunks wasn't exactly a gratifying experience. Subsequently, Jasen spent less time playing in the clubs and more time composing piano pieces that he vowed to, "pump some life into" later. After graduating Florida State University, Jasen purchased a couple of synthesizers, one of them being a Korg Triton Workstation, and began a deep and thorough self-taught rediscovery of the classical composers that he studied in high school. By analyzing each composer's individual style and technique, he developed his craft and own unique style. This style is evident in his early experiments with his equipment. Unfortunately, his only audience, at the time, was his lovely wife and two cats. Finally, as suggested by a friend, Jasen collected ten of his favorite pieces and recorded them on his debut CD entitled: 'Culture of Convenience.' This album will be the first of a trilogy called, Sonic Psyops which will be released over the next two to three years. The trilogy will feature traditional instrumentation performing along side electronic synthesizers and the emphasis will be placed on melody, harmony and rhythm instead of sound collages and digitally distorted noises. So If you enjoy Yanni, you'll probably enjoy Sonic Psyops. If Vangelis is more your style, then Sonic Psyops will more than likely be your style as well. If you just can't get enough of Suzanne Ciani, then you just might not get enough of Sonic Psyops too. If you dig Britney Spears... well, sorry, you're not going to dig this.