“I think Surface to Air is the record that we\'ve been trying to make since the first time we put down our guitars,” says Steve Trumpeter of instrumental electronic rock band The Infrasonics. He\'s referring to a blustery Sunday in October 2001 when he, Jim Birch and Matt Engstrom put down their axes and plugged in vintage keyboards by Moog, Wurlitzer and Farfisa. They recorded a marathon jam session from which the Infrasonics were born. It spawned the song “Passport,” a standout track from their 2005 debut Bad Guy Music and set The Infrasonics in motion.
While Bad Guy Music was composed and built entirely in the studio then adapted for the live show, songs from Surface to Air were all performed live before being recorded. “Adding Rez to the band really changed the songwriting process,” says Jim Birch of drummer Bryan Resendiz. “We would still do parts on a drum machine, but he has the uncanny ability to learn these ridiculous beats we\'d come up with, then let them breathe a bit.” The end result is a collection of songs that break the mold set by so much of today\'s electronic rock.
Songs like “Dusted” and “Down in the Water” are elegant and anthemic, while “Downer\'s Groove” and “Combonaut” serve as fist-in-the-air rockers. Then there are genre-defying tracks such as “Docking” and “Degausser” that fit into the Infrasonics\' self-coined style of “moogalicious.” It\'s an album that is at once experimental and accessible, with all sorts of auditory treats for the careful listener. “We spent a good amount of time in the studio getting the sounds right, keeping the mixes interesting, yet not editing the life out of it,” says Matt Engstrom, who did much of the mixing on the record. The thirteen songs on Surface to Air incorporate a wide range of styles and instrumentation, yet remain organic and cohesive. They\'re the kinds of songs that will insinuate themselves into the listener\'s head after the first listen, yet turn up something new after the tenth.
The Infrasonics have been heard on Chicago radio stations such as WXRT, WLUW (including being selected at #14 on Radio One Chicago\'s “best records of 2005” show) and WNUR. The Infrasonics\' songs have been featured in the PBS series Roadtrip Nation as well as in marketing materials for Shure, Inc. They have even served as the house band for seminars by Sensaphonics, makers of high-end, audiophile-quality in-ear personal monitors. Their live shows are events not to be missed, having played at venerable Chicago rock institutions such as the Abbey Pub, the Subterranean and others.
Released on The Infrasonics\' own Caffeinated Recordings label, Surface to Air is available now from various online and brick-and-mortar outlets.