Don't Idle Engine

12th Annual Instrumental EP Nominee

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Record Label: Self-Released

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Home Base: Hatboro, Pa (Philly Burb) former home bases: New York City, Cincinnati, Oh , and Troy, Oh.

Genre: Electronic, Glitch, Indie

Categories Entered: Instrumental, EP

Work Submitted: Everything That Falls Into Place (EP), featured track “Center of the Universe”

Artists Featured: Alan Sentman (solo studio project named “Don’t Idle Engine”)

Label: Self-Released

Who are your influences? I carry way too much influential baggage to unload them all here. Yet, I’d say without pause my top five have been Bach, Cage, Kafka, Ligeti, and Rothko. I know that there are no contemporary representations in my top five, but I am sure that those who would have been listed may likely have a number of these names listed in their top five as well.

Describe your nominated work. Everything That Falls Into Place is a subdued and dreamy album, with warm synths, simple melodies and harmonies, offset by curious random algorithmic sequences, and complex and crunchy noise beats. These five “mid-tempo” instrumentals are a mix of sparse and densely layered tracks. It is my third “extended play” album. If you like glitchy, low-fi textures with complex beats and “soiled” synthesizers, then you will love this album.

Did you use any unusual effects or instruments in this recording? I use special audio programming software to generate original algorithms and effects for my songs. I also record much of my own sound samples. It takes time, but it’s worth the result. My song “Center of the Universe” went through several processes to create its distinctive rhythmic passages. In “Love Letter” I used a sound sample from the opening horn part to Mahler’s 3rd Symphony, which yielded a very interesting effect.

Were there any happy accidents while in the studio, or did everything go as planned? Much of my creative process relies on happy accidents in the studio. Otherwise, I feel I would just have ordinary instrumentals or songs. I try not to force the plan too much. If the album wants to go another way, I most often let the musical ideas lead and I become the follower. Thus are the joys and adventures of full creative control.

How did you raise the funds for this project? How long do you expect it will take to recoup your out-of-pocket recording expenses? I do not bite the hand that financially fuels my passion. The connotation of not “quitting the day job” does have its perks to fueling my sonic endeavors.

Why did you choose to submit this work to The 12th IMAs? I’ve been told it’s a beautiful album… dreamy, haunting, catchy, and curious, and I wanted to try to find an avenue to reach a larger audience with it. My friends also greatly encouraged me to submit to IMA last year. So I did.

What’s your definition of success and how will you know when you’ve achieved it? Success is in the eye of the achiever. There is granulated success (opening a can of soup without cutting yourself) and hierarchical success (performing at Carnegie Hall to critical acclaim). So, imagine a line with the “can of soup” on the far left end and ”Carnegie Hall” on the far right, in what I call My Success LIne. I hope to ebb as close to the “Carnegie “end of the line as much as possible.

How will you leverage your IMA honors to achieve your career goals? What a boon it is for having received a nomination! For me, I intend to use my IMA honor to gain some traction and attention in submitting works through commercial A&R companies through contracting and licensing my works for TV, Radio, Internet and Film opportunities.

Who’s sitting in your audience and what makes your fans unique? I think my fans love and respect the craft of writing, recording and listening to music across all genres in all types of settings. I believe them also unafraid to venture into new musical interests despite their insistent desire to be discriminate.

What is your guilty pleasure on the road? Any close calls or mishaps while on tour? Tour? On the Road? I’ve been quite hermetic as of late with respect to live performance. I hope to change that soon. I wonder what my guilty pleasure would be?

Who are your musical heroes & influences? The extension of the earlier “top 5” influences would be Edvard Varese, Thom Yorke, Steve Reich, Iannis Xenakis, The Beatles, Gyorgy Ligeti, Erik Satie, J.S. Bach, Bjork, and so on.

Are there any songs you wish you wrote and why? Not really. I stop at the point of admiration. I hear and understand a great song that I like, but really do not express “envy” per se of having wished I wrote a particular song that has been written.

What artists are you listening to that would surprise your fans? What is kind of weird is that I am listening to a lot of music that in many ways does not reflect the style, sound, genre of which I am currently writing as Don’t Idle Engine.

How do you discover new music? Do you buy music or are you content with streaming? I stream, buy, and listen on radio. I also discover music through social outlets and critical reviews.

How will musicians make a living if fans continue to expect music to be free? To make a living at this you must have a business plan. If you are not making money with your business plan, hire someone to make your music make you money.

What don’t fans/audiences understand about the music industry today? I think they don’t understand about as much as I don’t understand.

Are digital singles/EPs vs. full albums the future? I think we will see a wider spread of recording formats that will be critically accepted, along with waning industry notion that the “Long Play” must be the industry standard of measurement.

Finish this sentence: The music industry is…online dating.

What do you have in the works for the upcoming year? I am currently working on a series of short and simple solo piano pieces for a fall performance and digital release. I am also collaborating with some friends on a couple of singles for late year release.