music is life, music is breath, music is us


Saying goodbye: A review of Pink Floyd’s “The Endless River”


Pink Floyd. What more do you really need to say other than that? This is the band that re-invented the way that we view music as an artform and a statement of the imagination. Pink Floyd challenged musicians to say more than they already were and audiences to open their hearts and minds to something totally beyond words. You can talk on and on about the landmark albums, the band infighting (i.e. the battle between David Gilmour and Roger Waters), the brilliance, and the tragedy…

But this would only scratch the surface.

So here we are…the final album. The Endless River is not what people expected to hear I think, at least based on the reviews. Consider the following:

“After listening on Spotify, I wanted my time, if not the pennies destined for the band’s coffers, back.”-The Los Angeles Times

“It would take a Barrett-load of drugs to make this sound remotely interesting, though I wouldn’t advise that.”-The Telegraph

“Too often “familiar” curdles into “lazy.”-Pitchfork Media

Ouch, I mean, OUCH. I wonder what album these reviewers were listening to that caused them to come up with such harsh words? The reality is The Endless River is an echo of the past, an introspective look into the musical world Pink Floyd created. It is entirely instrumental with the exception of some spoken word and choral effects, as well as the last track “Louder than Words” which hearkens back very much to the sounds and vocals we so dearly loved on Dark Side of the Moon. People expecting anthems like “Time,” “Shine on You Crazy Diamond,” or “Brain Damage/Eclipse” should erase their pre-conceptions. This is an exploration, not an album made for top 20 hits on the Billboard charts. Simply put, this record is intended as a goodbye, in many ways as well as a dedication to late keyboardist Richard Wright.

thDavid Gilmour himself explained that The Endless River was a “swan song” for Wright, which should explain to the confused listener expecting anthems why none exist here. This record is not FOR us, it is for the band. They are saying goodbye to their bandmate, are closing the book on an astonishing career, and allowing us a glimpse inside. The songs are bits and pieces collected from the various epochs (especially the 1993 and 1994 Division Bell sessions), and twist and turn to the cries of Gilmour’s guitar (easily some of his most expressive playing), the echoes of Wright’s keys (from recordings made before his death), the ambient tones of a plethora of classical, electronic, and jazz instruments and so much more.

This record takes you on a journey that allows your spirit to soar, weep, dream, believe, and think. David Gilmour himself stated that “Unapologetically, this is for the generation that wants to put its headphones on, lie in a beanbag, or whatever, and get off on a piece of music for an extended period of time. You could say it’s not for the iTunes, downloading-individual-tracks generation.” You are brought to so many different levels of emotion and thought; you just have to embrace it.


It is perhaps easier for me to embrace this record for what it is as I create ambient/experimental instrumental music that features all sorts of sounds (often with my guitar wailing in the background). This is in many ways the album that I, as a guitarist and composer so heavily influenced by Pink Floyd and David Gilmour, always wanted from this band. The record feels like the epilogue of an epic novel, and in many ways that is what it is. There is nothing left to be said, Pink Floyd has changed and created music in such a way that it will ripple through the fabric of time long after we all leave this earth. I don’t always have a spiritual feeling with music, but sometimes music can grab my soul and envelop it in something mysterious. The Endless River does this for me.

You don’t have to agree with me, but just give this album a chance if you have not already. The record is truly an exploration into what we perceive an album to be, and fittingly closes the end of the story. Pink Floyd can now, after all the love and tears, say goodbye. I will conclude this review with the lyrics from “Louder than Words,” because as it ends The Endless River, it just makes sense to do the same with my thoughts on the record. The message in these words is very much what this record stands for symbolically:

It’s louder than words
This thing that we do
Louder than words
The way it unfurls
It’s louder than words
The sum of our parts
The beat of our hearts
Is louder than words
Louder than words

Louder than words
This thing they call soul
Is there with a pulse
Louder than words
Louder than words

Goodbye friends, goodbye indeed.



The Bouncing Souls – “Lean On Sheena”

One of the best songs these guys ever did. Of course, everything these punk legends do is amazing.

I Don’t Want a Masterpiece


I have been delving into my debut album Stochastic quite a bit lately. Additionally, the reviews for my album have been (honestly to my surprise since I am way out of the mainstream) extremely positive. I feel great about the success I’m having with this, but it has me thinking, what if somewhere down the line I create an album that is declared my “defining” work? You know the kind of work that everybody says is the “pinnacle” of an artist’s portfolio/discography etc.?

This happens all the time, and has happened to many artists (in numerous mediums) that I love. Pink Floyd has Dark Side of the Moon, Miles Davis has Kind of Blue, Steve Vai has Passion and Warfare and so on. I don’t think people realize that by anointing works as a “magnum opus” or a “true masterpiece” that they are indirectly putting the artist into a panic. The artists I mentioned previously went on to create earth-shattering works after the works mentioned (Pink Floyd created Wish You Were Here, Miles Davis did Bitches Brew and On the Corner, and Steve Vai has Fire Garden and Real Illusions: Reflections). In spite of these facts, no matter what the artist does that is new or fresh, their work will always be compared against the past. One of my favorite authors, the late David Foster Wallace, always struggled to create a book that would live up to the high expectations that critical praise of Infinite Jest created.

I’m not saying critics shouldn’t give positive reviews (well…unless it is Iggy Azalea or f*ck knows who else is destroying music), but maybe there should be some sort of delineation of calling something a “masterpiece.” You can just put an “a” in front of the word “masterpiece,” and it will show that the artist can still have the door wide open for their creative pursuits. I do not want to ever create my defining work. I don’t want a masterpiece. I simply want to write music that makes sense for the situation, for my creative sensibilities or whatever is necessary. I always want the ability to push my boundaries, regress to my previous efforts, or whatever I need to do to create the music I want to create. I do not want to peak in my career, although if I ever do have monetary success I suppose this will be inevitable.

I don’t want to sound like a pretentious twat with this post, I just simply want to point out that, as an artist, I need this creative thing to be forever (or…as long as my natural life allows). I think all creative people feel the same. We want works that we are proud of, but don’t want to be restricted to the comparisons that others set for us. I suppose that, in the end, it is all mental and depends on you taking the words of people in stride.

Really in the end, as an artist, your opinion is the most valuable one.

Derek Kortepeter – Stochastic

Derek Kortepeter:

Another amazing review of my LP, this time by Aaron at Keeps Me Alive! Thanks bud!

Originally posted on keepsmealive:

The Preamble:

Every once in a while, we like to request submissions of original music to the KMA. If you’ve made a track, an album, whatever, send it to us and we’ll review it! It works out well for all of us – we get to hear new music, and you get your music heard, and a page link you can send to your friends and use for promotion! Win win win!

The other day, I learned that Mike’s friend Derek has made an album. Did I wanna hear it? Absolutely YES! It arrived here in the KMA offices and I was ready to give ‘er!

There’s a web page that explains the thinking behind the record. I did not read any of it BEFORE playing the album – I wanted a pure listening experience. But I did go and read the whole thing AFTER hearing the record! And it…

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REVIEW: Derek Kortepeter – Stochastic (2014)

Derek Kortepeter:

Glowing review of my album by the awesome blogger Mike Ladano. 4/5 stars!

Originally posted on

stochasticDEREK KORTEPETER - Stochastic (2014)

A short while ago, I reviewed the debut EPCompilation Vol. 1 by UCLA musician Derek Kortepeter. Since then Derek has put the finishing touches on his first full-length album Stochastic, an even more experimental collection.

Music like this is difficult for me to review as it’s pretty far out from the mainstream. Take the opening track, “Veritas”. The first 45 seconds are the sounds of guitar scrapes and echos, before the grand chords commence. As an opening track, this is both a welcome and a warning: It says, “If you find me intriguing, dive in! But if this is not much more than noise to you, farewell!” Not everybody is going to get music like this.

“Veritas” flows seamlessly into “Burning Embers” which uses backwards guitar as a melodic hook. Heavy, noisy guitars and drums soon flood the speakers. It’s difficult to…

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An exploration into my debut LP “Stochastic”


It has been a few weeks since­ I released my album Stochastic. Its creation was an interesting experience. I knew that I had to have total creative control as this was my debut LP. As I put it in the description on CD Baby, the record was “Produced/Performed/Mixed/Edited/Composed/Programmed/Imagined by Derek Kortepeter.” This may make me sound like an incredible narcissist to some, but honestly this LP had to be this way. If I wasn’t doing everything, everything going on in my head wouldn’t get recorded.

It’s that simple.

The record’s concept is best described as an exploration of a music world where genres are a figment of the imagination.

An album that brings the guitar and technology, heavy metal and jazz, world fusion and western classical, the avant-garde and the familiar together under one canopy.

My view of music is that it is always present. No matter what sphere of space or time, music is there. With this debut LP I allowed for my imagination to construct unique works that stand on their own, but can also rely on the surrounding tracks. My guitar, drum, keyboard, and compositional ability (from metal to classical to jazz and beyond) is present throughout. There is never what one would call a “pure” music here. It is syncretism and syncretism alone that drives this work. The title of the album “Stochastic” refers to the mathematical idea of probability, random variables and the like. These tracks are a manifestation of that idea. You will not at first listen be able to determine what sounds you are going to hear next (hence why it is “Stochastic”).

Many records, when they find their groove, bring the listener to a certain element of familiarity. This LP is quite the opposite of that. I want you to react, to think, to be moved, to be jarred, to be confused, and ultimately form an opinion on what it is that you are hearing. Whatever the “Stochastic” system determines for your mind, I can promise that it will be a unique result. This result will not be repeated in the consciousness of another human being listening to the same songs.

A few of the songs existed before the idea of Stochastic came into being (“Omega” and “Light Within” appeared on my debut EP Compilation Vol. 1 and “Fragmented Sky” was a track floating in outer space…otherwise known as Youtube). The album concept didn’t arise after long amounts of time spent in deep thought. I just started writing and playing and dreaming. Like the fabric used in a fine piece of clothing, each song was delicately stitched together to eventually create the finished product. As the songs came near their completion, the concept for Stochastic came about.

It hit me like lightning.

I know that what I have produced here is really experimental in some parts. I want it to challenge you, and consider our place in the world of music. More than anything else, Stochastic is the fullest expression of me. It is my gift to whoever wants to receive it. You will hear echoes of a quite diverse amount of my musical influences (Steve Vai, Jean-Michel Jarre, Thievery Corporation, Ravi Shankar, Charles Mingus, Radiohead/Thom Yorke, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Dream Theater, Joe Satriani, Miles Davis, Catherine Wheel/Rob Dickinson, Philip Glass, Steve Reich, Allan Holdsworth, Brand New etc. etc. etc.).

Music really isn’t a lucrative endeavor (well, for like .0001 percent of the population it is), but that isn’t why I do it. I do it because I’d be dead without it. I don’t mean that in a morbid way, but rather that music is oxygen to me. I say at the top of this blog that “music is life, music is breath, music is us,” and I bloody well mean that. When it first released (on the weekend of my 24th birthday), I gave it out for free to anyone who wanted it. I care more that people enjoy what I do. Money is rather nice, but I never grew up having it so my priorities ethically and aesthetically are elsewhere.

The reactions to this record have been exactly what I expected in a way. I knew that this record would either be 1) loved 2) hated 3) in the middle 4) one song is cool 5) well that guitar sounds nice (you get the idea). Sometimes I get depressed that I can’t reach a wide audience, but I also realize that to do that I would need to go against everything I stand for musically and philosophically. I would need to go against the advice of Arnold Schoenberg and become the puppet of a music industry which he describes as “…the misguided spirit of industry…does not allow inventions to mature until they are perfect from the artistic point of view…what they are to produce is not an instrument serving art, but something which can be mass-produced and thrown cheaply on the market, and which can be brought out at least once a year in a new fashionable version that makes the earlier ones valueless.”

This is something I could never do. So here I end this exploration into the mind of this artist and say that, if you choose to give my music a chance, I am grateful. Whatever you think, I am simply grateful that you gave me, a very peculiar musician and composer, a chance.

That, my readers and potential listeners, is the point.

Stochastic by Derek Kortepeter is available at, iTunes, and numerous streaming and music distributions sites.

Happy Halloween

Oingo Boingo and Halloween just make sense right? Don’t eat any candy with razor blades (for some reason schools would scare us with that warning when I was a kid). ANYWAY be scared or on a sugar high today. Whatever works. :)


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