Systems Online: An Album Exploring the Digitization of the Self

My band, Job Creators, released out latest album, Systems Online, on June 27. We worked to polish six songs that we are really, really proud to share with everyone. If you’re curious, you can listen on Spotify or, if you’re old-fashioned like me, you can buy the music on iTunes by looking up “Job Creators.”

Given that we are an instrumental duo gravitating somewhere in the orbits of trance rock and jazz fusion, I thought I’d take the time to write what each song means and why we think the album’s concept is so integral to the wider culture.

The Digitization Era 

We live in an era where we are constantly digitizing ourselves. We are leaving trails of our lives across social networks in pieces and patches, photos and comments, bookmarks and favorites. Some of our most gratifying relationships may be with virtual people whose thoughts we read in our own voice. Our support networks are words on a screen, whether forums like Reddit or text messages or social media apps.

Tim, the drummer for Job Creators, and I have tried to build an album to really emulate what that strange feeling of half-virtual, half-physical feels like. In “Systems Online,” we explore the process of becoming aware of where your self and your soul ends and the other begins, especially in light of an event.

The album artwork represents a heart that is reconstructing itself, digitally. This speaks to a tone of loss but also of hope, symbolizing the networks and systems that need to be turned online in times of crisis. Both online and off.

1. Settings

The album begins with “Settings.”

Settings is the first song we wrote for the album, starting the process in 2014. The sample is of Herbie Hancock talking about how people tend to think of themselves in terms of what they’re good at, limiting growth to comfort and to one or two dimensions.

We wanted this song to be about breaking free of your comfort zone, of your perception of yourself and your routine, to gain a new perspective.

By changing your settings – your environment, the people around you, and your internal systems themselves – you can change yourself.

2. Mission Repetition 

“Mission Repetition” is the art of doing something over and over and over and not knowing how it will turn out. There is monotony here, but a sense of wandering, too, as the bass thrums along to a curious synthesizer.

When the song breaks free, it is a feeling of soaring, of looking below at your routine and wondering if it mattered at all. And then the mission continues. Because in perfecting a routine, you perfect the system.

“‘Mission Repetition’ isn’t just perfecting the routine, but realizing routine is inescapable,” Tim says. “So the song explores how you can process that routine to inform your own life.”

3. Rideshare 

I view “Rideshare” as the happiest song on the album. We are thinking about the extraordinary nature of how people will get into a stranger’s car to get somewhere now, of the implicit trust shown in this act. It’s a great song for the subway, too. Step into the subway and look around, observing that people are co-existing, peacefully, as we share the ride of life.

This is a song of a journey that keeps going faster and the trance-like breakdowns are meant to give that journey pause as you think about where you are in the ride, and appreciate who’s sharing it with you.

Most of all, this is a journey – a ride – never ends.

4. Systems Online 

One of the darker songs on the album, “Systems Online” is the painful transition of moving from routine and comfort to becoming aware. Tim uses a vocoder to synthesize his voice into robotic expression, asking, “Do you feel alive now? Are your systems online?”

The dark side of the digitization of a self is that it can be hard to answer these questions. It’s easy to feel like a robot. The bass solo is meant to break the listener free from the questions and into consciousness.

Sure, you’re alive. Sure, your systems are online. Now what?

5. Ablation Meditation 

“Ablation” is a multi-faceted word that can mean removing tissue by surgery, often around the heart, the evaporation of snow and ice, and the way a meteor breaks apart in a hostile atmosphere.

This song is contemplating the heaviness of heartbreak. From love, from life, to meditate on the experience of falling apart or evaporating is the only way to become at peace with it. All things end.

6. Shade Fade 

“Shade Fade” is releases the tension from “Systems Online” and “Ablation Meditation.”

When you look back upon the journey of turning your systems online, you’ll see shades of former selves. To really move on, you have to fade some of those shades. Otherwise, they’ll haunt you.

Tim uses the synthesizer here to play notes that are almost like ghosts calling out as they’re faded into the next horizon, the next journey.

Onwards to the Dream Harvest

Our upcoming album is called “Dream Harvest.”

Where “Systems Online” is digital, virtual, robotic, we are going to make “Dream Harvest” more physical, natural, and organic. The idea is that once your systems are online, you need to start dreaming. And dreams are grown, not programmed.

We’ve had an amazing journey thus far as a band and couldn’t have done it without all the people who have come to our NYC and Boston shows over and over again. And a huge thanks to John Davis from Bunker Studio in Brooklyn and Chris Johnson from Electric Bunker in Boston for the mixing & mastering, respectively, and, of course, Lauren Giansante for bringing our concept for the album to life!

Listen to “Systems Online”

2 thoughts on “Systems Online: An Album Exploring the Digitization of the Self

  1. How cool, Blaise! Just listened on Spotify, and love it. I like a lot of trancey stuff by Massive Attack and Groove Armada, bands like that, and found this reminiscent and of terrific quality. A lot of great, driving energy in those beats. (Excellent bass playing too … 😉 )

    Good luck with it, Renaissance Man!

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