#CMPremiere – Finale by Mike RochaTuesday, February 7th, 2017
Acclaimed Toronto producer and composer Mike Rocha is releasing his debut album, Finale, on Feb. 10th via Pirates Blend Records, but Canadian Musician is bringing you the collection a few days early in this exclusive #CMPremiere.
Finale is a unique and expansive work – an all-analog, orchestral-style synth record that Rocha composed and recorded himself. The artist calls it “a linear exploration of self” – one that examines human thoughts, emotions, and conditions through minimalist tones, menacing tensions, and lush, elegant soundscapes.
“I started with the concept of a ‘synth orchestra’ following the simple guideline of ‘lots of synth textures, each only playing one or two notes tops’– like most elements of a conventional orchestra,” begins Rocha, delving further into his concept and approach. “Keeping with that idea, I avoided using MIDI and played all of the parts by hand except for where I was going for a specifically sequenced metronomic rhythm.”
Best known for his production resume which includes indie/punk band Greys (Buzz Records/Carpark), synth pop duo Electric Youth (Secretly Canadian), and Toronto bassist, Eon Sinclair (Bedouin Soundclash), Rocha has been able to utilize his eclectic background to articulate a range of dynamic ideas into his debut release.
Commencing with “Careful”, Finale introduces itself with a pensive and excited curiosity. Its sonic undertones of fear and anxiety foreshadow the dominating and pulsing tensions found on “Generator,” “Glitter,” and “Escape”. Conversely, moments of tranquility, innocence, and love weave around the darker themes on tracks “Maternal,” “Kid,” and “Thought”, and act as subtle reminders of hope as the soundtrack unveils and resolves its captivating storyline.
Rocha relied heavily on his Dave Smith Instruments Prophet 08, calling it his “weapon of choice” for much of the effort because of its dexterity with assigning multiple sound-shaping functions to foot pedals, aftertouch, and wheels.
“The result was that I could get the same level of expression with the synth as with instruments that I frequently play on other people’s records like piano, double bass, and electric guitar,” he continues. “I would play parts over and over until the intended expression was captured, similar to any other live instrument. Even in regards to drums and percussion, it was never my goal to actively avoid using them; I just never reached the point where I felt it was needed because all of the rhythm and intensity I desired was fulfilled by the synths. Maybe I’ll give a kick drum a try on the next album…”
The result is a compelling and refreshingly ambitious collection that you can enjoy exclusively in this #CMPremiere.
Those in the Toronto area can also check out the Finale Album Release Party, happening Friday, Feb. 17th at 8 pm at DAIS/Tkaronto Gallery at 1196 Queen St. West. Mike will give a special performance at 10 pm and also be showcasing a print photography series that marries each of the album’s track with a corresponding abstract photograph taken during the creation of the record. The photography series will also be shown on Saturday, Feb. 18th from 12-5 pm.
For more information, visit www.piratesblend.com/artists/mikerocha.html.