The Consciousness of Space Presented by Sound
Born, bred and raised in Malton, Ontario. Moved to India for a while and upon returning, used the over abundance of time for making music, paintings and galaxies...
2013 (Winter) O
2013 (Summer) +
2012 (Autumn) A Soft Circle
2011 (Summer) 01
2011 (Winter) Features of Spheres
2011 The Road To Olandra (collaboration with Kevin Renick)
2010 Close To Something Beautiful (collaboration with Kevin Renick on hidden track “Anonymous”)
2008 Mars and the Toucan
…the cats meow
“Quite simply, this is the best electronica work I've ever heard by an unsigned musician...” PlaybackSTL Magazine
“It wraps around you like a warm glove in a way most modern ambient doesn't seem to... delightfully schizophrenic, see-sawing from wacky to spiritual.” Stephen Fruitman
“Bubble provides an interesting juxtaposition of a large variety of sounds, coupled with space yet melodic guitar, and programmed percussion, creating an aural buffet.” Indie Productions
All songs written, performed, produced, engineered, cajoled to, loved and dreamed of
Press Kit Introduction
There are many people these days making electronic or ambient music, believing that their little processed bleeps, pings and fruity loops are somehow innovative enough to warrant your attention. It takes a special brand of musician to work in this genre and actually transport you to someplace new. The artist presently known as Cow, the name used by Toronto sonic wizard John Sobocan, is that rare musician who adds to the genre and can help you experience it with fresh ears. With uncanny intuition and an aesthetic which channels the best work of Brian Eno without in any way being derivative, Sobocan nails three essential qualities of good ambient music that makes his work stand out: the music is richly organic, never sounding like someone who is just amusing himself with an afternoon's knob twiddling; the sounds are layered and resonant, fully rewarding the kind of deep listening that Eno declared is essential to true ambient music; and the music transports you somewhere, providing a soundtrack for either travel or stillness, whichever state you happen to be in—and does so in a way that alters the impact of your experience.
Sobocan is blessed with a natural curiosity about the aural universe, as well as an almost spiritual affinity for the natural world that allows him to utilize sounds such as crickets, bird calls and rain in a way that's always fresh and mesmerizing, almost never lapsing into new age cliches. He can't be accused of copping these sounds from innovators in the field such as Eno, Pete Namlook and Steve Roach because Sobocan has created most of his body of work without even hearing these gentlemen. It's more that he shares some particulars of their aesthetic regarding the natural world, but has added some unique twists of his own. Sobocan has traveled widely, and spent enough time in vast, wild landscapes to have absorbed their, well, ambience—and is able to recreate his experiences with eerie acuity. He also shares Eno's childlike sense of curiosity about all things strange and mysterious. Sure, he can twiddle those knobs with the best of 'em, but he's always looking for—and very nearly always finding—sonic landscapes that are more than worth a look-see for the open-minded listener. On both his debut CD, Mars and the Toucan, and in his recent work, Sobocan offers multi-textured music that is playful, hypnotic, eerie, light, dark, pleasing and unsettling in equal measure. The work is restless, bold, constantly evolving, constantly altering your perceptions of life and landscape. Ambient music as a whole is a genre still in need of respect—it's the Rodney Dangerfield of musical styles.
But when an innovator comes along, they should be given their due—and Sobocan is a genuinely exciting artist in this field. Shortly after his debut release, Sobocan crossed paths with St. Louis singer/songwriter Kevin Renick, before Renick became known for his title track for the acclaimed Jason Reitman film Up In The Air. The two collaborated on an album called The Road To Olandra, an ambient and spoken word outing that will be released early in 2011. Irish scribe Wayne Byrne, says this of the Olandra project: “This musical collaboration with soundscape artist John Sobocan... is a haunting piece, mixing stark atmospherics and some of Renick's own poetic writings which he speaks over the ensuing tracks. It is at times unrelentingly dark but often soul-inspiring, music that takes you to another place, somewhere out of the dirge of everyday life, a vision of a world under the microscope of a very fine journalist of the minutiae of our existence.”
Ambient scholar Stephen Fruitman said of Sobocan's music: “It wraps around you like a warm glove in a way most modern ambient doesn't seem to... delightfully schizophrenic, see-sawing from wacky to spiritual.”
Sobocan's new recording, Features of Spheres, is clearly the sound of a sonic auteur and musical conceptualist of rare depth and attention to detail. If your taste in ambience run towards the transformative, contemplative and mysterious, you owe it to yourself to investigate Sobocan's work as Cow. In a genre still mostly under the radar in the music marketplace, Sobocan is one artist who cares enough to move things along to a higher level.