From Earth Orbit: Introduction

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Welcome to From Earth Orbit, a newly launched blog organized around my activities in the electronic music scene. My intention is to pick up where I left off with my old blog, Ektoplazm, which evolved into a music distribution portal and record label group in 2008. Prior to that I had been sharing my mixes, local Toronto-area event listings, record reviews, intriguing quotations, and opinion pieces about various aspects of the music industry. After Ektoplazm became more known for distributing original music I began to obscure most of the more personal content on the site, and eventually removed almost all of it. I kept several of my DJ mixes online but even those began to feel somewhat out of place amongst all the Creative Commons-licensed music. In the mid-2010s I started using services like Mixcloud to host my mixes, declining to promote my work as Basilisk on my own homepage, with only a few exceptions for projects directly related to Ektoplazm’s new direction. I also gave up on blogging about electronic music culture apart from the odd post on Facebook, but I’d rather not exclusively rely on corporate-controlled social media to express myself. Evidently I needed another outlet for my work in electronic music culture—which is precisely what this blog is intended to be.

Starting an electronic music blog in 2019 probably seems rather unusual. The vast majority of DJs have no significant web presence outside of the major social networks—and those who do are typically represented by web sites akin to glossy marketing brochures. Hardly anyone blogs anymore, especially not in the segments of the electronic music continuum that I am most familiar with, but I really enjoy having an home on the web for my various projects. Whatever you share on social media rapidly disappears over the time horizon—but content on a blog is easily resurfaced through search and other means. The ability to readily access archival content is quite important to those of us interested in making things of lasting value. I have already imported hundreds of pieces of content from my old blog and will continue to revise and reinstate more posts as time goes on. I have also compiled a definitive catalog of my best and most listenable mixes from 2004 to present, all of which are now available for streaming and downloading.

I named this blog From Earth Orbit, an allusion to a Philip K. Dick story in which an astronaut, stranded in space after a nuclear catastrophe engulfs our home planet, becomes an accidental DJ. With access to an expansive record collection he starts to broadcast to the shattered remnants of earthbound civilization, providing a link to the past without ever being able to return there himself. The parallels with my own experience should be obvious; although I’ve devoted a good chunk of my life to this musical subculture you’ll not see my name on the line-ups of the big international festivals. I chose to take a different path, one that was more in harmony with my creative and political ideals, and found myself excluded from the higher echelons of the international scene. Part of the reason is that psytrance culture has no real use or appreciation for DJs completely dedicated to their craft—you need a major label affiliation, strong connections with industry movers and shakers, or some production credits to your name to get anywhere in this business. I focused my time on mastering my craft and subverting the industry, two activities that generated a fair amount of interest from music fans but little of the prestige necessary to be drawn into the festival circuit. I’ve made my peace with being a perpetual outsider, and the name of this blog is an acknowledgement of my status as dissident and exile.

Operating outside of the establishment has some advantages, anyway; I am free to pursue whatever musical interests animate me at any given time, and I no longer feel any obligation to stay current with any particular genre. In the last few years I’ve had a blast ranging more widely than ever before, travelling far beyond the boundaries of psytrance to explore adjacent styles I previously overlooked: techno, IDM, progressive house and trance, electro, and much more. In the decade since I was last blogging I even launched a second project, Synaptic FX, specifically to explore various forms of house music, and this probably won’t be the last identity I assume as my musical interests expand.

I have many other plans for this blog beyond what I’ve already mentioned—but I’ve learned it’s better to remain vague than lay out a mission statement. Blogs are best conceived as mutable projects, and I rather let the site speak for itself as time goes on, except where it is necessary to explain.

As for the Ektoplazm relaunch, that’s still coming. From Earth Orbit actually shares a codebase with the next Ektoplazm site design, and part of the impetus for launching it now is to test for errors, gather feedback, and continue developing several of the more complex features common to both sites. Expect this blog to mutate and evolve.

Finally, if you’re interested in supporting what I do, feel free to make a contribution on Patreon!