5. Try Again
Outputmessage – Resurface
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Two years on from his debut album Nebulae, the latest release from Outputmessage – aka New York-born Bernard Emmanuel Farley – is the stunning Resurface EP.
In an age when dance music and electronica is undergoing an identity crisis, Resurface is stirringly forthright: this is whipsmart instrumental electronica, sounding both futuristic and old school with its hints of techno and Krautrock. And it’s totally flab-free, edited into brain-jolting chunks.
The EP is a response to Nebulae, which Bernard felt was unfairly labelled as Intelligent Dance Music. Worrying he’d been attached to a sinking scene, he felt he needed to get straight back to work, but struggled under the weight of his own ambition.
“It was so distressing that for a few months I found it hard to finish any tracks,” says Bernard. “I had started almost 100 different songs, but stopped short of fleshing them out because I was afraid that they weren’t good enough. The Resurface EP is the sound of all this inner conflict and my struggle with these pressures. I think this is why much of the EP sounds so urgent.”
The fraught recording sessions were compounded by the pressure of Bernard’s job – by day, he was teaching algebra to inner city kids in Washington DC.
“The stress level is pretty high, not only from dealing with the students (some who have some serious things to deal with), but also from dealing with the administration,” he says. “I’ll just say that DC schools are considered the worst in the US and it’s probably not because of the students.”
Bernard has now switched back to being a private tutor, giving him more time to concentrate on his myriad musical projects. He has a DJ night called MARQUIS (myspace.com/marquisdc), an electronic pop/rock band called New Models, and an outfit called Dmerit with flatmate and fellow MARQUIS DJ Micah Vellian (Stamen and Pistils, Person, Metropolitan). “With Dmerit, the music we’re making is geared right for the dancefloor,” says Bernard. “We’re trying to combine dance, disco and pop into one powerful thing.”
Bernard and Micah have placed themselves firmly in the middle of an emerging DC scene centred around their blog All Our Noise (www.allournoise.com). “We’re going for that synergy thing where we’re trying to help each other be as musically productive as possible so that we can hurry up and quit our day jobs,” says Bernard.
Central to everything is Bernard’s work as Outputmessage. There’s a new album on the horizon soon, which promises to be more pop and dancefloor-oriented, and even have some of Bernard’s own vocals.
”The idea behind Outputmessage is projecting a message to the listener,” says Bernard. “It could be an emotion, colour, place etc. but every song has meaning to me so the message I’m outputting is a piece of myself”