I’m excited to officially announce my upcoming electronic album, OldStyle. This album is a collaboration with my brother Dj CUTMAN, video game DJ and founder of the label GameChops. OldStyle is a collection of some of my favorite baroque pieces remixed into electronic dance music (EDM).
It was important to me to represent a broad spectrum under the “baroque” umbrella—17th and 18th century, multiple nationalities (Italian, French, German), big-name high Baroque composers like Bach, Handel, and Vivaldi, and more obscure favorites like Couperin and Ortiz. In addition to making the album well-rounded on the baroque side, I wanted to include some of the main styles in electronic dance music today like house, trap, hip hop, and chiptune.
I think the more we explore music, the more we see how much of it is the same. I may have initially been drawn to baroque music because the sound was unique, but the more I study it, the more I find parallels with present day. I find it remarkable that something created 300 years ago can still convey a human experience—it reminds us that as much as technology, society, and culture changes, we are always human.
Baroque and EDM are an unlikely and excellent combination for a number of reasons. Surprisingly, most baroque music was largely informed by dance. Dancing was an enormous part of culture in the 17th and 18th centuries, and most composers modeled their pieces after specific dances (minuet, for example). Though baroque dance might not look like anything you’d ever see in a club, instrumental dance music will always have its own identity compared to music with vocals or music intended for worship. I think this common thread immediately unites these two repertoires.
Beyond that, there are more specific areas of overlap. Baroque dance music often sticks to simple, repetitive chord progressions, which is quite similar to popular music in the 21st century. It instantly gives these old works a segment of the piece that works as a “chorus,” which can then be inserted throughout the song to give it a more contemporary form.