New Artist Spotlight: The Science of Sound with Electric Treatment for Free
We can think of electronic music as more closely related to science and math because of the equipment it was made on and the waveforms on the screen in a way that our musical predecessors could only have dreamed of, but the science and math of music have at least been studied intensively since the time of the ancient Greeks. Pythagoras is of course known for his theorem on measuring triangles, but he also applied his studies and findings to music.
Look forward through wax cylinders, Musique Concrète, Tangerine Dream and now EDM. The science and math of sound is more important to pop culture than ever, and there is a strong fleet of experimental artists driving this research. Ottowa-based Electric Treatment Free could definitely be counted among those experimenters, although it was only recently splashed onto the stage. His self-titled debut is definitely a study of how sounds come together.
An audio-acoustics-free-for-all, Electric Treatment Free (real name Mark Uygur) explains how the EP was made really easy:
“All music that is written by a person and played by a computer.”
That’s pretty much all that is easy about this EP. As with much audio-acoustic work, you can actually hear the math flowing through each song, be it abstractly, as if the Greeks philosophized about it, or you’re the Rachel Riley guy, and you can actually see Pascal’s triangle build itself up . This current flows through the beats and sounds and brings the cosmic, untouchable nature of music back to earth.
That is not to say that the work of Electric Treatment Free does not evoke emotion. But on the contrary. There are many different melodies in melodies like the lead “Study 4”, even with so much theory and sound design being played. The intro sounds cosmic and emotional and fits perfectly on a psytrance track, while the flesh evokes feelings of Switched-On Bach and other early electronic / classical fusion works. Uygur plays with sine waves with such speed and precision that one might wonder if he is actually playing a theremin.
After the five-minute “Study 4”, which is almost exclusively about melody, “andrei’s bright day” is a one-minute clip that experiments with vocal loops, static and the organized noise of a dissonant piano. Similarly, “The Brother of Sleep” is a study of vintage audio loops, but more of a recitation with a slightly relaxed and easy-going melody as a driver than a recognizable beat.
The penultimate track on the EP is literally called “Math” (tell yourself) and is a ratatat-style guitar track. Uygur named the track in brackets “Conlon Guitars” and this could refer to the famous guitar teacher Tom Conlon, but it is unclear whether this means that it is inspired, sampled or played by. In either case, the style is similar and the math of the notes and melodies is undeniable.
After all, “Fort Smith” is the only track on this EP with a beat, and even more surprisingly, it’s a drum and bass beat with some kind of half-amen pattern and it’s just a section of the track. “Fort Smith” seems almost like a sampler of the rest of the EP, with the theremin-like classic sine wave work, the vintage vocal loops and the heavy guitars playing a role in a sort of experimental electronica cacophony with a vintage twist. Voice ends in a calm way of saying “roll out” that goes against the organized chaos in the rest of the EP.
Musicologists like Uygur as Electric Treatment Free are really that important because they remember not only that music is also abstractly made up of mathematics and theory, but also those who hold the key to more innovation in other genres. Electronic music finally came about when someone learned to tape the sounds of a train in France. Previously, philosophers and mathematicians worked to find out and explain the science of sound. Instead of making it clinical and sterile, this endeavor seeks to blend in with the eternity and infallibility of music. This is why we can feel so much even when EDM is often just a bunch of ones and zeros in a computer program.
Electrical Treatment – Share now to stream or purchase on the artist’s Bandcamp page.