Chrome Sparks’ self titled LP is an immersive sonic experiment
Chrome Sparks — aka Jeremy Malvin — defines the term “genre bender,” bringing a forward-thinking and versatile sound to the global electrosphere.
The 27 year old Brooklyn resident’s approach to production is nestled somewhere within the intersection of club grooves, heavy sampling, hip hop and glazed synth work. The result is ear candy for those seeking a heady malt of sonic textures.
Take for example “Marijuana,” Malvin’s most successful track to date which samples Idris Muhammad’s defining ballad “Could Heaven Ever Be Like This.” He worries about being confined by its success. “That’s the track that I spent by far the least amount of time on, of any track I’ve released” he confided to Dancing Astronaut in a discussion on his current artistic path.
“It goes to show, when you have an idea that resonates with people, it doesn’t take much for it to sink in.”
Malvin isn’t letting such a notion obstruct his vision for the future, though, citing his latest efforts as the beginning of an entirely new chapter. “I never fear it will define me because I think I’m still just getting started as an artist. There’s still a long road ahead and I’m just thankful that track has done what it has for me.”
Chrome Sparks newest album, Chrome Sparks, thus comes to light as an immersive sonic experiment, one in which Jeremy Malvin charters a spaceship into the peculiar corners of electronic music’s sonic galaxy.
As the project’s intro track, “Rocket”, circumnavigates the 360 degree headspace of the listener with a 3D field of moog synths, Malvin’s idea of artistic progression is elucidated, a reveletory moment. This isn’t the same Chrome Sparks you may have been introduced to via “Marijuana,” nor is it in the same vein as his standout track “Moonraker.” The track actively sets the tone for the entire project and its thematic focus, leaving fans with nothing but a mere glimpse into the sonic direction the project is about to head into. The odd truth, though, is that it doesn’t have a direction at all.
At times Malvin may stray from a central focus, bouncing between styles from track to track. The result of his undying desire to experiment. The progressive cadences present on “Still Think”— which melt into a sonic crescendo — are an apt juxtaposition to the thickly layered hip hop drums and oscillating synths that characterize “Sugar”. One might not even believe that the two tracks come from the same universe, let alone the same LP. Such occurrences are welcomed, though, and offer a glimpse into Malvin’s multitude of influences.
Chrome Sparks makes it hard to pick out any sort of pinnacle. Club goers might be more inclined to dub Malvin’s Kllo collaboration “I Just Wanna” or “O, My Perfection” as the album’s height, though, considering both respective track’s groove laden drum samples and prodding structure.
Malvin speaks fondly on his relationship with technology as a producer. “I think it’s a beautiful marriage when you get it feeling right,” he says, “because at heart I’m a percussionist and a classical musician, and that’s the stuff that really gets into my soul, but at the same time, I’m obsessed with synths and techno and dance music, so I need that in there as well. So, I think finding that balance is always something I’m striving for.”
The essence of the project — and what might be its greatest point of inflection — is its ability to shape and bend at the listener’s desire. The fluidity that it exudes allows for a variety of contextualizations to take place, whether that be on the dance floor, in bed with headphones on or in the car on a road trip with friends.
“I kind of feel uncomfortable telling anyone how to experience it” he says. “I’d just like them to have an open mind and put on some good headphones and dictate their own story to this thing that took me quite some time and means quite a lot to me. I hope it can mean a lot to other people in whichever way they choose and whichever way it dictates itself to them, whether they want to lie in the bed and listen on headphones, or blast it at a party; I just hope they can find some meaning in it.”
Maybe the project is not about the specifics of contextualization at all, but more about the fact that we are contextualizing music in the first place. After all, it’s a strange journey we embark on after a tumultuous birth, and it’s up to us to define our journey by the parameters that we, as individuals, set ourselves.