Then he’d send his MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) compositions to his friends, who always wanted more. Only after the dissolution of two of his highly regarded Long Island bands, did the old dream of turning MIDI’s into live arrangements seem like a real possibility. For help, Mike turned to Dustin Schneider and Chrisarena, friends from as far back as Kindergarten. Together, they played in the old scene favorite, The Buddy System, that broke up in 2004.
After The Buddy System, Dustin formed Upon Infinity with Mike. It was a short-lived project with a huge impact for all who were privileged to experience it. Meanwhile, Chrisarena went on to join the ambient experiment, The Total Height, with Dana Collins, another old friend. When The Total Height was approached with the idea of working on the MIDI’s they’d been fans of for years, they dropped everything they were working on, literally.
It was like being picked to join your favorite band. In the summer of 2006 they all began practicing in Chrisarena’s basement with MIDI in mind. Chrisarena infused the aggressive, electronica-influenced drum beats with his intuitive sense of jazz discordancy. Dana, pleased to put her new Korg X-50 to work, settled happily into the role of piano and synth player, interpreting Mike’s complex melodies and time changes with a classical sensibility.
Dustin adapted to the never-ending lead guitar solos with the ease of a veteran, and Mike continued to compose, play bass, sing, and generally make sure that everyone was on top of their shit. The result is Bothan Spies, an unassuming, original avant-rock band with the tendency to be progressive. The music is distinctive for its complex harmonies, subtle off-timings, and conversations between guitar and piano. The songs have an orchestral sweeping feeling contained within tightly packed layers of technically verbose instrumentation.
They also tend to tip-toe the line between trance-like electronic musings and straightforward indie rock. Everything is interpreted from a MIDI platform in Mike’s mind where he is musically invincible—creating impossibly fast drum beats, physically unreachable chords, etc. The result is high-striving, unlikely compositions with the illusion of a super-human (dare we say, 'Jedi') touch, for fans of Minus the Bear, Radiohead, mewithoutyou, Rush, Blur, and Matt Pond PA. Read more on Last.fm.
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