Aron Magner: Outstanding Music Created During the Pandemic
Aron Magner is best known for his phalanx of keyboards on stage with The Disco Biscuits. He also debuted an incredible “acoustic” trio called Spaga, where he plays grand piano. He has been part of Conspirator and Electron, two Biscuits offshoots, and has performed with numerous others, including Grateful Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann’s group Billy & the Kids.
During the pandemic, The Disco Biscuits played a few livestream shows and some others in safe and sound environments, but, for the most part, the band members have been at home. This gave Magner, a true keyboard wizard, time to play at home, and much of that turned very introspective. He explains:
“During stand-still life of quarantine last Spring, I turned to creating ambient music to simply self-soothe and soon realized the therapeutic effects were also resonating with my family as the music carried throughout the house. At the time, I wasn’t sure on a theoretical level why it was happening, but as I started creating this music on my own, I took a deeper dive into its background and origins… The ambient tones were pacifying to play, and the process became my breath. I was reminded of my musical encounters with Mickey Hart and his obsession with the power of The Drone.”
The music certainly also pays homage to the first noted ambient artist, Dr. Brian Eno, whose early albums No Pussyfooting and Evening Star with Robert Fripp and then 1975’s Discreet Music would pave the way for Ambient 1/Music for Airports (1978), opening the floodgates for thousands of great ambient artists.
Magner first published “Octomesh” in January, followed by this new EP The Ambient Mode. “Octomesh” is gorgeous with a percussive pulse driving. This could have been in a Conspirator setlist.
The Ambient Mode is more laid-back than “Octomesh.” These songs expand the sounds we have been accustomed to hearing from Magner with The Disco Biscuits and the other groups. “Will-O-Wisp” also features a percussive track, and the drone is more prominent. The combination of synths and electric piano is mesmerizing.
“Noire” centers on grand piano and would be perfect for meditation, truly magnificent.
“Here and Now” is dark and lovely, synths laying the groundwork before electric piano insinuates itself. “The Goo” lightens the mood a bit, that drone again at the center of the track with lovely percussion via synths and computer. “5am” is the trippy conclusion to this fine EP, reminding of the Jerry Garcia and Howard Wales classic “One A.M. Approach” from Hooteroll?
Here’s betting you listen to this over and over!