One of the finer qualities of music is the temporal feeling it can provoke, the visual images it shapes in your mind, the ability to be without being. Maybe you’re strolling in a dewy forest, and the sweet aroma of pine fills the air; you’re stranded on a beach, and the gentle hum of waves surround you as they draw nearer and nearer; you’re enjoying a romantic evening with your loved one at a quaint lounge over martinis. That said, it’s safe to say that most DJ’s and producers don’t create music with the same intention to invoke place or setting. However, most don’t play live two-hour sets alongside an accomplished trumpeter, either.
Todd Miller (a.k.a Deklun) and Pace Rubadeau (a.k.a. Pace) met each other in Portland in 2009, Deklun an ambient electronic producer, Pace a skilled connoisseur of the aforementioned brass instrument. Both were budding musicians in their own right, each producing soundtracks for Sabi Music when a label representative suggested that they should collaborate. After one meeting, it became obvious that, together, they held a means of creation unlike any other–maestros of contrasting instruments with the potential to offer fans both the ethereal and avant-garde. As Deklun and Pace, they offer an unscripted, improvisational style of live music that is meant to shape moods and precipitate the senses. “Our basic goal is to make you feel alive,” says Deklun.
In the short year that they have been working together, Deklun & Pace have anchored their own individual style of presenting music. Lengthy, unrehearsed sets can wind up anywhere, giving them the chance to play off of each other’s talents. These mixes, located on the duo’s Web site, are always recorded live and unedited. Pace laid it all out for us in a recent interview: “We don’t record in a studio, just as we don’t get together and practice,” he explained. “Both of us agreed early on that if either of us knew what was coming around the corner it would take away from the very spontaneity that makes it special. What you hear on the Web site is what you see live. It’s an impromptu conversation caught on tape.”
As most of their sets are at least an hour long, their music tends to take you in different directions over its duration, beginning dainty and aromatic and evolving into something more aggressive, brimming with synths and electronically induced samples. “I change things up a lot,” Deklun said. “So I don’t continually ride the same thing all night long. We try to take the audience on a journey, so in the peaks you have punchy bass, and in the valleys you have ambient drones.” As his statement clarifies, Deklun does not necessarily produce what one would call dance music; if one were to put a label on it, it would be soundtrack/lounge or “emotronic” as he puts it, transforming from dark and mysterious themes to what he refers to as an uplifting sunrise.
Raised primarily on classical musicians like Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff until discovering artists like Aphex Twin and Modeselektor, Deklun has erected a keen sense for composition. He starts everything from scratch, whether from a synthesizer or sample, maintaining this organic complexion that is rarely found in electronica. It seems impossible that any trumpeter could play a set as long as Pace does without losing his breath; yet, he prevails time and time again, able to craft pierce, shrilling blows one moment and fluid, gentle sounds the next. Alongside the seemingly natural samples Deklun uses, Pace has been able to countermand the assumption that all accomplished trumpeters are jazz musicians.
When it comes to releasing music, Deklun & Pace abide by a DIY ethos, independently putting out their forthcoming album, Music Road. But to get the most appropriate feel for their music, you should definitely see them live and allow the emotion of their sets captivate you, as intended.
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