Jason Simpson

Jason Simpson

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Jason Simpson

Critical Listening
As someone living at the nexus of creativity and criticism, I eat, sleep, and breathe music, and have done so for the last 19 years. I had the desire to learn everything there was to know, regarding music, understanding the simplest sine wave to the chaotic complexities of the shifting music industry. Most of this was done independently, to become the best musician and producer possible. 

Now you can benefit from the millions of hours I've spent listening to and writing about the most brilliant music on the planet.
mixing, pr, diy music promotion, music promotion, music marketing, social media, social media marketing, social media strategy, graphic design, music writing, sound design, music production / mastering, music writing / blogging, film / video, critical listening, music journalism, music blogging, music reviews, musicology, sound engineer
hip-hop, jazz, indie rock, indie pop, metal, electronic, classic rock, folk, indie, singer/songwriter, electronica, music, reggae, pop, r&b, dnb, classical, world music, ambient, trip hop, house, minimal, americana, science, beats, abstract hip-hop, instrumental beats, deep house, film, indie folk, fashion, shoegaze, psychedelic rock, noise, dub, chillwave, country, techno, dark ambient, blues, beauty, jungle, industrial, disco, tech house, black metal, thrash metal, ragtime, literature, experimental, experimental electronic, instrumental hip-hop, neo-classical, dub tech, glo-fi, lo-fi, space, books, pop culture, drone, future beats, soundtracks, photography, movies, comic books, technology, future bass
Portland, Or.

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Recent Feedback

Tom Crowell submitted media.

When I Was Young by The Pulltops

Jason Simpson

I'm not always a fan of glammy, poppy prog or power pop. While I can appreciate the songwriting skills of bands like Cheap Trick, has never really pushed my buttons in the right way. Maybe it's my age group (a kid in the '80s, when a lot of that stuff was popular), but the proggy art rock production style just never really sinks in for me. Bands like Chicago, Journey, Foreigner, even The Police, to an extent, just don't make much of a visceral impact due to being so treble heavy, polished, and slick. 

Bringing me to "When I Was Young," (which I rather like, by the way.) While this new one from The Pulltops bears some sonic similarities to some of those purveyors of '80s art rock, the rootsier, more rustic production with the more exaggerated psychedelic vocals really seals the deal, helping the music to bite and kick more than a lot of more polite pop, while the vocals gives "When I Was Young" a deeper, more unerground sound that makes me sit up and take notice. It also helps the vocalist find their tuning, with microtonal slides and blue-note slurs. 

To me, this sounds like certain traditional music - Celtic, and twanging Americana, for the most part - updated with an arthouse psych/prog vibe, kind of like the band Failure, if you''re familiar. The bite of the acoustic guitar gives some muscle, meat, and marrow to what could otherwise be too airy of a track (it's one of the downsides of Chorus & Phase, sometimes those elements can slide right off the ears, like a greased duck.) You've created a truly EFFECTIVE hybrid, that also seems more heartfelt, with more heat and more of a reason for living, whereas a lot of Power Pop-derived material just sounds like 'songwriting-by-numbers'. 

Plus, your musicianship is utterly sick, and that never hurts! Guitar riffs are well-timed and on-point, which makes or breaks music like this. The intricate riffs gives this a bit of a Stoner Rock vibe, even, a la early Queens Of The Stone Age or, more accurately, their precursor, Kyuss. I think you guys stand a good shoot of creating a kind of alt-Americana/country/metal/psych/prog mish-mash that could actually be popular. It's got enough Blake Shelton to make it to The Voice, so to speak, but also not enough that you stand a prayer outside of Nashville or The Grand Ole Opry. 

Great work! Solid recordings of a well-written song, by a group of talented musicians. You're showing what you've got, and I think people will take notice!

Last thought, and this is just my opinion and kind of random, but you might consider separating the elements at some point, as well. Maybe have a couple of stripped down, rootsier numbers mixed with some truly far out prog, maybe some instrumental interludes in-between songs, maybe interspersed with field recordings. But I have pretty avant-garde listening habits, on my own time, so take that for what you will. 

Keep up the great work. It's going to pay off!  

Christopher Gettens submitted media.

Valleys- The Official Trailer by The Getten Brothers

Jason Simpson

This looks like a really cool indie horror/SF film. The trailer is compelling - visually beautiful, while the speech is mysterious and alluring, leaving me wanting to know more. I really love the inclusion of the broken and battered TVs, as well as the interspersing of different video qualities, which makes it more tangible and memorable. Reminds me of this Lovecraftian indie horror from a couple of years ago, called The Sunderland Experiment, which I was quite passionate about, so happy to see more things coming out in that mood! I will definitely keep my eyes peeled for this! 

The Dø submitted media.

Jason Simpson

I like how this video tells a story, hinting at a narrative. Really pulls you into the action, and gives a context for the music. 
The visual design is stunning! My favorite aspect is the contrast of red & blue, makes it seem as if the lady is the hot/active component, while the guy is the cool/detached, which is mirrored by the shots in the jet engine turbine.
Music is fairly simple, but gets the job done. Beats are solid, keyboards are memorable, nice lead vocals. The mix could use a little bit of work, however, as the elements still seem somewhat detached from one another, floating away. A little bit of further mastering, even for next time, may help to give a cohesive sound. Some mastering reverb goes a long way to hold a mix together, like an audio soup. 
Looks like you guys are off to a great start. You seem dedicated, hard working, with a good fashion and design sense, and a good ear for a tune. All of those things, working together, can be a recipe for success! (Just look at the White Stripes.)

Max Rosengren Falk submitted media.

Jason Simpson

Really impressive video! The visuals are just lovely, and a nice complement to the music. 
I am very excited by this blend of guitars and electronics. For a long time, it just didn't seem like people could get a convincing mix of rock guitars and electronics, which resulted in disjointed, patchwork affair that ended up sounding like bad '90s breakbeat remixes. 
On "One Of Us", the guitar mix, in combination with the faded EQ of the drums makes for a feeling that is both thrilling, while still remaining chilled. This lends to the explosion of the chorus, in full color explosion. Like Dorothy arriving in Oz. 
This is the right kind of epic, the right kind of romantic... the real deal, and not the approximation of. I would also like to give you props for the reverb mix, as a lot of people are doing that faded, faraway, blurry sound, but most go to far in that direction, and everything ends up as a wash. This gives that big sound, that aged, reminiscent quality, while still staying intelligible and distinct. Something that I would like to see more people achieve. But you are ahead of the curve, and I think it will stand out, even if people don't necessarily know what they are responding to. 
This registers emotions in my chest, a blend of excitement and nostalgia. The feeling of hanging out with good friends, of going on an adventure. Of living life on your own terms, of being young. 
I am definitely on board with this, and you can consider me a supporter. You deserve to be heard. 

State.com submitted media.

Jason Simpson

An interesting concept. Breaking through the noise is something we all need to figure out, especially when trying to influence. First and foremost, having a dedicated core of beta testers to try out your service and get involved is the first step. Build some momentum around your campaign. Name recognition and spreading the word are the name of the game. Look at this Fluence.io app. It's generated a bit of controversy, with people raising questions about paying for people's opinions, but the word has gotten out, with a lot of people hashtagging and tweeting about Fluence. Could be seen as an example of all press is good press. So, organizing viral campaigns would be a good first step. This video is a good start, also, as it is slick and very well made, plus it's funny, which always goes a long way towards getting shared. Don't overlook Tumblr, Reddit and Pinterest, as viable social markets, as well. You might do a bit of research, and figure out when the best times to post this kind of media, to the various social media networks, for maximum impact. For instance, I've heard 1:00 p.m. is a great time to reach people with social media posts, as people are just getting back from lunch. Remember to take into account different time zones, for whatever market you're trying to reach, and maybe tailor each to the specific region. Some kind of infographic might be useful, if you have that data, as they are easily shared across various social media platforms. And also, and it looks like you already understand this, but good graphic design cannot be overstated, as things that are sharp and classy (like this video), get shared a lot. Enlist some typographers. Also, consider finding other websites that deal with this sort of topic, and look into running some ads on their page. And, lastly, find others interested in what you're doing, and like, favorite and RT what they do. It's an easy way to build a niche, that spreads awareness of your product/brand, without being pesky. A harmless, and actually helpful, way to raise name recognition and brand awareness.