Simon Linsteadt’s latest offering, “Gravitron,” is a mesmerizing journey through childhood nostalgia and creative innovation. Hailing from Inverness, California, Linsteadt’s musical journey has seen him release an impressive catalogue of six albums and three EPs. His past experience as the frontman of San Francisco’s Steep Ravine has undoubtedly contributed to the polished sound we hear in “Gravitron.” The track itself is a delicate blend of synth-pop, exuding an ethereal quality that transports listeners to another realm. Linsteadt’s choice of a portable synthesizer, the OP-1, during a trip to England, provided him with the freedom to capture ideas on the go, a departure from the confines of a traditional studio setup. This shift in creative perspective is palpable in the dreamlike atmosphere he crafts.
Linsteadt’s inspiration for “Gravitron” stems from a cherished memory of the county fair in his Northern Californian hometown, a rich tapestry of emotions and sensory experiences. What sets this composition apart is Linsteadt’s ingenious use of field recordings. By interweaving public domain captures with his own taken in London, he creates an aleatory ambiance that adds depth and unpredictability to the piece. The vocals, recorded on a zoom recorder in Cornwall amidst jet lag, carry a haunting quality, juxtaposed with the drum part crafted in GarageBand on a laptop keyboard. This unconventional approach to music-making breathes life into “Gravitron,” shattering the conventional boundaries of production.
A pivotal moment in the track’s evolution arose from Linsteadt’s girlfriend’s suggestion to incorporate electric guitar. The resulting guitar solo, channeled through a vintage tweed Princeton amp, introduces a sweet, overdriven resonance that seamlessly integrates with the fairground soundscape. This includes a serendipitous recording of a street accordionist in a Thames tunnel, pitch-shifted to match the song’s key, creating beautifully dissonant moments that add a unique, textured quality to the composition. In “Gravitron,” Simon Linsteadt showcases a masterful fusion of memory, innovation, and sonic artistry. This track is not just music; it’s a sensory experience that captivates and resonates, leaving a lasting imprint on the listener’s soul.