Biz student is a music man

October 15, 2016

According to Dictionary.com, a centrifuge is “an apparatus that rotates at high speed and … separates substances of different densities … ”

This week, the word ‘centrifuge’ gains a new meaning. Centrifuge is the first full-length electronic instrumental album of Danny Pines; the moniker of second-year J.R. Shaw School of Business, Marketing student Dan Van Veelen. Aptly named, this new album separates varying experiences and emotions out of the many millions of milestones in life. With the magic of Danny Pines’ electronic mastering and a dash of nostalgia, reinvents them and provides the listener with a personalized soundtrack fitting for any moment. No words are included, or needed, within the tracks (with the exception of “Prologue”). To help encapsulate feelings, the remixing, original sounds and beats alone take the listener there.

You know how when you’re listening to a song, you think that would be a perfect song for ‘blank’ scene in a movie? The point of the album was to give people a space where they could make their own moments with the music. I want people to really invest themselves into the music, you know. I want people to make their own ‘movie scenes’ with their life…and have this as their album, you know what I mean?

No, this was not from an intimate interview with Van Veelen but actually a sound bite in the first track of Centrifuge, “Prologue.” With the background of a bustling coffee shop and birds chirping, an informal but cosy atmosphere for a personal conversation between himself and the listener, who it seems he hasn’t seen in awhile, is created. Van Veelen opens up about his inspirations in creating this album within this track to the listener, adding just the right amount of personalization to help the listener step into the rest of the album with a sense of familiarity and awareness.

Immediately, the listener is teleported to the out-of-this-world ambiance track that is “Under the Stars.” Listening to this track may make someone feel like they are floating in outer space or lying on their back on a hill looking up at the vastness of space with millions of tiny lights as stars staring back. This track captures that sense of wonderment and stupefaction that one would feel upon stargazing. With stellar sounds that if it comes down to it, had to be described through existing songs, “Under the Stars” would be a distant relative of M83’s Intro. Van Veelen’s talent in creating new sounds and mixing them into various combinations is evident in this track and incredibly consistent throughout the rest of the album.

With an intricate fusion of sounds and beats, “Friday Night” fittingly describes the exhilarating and indefinite characteristics anyone’s Friday night is bound to have. A flurry of activity, voice warping and satisfying beats transform and add to the ambience of a ‘LIT’ Friday night. I’ll take one of those please.

Stating that Mountaintops is the climax of Centrifuge, is a bold, yet rational move. This track maintains a sense of serenity that one would find in nature (like the background audio layer of birds’ wings flapping in the distance or the sounds of a hawk around 4:19) carefully fused to an energetic electronic/synth sound.

The track that made the strongest impression on me, however, was Track 8 “The Kiss.” Van Veelen captures that charged moment full of anticipation, magical sparks and numerous possibilities between two people. Listeners will inwardly gasp as they identify and connect this track with all those intimate moments they’ve shared with a special someone. With the ambience created by the masterful mixing of Van Veelen, one is left to wonder why all intimate kisses between two people aren’t as magical and enthralling as he made it seem like.

If Mountaintops was the climax, then the final track Bittersweet is evidently the denouement of this eleven track album. With a melancholic piano solo, eventually backed by beats and other warped sounds, an impending end of the album is fast approaching and it comes far too fast. While the silence preceding the end of the track is close, one can feel a sense of possibilities and strong emotions that while Bittersweet is the end of Centrifuge, it leaves a feeling of more to come.

With enthralling ambient electronic sounds, to aptly named song titles, to that touch of personalization in the way of Prologue, Centrifuge definitely will not be the last album to be heard from Danny Pines.

Danny’s soundcloud is https://soundcloud.com/dannypines

To buy the album, which has a pay as you want option: https://dannypines.bandcamp.com/

– Erika Acorda