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Piano. Ambient samples. Coffee. Toys. Here's a glimpse into my life. Improvising with the Ableton Push, Alesis SamplePad Pro, and piano. The drum samples halfway through are from Gotye's Wurlitzer Sideman tube drum machine, found in this video, via J.Views' Album DNA Project.
Speaking of J.Views, Bora York is opening for them November 9 at Cedar Cultural Center in Minneapolis. We're honored and cannot wait!
Be sure to subscribe to my Youtube channel. More of these on the way.
Syna is a 2-song single I just released, the first new Elskavon release in 3 years.
It's the first taste of a 4th full-length album. This one goes a bit deeper. Each song is inspired by a particular memorable moment or era in my life. Some are small, like one cool summer night riding bikes home with my best friend and fireworks going off in the distance. Some are big, like the birth of my children.
I really believe memorable moments that we relive over and again are so incredibly valuable, and reminders to not miss the potential in the making now - these are gifts we can never fully get back, so really living these moments is important.
My latest release is a 5-song solo EP titled Myths and Mold. I hope you enjoy the short journey. I'm proud of where it landed. Thank you so much for the support.
I had the pleasure with chatting with Erica Rivera for a City Pages feature as well:
Though this is only his second solo album (his debut, Morning’s Gold, dropped in 2011), Bartels is no newbie to the Minneapolis music scene. He’s the man behind indie-pop band Bora York (with his wife Rebekah) as well as the electronica project Hi-Fi Cali. A prolific producer, he also runs Anthem Falls Music, a hybrid record label and production house.
And that’s just what he does in his spare time. By day, Bartels writes music for commercials; by night, he’s a family man. Like many creative people, he struggles to find a balance between his responsibilities and what nourishes him artistically.
1. How would you classify your music?
I have a handful of different projects where I’m always trying various styles, from ambient to synthpop, but I think I definitely borrow moods and types of sounds from one project to the next, whether consciously or subconsciously.
If picking genres, you’d probably describe the Myths and Mold EP as an alternative-indie-folk sort of sound. For me personally, there are certainly elements of experimentation with the songwriting and production.
2. Who are some of your top 5 musical influences?
Influences are constantly changing for me. Anytime I’m listening to music now, I hear and think about not only the feel and emotion of the song, but I think about the songwriting itself, and definitely the production of it as well. It’s a blessing and a curse I’d say, as sometimes it’s hard to just simply enjoy the music for what it is, and not think about how it’s influencing my creative thoughts.
As far as specific artists, J. Views’ latest album 401 Days and his album DNA project has been ruining me (in a good way). Tame Impala, Sigur Ros, and Toro y Moi are all big influences. Justin Vernon and what he does with Volcano Choir and Bon Iver was definitely an influence for this EP.
3. What do you want fans to take from your music?
I think the highest compliment for me with this EP would be for listeners to take it as an experience, or a journey. I enjoy discovering artists through singles, but the full album (or EP) is still my favorite art form. Songs can still be great by themselves, but to me, there’s nothing like the overall picture and journey of an album. I hope Myths and Mold comes across as just that – a cohesive story, and not just 5 separate songs packaged together.
Kelsey Simpkins calls the song "Experimental, soulful, and dynamic." Check it out and give it a listen & share:
Myths And Mold is my first solo release in 6 years and it's a 5-song "escape," as I like to say. An escape from synths (for the most part...) and going for high polish production. And an escape from traditional song form. This was experimenting with lots of room recordings and layers and layers of drums, vocals, and guitars.
See you on the 28th!
Here's a compiled playlist of everything Anthem Falls that lives on Spotify. Enjoy.
Myths and Mold is a solo album, my first in 5 years, that was born out of writing and recording songs and sounds that were a relief from the high polish production sound of Bora York and Elskavon. While the sounds are more organic and the recordings more live, I still experimented with lots of layers and gave my friend Taylor Lewin the keys and let him run with the mixes. He also co-wrote the last song "Counting Hands."
We're proud of this project and can't wait to get it out there. Here's the first single, "Missoula"
The newest Hi-Fi Cali track is a fat, synth-and-sample-heavy, washed out slow jam. Or something like that. Here's what people are saying about it:
"Inherently carefree and optimistic, this song exhibits the best traits of what synth-driven pop can accomplish." - The Music Ninja
"This back-to-basics seduction is peppered with enticing breaks and pulsing grooves, adding to that personal club playlist." - All Things Go
"Their new single Ocean Love pulls me into a dreamy shifting world of chillwavey intoxication. This ocean is alive." - I Heart Moosiq
"Ocean Love" is Hi-Fi Cali's latest single, releasing June 10. Here's a live video from our set at Honey in Minneapolis.
Behind the lenses: Jordan Nimlos, Ben Woodis, Connor McLevish, Cassandra Woodis, Vienna Lewin.
Cameras: Canon 6D, GoPro
Edit: Chris Bartels, Joseph McMahon
A couple of my original tracks are featured on an upcoming iOS game called Drop Flip. I also created sound effects for it. I've been playing with the beta version. I'm not getting any work done.
Check out the trailer, and below that are the two featured tracks.
Visit Drop Flip's website for more info on the release.