October 30, 2010

Tristan Cloplet: Autonomy For An Artist

Beneath all my rage and vitriol, just underneath the cynicism and sarcasm, if you keep digging you will find that at my core I believe in human beings. I believe in our goodness, our compassion, and our desire to help each other live simple, happy lives. The rest, all the stuff you hear about on the news is ignorance and fear, sculpted to represent a reality we are forced to swallow.

Sometimes, on my good days, I am able to look past the shallowness of our species and see us for what we are- a tribe of social primates who enjoy each other’s company who want to connect with each other.It is very auspicious when I am confronted by an email like the one below on such a day:
Hi there

My name is Tristan Clopet and I wrote to you one month ago after checking out your site. I really enjoyed reading some of your articles and reviews. I’m a singer-songwriter based in Miami and New York. I am just following up to inform you about an EP I just released--"Purple"--I think that you and your readers would rather enjoy it.

‘Purple’ has gotten great reviews from sites such as Bloginity and Consequence of Sound

We’re offering it for whatever people would want to pay for it, and I know time is scarce, but if you could give it a review, I’d love to read it. Even if it’s negative, I really respect your taste, and would be interested to hear what you think.

 You can listen to the EP for free on my website, but if you’d like a physical copy of the cd or a t-shirt, shoot me a size and a mailing address and I’ll be sure to get one out to you.

A few links to check out:

Homepage, Download “Purple”, MySpace, YouTube, Twitter
There are so many things right, not only with this email, but also with a world that allows us to be able to create, connect, and share on this level. We all like to complain about the commercialization of our lives. I am prone to rant about how corporations and the market have tainted every ounce of authenticity and art human beings are able to meekly carve out of the lifeless void left when every aspect of our lives are commodifed to be sold and traded, and so it is comforting to know that people still make music for the sake of connection. It is also reassuring to know that without the help of a record company or a PR firm, a young musician can make music, create his own brand, then work his ass off to find like minded people with whom to share it.

I am not sure if Tristan will ever be featured on MTV Cribs (Is that show even on anymore? Is MTV?) but through the use of tools like Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube, he is able to create a life centered on his music. He can record, distribute, and tour without the need for a record company.

This autonomy for artist is no small feat. Today musicians, writers, photographers need only to crave out a niche on the web and bust their asses spreading the word. In a perfect world the right about of talent and tenacity should get you an audience.

I myself have talent and tenacity in small quantities, but apparently enough to garner the attention of Mr. Clopet, and I am honored to do my part in passing on his name and story. That is how the new web works, you see; we band together and share what we like, what we find, not for any monetary reasons, or even for fame and notoriety. We share what we find because we are social primates desperately trying to find others like us, so we can connect. And every time we do, it just proves the lifeless corporate drones wrong. It proves that human beings are not greedy, violent vessels waiting to be filled with hatred and fear.

We are artists. We are human and we share.

Thanks Tristan! While your music is not exactly what I am listening to these days, I applaud your work and your style. I hope this review does justice to your work, and that it helps us stay in touch. I would love to follow your career and see where it goes. I hope I have captured how impressed I am by the way you have chosen to dedicate your life to your music and the manner I which you are pursuing your journey.

You are an inspiration. You have reminded me that  I need to cultivate my talent more intensely and crank up the tenacity a bit and join you in promoting my vision on my terms!

My review:

You can hear two distinct sounds on Tristan’s latest EP Purple and the five songs are split between this dialectic. The first voice is that of a gentle balladeer. A pop singer with a musicians ability to handle a guitar. The songs are layered with rich undulating riffs and a tender voice that sounds like Chris Martin from Coldplay. The songs are upbeat and light, even though the lyrics tend to lurk in a darker place.

Love and a Question has got to be my favorite on the EP. The beautiful tender intro lifts like a sunrise on a relaxed day.
Living mine in a beautiful haze
Drowning in her love drunk ways
Breathing in.
So Alive is another song offering sound advice:
Look in the mirror my dear
That's with whom you need to start your next affair
His songs are self reflective and yearning to grow. The narrator in every song is wide eyed and looking for answers, but never loses hope.

The other face of Tristan Cloplet is much darker. Funkier. Songs like Proximity Bomb, Superficiality is a Sin, Ethereal Evidence are seeped in funky bass lines, Jimi Hendrix style intros, and Middle Eastern strings. The result is a hodge podge of sounds and influences. Anthony Kedis is the obvious hero, but one can also get a taste of bands like 311. There is a low-key vibe to the songs, but not melodic enough like the others to hold my attention. I was left wanting the rapping sections to enter into a melody or a chorus that I could sway to, but none ever came.

Tristan Cloplet is a young artist with a lot of passion. He is on a journey to find himself and his sound. Let’s hope that he finds the balance. His pop ballands have potential to “hit it big” but more importantly with some maturity he has the opportunity to write some great songs. I would love to see the songs find the comfortable sounds of Jack Johnson and Matt Costa. Perhaps Tristan needs a surf trip and some time spent in the ocean.

The songs are a bit stiff and need to unwind. But don’t take my word for it, give his EP a listen for yourself. And now please do your part and share this story...


  1. Anonymous12:32 AM

    i sometimes don't exactly understand, or agree with, your bifurcation of the world into two opposing halves: the greedy, violent, corporate hate- and fear-filled half, and the artistic, peaceful, loving, using-the-internet-to-connect half.

    For a long time i've wanted to be a writer and i guess i justify the purpose and meaning of art in some way to myself too, but it doesn't necessarily involve peace and love. there is also a giddiness in getting something exactly right, be it a phrase or even a single instant: caught for a second in the threads of the mind, shored up against the unyielding passage of time. I think the ultimate function of the poet and writer is to spread truth, not just beauty and connection and love.

    The other thing I don't exactly agree with is your view of corporations. Isn't it a gross simplification to characterize these grand machines, made up of a thousand parts spinning one way or another, as evil or greedy or cruel? They are built from the fundamental human impulse to advance in society, but not necessarily from selfishness. It is not prostitution to work ten hours a day at a bank so both your kids and those of your deceased son can get a college education. And even the people at the top, the ones who carve out their millions, are not all callous or evil. Bill Gates and George Soros are two great examples of extremely successful men in very different functions who have used their wealth to benefit the world.
    There is also the economic rationale for capitalism: people's greed and selfishness ultimately benefits the others around them. Web 2.0 wasn't invented to spread art and music on the web; it was done for commercial purposes. It might even be argued that writing as an art is also the serendipitous byproduct of a greedy, commercially orientated impulse.

    Ignorance is certainly a problem: it is at the heart of all the things we want to see the end of in this world, including poverty, rage, fear, discrimination, and violence. Maybe we are not fighting the baser human instincts but rather their propensity to cause evil when they exist without properly developed moral, artistic, and intellectual sense. Maybe what we have to come to terms with is that in this world where communication, travel, and war has been rendered cheap and brutally simple, each human being commands a greater share of the world's power: and each human beings needs to be taught how to wield it.

  2. Hi Anonymous,

    Thank you for your comment. You are absolutely right and you made some great points:

    I think the ultimate function of the poet and writer is to spread truth, not just beauty and connection and love.

    You are right that it is not healthy to paint corporations as always evil or to blame all the world's ills on capitalism, but I find it hard to live in a world that is involuntarily obsessed with consumption. Much of my rage most likely stems from a guilt seeped in hypocrisy. I know that. As for what Web 2.0 was or wasn't invented for, it is always nice when it is used to connect people on their own terms.

    I just hope this doesn't change too much with the recent net neutrality issues surfacing. I always enjoying events, ideas, and people who are creating for the sake of creation and not for fame or money.

    In closing, I loved this line:

    each human being commands a greater share of the world's power: and each human beings needs to be taught how to wield it.

    Thanks again for reminding me to have an open mind and see things in the greys. I know I need that reminder every once in a while.

    I wish I knew who you were and we could continue to have this conversation. I hate anonymous comments, but blogger makes it difficult to remove the option.

  3. Anonymous2:59 AM

    Thought you might like this:

    Heart, art, and wit.

    Especially http://www.slide.com/s/AK6RM_Bzez8CyjD5P5SeuGyuErxikfMf