It's not often that an artist sends in a press kit that makes us stop in our tracks. But a handcrafted, epically beautiful release landed in our laps recently, that of Daydream Lullaby's sleep | wake | delete EP. The music sounds just as quixotic the name implies.
Eric Ryszkiewicz, who just happens to be an air monitoring supervisor for the county health department ("I'm how you know if it's a green or yellow day," he says) is the guy behind it. He'll be releasing the new CD and performing tomorrow night at Cherokee Street's Fort Gondo Compound for the Arts.
On first listen, you wouldn't guess at Rysziewicz's background in hardcore music. The ethereal, layered guitar work on sleep | wake | delete is a hop, skip and a million miles from hardcore. Ryszkiewicz said he wanted to play around with crafting more "relaxing" stuff since he'd never messed with writing slower paced, long form music before.
"I've been writing and recording music on my own for a few years and never really did a whole lot with it. I decided two years ago that I would get a sense of closure if I just did small run releases and either gave them away or tried to sell them to the few people that want them," Ryszkiewicz says.
"One of my big gripes with music today is everyone wants everything to be available on the Internet for free. I think a big part of this is, I wanted to make it more of a craft project. The actual CD with the packaging, that's the thing. It's not the music on the disc that counts. You can't take that as a project and make it available on the Internet," Ryszkiewicz says. He adds that he doesn't like listening to music on online players, but acquiesced to the Internet gods by posting a few short preview tracks on the Daydream Lullaby Myspace page.
Ryszkiewicz will play live at tomorrow night's release party, but will be debuting "more interesting stuff," since he can't fully recreate the sound on the EP in a live setting.
"If I had more expensive gear I could do things like that, but my general approach has been to make the best use of the resources I have. I feel like everyone should make music or art. I've met people who have been buying tens of thousands of dollars worth of studio equipment, but haven't written any music because they don't have their set-up yet. That really doesn't make sense to me, I'm just going to fuck around with what I have."
The release-accompanying accordion book of 22 black-and-white photos shows anonymous urban architecture and streetscapes.
Ryszkiewicz declines to say where they were taken.
"I feel like if I tell people where they're from, it'll kind of ruin it. They're just street scenes from another city in the United States, some of them are very prominent buildings, some of them are from a national landmark. I don't know if you had been to this place you would you necessarily recognize it. Was it interesting to you to look at the pictures, and maybe get a sense of the place but not be sure of where it was? Would it be different if I said these are pictures of Albuquerque, New Mexico?"
He's right, of course. The photos are composed in such a way that their physical location is nearly inscrutable. But their mystery reflects the music and enhances the universal bent to the verse that's interspersed with the photographs.
"Basically I wanted to have something that would be some sort of life-affirming message from a humanist standpoint. I was raised Catholic. I'm not Catholic anymore. If you're not part of any organized religion, you don't pray. Whatever messages you choose to repeat to yourself, whether it's meditating or doing some sort of cognitive therapy, you don't have the support of a religious culture behind that. I just wanted to write something life affirming, not religious in the sense of being Deist, but also true.
"In some sense, the statement, 'I am a body.' Well you know, I'm not only my body but in the greater sense, I am a body. I'm a part of the earth, and I'm a part of the universe; it's sort of weird; that's sort of the point. They affirm that you are a presence in the universe, which, for people when they're feeling alone or bummed out, I hope can be calming. If other people were like, 'Yes, I am part of the Earth' and if that was something we could all agree on and be happy about, I think that would make the world a much better place."
Ryszkiewicz will unleash his photo exhibition and CD release tomorrow night at Fort Gondo Compound For the Arts (3151 Cherokee St.) from 7 to 10 p.m. Ryszkiewicz promises good snacks and "the best in swilly beers."
"Why come on out Saturday night? Because South City is going to be fucking hopping. Aside from my event, there's the grand opening at Peridot, Cole Root and Francesca Wilmotts' debut of Los Caminos, and a set by the Union Electric at Mangia later in the evening.
"So much stuff," Ryszkiewicz says. "Why not make a night of it?"