This year has been an eventful one for Cog Nomen. The local duo released its latest EP, Twin Stars, in May, and alongside the EP came the debut of a music video for the single "Fear of Missing Out," which saw the robot-voiced, electro-pop twosome join forces with the Third Horizon team behind the revered short film Papa Machete.
Both of these creations were made possible by a successful 30-day Kickstarter campaign last summer. Now Cog Nomen's efforts to promote the releases have come full circle, and the duo is once again embracing collaboration on a local level. This time, guitarist Buffalo Brown and drummer Ulysses Perez have opened their doors to friends in the South Florida music scene with an invitation to remix the pair's single "Fear of Missing Out."
"I asked a few of my friends in the Miami music scene if they would be willing to take our song and do whatever they were inspired to do with the track," Brown explains. "Both DJ Woozles and Tony Smurphio of Afrobeta were the first ones to promptly send us their remixes. We gave them carte blanche and had nothing to do with the process after sending out the song stems."
The track, sung by Perez, uses a voice synthesizer called a vocoder — not to be confused with Auto-Tune. Brown says the noise it produces is what he imagines an extraterrestrial or sentient machine would sound like if it were to make an album. He suggests it might sound familiar to fans of Tupac's "California Love."
"Still, I'm not certain that most people are prepared to be crooned to by a robotic voice, so collaborating with other people such as Afrobeta, who are already creating electronic-based melodic pop, seems like a good induction vehicle for this weird song we wrote," Brown says.
Afrobeta's Smurphio says he approached the remix with the intention of making it more of a danceable tune.
"The original is in 5/4 time signature, which is really cool but not so easy to dance to. I did a little reversing of the guitars, reharmonized the chord structure, changed the time signature to 4/4, and altered the main melodies to fit the new chords. I kept the original tempo," he says.
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"The Afrobeta remix is brilliant because they decided to take one of my guitar chords and use that to set the tone for a groovy dance piece, using our vocal hooks as icing over a sensual, trancey arrangement," Brown says. "I love it, and it definitely sounds equally ready for a road trip or dance floor. What DJ Woozles did is more of a reimagining than a remix. He took this odd creation of ours and made it weirder. In both cases, we could not have come up with the angles they arrived at, and that is the beauty of collaboration."
All of this work will culminate in a celebration of the remixes this Friday at Miami art gallery the Bridge. Afrobeta and Woozles will be in attendance to perform their remixes. Other familiar faces, such as Otto von Schirach and DJ Le Spam, will also be in the house.
"I hope attendees appreciate what Cog Nomen does live," Smurphio says. "Performing electronic music without computers or CD players is hard. Somehow, they make it work."
Cog Nomen with Afrobeta, Otto von Schirach, Oly, DJ Woozles, and DJ Le Spam. Friday, August 12, at the Bridge, 4220 NW Seventh Ave., Miami; 305-632-5776; facebook.com/TheBridgeMiami. Admission costs $10.