Benn Jordan

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Benn Jordan
Theflashbulb.in.portland.jpg
Benn Jordan
Background information
Birth name Benn Lee Jordan
Also known as The Flashbulb, Acidwolf, CHR15TPUNCH3R, DJ ASCII, Dr. Lefty, Dysrythmia, FlexE, Human Action Network, Lucid32, MC Flashbulb, rnd16, 66x, Q-Bit
Born

(1978-10-28) October 28, 1978 (age 35)

Georgia, United States
Genres IDM, breakcore, glitch music, drill and bass, ambient, modern classical, acid techno
Instruments Guitar, Drums, Electric Guitar, Bass, Sitar, Oud, Piano, Synths, DAW, Sampler
Years active 1993–present
Labels Sublight, Alphabasic, Bohnerwachs, Rephlex, Merck, Accel Japan, Nophi, Psymbolic, Reject, Metatone
Associated acts Greg Hirte, Kettel
Website TheFlashbulb.net

Benn Lee Jordan (born October 28, 1978) is an American modern jazz and IDM musician operating under many pseudonyms. Since 1999 his most widely distributed and eclectic music has been released under the name of The Flashbulb. Other popular names Benn has released as are Acidwolf, Human Action Network, and FlexE.

Biography[edit]

Jordan was born in Georgia in 1978 and moved to Chicago to live with his grandparents at a young age. Influenced by the local jazz scene, Jordan was an accomplished self-taught guitarist as a child. Due to being left-handed and not having lessons, he learned to play a right-handed guitar upside down, which he continues to do.[1] He began his music career releasing instrumental music on small labels in the United States and Europe in 1996 under various aliases, most notably The Flashbulb, and years later he began to work as a freelance composer for various television and film agencies. In 2006, The Flashbulb toured and worked with The Dillinger Escape Plan which helped diversify his listeners. Benn is still an active jazz guitar player and drummer at Chicago venues.

Musical style[edit]

As The Flashbulb, Jordan typically releases electronic or cinematic styled music. His style differs strongly between albums, but they all have a cohesive bond tied around fast drum programming, jazz-influenced melodies, and a wide array of live instrumentation from various instruments Jordan has acquired. He also often records his melodies through MIDI-synced guitars. His guitar style and skill has gained attention because he typically plays it strung backwards, and makes heavy use of fast sweeping and tapping. More recent Flashbulb albums have featured violinist Greg Hirte, who is featured heavily on The Flashbulb's 2008 album, Soundtrack to a Vacant Life, as well. Soundtrack to a Vacant Life is, as Jordan stated in a 2008 interview, a step away from the breakcore genre. He also said that this step is likely to be a permanent trend in the direction of his music,[2] a move that was supported by releases under his own name, such as Pale Blue Dot and Louisiana Mourning. However, 2012 album "Hardscrabble," represents a return to the harder electronic music heard on releases like Kirlian Selections or Flexing Habitual. The record is named for an area within the Bridgeport neighborhood of Jordan's own Chicago. Alphabasic stated that the album would is an "unexpected return to [Jordan's] more challenging and hyper-creative endeavors."[3]

Under other aliases, Benn Jordan's work varies quite a bit. His Acidwolf and Human Action Network aliases feature retro acid music that uses old drum machines such as the TR-808 and relies heavily on the melodies of the TB-303. Tracks made under the FlexE alias tend to be laid-back and classic acid. According to him, he showcases his more fundamental, classical, and personal pieces under his own name, Benn Jordan.

Composing for television and film[edit]

Jordan has seen much success for himself in composing for television and film. In 2006, Jordan's music ("Passage D" from his album Kirlian Selections) was featured in Dove's Evolution promotional campaign for its Campaign for Real Beauty website, which has drawn a large amount of attention from the mainstream media. The campaign took the commercial film winner at Cannes as well as many other prestigious awards. In addition, Jordan was nominated for a 2007 London International Award for the "Best Use Of Music" category; he went on to win the ceremony's grand prize.[4] In 2008, he was nominated again at the London International Awards for "Best Use of Music," although he did not take the grand prize. In 2008 he was also a Webby Award nominee and took the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival.[5] In 2008, Jordan had completed work in branding, having created stings and trademark sounds for companies such as Dove, Knowledge, Verizon, and many others. In July 2012, he released an original score entitled "The Universe," which was commissioned by Chicago's Adler Planetarium for a new interactive exhibit dedicated to the evolution of the universe.[6]

Jordan currently composes for film, television, and gaming through Vapor Music Group, a large international creative firm operating out of Toronto; he also currently owns and operates his own production and recording facilities in Chicago.[7]

Alphabasic and music piracy[edit]

After the collapse of Sublight Records, instead of taking on another contract, Jordan purchased his previous licenses and released his most anticipated album Soundtrack To A Vacant Life on his own record label called Alphabasic. On the day of release, he personally uploaded copies of the album to music piracy sites including a small HTML file explaining his relaxed views on file sharing and showing listeners where they could give support if they desired. This resulted in attention by mainstream press and the album was soon to be the most downloaded album on many popular file sharing networks.[8]

Jordan has spoken extensively on issues of net neutrality, free speech, and copyright laws in the music world. In an interview with TorrentFreak, he encourages involvement in these issues and warns against corporations like Amazon or iTunes and their ability to stem the free flow of information. File sharing, to Jordan, is a way of bypassing this potential oppression and accessing information freely. In the aforementioned interview, Jordan notes that "file trading is just a peephole to a much larger picture. Copyright, in its current state, holds information at ransom for monetary value. While in music it can stifle culture and art, with literature and education it can be nothing more than a weapon of class warfare."[9]

Philanthropy[edit]

Benn Jordan is the founder and president of 32 Forty,[10] a non-profit music education center located in south Chicago. The music center also extends services to help independent recording artists with publishing and licensing. In 2011, Jordan released a large collection of unreleased music, titled "Old Trees (1999-2011)"[11] with all proceeds going to Unicef. Jordan is also an ambassador for Unearthed Pictures, a foundation dedicated to publicizing and stopping the sexual exploitation of children and funding safe houses in North America, Africa, and Asia.

Personal life[edit]

Jordan currently lives and records music in an old carriage house in south Chicago,[12] and frequently trains and competes in mixed martial arts and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in his spare time.[13]

Discography[edit]

As The Flashbulb[edit]

LPs[edit]

EPs/etc.[edit]

As FlexE[edit]

  • Programmable Love Songs Vol. 1 (2004, Nophi) (LP)

As Acidwolf[edit]

  • Acidwolf Legacy 1995-2005 (2005, Bohnerwachs, Alphabasic) (LP)

As Human Action Network[edit]

  • Welcome to Chicago: The Acid Anthology (2007, Alphabasic) (LP)

As Benn Jordan[edit]

Citations and references[edit]

External links[edit]