Genetic Effects is the musical persona of visual artist, composer and multi-instrumentalist producer, Dan Dewell. Since the late 1990’s he has been spinning his unique brand of avant-garde downtempo instrumental music.
The project made its professional recording debut in 2012 with the single “Drosscapes at Hinterland.” The recording is a musical piece composed as accompaniment to the ‘Drosscapes’ art installation which appeared first at Denver’s Hinterland Gallery and later at the Arvada Center for the Arts in Arvada, Colorado. The thirteen track LP “Mantoac” followed in 2013. That record was a compilation of tracks recorded between 1998 and 2013. Genetic Effects remained publicly silent until 2020 which saw the release of “Aminal Prisms,” a collection of work recorded between 2013 and 2017.
“Aminal Prisms” is a fascinating listen. The Genetic Effects sound is a rich mix of electronic production, organic instrumentation and the repurposed found sounds of cultural debris. From the Synthwave Ambient experimentation of “Morsequitur” to the Jazz-infused Trip-hop of “Hyperlance” and the Glitch-hop beats of “Quantum Helio,” the record slides freely between musical worlds with no concern for borders.
An air of mystery flows through the album, as though there is a story being told between the lines of each instrumental track. One senses an implied commentary amidst the controlled industrial noise of tunes like “Parasire” and “Echo Lalia,” the sampled classic movie quotes of “Sininen Varis” or the fully electronic “Kotasiem.” If there is an enigma, it is further encrypted by the song titles on “Aminal Prisms.” They find inspiration in Latin biblical references, Finnish children’s books, psychological disorders and video games. The mystery only adds to the immersive nature of this beautifully constructed record.
Check out groovy psychedelia of the “Quantum Helio” video below, or listen to the entire Genetic Effects “Aminal Prisms” album on your favorite streaming service. You can also hear the track “Brazen” on the Deep Indie Chill playlist. We had the chance to talk to Dan about the past, present and future. Read his answers to our 8 questions below. Follow the links at the end of this article to connect with Genetic Effects.
8 Questions with Dan Dewell of Genetic Effects
Where are you from?
Somewhere in middle America. Landed in Hawaii (before the pandemic hit), and now call the big island my home.
How long have you been making music?
My first instrument was the trumpet (at eleven years old), but I began taking an interest in song-writing, producing, and mixing, in the late 1990s.
Who are the musicians involved in your project?
Just me. I am happy doing my own thing. There is only so much time in a day, and I am too far down the rabbit hole of a project to surface.
Who are your biggest musical influences?
My parents have been members of a couple different choirs for as long as I can remember, and they share their love for music. They encouraged me to pick up piano and trumpet at a young age, which led to classical training, falling in love with Miles Davis, and further exploring instrumental music.
What is your greatest non-musical influence?
Everything in my life influences how I create and produce. I am a visual artist, as well as a rabid fanatic of the wilderness, and while both serve as foundations of inspiration to my music, it is the imagery evoked from writing that most drives my songwriting process.
What inspired you to create this project?
I had a motorcycle accident that catalyzed a perfect storm, making working a 9-to-5 impossible for a while. I used music to navigate a path through the murk, focused my damaged brain on composing something larger to pass the time.
What are your plans for the future (musically)?
I am always experimenting with new processes. Since 2020, I have released mostly noisy, experimental pieces, because it just seems fitting given the times. Next year is looking more musical, like another album that utilizes some of the same processes as Aminal Prisms.
But it takes time. No promises.
Is there anything else you would like to say?
Thank you for taking time out of your life to listen. If you enjoy what you hear, I hope you will consider telling your friends. I release on digital streaming platforms, like Spotify, Apple, etc.; but, my entire discography can be found at https://geneticeffects.bandcamp.com.
I am also occasionally spotted on Twitter, @geneticeffects.