Producer and electronic rock artist Gem FM, aka James Freeman, releases his brand-new album, Sonic Boom, an eight-track collection of music blending electronica, trance, and prog-rock elements.
Talking about his sound and creative process, Gem FM shares, “I tend to be somewhat rhythmically oriented in my approach to music. Building the beat is often where my creative process begins. Once I have a foundation, the tune usually begins to take on a life of its own. That’s when I follow the music wherever it leads, embarking on a sonic adventure.”
He adds, “Although a lot of my work is instrumental, I do enjoy writing lyrics. Most of the work on my first album, Old Business, features vocal tracks. One of the interesting things about instrumental tracks is they can travel anywhere, with no translation required. Anyone anywhere can have the same listening experience as anyone else.”
Gem FM is the project of James Freeman, who went from playing in his high school’s marching band, to rock, blues, and country cover bands to prog-rock, audio engineering, and live sound mixing.
Freeman explains Sonic Boom’s genesis, “At first the idea was to make an EP with four songs. Four songs became seven and since there is no category for Over-Engorged EP, it was decided to call it an album. Adding ‘Serrated’ made it an even eight tracks.”
“SwagR” opens the album, rolling out on swirling tones flowing into a tune flavored with tangs of electro-rock and hints of jazz. A tight, contagious rhythm provides the matrix for creamy washes of buoyant textures, giving the tune a cinematic feel.
Entry points on the album include “RazL,” which blends Latin-lite savors with the driving energy of dance music into an undulating melody accented by delicious brass colors. While “Boodal” travels on initial tinctures of industrial rhythmic pulses as gleaming layers of sound bubble and percolate overhead. The rhythm shifts to a staccato, retro, new-wave cadence, imbuing the tune with vibrant textures.
Perhaps the best track on the album, “Slide On Down” rides a funk-lite rhythm as oozing, drifting toplines glide above.
Singularly imaginative, with Sonic Boom, Gem FM offers captivating music forming the perfect soundtrack for an avant-garde film.