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 http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/derekkortepeter2, iTunes, and numerous streaming and music distributions sites.