Sarge Shukar Rough
Elijah B Torn was raised in a musical family in rural upstate New York. After playing piano and drums in grade school, he found he was more fond of programming synths and drum machines (this was a result of either: a) lack of piano or drum kit at home or b) personal preference. You decide, as Elijah himself is still unclear). During high school Elijah messed around in various punk acts but, hermit that he is, was more content and productive when twiddling knobs alone; plus, he didn't have to get in too deep with all of the band drama. With a single guitar looping device, Elijah layered haphazard sounds from random and sundry sources (including the trifecta of technology: television, radio, and telephone). In time, he came to find that his mainstay always wound up being bass. In the late 90's, Torn realized the sounds produced in his own private knob-tweaking hermit-dom could be developed into a melodic, albeit unusual form of music. Using but only a laptop, a borrowed bass, a microphone, and a hard drive awash with previous noodling recordings (and, of course, his trusty skills), Elijah set to work composing 'Shukar Rough.' His first and last under the alias 'Sarge'. Comprised of nine songs written and recorded over the course of nine months in sunny Seattle (no, really: sunny), Torn, free of distraction, was able to focus his symphony of music laboratory experiments into a full-fledged album. Two of the nine songs have been played on KCRW's 'Morning Becomes Eclectic and 'Broadband' programs. A reality-check for the eardrums, 'Shukar Rough' is a forey into a newly-found echelon of tranquility. 'It is tempered by an ever present undercurrent of heartache and slow rolling meditation,' writes Slatkin of Octofist. Says Torn himself: 'Having left New York City to write this album, I was able to leave behind the binding trends of the environment I was used to working in. At the time I wrote this album, everyone, myself included, wanted electronic music to include a fill or change every four bars or so. I found that these songs did not demand that and that they were better for it.' 'Shukar Rough,' Torn's first installment blurs the pseudo-line between recording and sampling; actually played instruments have been subject to countless reconstructions from the ground up. What was once an organic snare drum could be easily confused with a bucket of laundry detergent; what sounds like a synth pad could in fact be bass harmonics. Elijah B. Torn has also fashioned many remixes, including those for label-mates Sleepwalker and Betray the Species; Epic Artist Susie Suh; PutDownThatSciencePole and Film Composer Alexander Lasarenko. Regardless, Torn does not consider himself a remix artist. 'I make music using electronics, but I would be just as comfortable forgoing the computer for a 4 track,' Torn lies through his teeth. While most musicians claim they herald from Outer Space, Elijah B Torn is not an episode of Star Trek: It is clear he comes from a backwoods swamp. 'I don't want to label myself as producing 'electronic music' or subscribe to the whole 'I make beats' mentality. I make music and that's that.' Along with 'Shukar Rough,' Torn has also produced 'Sargemakesloops Vol.1,' a sample CD available at Soundengine.com; in it, the electronic artist/producer can find beats, loops and crusty textures fit for any twisted concept of production. Mr. Torn performs (solo and with label-mates Octofist) and once again lives in NYC. He is currently working on a new album.