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KDIC Showcase: Electronic Potpourri with Evan Bruns ’16

As the electronic music movement progresses, more and more unique, niche-based sub-genres develop, each with its own distinctive feel. KDIC DJ Evan Bruns ’16 wants to expose Grinnell to all his favorites. His radio show, Electric Potpourri, focuses on electronic music and its various sub-genres.

“I play electronic music, but I use a broad definition of that term,” Bruns said. “I play EDM [Electronic Dance Music], IDM [Intelligent Dance Music] or even Animal Collective—freak folk with lots of electronic elements. Anything with synthesizers, I’ll play.”

EDM currently has a huge following. Festivals like Ultra in Florida attract thousands upon thousands of people from around the country. IDM is a more heavy-handed, avant-garde approach to music that uses various instruments to create or deconstruct electronic music.

“IDM is really hit or miss. Some of the better IDM songs sound like EDM songs. At a certain point, it’s so experimental that it’s experimental for its own sake. Sometimes it doesn’t even make good music,” Bruns said.

Out of these various sub-genres, Bruns most likes witch house.

“It’s a fun genre. I’m a little sad because it’s something that has died out a bit. It’s slowed down hip-hop with ominous synth. I don’t play a lot of it now because it’s too nice outside for music like that, but I’ll play a lot of it in the winter,” Bruns said.

Grimes is often classified as witch house, but for this genre, Bruns prefers the band CRIM3S.

“Grimes, her earliest stuff is witch house, but I don’t think it’s true witch house. I would definitely mention CRIM3S. They’re an up-and-coming British act and got an MTV spotlight. They’re pretty much the last people doing good witch house,” Bruns said.

Bruns’ knowledge of electronic music comes from a strong interest in artists that spark his imagination through their exploration of what music can be. He started listening to electronic music in high school and came to appreciate the technical nuances of the genre.

“I had this physics class with this kid who sat next to me and would talk about Deadmau5 all the time. I didn’t know who he was, so I listened to some Deadmau5, and I really liked it. I branched out from there. There’s a wider sound palette—there’s a lot of stuff you can do with a guitar, but you’re a little more limited,” Bruns said.

Bruns demonstrates this ability himself, adding his own touch to the music he plays during his show. His inspiration comes from all the possibilities for rearranging elements of a song—something electronic musicians do so skillfully themselves.

“I play songs I know and love, and I mix live on air. The other day I was playing a Pendulum song, and I noticed that the bass line was similar to a bass line in another song. Halfway through the song I switched over to the Blank Banshee song, and I was playing them on top of each other and it sounded pretty good,” Bruns said.

Electronic music is a genre that relies on combining different types of music or noises to create new sounds. For Bruns, this offers room to achieve a synergy between form and content. The way he mixes demonstrates a dedication to the organic and versatile nature of the genre.

“A song on pop radio is going to sound the same as the last time that station played it. When I mix something, I fool around—more than just blending tracks. I can loop different sections, pitch shift, mess around with the speed. I can do a bunch of things that can make it sound different from what you’re used to. I wouldn’t call it a remix, but I would call it a twist,” Bruns said.

To explore a cornucopia of electronic music and pay witness to Bruns’ mad DJ skills, tune in to Electronic Potpourri, broadcast on 88.5 FM or KDIC online, Fridays from 5 to 6 p.m.

Bruns live in the studio. Photo by Jacob Salzman.
Bruns live in the studio. Photo by Jacob Salzman.



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