HE CAN JOG | Middlemarch
 Cat: AB017
 Time: June 08
 Media: CD & Digital Download

 Info: Featuring a buzz of rarefied audio excitement, 
 engaging melodies and detailed beats Middlemarch 
 radiates with charm and beauty. 

 Microsite: middlemarchengland 

 PDF Press Release: Download 

 1. Suite Part Four 
 2. Dials
 3. Suite Part Three
 4. My (Mother's) Records
 5. Agnes (After Woodland Pattern) 
 6. Pan-Fried Fern
 7. A Small Thing
 8. Contractors and Architects 
 9. Suite Parts One and Two 
Who are you?
 Erik Schoster.

 Why do you write music?
 I try not to think about that too much. If I really got into it I 
 might dig out some mortality fears and embarrassing 
 ego motivations. One thing I've known for a long time 
 though is that sound makes sense to me, and it's 
 immensely rewarding to shuffle it around in some 
 pleasant way, and challenge my ear as much as I can 
 in that process. As much as they are aesthetic interests 
 music and sound are social and cultural interests to me 
 as well. The ritual purposes they serve (even in our 
 modern, toaster- oven world!) are fascinating and vital, 
 and are my favorite entry points to cultures and 
 communities. So to answer the question: I have no idea 
 How would you describe your music?
 My music is probably the dilettante or autodidact that the
 other refined and popular musics turn their noses up at 
 and take pity on for its mawkish naivety. It is all of my 
 life and the people I've met, the things I've heard, and 
 my total lack of understanding, stirred into what I hope 
 is a digestible sonic porridge.
 What does this album mean to you?
 This album is as much a culmination of a decade of my 
 life and the intersections I've made along the way as it 
 is a collection of songs and sounds. For me it's very 
 much a comfortable audio document of most of the last 
 decade. It feels like picking up a scrapbook to go back 
 and listen to it, and that's usually the context I return to 
 it in. When someone other than me listens, it also 
 becomes the living potential for an unknowable set of 
 new memories and associations, which is incredibly 
 humbling and exciting to me.
 Can you elaborate on some of your creative 
 Meticulously planned accidents and failures are my 
 specialties. I tend to develop elaborate plans that 
 explode  spectacularly in my face when I attempt to 
 carry them out. The fun part is taking the leftover 
 detritus and molding it into something workable. That 
 process of transformation can be incredibly frustrating 
 and kill a project before it has a chance to breathe, but 
 in some cases I can end up with something I couldn't
 have otherwise planned or imagined. The other answer
 is that I use Logic and Max/MSP and Reason on my 
 Macbook to manipulate recordings I make of myself or 
 friends. I'm playing more instruments these days too, 
 which feels good: trombone, celeste, lap steel, violin, 
 harmonica, hand bells, and other found objects are the 
 instruments I can barely play.
 What are your future plans?
 I plan to stay in New York for the foreseeable future 
 and hopefully tour more as He Can Jog and with my 
 band Cedar AV. If I plan my life more than that, it may 
 explode in my face as well. ;-)
He Can Jog - live


REVIEWS | Middlemarch

 The cover of this disc–a girl clad in white standing in a bleak, wintery woodland–hints at the contents of 
 this release, the latest from Midwest-born producer Erik Schoster. Combining dreamy pop music with 
 experimental electronics (not to mention an arsenal of bells, harps, acoustic guitars, laptop-processed 
 bleeps, and static), he has created an album that would please both laptop scientists and kids wanting
 something pretty to listen to while driving a car. And yes, the album is named after the George Eliot novel.


 I was never familiar with He Can Jog - in fact, I had never even heard of the Brooklyn based experimental 
 techno jockey until I took on MiddleMarch. Dear lord, was I missing out.

MiddleMarch is a glorious mishmash of kinky synths and danceable beats, endlessly hooking the listener into toe-tapping, mind-boggling, ear-blasting euphoria. A laptop musician extraordinaire, He Can Jog's music has the production quality of a full blown studio release from Warp, without losing the home-made, DIY character that amateur computer musicians round the world strive for. His cuts are progressive without losing the edge and focus of rhythm and structure that keeps a listener wanting more. MiddleMarch owes a lot to acts like Proem and The Flashbulb, who moved techno and IDM away from the Audiovisual Club mentality of gear-over-substance and focused on making the music fun, catchy, and real.
That sense of reality is what will keep me listening to He Can Jog for many, many months. The powerful, staggering presence of warmth and texture in MiddleMarch is beautifully jarring compared to last year. 2007 was a year of cold, heartless electronica. 2008 is proving completely different, delivering sensible electronic acts with a slew of raw, personal offerings. The four part suite series on MiddleMarch is reason alone to call He Can Jog the next Benn Jordann or Aaron Funk. I know comparing an unestablished bedroom producer to these gods of the modern electronic realm might seem a tad drastic, but there is no doubt in my mind that He Can Jog will aspire to meet and even exceed the achievements of these artists, and in no time will prove himself as a force to be reckoned with in the coming years.
I do hate drawing such blatant comparisons when He Can Jog's sound is incredibly original, but I will say that the excitement and enthusiasm brought to the table on MiddleMarch reminds me of Arctic Hospital, my favorite new star in the electronic world, though He Can Jog is not a distant second by any means. I've said it before and I'll say it again: the place to find tomorrow's stars is Audiobulb Records. The label knows exactly what makes the digital music world tick. Well done, He Can Jog. Well done.

Jack Britton

 RATED: 9.5 / 10  	

 reviewed by  Larry Johnson

He Can Jog is sound sculptor (and co-director of the Luvsound netlabel) Erik Schoster from Madison, Wisconsin. If you visit his website you’ll notice that it’s interestingly subtitled “homebrewed Midwestern electronic nonsense” with the word “nonsense” being used (at least to my way of thinking) in the context of “fun noise.” Some four years in the making, Middlemarch is Erik’s debut release on Audiobulb and provides yet another instance of the label’s commitment to releasing exceptional exploratory electronic music.
Even though He Can Jog is an anagram of John Cage, Erik’s compositions are no where close to being Cageian-like. The music on Middlemarch (named after the classic George Elliot novel) is a heartfelt, entertaining, and perplexing flurry of sonic excitement consisting of warm melodies, lively broken-beats, occasional vocals, and flickering tones inspired by the intersections of intimate collections of memories. It's a whimsical blend of folk-pop influences, IDM flavorings, and hazy ambient textures. Erik's method of composing makes use of software programming, acoustic instrument samples, electronic production, and improvisation via the manipulation of sounds using custom-built patches. I have to admit that Middlemarch is not the usual kind of experimental electronic music that I listen to or review. After receiving the promo copy and hearing it or the first time, I had pretty much decided that it was not something that I could write about. However, I’ve learned that first impressions are quite often deceiving and found that to be the case here. Repeated listening and a thorough reading of the notes that accompanied the disc revealed an underlying richness in compositional style/content and emotional intensity that one casual listening just doesn’t reveal. So here's an album of serious, skillfully composed experimental electronic music that's able to bring a smile to my face by simply being exciting, entertaining, uplifting, and just plain fun to listen to? While some listeners might at least initially be put off by the quirky blend of folk, pop, IDM, and ambient elements that went into the making of the nine eclectic works comprising Middlemarch, a little more unbiased and considerate listening will reveal the same compositional vitality and emotional depth that I came to realize. Middlemarch is an important release for Erik personally being as it is a kind of sonic memoir detailing a few years of his life, and he "counts the whole record as a catalogue of these memories of people and places and his own process of becoming." http://www.earlabs.org

 A fine example of modern electronica, He Can Jog's Middlemarch is a boldly diverse set of compositions, 
 tackling dronescapes, digital glitch textures and even vocal electronic pop to a consistently high standard. 
 At He Can Jog's creative epicentre is Erik Schoster, who combines the offline conventions of electronic 
 composition with real-time improvisation via customised MAX patches. This combination of different disciplines 
 results in the raw bitstream ambience of 'Agnes (After Woodland Pattern)' or 'A Small Thing' whilst also 
 bringing forth the melodic, beat-driven sounds of 'Suite Part Three'. There's an adventurously unpolished feel to 
 all this that suggests an abandonment of presets or software clichés, freeing up Schoster to switch things 
 around on wildly divergent consecutive tracks like 'Contractors And Architects', with its borderline Postal 
 Service-isms and 'Suite Parts One And Two', which approaches Keith Fullerton Whitman levels of sublime 
 electroacoustic drone. Highly recommended.


 The strangely named He Can Jog is one of the many projects of Brooklyn-based sound artist Erik Schoster 
 who focuses primarily on textural sound explorations. Originally from Madison, Wisconsin, Schoster spent 
 his formative years studying composition and improvisations. In the last four years, he has released a handful 
 of MP3 EPs and his work has also been featured on a few compilations, including on no less than four from 
 Sheffield’s excellent Audiobulb, which have been nurturing his talent for some time. It is therefore only fair that 
 they got to release Middlemarch, the follow up to his debut album, New Ground Has Not Broken, Soil Last Week 
 And Dirt Today, released in 2004.

 Right from the onset of Suite Part Four, which opens, Schoster establishes an elegant laptopestry made of 
 interferences, glitches and statics upon which he builds subtle little melodic pieces which often develop into 
 gentle layered miniature symphonies, usually contained within three-to-five minute compositions. The album 
 seems articulated around the four Suites, beginning, as mentioned above with Part Four, Suite Part Three 
 following a couple of tracks in and the epic Suite Parts One And Two, which closes the album. The remaining 
 compositions stand very well on their own however, whether it is the short interludes Dials, with its minimal 
 drone-like setting, or A Small Thing, with its bubbling statics and embryo of melody which originally fails to 
 develop, but finally comes to life on Contractors And Architects, the only vocal track on the album, or with 
 more fully formed tracks. Surprisingly upbeat and clearly defined against the rest of the album, the refined 
 Suite Part Three is in part reminiscent of Four Tet circa Pause, but this is in no way a criticism as Schoster 
 does this kind of things rather well. My (Mother’s) Records, which follows, combines processed acoustic 
 guitars, found sounds and sliced vocal samples into a much tightly woven ball of sounds.

 The album then veers toward slightly darker and colder grounds with Agnes (After Woodland Pattern) and 
 Pan-Fried Fern, which, although remaining sonically close to the rest of the album, appear to echo the foggy 
 atmosphere of the cover photograph, which shows a young girl, bare feet, walking in a wintry woodland. 
 The piece de resistance of Middlemarch comes with concluding piece Suite Parts One And Two, which 
 develops over twelve and a half minutes and two distinct sections, the first one appearing like a stripped 
 down version of the second, where Schoster deploys the richest soundscapes and melodies of the record. 

 With Middlemarch, He Can Jog’s Erik Schoster has created a rather beautiful and intimate record which delights 
 and charms all the way through, thanks to carefully crafted sound formations and melodies which continuously 
 grow and develop. Middlemarch is one of these records that procure continuous listening pleasure by 
 somehow giving the impression of never sounding quite the same twice.



 He Can Jog – a nifty little anagram of John Cage, perhaps takes some of its influence from the Great Man in 
 terms of innovative solutions and skewed approaches. This is a charming, engaging little piece that invites 
 instant comparisons to Brit minimalist composers, The Boats, or Mole Harness. U.S based Erik Schoster is the 
 personality behind He Can Jog, and on Middlemarch, we see him inviting a cluster of musicians to augment 
 and filter through his works. Most prominent are the cut and paste-type pieces that use fractured harmonies, 
 and layered beats and blips. There are a variety of solutions on display here, that echo a truly post modern 
 canvas, covering everything from the dripping melancholia of “Agnes (after woodland pattern)”, with its 
 soothing harmonics and lilting loops, to the itchy minimalism of “Pan – Fried Fern”.” “Contractors and Architects” 
 is essentially a mini pop melody, infused with vocals from Nick Sanborn, and has an infectious, bubbly refrain, 
 with little of the rest of the album’s cut and slice approach.

 Throughout the collection, there are various surreal interruptions and interventions, oddly placed narratives, and 
 words appearing as if from nowhere, that locate themselves outside of the pieces, yet somehow cohere with it 
 at the same time. Non-linearity is the order of the day, with each narrative being spliced and grafted onto other 
 elements in an unsettling, but highly engaging assemblage. To use the word “collage” would perhaps be a little 
 trite, but this is indeed a fresh and expertly crafted CD that takes digital composition to some kind of logical 
 extreme. If this is the future of modern composition, then count me in, and once again, Audiobulb asserts itself 
 as a highly intelligent, innovative promoter of the digital (and post –digital) aesthetic. BGN


 A generally inviting exercise in warm electronic melodicism, MiddleMarch by He Can Jog (yes, the title 
 purposefully references George Eliot's novel and the alias adopted by laptop knob-twiddler and one-time 
 trombonist Erik Schoster is an anagram of John Cage) inverts the usual template by spreading beats more 
 freely over songs anchored by emotive keyboard melodies—but that's just one of the oblique strategies 
 Schoster brings to the table. Accompanied by a handful of guests (who contribute Rhodes, Vibes and guitar 
 samples, field recordings, and vocals), Schoster works a community theme into the album (hence the title 
 choice) as it documents not only the evolution in his working methods—sampling, software programming, 
 and electronic synthesis all figure in—over a four-year span, but also his interpersonal experiences during 
 that time.

 Some pieces are experimental and explorative in character: a collage-like scattering of elements constitutes 
 “My (Mother's) Records” (not entirely successfully either, as dropping the line “The songs we're now hearing 
 are ancient tunes” into its middle seems a little too cute), and deeply textured masses of flickering starbursts 
 flow through “Agnes (After Woodland Pattern),” “Pan-Fried Fern,” and “A Small Thing.” More immediately 
 appealing is the material that gravitates towards sparkling electronic pop: “Contractors and Architects,” 
 composed and sung by Nick Sanborn, could pass for a sample track by Morr Music's latest signing, while 
 the keyboard melodies in “Suite Part Three” could single-handedly lull the crankiest infant to sleep. Both 
 tendencies coalesce in the twelve-minute meditation “Suites Part One and Two” whose becalmed 
 arrangement of glistening bells and tonal shimmer closes the album strongly. 


 With the anagrammatized moniker 'He Can Jog', sound artist Erik Schoster pays tribute to John Cage, master 
 and seminal experimenter. Cage remains an essential point of reference, especially for those who still 
 wonder about the complex compositional structures in contemporary music. It's not by chance, then, that in 
 'Middlemarch' the attention seems focused on texture, gently twisted by glitches, interferences and clicks, 
 creating a dreamy atmosphere, never trivial, but sensitive and delicate. It is high quality laptop music, with 
 some "pop" taste and nuanced electronica that combines well with Bryan Teoh images [equally rarefied and
 multifaceted] during live performances. The record was composed using Max/MSP. The tracks present 
 different attitudes in a painstaking and intricate way, without ever "punishing" the listener. It's minimalism 
 and melody colliding in floating sonorities, a little melancholic, mixed with ambient and folk.

Aurelio Cianciotta http://www.neural.it/
 THE WIRE (293) 

 He Can Jog is an anagram of John Cage, but thankfully that's as groanworthy as Madison, Winsconsin's Erik 
 Schoster's solo album gets. The album takes its title from the George Eliot novel because it is about how one
 develops as a person through interaction with a particular community. Schoster draws on his own memories of 
 friends and acquaintances in Winsconsin and Milwaukee, where he also spends some of his time. Despite its 
 irregular rhythmic intervals and heavy, thorough treatments, using, for example, custom programmed Max 
 patches and sampled acoustic instruments, the overall effect of Middlemarch is benign. This is fine, because
 what the album is really about is memories and memory associations - the way recollections of people and 
 places are filtered, preserved, distorted and cherished. The music reflects that in the stresses, overdubs and 
 processes it has undergone, most sublimely on "Agnes (After Woodland Patern)".

 IGLOO MAGAZINE Brooklyn-based sound artist Erik Schoster is the man behind the quirkily dubbed He Can Jog - a playful
 scrambling of the letters in 'John Cage.' Appositely named in that Middlemarch is itself both quirky and 
 playful in equal measure, mixed with moments of greater gravitas to form a sad-happy combo of sideways
 -on wistful pop instrumentalism and mercurial experimental electronica. Schoster's stock-in-trade is the 
 cut-and-paste splice'n'dice aesthetic, within which he creates collages with fractured harmonies, layered 
 beats, and a gallimaufry of harps, acoustic guitars, bells and whistles (ok, hold the whistles).

 Those of literary bent will have picked up on the symbolism of Middlemarch - a titular borrowing from George 
 Eliot's novel - emblematic of a theme of personal development through community interaction. Schoster 
 evidently draws on his memories of past friends for the moments of emotional caché in a nostalgia-steeped 
 excursion (he also deploys some of them as guest musicians). Right from the onset of opener, "Suite Part 
 Four," Schoster seeks to tailor a winsome laptopiary of error-driven tonalities and static-streaked backgrounds 
 against which to project his melodic miniatures. Despite its episodic rhythms and heavy-duty digi re-dos (Max-ed 
 out MSP), Middlemarch has about it an air of affectionate engagement.

 Structurally, the album seems articulated around four so-called 'Suites,' the opening "...Part Four" and the 
 concluding "...Parts One and Two" acting as bookends. The remainder are largely episodic sketches, ranging 
 from the lull-a-tone melancholics of "Agnes (After Woodland Pattern)," to the nervous glitchery of "Pan-fried Fern"
 to the toytown indietronica of "Contractors and Architects" - out of Morr Music via The Postal Service. This latter 
 infelicity, along with one or two others, are indicative of critical faculties going AWOL; as, again, when software
 and cut-up fetishism are overindulged on "My (Mother's) Records," processed guitar, found sounds and vocal 
 fragments sliced up into a glitch-cum-turntablist mash-up of little effect other than enervation. The short interludes 
 "Dials," with its minimal drone-like setting, and "A Small Thing," with its play of static and melody are more likeable, 
 as is the blithe and breezy refinement of "Suite Part Three," a more solidly rhythmic composition bearing echoes 
 of The Album Leaf or mid-period Four Tet.

 The ludic playroom air of much of He Can Jog has a heady froth/frothy head. But it's vitiated by a lack of 'body' 
 registering increasingly at the album's (lack of) centre. This seems to have set in until the album's final musical act, 
 a less mannered two-hander of harmonious glisten and shimmer spread over 12+ minutes. Digi-doodle tendencies 
 reined in, He Can Jog here comes on like Keith Fullerton Whitman in a more expansive electro-acoustic drone-drift 
 mode, "Suite Parts One and Two" being good enough to require an adjustment of egg idiom in final appraisal: 
 Middlemarch - not a bad one, more like the curate's... Good in parts. 

 Alan Lockett


 He Can Jog hinges upon the notion that one needs others in order to think for oneself - that the enrichment 
 of thought depends on encounters with others and their involvements in life. Ergo the albums content, which 
 revolves around the distortion, confusion, and invention brought about by others, but also its form: a tightly-knit 
 community of prickly guitars, trills of synths, percolating electronics and seesawing fuzz. 
 Above all, though, the music breathes; vocals run up against and are cut-up into pointillist beats, rebounding 
 percussive loops mesh with swarms of high pitches, and keyboard lines spring up from their reverie to provide 
 arpeggiated counterpoint to warm, wooden knocking and nagging, choppy cascades of electronics. There’s 
 something of a taste for dramatic assemblage, too, with Erik Schoster often forming clean, glistening melodies 
 like oysters forming around grit. “Suite Part Four”, for one, creates a maze of ethereal harmonics, in which a 
 warm, near-celebratory bell pattern circles around itself as though in a daze, before the whole thing is broken 
 open by a propulsive plastic rhythm. 
 Schoster often switches between styles with some skill, but occasionally their combination proves problematic, 
 as there’s a certain tentativeness in the music that is probably the result of the attempt to find commonalities in 
 the musics various participants. The odd piece, such as “My (Mothers) Records”, thus sounds like a less than 
 favorable compromise. Among others, though, the twelve minute closer, “Suite Parts One and Two”, reasserts 
 the strong suites of this digital etherealism - its tolling bells and a computerized firestorm hover over and rain 
 down on a churning drone, evoking the massive presence of an environment awaking from hibernation. 
 Max Schaefer


 US-based composer Erik Schoster brings his latest guise "He Can Jog" (anagram of the great experimental 
 composer Johnny Cage) in a brilliantly organic album composition titled "Middlemarch". One third of the 
 Milwaukee trio "Cedar AV", Erik studies composition formally under Erica Mather and Joanne Metcalf and 
 improvisation with Matt Turner and Jennifer Fitzgerald at Lawrence University.

 Middlemarch's Highlights are certainly "Suite part Three" with its rolling, warm Rhodes trills and engaging 
 beats and effects. "Agnes" holds a real organic, truly free and ambient feel and "contractors" is a wonderful 
 example of true glitch without being messy with its intricate beats and Hot Chip style vocals. "Suite parts one 
 and two" expand on the ambiance with its glacial synths, soft noise and reversed, detuned twangs and 

 Some very sweet moments of audio mastery and experimentation, complex textures and beats make this 
 album a actual joy and distinct discovery of sound. In truth not an album for everyone, but a real innovation 
 to those who crave something new and out of the ordinary. Not a genre breaker as such but a good 
 contender for electronic creativity. Reminiscent of Four Tet, but unique enough to carry itself off as a 
 good album. Well produced and an honest thrill to listen to. 

 8 / 10



 Just when the electronic scene was becoming a bit stagnant, overrun with minimal copyist or electro fodder, out
 of nowhere comes He Can Jog with his delightful Middlemarch. The ambient hum of “Agnes (After Woodland 
 Pattern)” sits next to the Postal Service-esque pop of “Contractors and Architects” while everything in between, 
 from IDM to minimal, is executed with great aplomb. While still rooted in IDM nostalgia, there is an organic quality 
 lying deep within Middlemarch that makes it inherently accessible, real and, ultimately, enjoyable. (James Ould)

 He Can Jog is an anagram of John Cage. It's the name chosen by Erik Schoster from Madison, Wisconsin. He 
 studied composition and improvisation and plays with Cedar AV. His music is entirely made on the computer, 
 and if you know what this label released before then you may already have an idea what he Can Jog is about. 
 Bouncy beats, here even more than elsewhere, samples of guitars, voices, a bit of ambient. If I honest I say 
 that I was reading this mornings newspaper when I put this on and I thought it was quite alright background 
 music, but when I started writing, replaying, and listening more carefully, I thought it was a bit less than what 
 I first anticipated. It sounds all a bit worn out. The Oval approaches, the Fennesz bendings, the IDM broken 
 beats, the funny weirdness. Maybe I am getting too old for this line of musical business, but however nice this 
 is, it just didn't do too much for me. (FdW) 
 Audiobulb Is an exploratory music label designed to support the work of innovative artists. 

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