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Jon Cohen – Lorem Ipsum | Album Review & The Making Of.

Kono Vidovic January 24, 2021 185 96 5

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Jon Cohen is a Montreal songwriter/multi-instrumentalist whose electrifying story-songs transport listeners into the dreamlike dance floors of their minds. His tunes are rooted in 90s fuzz-washed electro and quickly reach toward the sunshine of hip-shaking electro grooves. Full of reflective abandon, familiar and strange, with all the burning hope of jumping off a cliff with a brand-new parachute.

Jon Cohen – Lorem Ipsum.

Cohen just released a new album entitled ‘Lorem Ipsum’ on Sugar Gator Records, (distributed worldwide through Fontana North and Orchard Music). Lorem Ipsum is the first electronic pop album of its kind in Canada, recorded entirely on an iPhone.

The eight tracks are an eclectic mix of musical genres including electronic, pop and danse. Mixed by Steven Chouinard (Le Couleur, Beat Market, Lisbon Lux) and featuring guest musicians Sabrina Halde (Groenland), Justin Wright, Élodie Gros (Machine Gun Sally) and Lou Laurence (DJ Champion).

The CBC did an article on Jon’s album Here. Here’s Jon giving a few of his thoughts on the making of this iPhone album. 

Jon Cohen about his new album Lorem Ipsum.

“I’m pretty old school when it comes to music. I record with a band, classic instruments, classic arrangements etc. But my new project was a real departure from this. During the pandemic, I heard of this artist Steve Lacy who produced Kendrick Lamar, and how he made a song using his iPhone. I loved the concept and the ease with which he put his beats together.

It got me thinking maybe I could do that too. Fast forward to 8 months later, that’s just what I did! And so was born Lorem Ipsum, my first 8 track album recorded and performed entirely on my iPhone SE. I’m super proud of this new album (Lorem Ipsum) not just because of the medium used to make it but also because it was my first time making electronic music. 

The creative process.

It mainly took time, lots of it…since the pandemic I have had a lot of free time and no one to play music with so I jumped on this opportunity to work on a new project of making an album using only my iPhone SE (a pretty old and crappy phone actually).

It was also my first time doing anything using my iPhone! For me Ableton Live always seemed too scary and hard to master but with beat-making apps on my phone Auxy, Electribe, Moog, Flux etc., it just felt right and easy. I could move quickly with my ideas. I could be creative without falling into troubleshooting snags constantly.

Making music & beats on an iPhone. 

As I mentioned, it took a great deal of micro managing music to get to a good place, so I spent a lot of time making beats on my phone non stop. Couldn’t have done this without the free time the pandemic afforded me so at least there is a silver lining to all this disaster for me.

I wanted to make sure the music did not fall into the “loop” trap, meaning I did not want every loop or pass to sound the same (same drums, same melody etc) so I made sure each part of my songs had 16 to 32 measures and i did a lot of copy paste on apps like Auxy and garage band, then slightly altered each part so although it sounded the same, it was still different even if the changes were subtle.

With these music making apps, I also liked that there were not too many options to mess with the sounds, like in ableton, I get lost in all the options. Too many clips, too many instruments, too many samples etc., for me it kills the creativity, I like to keep moving forward, to keep the juices flowing, as soon as I get bogged down in a envelope filter quandary or why is my lop warped when the bpm follow button is on while the quantize 16th is set to blah blah blah… Sorry I’m leaving this party! 

Check out the official music video for Jon Cohen – Rhode Island.

Used music making apps & effects.

I used apps on my phone for variety of sounds, auxy mainly, Moog, and electribe and also garage band when I wanted to bring in organic instruments, which I did quite a bit of at the end cause I wanted to give the music a “human” or ‘organic’ ’ feel. I added piano, acoustic guitar, xylophone, and of course voices, I did harmonies with some of my friends, added percussion etc. I did this using an iRig for microphones and guitars and did a lot (A LOT) of file exports to add on new instruments in line with the music Garageband app as the last step of the process.

One of my favourite effects in these apps like Flux, was “Ducking”, I just love the pumping sound and I find it makes the music so much more vibrant.

Thank u iCloud.

I downloaded all the individual stems from auxy as well as mixdowns, and the whole thing was saved on iCloud. Though I normally hate iCloud, this time it was my saving grace. I dropped my phone in the kitchen sink once and freaked out because I was 90% finished and it got soaked. I then found all my stems on icloud and just transferred everything thank God for that.

Jon Cohen - Lorem Ipsum

Mixing things down.

When I was finally happy with all the tracks I mixed it on a regular system with my friend and great music producer Steve Chouinard. In retrospect I’m not sure this was a totally necessary step as the music in Auxy lives in a vacuum already and is perfectly mixed, already pre EQd and pre compressed etc. But like I said, I’m old school and I have to follow the path I know. So for better or for worse I mixed it outboard OOTB (out of the box).

Final conclusion on this new approach of music making.

I learned a lot on this project (especially to back it up!). It forced me to rethink how I write music, lyrics and song structures, which was really cool. It got me to think of music making from a totally different angle, something I advise all musicians to do once in a while, learn new skills, pick up a new instrument, new ideas, get out of your own shell. This album definitely sparked a new light in me. I hope it will in you too!

Follow Jon Cohen on his music socials to stay updated on new releases.

Jon Cohen on Bandcamp

Jon Cohen official website

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Kono Vidovic at Dirty Disco

Kono Vidovic

DJ | MUSIC CURATOR & SELECTOR | PODCAST MAKER | BLOGGER Professional online interpreneur. Coffee practitioner. Electronic music culture maven. Total music guru. Infuriatingly humble problem solver. Food & sports fanatic.

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