The first thing you’ll notice about Chuck Blazevic is his instrument.
It’s a plain board with 256 white, unmarked buttons.
“It’s so foreign to most people that it’s the real central point of intrigue,” said the 24-year-old local musician.
“I like it. It’s a good way to talk to people.”
It’s called a Monome, is made by a small American company and is one of only a few hundred models in existence. The Monome allows Blazevic to record audio samples and play them back, distort them, mix them up and chop them down.
Currently, the Bedford resident has the machine loaded with guitar and piano samples he’s written and recorded himself. With the Monome he can take a melody and mix and bend it into an entirely new tune within seconds.
“It’s neat because a lot of people will hear that and say it sounds like electronica,” he says. “But it’s really just all warm electric guitar lines, just reassembled completely.”
It probably isn’t something you’d expect to find at a jazz show, but Blazevic will be performing at this year’s Atlantic Jazz Festival under his stage name Dreamsploitation.
It’s part of an expanding of horizons at the festival. Instead of limiting itself to strict definitions of “jazz,” the festival allows new and experimental acts to mingle with the classics.
Blazevic’s music stems from a vast listening background involving everything from European soundtracks to 60s pop and, of course, jazz. It’s from jazz that he gets many of his harmonic structures.
“I grew up studying jazz guitar, and a lot of the principles I learned through jazz have been applied to the music I make now, even though my music doesn’t sound like jazz in the traditional sense,” he says.
Blazevic plays July 16 and 17 with Bell Orchestre at St. Matthew’s United Church at 1479 Barrington Street in Halifax. Tickets are $25.