Spencer Brown manifests complexity into flow state with, ‘Stream of Consciousness’ [Review/Q&A]

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Spencer Brown manifests complexity into flow state with, ‘Stream of Consciousness’ [Review/Q&A]Spencer Brown Press Shot

Creating music with the listening beauty of mass appeal akin to a radio hit, but defying the essence of the rinse-and-repeat mentality—this is a feat Spencer Brown is privy to. In a few flashy years, the 26 year-old producer has toured with the late Avicii, debuted his first album Illusion of Perfection, risen as heavyweight label Anjuna‘s prodigy, collaborated with Above & Beyond on dance floor staple, “Long Way From Home,” exponentially grown a dedicated fanbase, and to top it off, graduated from Duke University with a distinction. As if his lengthy attainments were simply starter courses, Brown has decidedly delivered his sophomore album Stream of Consciousness less than two years after his 2018 debut LP.

As music stands in its current state, there has been an undeniable loss of the album as a body of work, complicated by the growing appeal of a cash-out, declining listener appreciation, and other factors. Brown could care less; rather, his agenda is the complete opposite; his commitment to the presentation of his art remains steadfast. While both albums boast striking standalone tracks, their true power comes in a listening experience packaged collectively in full-length. Where Stream of Consciousness diverges from its predecessor is its purposeful conception as a mix album, building upon the idea of “flow state.” In Brown’s intention for his second album, he hones the art of mixing in an execution that truly exceeds his debut.

Stream of Consciousness‘s movement from track to track contain an effortlessness that speaks to Brown’s lucid grasp on the album as as whole. The 12-track album finds ingenuity in its ability to portray multiple nuances of one central identity as opposed to conjoining separate characters. Paired with crisp production and meticulous engineering, Brown’s latest effort encompass songs as their borderlines morph into fleeting dispositions, succumbing to the mix wizard’s disintegration.

With acutely-tuned sensitivity, Brown knows that for an album to make an indelible impression on a listener, it requires patience. True enough, Stream of Consciousness grows more sublime with every listen—the tiny details become more attuned while conceptual themes bloom. Opening track, “SF to Berlin” provides the subtle building ground to introduce the “flow state” experience, intertwining Ben Böhmer‘s nostalgic touches with Brown’s melodic structures in a celestial sonic playground. The pace inches along as the mix moves along to “Love & Pain” which introduces low-end frequencies embellished by twinkling melodies. Catalyzed by snares and driving beats, the Marsh-assisted, “Pursuance” delves into deeper progressive territories, its full-bodied layers of otherworldly choirs and multi-synth lines crescendoing in-and-out of tension before evaporating into repose.

The two tracks come after serve as an interlude that give emotional lightness without loss of movement—”LA ID” take on a downtempo appearance while Paperwhite‘s airy vocals permeate throughout, “Chance On Us.” What follows in the second half of Stream of Consciousness depict more curious undertones as Brown explores the eccentricity of percussion and craftsmanship of layers with Qrion in “Foggy August“, mystifying arpeggio progressions in “Everything’s a Cycle“, and tingling buildups reminiscent of progressive masters like Eric Prydz in “Resilience.”

Stream of Consciousness has been years in the making with Brown fruitfully gathering the pieces to complete the puzzle. His presence on each track is undeniable, yet the immaculate construction of each in its own individual qualities remains distinct. No idea, drum pattern or song anatomy read the same; meanwhile, his signature stylistic elements of progressive, techno, and trance continually interweave in dexterous ways. Unlike those who fall into their old habits of repetitive and formulaic artistry, Brown whittles away the limitations of creative walls. Uncovering evocations of wistfulness, rumination, allure, tranquility, insomnia, and more through his manifestations of “flow state”, Brown has proved once again his craft transcends an art form.


Congratulations of releasing Stream of Consciousness. What draws you towards making music that keeps listeners in a flow state? 
Thank you so much! Grateful that it’s finally out. I’m obsessed with making music that’s interlocked with a specific memory or experience. When that moment in your life is forever tied with that music. I find my concentration/flow breaks when the music changes too much.  I make music for myself—and flow state music is how I love to study, drive, travel, and work. I hope it resonates with you all too.

You’ve been gathering tracks for Stream of Consciousness since 2015; I’m sure you’ve been sitting on tons of unreleased material as well that may or may not ever see the light of day in the form of a completed project. What is your mindset towards this process of continuously creating?
I’m always making music; I only use my laptop. I can bring my projects anywhere I go and don’t need to rely on external equipment. Sometimes I notice certain tracks mesh with others very well…and that’s how my albums organically sprout.

What were some of the challenges you faced conceiving a mix album? 
Dance music has gravitated toward blasting radio-edited singles on streaming platforms. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with it, it’s simply not the way I want to present my art. It’s certainly a mental challenge getting over the fact that if I play ‘the game,’ I may get more streams/popularity. But I’d rather make exactly what I want to make and have my work deeply resonate with loving fans. I’m very grateful I have a team and label who sees eye-to-eye with my vision.

You mixed Stream of Consciousness entirely on your own. How were you able to strive for perfection in revising your product repeatedly without tiring out and keeping a pair of fresh eyes? 
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t tire out. I did. In the final few months of mixing my album, I felt as though I couldn’t be myself until the album was done. The 20 times I thought the album was done, I’d make some major change that would require a ton of extra work. I was starting to lose my mind and was becoming moderately depressed. Thankfully once I finished the final product, the stressed-and-depressed headspace faded rather quickly.

Were there any technical changes you made going into the studio for the mix album as opposed to Illusion of Perfection?
Definitely. I learn something new every day. My production/mixing skills have matured since I wrote Illusion of Perfection, so mixing took significantly longer on Stream of Consciousness. I’m hyper-focused on every little detail.

Do you have any favorite tracks off the mix album and why? 
Each track serves a purpose in my sets and within the album, so I can’t really choose a favorite. But I am very pleased with how it came out; I feel as though I created the vision in my head.

You were joined by a few Anjuna label mates and previous Illusion of Perfection collaborators on the new album as well. Can you tell me about your relationship with any of them and the collaborative process that goes on?
Most of the collaborations I’ve done in my career are simply hanging out with friends in the studio. We don’t really attempt to make ‘a record’ — we are merely messing around. All the collaborations came about that way except “Pursuance” with Marsh. For that track, Marsh sent me over a little idea he made via email, and I absolutely fell in love with it. I worked on it in pure flow state for 4 hours…and the track was finished.

How much of your passion for the art of DJing influence your production craft?
They fuel each other. I create pieces in the studio that I want to play in my DJ sets. Likewise, I find missing pieces in sets while DJing that I need to create in the studio. I don’t plan sets and always read the room—that’s how I learned to DJ almost 15 years ago at little 8th-grade birthday parties and Bar Mitzvahs. I love it this way, but it requires a huge repertoire of music and an ear for what is missing in the record bag (and how to create it!).

This tour will be the biggest one of your career yet. What are you looking forward to? 
I’m grateful to share my work with so many amazing people around the world. Language, culture, beliefs, sexuality… labels do not matter on the dancefloor. I love this environment. Music and shows have healed me beyond any words, so I hope to do the same with all the loving fans.

As an openly LBGT individual, what was your journey embracing that part of your identity and how has that found a place in your development as an artist? 
I did not realize I was gay until I was 21 (I am 26 now). Before then, I was an anxious and depressed mess. I didn’t know who I was personally or musically. Through discovering myself personally, my life has gotten much better; through my self-growth came an understanding of who I am as an artist too. If you don’t know yourself, how are you supposed to create music from your heart?

Who and what are some of the major influences for your music currently? 
Guy J is my favorite artist. I’ve been a fan since 2012 or 2013, but my love for his music has grown over the years. I’ve seen him live many times and had the pleasure of meeting him a couple of times. He is such a friendly guy, and I’m always low-key fanboying inside when we say hello.
Outside of Guy J, I love Hernan Cattaneo, Tame Impala, Sasha and Digweed. I’ve been extremely inspired by old Sasha and Digweed mix albums that were popular long before I was into dance music (and before I was born). I find some of the purest inspiration can be found by looking long in the past.

 
Any last words? 
Always do you. F*** anyone who tells you otherwise.

Spencer Brown shares extended cut off ‘Stream of Consciousness’

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Spencer Brown shares extended cut off ‘Stream of Consciousness’Spencer Brown Mary Beth Koetha

Spencer Brown opened February by dropping his sophomore LP, Stream of Consciousness. The album, a culmination of years of work, is an otherworldy gem covering a diverse array of electronic genres. Stream of Consciousness has since conjured a new wave of Spencer Brown fans, who’ve heavily expressed their cravings for additional magic from the San Francisco-based producer. He now obliges them with a brand new extended cut.

“Womaa,” the closing track on Stream of Consciousness, is a majestic, uplifting track. Oscillating between hymnal chords and an impactful house-insipired chorus, “Womaa” ends Brown’s LP on a soul-filling note. The extended cut keeps the track’s core feeling alive and well, but gives the listener more space to settle in throughout. Along with the album, the Wilt Clayborne-assisted track is released via Anjunabeats.

Photo Credit: Mary Beth Koetha for TexasMonthly

Spencer Brown unveils otherworldly sophomore LP, ‘Stream of Consciousness’

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Spencer Brown unveils otherworldly sophomore LP, ‘Stream of Consciousness’Spencer Brown Press Shot

8 months after the release of his debut LP, Illusion Of Perfection, trance connoisseur Spencer Brown has released his new mix album Stream of Consciousness. The San Francisco-based producer revealed to fans that the album was coming after dropping the first two singles in early December.

The album is a diverse range of releases, with some tracks featuring subtle and otherworldly beats. Meanwhile, a variety of other singles from the compilation feature infectious and upbeat melodies that enlist compelling vocalists. A highlight of the album includes the catchy, yet ethereal “Lose You.” Collaborators include Ben Böhmer, Wilt Claybourne, Liam Hathaway, and more.

Brown speaks extensively on the album, his inspirations, and the process of creating the compilation. He states, “The mix album took 329 revisions to finalize. I’m a control freak with my mixes—it’s deeply ingrained in my creative process. With that in mind, I didn’t send any tracks to anyone for mix help, and I created and mixed 100% of the final product. Creating an album of radio-edited singles has never interested me creatively. I prefer to craft music that keeps my listener in a flow state—working, studying, traveling, exercising, dancing, whatever it may be. I conceived my album as one carefully mixed piece: an hour and  change of continuous music. It’s a collection of tracks I wrote from 2015 to 2019, inspired by the majesty of nature, missing a loved one, and the ups and downs of touring—all bundled into a single Stream of Consciousness.”

Stream of Consciousness is out now via Anjunabeats.

Photo Credit: Bennett Sell-Klein

NMF Roundup: Duck Sauce make their return with ‘Smiley Face,’ Louis the Child share ‘Don’t Mind’ + more

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NMF Roundup: Duck Sauce make their return with ‘Smiley Face,’ Louis the Child share ‘Don’t Mind’ + moreDuck Sauce Credit Philey SannehFilterlessCo

It’s most important day of the week: New Music Friday. With the overwhelming amount of tunes hitting the airwaves today, Dancing Astronaut has you covered with the latest edition of The Hot 25.

As each week brings a succession of new music from some of electronic music’s biggest artists, here’s a selection of tracks that shouldn’t be missed this NMF.

Photo credit: Philey Sanneh/FilterlessCo

Spencer Brown leads a contemplative journey in two-track ‘Stream of Consciousness’ EP

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Spencer Brown leads a contemplative journey in two-track ‘Stream of Consciousness’ EPSpencer Brown Photo By Samuel Chiu

Spencer Brown has proven himself to be a full-fledged sonic wizard over the course of the past 11 months. In 2019, the San Francisco producer has unveiled everything from a deadmau5 remix to a collaboration with Raito, following up his successful 2018 album, Illusion of Perfection, with a string of notable releases.

His newest collection of work is a two-track Anjunabeats EP called Stream of Consciousness, which features the six-minute “SF to Berlin” with Ben Böhmer and its counterpart, “Lose You,” which is a solo Brown venture. As with all Spencer Brown releases, the new songs are dreamy and thought-provoking. “SF to Berlin” is easily identifiable as a Brown-Böhmer piece of work, with its drifting melody and otherworldly, serene soundscape. “Lose You” takes the energy up a notch as Brown taps incorporates powerful female vocals into his peaceful instrumentals.

Stream of Consciousness is Brown’s third and final EP of 2019 and makes for a satisfying companion to May’s Sapporo with Qrion and October’s Gatekeeper EP with Ilan Bluestone.

Photo credit: Samuel Chiu

Spencer Brown introduces forthcoming ‘Stream of Consciousness’ LP with first two singles

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Spencer Brown introduces forthcoming ‘Stream of Consciousness’ LP with first two singlesSpencer Brown Photo By Samuel Chiu

Spencer Brown has proven himself to be a full-fledged sonic wizard over the course of the past 11 months. In 2019, the San Francisco producer has unveiled everything from a deadmau5 remix to a collaboration with Raito, following up his successful 2018 album, Illusion of Perfection, with a string of notable releases.

His newest collection includes (so far) two songs: the six-minute “SF to Berlin” with Ben Böhmer and its counterpart, “Lose You,” which is a solo Brown venture. As with all Spencer Brown releases, the new songs are dreamy and thought-provoking. “SF to Berlin” is easily identifiable as a Brown-Böhmer piece of work, with its drifting melody and otherworldly, serene soundscape. “Lose You” takes the energy up a notch as Brown taps incorporates powerful female vocals into his peaceful instrumentals.

The songs are the first two offerings from Brown’s Stream of Consciousness LP, which drops Jan. 31 via Anjunabeats. Pre-order it here.

Photo credit: Samuel Chiu

Anjuna announces details and lineup for Anjunabeats elevations

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Anjuna announces details and lineup for Anjunabeats elevations636132311417960229 1247347347 Jeff

In coincidence with its 20th anniversary, Anjunabeats has announced its winter destination festival: Anjunabeats elevations. The inaugural edition of elevations will feature five nights of music and winter sport activities, with trance and progressive curated by none other than the Anjuna label. The Above & Beyond-headed label previously held Anjunadeep presents: Explorations in Dhërmi, Albania this June. The deep house-focused event will also return in 2020.

Elevations’ lineup will feature 28 artists including Seven Lions, Mat Zo, Spencer Brown, Cosmic Gate, Dirty South, and more. In addition to enjoying the slopes, attendees have the opportunity to participate in other offerings such as bottomless brunch with Anjuna DJs, igloo parties with special guest sets, and yoga and wellness programs. More details regarding additional activities will be available in the coming months.

Anjunabeats elevations is set to take place March 28-April 3 in Avoriaz, France. Boasting the highest resort in the Franco-Swiss region of Portes du Soleil, Avoriaz is the largest connected ski area in the world.

Presale opens Monday, Nov. 4 here. Packages begin at £259 per person.

Anjuna announces details and lineup for Anjunabeats elevationsFlyer 1

Photo credit: Rukes

Spencer Brown and Ilan Bluestone team up for a scintillating collaborative EP, ‘Gatekeeper’

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Spencer Brown and Ilan Bluestone team up for a scintillating collaborative EP, ‘Gatekeeper’EHkuEjvAIAOU

Spencer Brown and Ilan Bluestone have released a collaborative EP, Gatekeeper, on Anjunabeats after joining the label bosses on their monumental Above & Beyond ABGT350 show in Prague earlier this month.

The extended play comes with six tracks, three originals, and their edit counterparts. “Pooperling” has a resounding cool ambiance that touches trance with fairly tropical melodies. “Gatekeeper” is a bit more on the heavy, thumping trance side, allowing the hard-hitting kick and underlying bass to take control of center stage while brushing melodies make an appearance later in the scene to set up for a big finale. “Steelyard” hits listeners with a crescendo after crescendo focusing on that sparkling build element.

Spencer Brown recently painted lush sonic imagery on deadmau5‘s “fn pig” on the mau5trap head honcho’s here’s the drop! remix album. Ilan Bluestone released his sophomore EP, We Are The Universe, on Anjunabeats in May and proceeded with a 44-date tour.

Spencer Brown previews forthcoming ‘here’s the drop!’ deadmau5 remix LP with his take on ‘fn pig (ov)’

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Spencer Brown previews forthcoming ‘here’s the drop!’ deadmau5 remix LP with his take on ‘fn pig (ov)’Spencer Brown Press Image

Spencer Brown has proven time and time again that he’s a master at painting lush sonic imagery. On Sept. 20, he proves it once again with a remix of deadmau5‘s “fn pig (ov).”

Brown’s remix clocks in at nearly 10 minutes long, and this length is justified by the intricate and serene introduction he’s created. The first minute dives right in with a powerful house beat, but it backs off just before the two-minute mark as Brown slowly crescendos into the main theme of the song. His rendition is a masterful interpretation of deadmau5’s original, which was part of the mau5trap head honcho’s 2018 where’s the drop? orchestral album.

here’s the drop! comes out Oct. 4 and features remixes from Morgan Page, Rinzen, Matt Lange, No Mana, and many more. Pre-save it here.

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Good Morning Mix: Above & Beyond craft a mesmerizing mix on ‘Anjunabeats Volume 14’

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Good Morning Mix: Above & Beyond craft a mesmerizing mix on ‘Anjunabeats Volume 14’Above Beyond Abgt

Anjunabeats Volume 14 has arrived and Friday morning has never sounded so good. After two years, UK trio Above & Beyond have released the latest edition of their compilation series — Anjunabeats Volume 14. Encompassing tracks from both Anjuna artists and the beloved trance act themselves, Vol. 14 melds the poignant styles of both imprints Anjunabeats and Anjunadeep into one ephemeral listening experience that not only testifies to Above & Beyond’s curation abilities, but also exemplifies the diversity of talent harbored within the imprint’s roster. With a synergy unlike many other labels and a signature sound ubiquitously championed by all its artists, Anjuna continues to dominate dance-floors, arenas, and clubs alike. Mixed in the midst of Above & Beyond’s thrilling journey alongside their 2018 album Common Ground, Vol. 14 pushes forward an expanding vision of trance and deep house over the course of a two-disc, 34-track collection.

Weaving together Anjunadeep picks, Disc 1 eases the listener in by starting off with mellow, hypnotic tracks and gradually building into the euphoric energy permeating throughout most of Vol. 14. By the conclusion of Disc 1, the listener has been fully primed for Disc 2’s intensity which brings with full-force a brand of progressive trance made for stadium capacity. With selections bursting with nuances in production, pace, and soundscape, Vol. 14 features Anjuna favorites like Spencer Brown, Andrew Bayer, Sunny Lax, Jason Ross, and more, while simultaneously highlighting new remixes and updated mixes. Including a Dave DK remix of Andrew Bayer’s “In My Last Life”, Tinlicker remix of Above & Beyond’s “Always”, i_o’s remix of Above & Beyond’s “Alchemy”, updated Above & Beyond mixes of their own songs “Liquid Love”, “There’s Only You”, “Alone Tonight”, “Distorted Truth”, and releases from Ilan Bluestone, Oliver Smith, GRUM, and more, Vol. 14 will go down as one for the books.

Anjunabeats Volume 14 mixed by Above & Beyond is available now. Find Above & Beyond’s tour dates here.

Photo Credits: Amelia Troubridge