Michael Stasis is a songwriter and artist living in Los Angeles. Since the age of thirteen, he has written and recorded music in tiny homemade studios. As a child, Michael and his father would make toys and go for heady night walks through the rolling hills and lonely mansions of Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania. With its American folklore of wealthy industrialists, witches and dog-people, Michael’s youth danced with an oil-to-water hatred of homework and beige pragmatism. Convinced that imagination and faith in the unknown are keys to the good life, he left home to study art at Cooper Union in Manhattan.
The need to score his video work turned into a passion for songwriting during late night recording sessions in Astoria, Queens. There is a strong visual element in Michael’s songs – a credit he gives to endless classes in a darkened screening room.
His first release on Arbutus, RIP III, is the third in a “greatest hits” series of tracks collated from previous releases. It traces his evolution from playing with trial software in his bedroom to learning from acclaimed producer Jorge Elbrecht to stumbling into a thriving community in the Bay Area, presenting an artist who has drifted through many scenes to collaborate, perform and grow, all patiently under the radar.
His restless output (over two hundred songs) has jumped sonically and stylistically, leaving some listeners to wonder if it’s the same artist at all. Songs like ‘Venus Of Soap’, ‘Greenskin’ and ‘Smokey’ emit a warm homespun glow and sense of marvel, indebted as much to classicist songwriting as it is to psychedelic folk and nursery rhyme. ‘Brown Cow’, ‘All The Ways’ and ‘Pain’ chug hypnotically with motorik drum machines, widescreen dynamics and angular quirks. Elsewhere, ‘Crushed’ and ‘Little Devil’ provide rushes of infectiously frenzied Californian surf-pop, while ‘The Necklace’ displays a propensity for the majestic, unfurling like an excavated classic from a cult soundtrack.
Stasis calls this the “playlist mentality”, a fractured approach borrowed from current listening patterns and dwindling attention spans. This intuitive tactic, he hopes, will keep people interested, rather than lamenting a bygone era of classic anything.
RIP III is now out on Arbutus Records.
- Venus Of Soap
- Brown Cow
- All The Ways
- Land Of The Goths
- Little Devil
- The Necklace
- Surface Area
- The Dairy Queen