Andrew Steck

Composer / guitarist / performer in Athens, Georgia

Andrew Steck is a composer and multi-instrumentalist from Athens, Georgia.

Most recent release, The Electric Nutcracker, is a “rock band” arrangement of The Nutcracker with elements of funk, psychedelia, synth pop, doo-woo, disco, reggae, and touches of post punk and classic rock.

The first full-length album, Inner Loop / Outer Loop (2020), is all orchestral drawing from a variety of sources from baroque (Cucumber Water) to 20th Century tonality (Disco Ostinato), rhythm & blues to tango (Tango Arcana), various folk music approaches to electronic music production.

The Covers EP (2021) features orchestral re-imaginings from artists such as Dolly PartonDanzig, and Ween.

Indie Classical (2021) / Indie Classical (Redux) (2022) consists of smaller combinations of instruments – primarily a work for string quartet and a wind quartet.

The albums Theater and Sore Thumb utilize aforementioned approaches, while adding more jazz, hip hop, and rock influences. Electric guitars are added here and there along with synthesizer effects and studio sound manipulation. Mostly instrumental, Sore Thumb does contain some vocal tracks.

The Mouth Remains Closed During Strenuous Activity is an electronica-oriented three-song EP.

The single, Drinking With the Devil, takes the hilarious poem by Ripley Keller and sets it in a musical cartoon fever dream with Jeremy Dyson providing the unhinged narration.

Inner Loop / Outer Loop – Album Notes

I began to envision writing an album of all orchestral music but taking more of a rock album approach to it. I got an idea to have a sort of “invocation” sounding opener (a la “Fanfare for the Common Man” or Ives’ “Unanswered Question”) that would break into a medley of more up-tempo songs at the point where it was starting to get too philosophical. After “On-Ramp”, “100 Nowheres,” originally written for Col. Knowledge & the Lickity-Splits, picks up the tempo with a fragmented surf rock feel. This begins the “Dance Movement” section of the album and is followed by a tango (Astor Piazzola is a huge influence) and a salsa/Chicano rock-influenced number.

“Bridges” is less adventurous musically, though it sounds like you’re on an adventure. It’s the “crossing of the threshold” number of the album.

“Cucumber Water” is meant to be a quick refresher from the route taken thus far.

The “Three Rings” pieces are sort of a mini ballet.

The final three tracks form the last cluster and are similar in mood. “The Big Stage 2020” is a reaction to the madness and, particularly, the performative tension in the world this year. It’s based on an atonal melody repeated with distorted and sometimes dissociated variation. “Disco Ostinato” was originally written to include “Off-Ramp” at the end, but this has been altered for the design of the album. Based on a 9/8 repeating pattern, it is intended to be comforting and confusing at the same time.

“Off-Ramp” is doom metal for orchestra.

The album was completed over the course of about one year and consists of approximately 145 pages of notated music. This is my first experience with mastering, so I hope I didn’t ruin it too bad.

The album was named Inner Loop / Outer Loop after the Loop 10 that encircles the city of Athens, Georgia, where I live. I’ve always considered the “inner/outer” aspect of that name to be interesting and comical fodder for semi-philosophical musings behind the wheel. As relates to Athens, they can also be seen as outwardly growing ripples in city known for making waves. This informed the decision to name the first and last tracks “On-Ramp” and “Off-Ramp” respectively. They are also mirror bookends musically in that they both are based on the same 4 note rising motif, but to very different effect.

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