The Grand Rapids artist opened up about his latest recording project for Local Spins on WYCE, which also debuted tracks by several Michigan bands.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Tonight’s scheduled performance by Silent Spirit at the Grand Rapids Public Museum’s planetarium has been postponed to Jan. 20 due to the winter storm. Scroll down for radio show podcast, video.
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For Silent Spirit, electronic music has spawned a long-running exploratory progression of styles.
“There are so many sub-genres that it all feeds into. It’s been nice to be able to explore those,” explains Jonas Quirin, the Grand Rapids artist who records and performs under the Silent Spirit moniker.
“I feel like every album I dabble in a new sub-genre and draw from multiple influences. Currently, I have been telling people that I make New-Age ambient music.
“It’s funny, when I first started making electronic music it was very ’80s synth-pop influenced, then transitioned to downtempo, followed by techno, and now ambient. Really running the gauntlet over here.”
Citing the likes of Ryuichi Sakamoto, Brian Eno, Floating Points, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Stan Getz and Gal Costa as influences, Silent Spirit’s latest album, “Thanks for a Great Season,” was released in September, the latest chapter in Quirin’s musical quest.
Interestingly, his latest experimentation started with recordings on a four-track Tascam tape recorder, then manipulating those into a digital format on his computer.
“It was a fun process,” he conceded. “It felt so tactile and so hands-on and so imperfect.”
Silent Spirit wlll unfurl his recent tracks and more on Jan. 20 as part of the second night of his run for Grand Rapids Public Museum’s “Concerts Under the Stars” series that hosts performances in its planetarium. (The show originally was schedule for tonight – Jan. 12 – but was moved to Jan. 20 due to this weekend’s winter storm.)
“Folks can expect a night of new age, ambient electronic music that will be very reminiscent of Stephen Hill’s ‘Hearts of Space.,’ ” he said. “There will also be wonderful visuals provided by Ivy Garvey.”
VIDEO: Silent Spirit, “Saggitarius/Ursa Minor” (Dogtown Studio)
Quirin notes that “Thanks for a Great Season” was created during “an intense period of growth and self-reflection” and therefore comes across as a “love letter to the person who I once was and a welcome letter to the person I was becoming.”
While he hopes his tracks have a calming effect on listeners, he concedes that ambient music in a live setting has a more laid-back vibe that lacks the sort of movement some fans might crave. So, he’s started providing craft tables at shows that give listeners a chance to create and remain active while he performs.
As for some critics’ dismissal of DJs and electronic music as inferior to performances by groups of musicians on stage, the 25-year-old Grand Haven native remains unruffled.
“I guess I would say that some of the earliest pioneers of electronic music were in bands such as Kraftwerk, Yellow Magic Orchestra and Tangerine Dream that did quite a bit of jamming together on stage,” he noted.
“I think my response to that sort of criticism is, if the music makes you feel good, then that’s great. If not, then maybe an electronic show isn’t a good fit. I think that can apply to all types of music and concerts.”
In addition to featuring Silent Spirit’s music, this week’s edition of Local Spins on WYCE aired tracks by FlyLiteGemini, Snakeout, Odd Space (this week’s musician’s pick by Quirin), J.H. Patton & The Good Companions, Full Cord, Megan Dooley, Roosevelt Diggs and Danny VanZandt.
PODCAST: Local Spins on WYCE (1/12/24)
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