From online RPGs to cyber trance, the LA producer shares some of the inspirations behind his new, cybernetic fiction-styled concept album.
Groundislava: "This book tops this list because the whole album is sort of an homage to this book and the cyberpunk genre in general. I was first given this book at 14 by my mother, and it forever influenced my taste as a consumer and a creator. I was already into sci-fi beforehand, but never had been introduced to Gibson’s take on it, which places the focus on a very human scale, in a very familiar yet foreign setting. You just have to read this book."
Groundislava: "I’ve spent so much time digging through different hardware synthesizer demos on Youtube and have gained so much knowledge and inspiration from this process. There’s so much music and weird content that will never exist outside of the bizarre Youtube ecosystem - you have to really dig, but there's some serious gold if you put in the time. I’ve done mp3 rips of tons of these demos just to listen to them later."
Groundislava: "There’s two reasons I put this game on this list of inspirations. This game was my first taste of a somewhat persistent MMO style world within a game. I had dabbled a little bit in other early games in the genre but this is game was the first time where I was completely immersed in a different persona in a persistent online world that never slept. As a 12-year-old kid, it was my other life, and I don’t think I would be nearly as interested in the concept of a virtual realm had I not experienced this.
"The second reason I list this game is for its overall presentation and aesthetic. The game engrosses you in an ultra sleek and futuristic world, with everything sharing this classic cold blue and green sort of anime aesthetic. All of the music is smooth and synthetic jazz/lounge type stuff. The whole package really succeeds in transporting you into that universe (or at least it did in 2002...)."
Groundislava: "Sade was one of the biggest inspirations for this album. Anthony and Alex, the two members of Rare Times, and I, are all huge fans of New Age and R&B stuff, and Sade so often blends the best elements of these two genres to create something really special. With this album I really wanted to utilize the vocal style of artists like Sade and mix it with my own style of electronic production, while also bringing in some really new and in some ways clashing elements (acid, techno, etc.) I had the pleasure of seeing her live at the Honda theater in Anaheim from like the 10th row a couple years ago and it was really incredible."
Groundislava: "This album is almost a direct product of a bunch of different hardware synths that I’ve amassed over the last four years or so. What makes them so inspiring to work with is how they alter your workflow and take you out of your comfort zone. As someone who makes music primarily on a DAW (Ableton Live, Logic, Protools, etc.), when you switch over to using hardware sequencers and actually turning knobs and pressing buttons, you really end up with a completely different result than what you would using the ultra streamlined workflow of a computer. There’s often no 'undo' or easy copy/paste function, and your physical actions always have ramifications, but it makes the process so much more gratifying. It really teaches how important it can be to embrace mistakes and be more spontaneous."
Groundislava: "I love acid house and techno. In general, acid is basically the hardware synth nerd’s genre, as it's defined by the sound of some really rare, classic pieces of hardware. What makes the Analord series so special is how Richard D. James managed to pump so much emotion and heart into acid music, which is most often pretty abrasive and intense. He definitely goes that route as well, but overall he does a pretty good job of basically reinventing the genre in this series. I’ve been steadily listening to these releases since they first dropped and they’re still as incredible as when they first were released."
Groundislava: "This is a trance compilation from Japan that my homie gave me in seventh grade, in 2001 or 2002. It was my introduction to the genre, and it was the spark that really ignited my interest in electronic and dance music. 'Frozen Throne' takes a lot of inspiration of trance music and I returned to this album many times recently for inspiration. It has a ton of sentimental value for me."
Groundislava: "Mass Effect is a sci-fi video game trilogy. One of the main environments in the game is called 'The Citadel', a massive space-station-sanctuary where aliens and humans and robots all coexist (been a while since I played the series, could probably be explained better). But the reason I put it here is because of how it exemplifies a very specific aesthetic - a sort of cross between industrial, machined aesthetics with lush elements of nature. It was a common topic of conversation on tour with Baths as it's an aesthetic often found in hotel common areas and atriums - which you spend a lot of time in on tour."
Groundislava: "ATB’s early tunes were definitely a big inspiration for me. A lot of his tunes are not worth listening to, especially after the after the first album or so, but the good songs are amazing. The one I linked is my absolute favorite. I love he can take a mediocre guitar synth patch and make it sing a powerful lead melody. I know how corny the tunes can be, but I really like a lot of this stuff."
Groundislava: "Yo, these headphones are like 40 bucks and they sound incredible, and you can barely feel them on your head. I got a pair when I was in Prague at the beginning of the year (in a weird red, white, and blue colorway I haven’t seen anywhere) and I absolutely love them. I prefer them to pairs of headphones I own that cost a lot more, and they’re super durable and simple. If you need a cheap pair of headphones buy these, I swear they’re the best."
'Frozen Throne' is the third album by Jasper Patterson, better known as LA's Groundislava. With music that draws on a nostalgia for '80s pop culture (Jasper's dad, Michael Patterson, directed the music video of '80s nostalgia, A-Ha's Take On Me) as well as a love of more modern, cybernetic reference points like acid house, trance, and video game soundtracks, 'Frozen Throne' tells a tale of a lowlife in a futuristic dystopia who falls in love with a woman who only exists in a virtual dream. As the protagonist becomes more and more absorbed into the virtual realm, he eventually finds that the woman has gone, and wanders off in a drug haze into a cyberpunk metropolis.
With such a specific concept at its core, we asked Groundislava for some of the significant influences on the record. From online RPGs to classic cyberpunk novels, here are 10 things that inspired 'Frozen Throne'.
Friends of Friends/WEDIDIT release 'Frozen Throne' on September 22nd 2014 (pre-order).