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Dilettante Room E Births Penguin Child

The year is 2012 and everything is awesome. There’s a taco shop on every street corner. Indian summers have been enhanced with Yankee summers, which peak in January and run through May, thanks to global warming (finally). Televisions have ten thousand channels. My cell phone makes waffles. Hoverboards probably exist somewhere, or will soon. And brilliant, unheard of music is being made with a galaxy of acoustic and electronic instruments that mankind is only beginning to fully grasp.

Case in point: local trans-genre musician Dan Harumi aka Room E, who recently released his debut full-length album, Penguin Child.

The 26-year-old Bay Area native mixes live and programmed electronic music with what he calls “dilettante-style instrumentation” - a pastiche of turntables, live drum samples, xylophone, pump organ, melodica, accordion, synth, electric bass, Ableton, and “random stuff around the house.”

“Instead of a hi-hat, I made a recording of tapping on a water bottle with a pen and EQ-ed it to make it sound cool,” Harumi says. “I also used a field recorder to get doors slamming shut or a bike on the concrete and then put them into Ableton. Once you have the sound in front of you, you can use it as a drum or pitch it up and down to create a melody.”

In addition to found sound and household percussion, Harumi recorded jam sessions with drummer Mike Hams (A Scribe Amidst the Lions, V Drago, Brian Ellis Group) at Control Center for the Sun Studios, chopped up the recordings, and built songs around the beats.

“The album continues on themes first presented in Lanterns, namely the use of an elegant, baroque tone within the context of contemporary beat music,” Harumi writes on his website.

The result is a mercurial aesthetic often rooted in post-Dilla instrumental hip hop beats of the Flying Lotus, Nosaj Thing, Baths, and Gold Panda ilk.

While finding parallels with the L.A. beat crowd, Room E readily branches off on tangents of ambient pop, drum n bass, afrobeat, IDM, jazz, and post-rock, alternately reminiscent of Squarepusher, the Brainfeeder roster, Boards of Canada, and The Cure.

Despite his kindred rhythm with the local and L.A. beat sounds, Harumi says that he’s mostly shared lineups with bands.

“I played the Stage a few months ago after two guys with acoustic guitars playing Weezer covers,” Harumi recalls. “People liked it. They may not have come out to see electronic music, but once they’re in the mood for music, they like it. I’d like to see people and genres come together a little more.”

Using Ableton as a tool to arrange live instruments rather than purely electronic sounds and performing with a live set up of turntables, midi keys, a Kaoss pad, and a laptop, Harumi says, “I didn’t really aim to make an electronic album, so I don’t really emphasize the electronic aspect as much. I try not to think in terms of genre when I’m making music.”

Room E’s next project will be “more straight forward hip hop beats” with MC duo Parker & the Numberman.

Penguin Child is available in a limited run of 100 CDs at $10 or $7 online.

Stream Penguin Child.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBZcNA6eo_E

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The year is 2012 and everything is awesome. There’s a taco shop on every street corner. Indian summers have been enhanced with Yankee summers, which peak in January and run through May, thanks to global warming (finally). Televisions have ten thousand channels. My cell phone makes waffles. Hoverboards probably exist somewhere, or will soon. And brilliant, unheard of music is being made with a galaxy of acoustic and electronic instruments that mankind is only beginning to fully grasp.

Case in point: local trans-genre musician Dan Harumi aka Room E, who recently released his debut full-length album, Penguin Child.

The 26-year-old Bay Area native mixes live and programmed electronic music with what he calls “dilettante-style instrumentation” - a pastiche of turntables, live drum samples, xylophone, pump organ, melodica, accordion, synth, electric bass, Ableton, and “random stuff around the house.”

“Instead of a hi-hat, I made a recording of tapping on a water bottle with a pen and EQ-ed it to make it sound cool,” Harumi says. “I also used a field recorder to get doors slamming shut or a bike on the concrete and then put them into Ableton. Once you have the sound in front of you, you can use it as a drum or pitch it up and down to create a melody.”

In addition to found sound and household percussion, Harumi recorded jam sessions with drummer Mike Hams (A Scribe Amidst the Lions, V Drago, Brian Ellis Group) at Control Center for the Sun Studios, chopped up the recordings, and built songs around the beats.

“The album continues on themes first presented in Lanterns, namely the use of an elegant, baroque tone within the context of contemporary beat music,” Harumi writes on his website.

The result is a mercurial aesthetic often rooted in post-Dilla instrumental hip hop beats of the Flying Lotus, Nosaj Thing, Baths, and Gold Panda ilk.

While finding parallels with the L.A. beat crowd, Room E readily branches off on tangents of ambient pop, drum n bass, afrobeat, IDM, jazz, and post-rock, alternately reminiscent of Squarepusher, the Brainfeeder roster, Boards of Canada, and The Cure.

Despite his kindred rhythm with the local and L.A. beat sounds, Harumi says that he’s mostly shared lineups with bands.

“I played the Stage a few months ago after two guys with acoustic guitars playing Weezer covers,” Harumi recalls. “People liked it. They may not have come out to see electronic music, but once they’re in the mood for music, they like it. I’d like to see people and genres come together a little more.”

Using Ableton as a tool to arrange live instruments rather than purely electronic sounds and performing with a live set up of turntables, midi keys, a Kaoss pad, and a laptop, Harumi says, “I didn’t really aim to make an electronic album, so I don’t really emphasize the electronic aspect as much. I try not to think in terms of genre when I’m making music.”

Room E’s next project will be “more straight forward hip hop beats” with MC duo Parker & the Numberman.

Penguin Child is available in a limited run of 100 CDs at $10 or $7 online.

Stream Penguin Child.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBZcNA6eo_E

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