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jo9n - full biography

The music I compose under the moniker "jo9n" is relaxing and meditative. Typically, it would be considered similar to the ambient work of Brian Eno. While not superficially happy in tone, jo9n songs tend to be less menacing than pieces written as"Dark Atoms."

Why the stage name "jo9n"?

I first used the nom de plume "jo'n" when I was writing poetry and drawing back in my college days. Eventually this name (no silent "h" and all lower case) became magical for me, so it only made sense when I began to develop a musical persona that "jo9n" would be the stage name under which I would publish my music.

As it would turn out, there's a gal who has produced some music under the name, so to avoid confusion, I changed the apostrophe to a 9. (Fans of Neil Stephenson's book "Snow Crash" may recognize a little tip of the hat there.)

Early recordings

I started seriously exploring ambient/electronic music in the mid 1980's when my friend Yvonne bought me a Yamaha DX100. Pumping my DX100 through an old Yamaha G5 guitar amp, and recording onto an audio cassette in my ghetto blaster using its built-in condenser mic, I was able to record my explorations, albeit at a very rudimentary level. Soon I incorporated a Sony Walkman into my setup, playing my initial track on the Walkman (plugged in to the second channel of my amp) and playing live along with it while recording onto the ghetto blaster.

Doing this, I was able to get about four tracks laid before the noise introduced by the condenser mic became too overpowering. It was only later, when I bought a Yamaha MT-2X multi-track cassette recorder, that I was able to layer in more than four tracks.

The Epiphany of "Music for Airports"

In 1989 my friend Yvonne sent me a copy of Brian Eno's "Music for Airports." This album literally changed my life, introducing me to the musical concept of tape loop experiments. The idea that you could play a musical note or phrase followed by a length of silence and then combine this with other phrases or notes with different lengths of silence was reminiscent of an observation I made as a child in our family car.

I noticed that when my dad had the turn signal on, it made an audible "click-CLICK… click-CLICK… click-CLICK." I also noticed that the tail light of the car in front of us blinked, sometimes in time with the clicking, and sometimes it would slowly move out of alignment with it. I used to enjoy seeing how long it would take for the light to synchronize with the click, and how long it would take to get noticeably off-time.

i  i  i  i  i  i  i  i  i  i  i  i
t   t   t   t   t   t   t   t   t 
w     w     w     w     w     w   
a      a      a      a      a     
s           s           s         
c    c    c    c    c    c    c   
o      o      o      o      o     
o              o              o   
l         l         l         l   
!       !       !       !       ! 
              

Silence in Motion

I have since spent over two decades refining my compositional techniques and developing my sound. The music could best be described as meditational in nature. I generally try to avoid a sense of meter in my pieces. The idea is more to suspend the listener in time, to remove the listener from the sense of time progressing. It can be used to great effect in aid of concentration (I often listen to my music while working on projects to help me focus) or meditation.

I enjoy listening to it, and I hope you will enjoy it as well.

John.

 

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