If you’re satisfied with the status quo stop reading here. However, if you’re among those of us who’ve ever felt the magnetic, pulsating, relentless need for change then plug in and blast off with The Satellite DJ Project 1. I’ve always wanted to write a conceptual record much like The Who’s Tommy or Pink Floyd’s The Wall. Although the Satellite DJ straddles the line between stark experimentalism and sublime alt. rock melodies, the listener can’t help piecing together a story of sort. The soundscape mirrors a hybrid of gossiping synth, effects laden guitars and mesmerizing vocals. I wanted to create the love child of Pink Floyd and Beck. I’m not ashamed to admit my influences. We all have them.
On this project, I wanted to combine my passion for space exploration, emotional expression and interesting music. I basically wanted to transport my ideas and studio into space. My initial goal was to capture the concept and idea in an audio format. My ultimate goal is to see it through as a full-blown Broadway show. Can you imagine listening to a DJ that transmits his thoughts, songs and emotions to your satellite radio from space? Is outer space where artsy rock stars go to hide?
During the writing process I tried to actually emotionally connect myself with making a trip into space, inhabit a satellite and transmit varying messages to listeners on earth. I wanted the listener to feel like somewhat of a Peeping Tom as he is alternately lulled and jerked by an artist with a sci-fi fetish. I want the listeners to quietly ask themselves; is the Satellite DJ a sociopath unable to live as part of society? A criminal on the lam? Or did he hitch a ride to heal broken heart? But in the end you really won’t mind; you’ll just be glad you could go along for the ride. Ultimately, I want the earthlings to be credited with the ability to understand the trip, something that sets this experience apart from many other staid contemporaries. A refreshing evolution and a new story for the masses so to speak.
The recipe for the success of this work is simple, really: equal parts instrumental expression in its most pure form and lyrical relevancy. I realize it’s interpreted as a ballsy move; the SDJ Project 1 immediately puts itself creatively on the line. There is no Top 40 or radio friendly hope or intent for that matter. Consider the lyrics on the first track, “Satellite Thing”: …tossing, turning/ rolling, burning/I can’t get this Satellite Thing off my mind. The idea has been conceived and preparations have considered and put into motion. He has decided it’s something he has to do. The inevitable launch takes place at the end of the tune and Satellite DJ is now in space and searching for a home orbit around earth. Obviously, I’ve considered the fact a certain amount of acclimation is required when traveling into space. The physical, mental and emotional demands experienced by astronauts are well documented. The next track, “Thinking While Sleeping”, captures the delirious state The SDJ is experiencing. He’s not really sure if he’s thinking or sleeping among an irresistible slice of instrumental variety. It samples the world of techno-electronica without sacrificing instruments. All this is combined with some surreal wordplay if you need/ think while you sleep/ when you see/ look for the dream/ and you will be right next to me/ constantly. He also adds… “I’m not star cause I’m blinking…” and toward the end of the song you sense some comfort. With each track being its own trip, extended musical interludes make it possible to unload and repack your baggage in between.
Arguably the most profound and thought-provoking piece on the album is found in “Hope is Floating”. His emotional state during this track is at its height. A certain amount of fulfillment and hope is expressed… A beautiful world sleeps with a beautiful mind/ they laugh and dance/ they wine and dine/life’s so rich/and full of song/you can stand in its sun/until your shadows long. Homage to nonconformists everywhere (and those who wish they were). It beckons us into the light of the Neo World and is no less than a modern symphony. At this point he’s so convinced about his purpose and message he really can’t believe the life we’re living or the life he once had. “Hope is Floating” yields to “Wicked Stars”, a song were he tells it like it is… I can’t believe you’re down there channel surfing while I’m up here counting stars. He’s almost annoyed by our mundane lives and he’s thinking his is well…so wicked, in the good sense of the word. Feeling he bleeds genius on an almost hemophiliac level. But in the end of this musical section, or Warp* there’s a hint it’s all going to change.
The common thread throughout is this: a sense that the Satellite DJ is thrusting his fist into the mind of the listener, palming his psyche and questioning its worth before turning his attention to a new subject—himself.
The listener can’t help but notice a change in the introspective “Feelings Worn”. Far from being overwrought, it is simply a beautiful display of emotion highlighted by a blended, multi-tracked chorus. The SDJ begins to question himself…how many days have I really swirled in my DJ Satellite around this world? My feelings are worn…and in the end he finally asks…should I lower this thing in a field of corn? He is a man and men come from families. He is obviously is experiencing a void that can be filled with only human contact. A careful consideration he overlooked.
After a one minute lull carried by “Thinking While Sleeping 2”, a musical interlude, “100 Years” pleas with the listener. The SDJ longs for communication…. I can’t hear you/sounds like you’re screaming through marble/so lean over your window sill/ I still have a chance if you will…he eventually realizes the inevitable…in a 100 years we’ll all ghosts… “100 Years” gives way to “Downtime Astroman”, a song that states the obvious…I’m a downtime astroman/you can see me spinning around this here tin can/hear my reverb/like I’m in a garbage can/cause I’m a downtime astroman… In the end The SDJ decides that he doesn’t mind being in space….I don’t mind being in space/you can tell by the look on my face… He’s come the full circle or should I say full orbit. He communicates that with lush vocals throughout the outro of the song weaving in and out of spaced out dueling guitars. Listen for the sound byte taken from NASA’s vault at the end of Warp 4.
“Urban Panic” is the meat of Warp 5. It’s his message to the people to not fear the media and government propaganda. No need for urban panic because its time to redirect our attitudes no matter what culture we hail from. A lecture from space delivered with a driven synth-laden hip-hop beat. He tells us…. I’m flying by your town…carrying a rebellious tone with him. Project 1 concludes with “UB313 Planet 10”, NASA’s name given to the 10th planet in our solar system. This instrumental may serve as a segue to Project 2. Enjoy the experience I surely did.
* The SDJ Project 1 is broken down into 5 Warps. Each Warp contains two to three songs with various interludes.