The season change has arrived. Cold stiff breezes and leaves dropping from their branches. The sky turns a darker grey and this is the time of year- that funny time of year where all things nostalgic resurface and warm our cold, cold bodies. A time when beanies, sweaters, fireplaces, wine and warm sherry are welcomed at night. Late night conversations that turn into friends gathered around the warm hearth, crackling embers burn and snap. Friends sharing a pleasant and glowing room, the clocks hands move around and round, spinning, dizzily until all time has been lost to the bottom of the bottle of wine, until time simply drips away alike the last drips of wine sitting at the bottom of empty glasses.
This is the time of year for something warming, something to break the spell of the cold biting wind. We seek out the tools that would bring us comfort and happiness. This is what I seek to share. A new concept, a new ideal that could bring us warmth in the cold months of the year and bring new energy, new zeal, and new frenzy to keep the engine that drives EDM warm and stable during the months of frigidity.
Now even though there has been debate about what DJ’s roles are when playing live sets; I seek to revive that debate and pull into question what a DJ can do, and what limitations must be broken in order to keep the kinetics of the waves of music moving, undulating under lasers in the pale moonlight.
People have debated whether or not Deadmau5’s statement that “We all push play” is even worth discussion, or if Bassnectar’s statement, “During a set I work nonstop, frantically combining unlimited loops & sounds & samples & effects into customized ‘live remixes’…” is closer to the truth. These things are questions that call to the core of what a DJ’s role is on stage, and if they’re nothing more than glorified button pushers after all.
Take a second… Just take a second to look… Think of music as a garden, and look at EDM as a flourishing plant; a growing tree in a garden of good and evil. I’d like to believe that there are still legitimate artists and performers out there- homegrown artists that actually perform live and make real music. What with all the finger pointing and mudslinging about ghostwriting and prerecorded sets, there has to be some good out there, right? What if I told you that we should give the “button pushers” some credit? Not all of them really represent an evil… they might be the ‘nasty fruit’ of the pick, but they have also played their part in enlightening us to a new world of sound.
So who are these underground “button mashers”? Some on the more technical side dubbed, “controllerists”. This term is something bright and futuristic that could only arrive out of a generation of video game addicts that demand the ultimate accessibility, modifications, and stimulation. According to the textbook definition on wiki “Controllerism is the art and practice of using musical software controllers, e.g. MIDI, Open Sound Control (OSC), joystick, etc., to build upon, mix, scratch, remix, effect, modify, or otherwise create music, usually by a Digital DJ or ‘controllerist’”. Controllerism is a musical movement that’s horrified some and enthralled others. Ladies and Gentlemen, today we take a step into the digital underground.
Please allow me to present: MOLDOVER.
MOLDOVER might not be new- he’s been around since circa 2010, but with the following on his social media, we can definitely say he’s fresh… On that note, can somebody PLEASE make this guy a Wiki page? It’s true that his music isn’t exactly what you’d find on well… any Top 100 chart, but you have to give MOLDOVER some credit for having been affectionately dubbed the “Godfather of controllerism” by his fans. His music isn’t released by any label, but rather, is available for free download via the MOLDOVER bandcamp page. If I had to sum up his work in a short-and-sweet manner: It is experimental. WAIT! Before I scare you off, allow me to remind you that first and foremost, you shouldn’t fear change. MOLDOVER is a musician who isn’t afraid to bridge the gap of technology, short attention spans, and electronic music. Like I said before, it’s FRESH. What more could you want? Even if you don’t have undying praise for the man and his music, you must at the very least respect his talent, his crystal clear chemistry with his gear, and his fearlessness to create new genre in a realm of music that has genre categories to the Nth degree. Also, his debut album featured the Theremin, throughout… If you don’t appreciate Theremins, you’re not living life properly. Alas I rant, without further ado; I present the musical stylings of MOLDOVER!
Now that we’ve established a fresh perspective on controllerism, I feel it just and right to introduce you to a musician who is also exploring the depths of this underground movement.
This young man hails from Long Beach, California, also sans record label… Rahfee Zahkee is a multi-instrumentalist who severed his hand trying to break open a winebottle, leaving him unable to play traditional instruments during his recovery. After his thumb was reattached, and the recovery process completed, Zahkee decided to turn to something that didn’t require as much use of his thumb: electronic music. I’ve heard stranger stories. RZ now DJs and cranks out both original music and remixes on the fly at his shows. Apparently, he’s also known for reprogramming DJ gear and video game controllers/wireless technologies, similar to what the community has seen from Ean Golden a little further north in California’s Bay Area. Zahkee’s music is exciting, enigmatic, and burgeoning into a self-contained genre all its own.
^^ Rahfee Zahkee – Worry (Produced Live) ^^
^^ Rahfee Zahkee Intergalactic Collision ^^
Even though Controllerism is still by and large an underground movement, and these talented young artists are not signed onto any label or headlining festivals, they’re still more than worth the listen. These are the individuals who will serve as a springboard for a new musical evolution. I believe this is the direction that electronic music is taking… Live manipulation of samples, sequenced synthesizers, analog drums, bitcrushed riffs, and a ton of energy to boot- all in a completely LIVE environment. As this bottle of wine draws to a close and we return from places unknown, crank up the heat and turn up the music… Let the cold months nip at your heels and bite at your doors like a blizzard or flurry, as it ices over the streets, closes schools and silences cities. Keep your Ipod charged in preparation for a blackout; with time to burn, by candlelight, let the music take you away. Until next week…
Gabriel Barrio is a writer, music enthusiast, and vegan from Las Cruces, New Mexico.
Please direct any messages to:
with the subject heading “Take Me Away”.