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David Cortopassi: The Silicon Jungle

Benn Joseph

David Cortopassi

The Silicon Jungle

Label: Digital Cellars
US Release Date: 2000-02-29

This album is very aptly named, as it very effectively juxtaposes two styles of thinking, thus creating a culmination of material that forces the listener to compare, and also think. It also reminds me of robot statues, because I like robot statues and they do the same thing.

David Cortopassi is one of those individuals who has experienced high popular culture, and has opted for the underground instead. He's performed with bands like Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead, but just a few years ago decided to create his own label, which he apparently runs from his basement in Napa Valley, California (Digital Cellars, ha ha!). Cortopassi's love of music, his desire to create things with a personal flair, not touched by the hand of pop culture (i.e. working in his basement), and his idiosyncracies, such as his habit of sticking his foot in a bucket of Jell-O before a show, all remind me of Steve Vai. He's been influenced by Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart too.

Cortopassi's music is very ethereal. The title track features some amazing orchestrations composed of jungle-type sounds, such as sticks rubbed together, and tribal chants. These are added to a very future-esque repetition of electronic sounds, high in loopiness and sneakingly introspective. The lyrics on this first song are kind of chumpy, as though he's trying really hard to come across with some message about the horrors of jungle-folk being stolen from their homes and forced into white-collar software jobs. Fortunately for him, his execution of this seemingly pointless feat is done incredibly well.

"Dangerous Paradise" is another good example of the juxtaposition he's trying to create. It combines random jungle sounds, like roaring lions and shrieking giraffes or whatever, with exceedingly creepy lounge music. For those of you who are silicon-based enough, this will remind you of the music from Castlevania: Symphony of the Night for Playstation. I swear this song is on that game somewhere.

Cortopassi should be admired for his diligence in underground work, his desire to be different, and his interest in both lounge music and giraffes. Go to to hear some of his work; I guarantee you'll at least find it interesting. It may even become the basis of your own subversions.

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