by RACHEL SIEMENS & r & & r & & lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & J & lt;/span & effrey Snyder has been playing music since he was 11. Now 32, he's mild-mannered, polite and has only recently begun to gain notoriety. That's surprising, given his innovative mixing of folk and electronica, two of the most opposing genres of music ever. Mixing folk and electronica is like mixing onions and peanut butter or, say, Kylie Minogue and Conor Oberst.
His first album was self-titled pairing with Los Angeles' Adrien Capozzi, known in intelligent dance music (IDM) circles as Adrien75. Capozzi compiled the beats while Snyder brought the lyrics and guitar work. Snyder says of his first album that they "tried to use the psychedelic aesthetic of IDM" as a basis. (IDM is a dance movement characterized by the fact that you couldn't dance to it -- irony at its best.) This mismatch of folk and electronica has at least tenuous ties to psychedelics and has created an interesting and at times poignant piece of art. And it was a great platform for Snyder's career.
Snyder pulled together his second effort, Tonight's Favors (which came out in August), in just three weeks, saying simply that "spontaneity of composition gives it the theme." Harkening to the jam era of the '70s, it still manages to seamlessly blend the millennial electronic age of today.
"It has a stream-of-consciousness aesthetic," Snyder remarks. With ethereal lyrics and transient beats, the man's music is very much a soundtrack for the night sky. On "Moonbounce," the bass is light and the beat drifts along. His guitar interweaves with the synth melodies, creating the ideal foundation for dreamy, nostalgic lyrics ("Do you ever look back on your youth / when there was no labyrinth to the truth / all we wanted was so crystal clear / just to have our loved ones close and near / jumping up and down / on the moonbounce now").
"Halo Operadora," is sung half in English, half in Spanish, and easily could have been performed by the Oompa Loompas -- the 1970s versions, though, not from Tim Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Most of the rest of the album contains that dream-like effect. Probably due to his approach, with his first album, he came into it with prewritten songs and music that he had had simmering for a while.
Snyder wrote the songs that became Tonight's Favors during production, and this accidental approach lends itself well to both his aesthetic and the resultant music. The trance-like effect it has on the listener is at once soothing and strangely exciting.
Cosmic Starfish with Atomic Gainsay, Beth Lavelle and Melody Moore at Empyrean on Thursday, Sept. 6 at 7 pm. Call 838-9819.