All of us, whether we are artists creating music or just avid listeners of music will have our tastes change and adapt over time. The freedom to explore other genres and styles gives us great power to seek out the feelings and emotions we want. Our recent find Bialuma has had quite a journey in his musical creations.
The artist also known as 32 year old Ryan Hubbard began making music at the age of 15 and was heavily entrenched in the Metal and Post-Rock scenes. This basis allowed him to explore more sounds as he matured. Ryan earned his way to Frankfurt, Germany on a Fulbright Fellowship. While there studying philosophy he began making electronic music and adopted the Bialuma moniker. Now back in Syracuse, New York, he has developed an original sound that is tough to categorize. Think downtempo ambient sounds coupled with electronica and glitch.
Last year Bialuma released a self titled EP to share this new sound with the masses. The 8 track record can take the listener on quite a journey. The deep buried samples on “Bury” fall aside as the dark and slightly ominous sounds creep in to create the tone. More and more sounds are added throughout to create an interesting kaleidoscope of music. “Story Of A Dawn” expands the speakers even further with wave patterns drawing you in as glitchy noises keep you off guard and in tune while waiting to see where the song will go next. Beautiful classical instruments are scattered in for good measure. Now that you are deep in the rabbit hole “Sever” comes along to fully encapsulate you and claim your ears and mind as property of Bialuma. The atmospheric sounds seem cold but there is a prettiness in there that welcomes you into this world.
Indie Band Guru had a chance to speak with Bialuma recently to get into what makes the artist tick. Enjoy the interview here:
Bialuma is quite an interesting moniker, Where did that come from?
I wanted to make up a word so that it wouldn’t refer to anything else but my music. Sometimes when your moniker refers to something else it can come back to bite you. Just look at the band ISIS. Talk about bad luck! The word bialuma comes from the word bioluminescence, which is how some organisms can produce their own light. There’s something about these amazing things in nature that inspires the creative process behind producing my music.
How would you describe your sound?
Someone once called it downtempo IDM. I think that’s a pretty good way to categorize it. This first album is a lot more melodic than the stuff I’m working on now. It layers ambient synths under the kind of non-traditional rhythm hits you find in IDM music. But it’s not as fast. I keep the BPM at 120. If Drukqs took a bunch of xanax and slept with Geogaddi something like my sound would pop out.
You began playing music in the Metal and Post-Rock genres. How did the switch to what you create today happen?
I played in bands all throughout high school and college. After college I got a grant to do research in Germany. I jammed out a little bit with some people there but it wasn’t enough as a creative outlet. So I decided to start composing music on the computer with a small midi controller I had brought over. That’s when I started learning how to make electronic music.
What artists influenced your current sound?
A lot of my music has a dark edge and I’m almost positive this comes from all metal and grindcore I used to listen to. Bands like At the Gates, Emperor, and Discordance Axis come to mind. I think listening to that kind of music and getting into electronic stuff naturally led me to artists like Proem and Autechre. Boards of Canada and Arovane have been very influential also.
Being a Philosophy Instructor is not a side job that we hear often for a musician. How do the two worlds intersect?
Part of why I love making music is that it allows me to get away from the analytic rigor of doing philosophy. I’m passionate about writing and teaching philosophy but it’s missing a kind of creativity that I need to express. I find that with music. On the other hand, doing philosophy involves a lot of rigorous thinking and conceptual analysis. I think this has helped me understand the technical side of producing music as well as the compositional side.
What is next for Bialuma?
I’m currently finishing up my second album. The sound is warmer and more raw than the first since I used more analog recording. I also took a different approach by orienting composition around sound design rather than melody. I plan on releasing a single from that in the next few months. Ideas for an EP project down the line are also on the back burner.
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