music

KMUW

Phil Ross is a founding member of the instrumental duo Cricket Wand. A 10-year veteran of the Wichita music scene, he has performed in a variety of bands including Arms For Hands, the experimental noise project Leavenworth, and Low Oriole. He is also owner of 5nakefork Records, co-owner of both Spektrum Music and Straight Screen Printing. Ross counts Primus bassist Les Claypool as his main inspiration for picking up the instrument. Cricket Wand’s current release is called Mega Series Fantastic.

Georgia Andersen / Courtesy photo

Wichita-native Aaron Wirtz is an electronic music and video performance artist whose stage persona, Cutter J the Absurdist, combines the phases of his life into a living collage of music, technology and dance. By combining traditional American folk arts such as tap dancing and spoons playing with an ever-evolving approach to DJing, turntablism, and interactive video art, he seeks to explore the emotional vocabulary of digitally influenced consciousness. Aaron is married to singer Reby Wirtz, recently graduated from Wichita State with his MFA in creative writing, works full time as a social media manager, and contributes to F5, Wichita’s weekly alternative newspaper.

Bella Union Records

Market forces have made it hard for musical innovators to succeed. And then there are The Flaming Lips, who have been able to thrive in the post-digital landscape while creating and delivering music completely on their own terms.

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Carrie Nation and the Speakeasy’s 2010 self-titled debut featured mostly songs about fun and friendships, but when you listen closely to the band’s new record, Hatchetations, you see stark images of American life in the wake of the Great Recession.

Vocalist, guitarist and main songwriter Jarrod Starling says the music now has a narrower lyrical focus, which provides even more emphasis to the social commentary.

“It’s a much darker album," he says. "But I think it explores themes that are universal at least to Americans trying to make a living."

Ryan Hendrix

One of the most important expressions of local musical culture happens every third week in September, when thousands become willing refugees from the city and head south to live in a shanty town founded on bluegrass. It's called the Walnut Valley Festival, but the regulars just call it “Winfield.”

boysketch.deviantart.com / Google Images / Creative Commons

Music in video games has come a long way from the bleeps and bloops heard in the very first games.

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Roots rock trio Moreland and Arbuckle has just issued its latest album, 7 Cities, which marks a number of firsts for the Wichita-based outfit. It’s the first time the band has recorded an entire project outside its home base, the first record to feature drummer Kendall Newby, and the first time the band has worked with an outside producer.

Wikimedia Commons

Four on the floor is certain style of drum beat where the bass drum is hit with a steady quarter-note pulse; four equal stomps on the foot-pedal per measure. It’s very different from older pop beats where the bass drum typically hits beats 1 and 3. It really came into prominence with disco in the seventies, a real departure from rock and funk. Four on the floor is popular now as the driving force of many kinds of electronic dance music.

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Beau Thomas Jarvis holds an undergraduate degree from Friends University and a masters degree in Musicology from Wichita State University. He spent several years living and playing in Los Angeles before returning to his home base in Wichita. He has performed with Jean-Michael Byron (Toto), Doug Grean (Scott Wieland), The Lettermen, Benny Golson and Tim Orindgreff (Black Eyed Peas), among others. He currently teaches jazz piano, jazz combo, jazz big band, and aesthetics through music at Friends University and he plays with various musicians in the Wichita area.

Wikimedia Commons

The drum machine is the most culturally important new musical instrument since the electric guitar.

Electronic drums have been around for generations, and the early ones sounded like the cheesy rhythm attachments on home organs.

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