Interview: Dan Deacon on the importance (or lack thereof) of formal music education

This content appears in the iPad-exclusive ALARM 39. Download it for free and subscribe to our new print edition.

Dan Deacon: AmericaDan Deacon: America (Domino, 8/27/12)


Dan Deacon: “Lots”

In a police lineup of today’s most unique young composers, Dan Deacon would be easy to spot: big, red hipster glasses and a big, red half-moon beard. But despite the “charming doofus” look, Deacon’s blend of synthesizers, vocal effects, and acoustic percussion is some of the smartest electronic music around, and he owes its complexity at least in part to his time studying composition at the Conservatory of Music at SUNY Purchase. Here he discusses what his education meant to him, the enormity of student debt, and forcing musicians to study math.

Dan Deacon & So Percussion

Concert Photos: So Percussion & Dan Deacon @ Ecstatic Music Festival (NYC)

Electro solo act Dan Deacon recently reunited with his former Bromst tour-mate, experimental chamber quartet So Percussion, for a performance during the Ecstatic Music Festival at Merkin Concert Hall in New York City. Presented in association with New Amsterdam Records, the 15-concert, 150-band festival gathers performers, composers, and songwriters like Nico Muhly, Owen Pallett, and William Brittelle for two months of music and discussion.

Brooklyn-based photographer Eric Ryan Anderson attended the show and captured images of all of the bottle banging and knob twiddling that goes into some of the most progressive sounds around.

Dan Deacon & So Percussion

100 Unheralded Albums from 2010

Among the thousands of under-appreciated or under-publicized albums that were released in 2010, hundreds became our favorites and were presented in ALARM and on Of those, we pared down to 100 outstanding releases, leaving no genre unexplored in our list of this year’s overlooked gems.


Matmos: Experimental IDM Wizards Coax Notes From a Cactus

Matmos members M.C. Schmidt and Drew Daniel succeed avant-garde composers David Lang, Iannis Xenakis, and John Cage, creating musique concrète with electronics, tin foil, synths, cacti, boardgames, and whatever else happens to strike an interesting chord.