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Premiere: Dan Rincon of Osees Releases Debut Solo LP, Spotlight City

Dan Rincon, longtime drummer of the legendary Los Angeles-based rock band, Osees, is set to release his debut solo album, Spotlight City, tomorrow, May 3rd via John Dwyer’s CastleFace Records. We’re excited to offer an exclusive premiere of the full album today on Extra Chill.

Spotlight City is an experimental, ambient album that has Rincon diving into self-recording and production techniques after years of playing drums in rock & roll bands. Two singles were released prior to the album’s debut: “Cessna” and “Motor Rhythm, Wooden.”

The album crafts a vast soundscape that is contemplative and expansive, with sound layered in subtly-psychedelic fashion, discovering melodies in a chaotic electronic world. John Dwyer’s bio for this album draws comparisons to Popol Vuh soundtracks, 8 bit video game accompaniment & 80s Tangerine Dream.

Dan says that this style was inspired by listening to lots of solo Roedelius and Conrad Schnitzler records.

“The way both of those of those artists pushed the early, chaotic electronic music into something more melodic is really inspiring to me, it’s not that dissimilar than trying to get melodies out of a modular synthesizer,” Rincon explains.

Dan crafted these artificial landscapes and melodies with Moog Grandmother, Mellotron and a kinky Modular system, for a sound that spans from beautiful and lilting to haunting and ethereal. He calls it: “a years-long learning experience of getting all components and ingredients to link arms and blend comfortably. Wrangling was part of the process. Strings soaring and sines weaving.”

Stream Spotlight City by Dan Rincon below, and read on to learn more via our exclusive Q&A.

Dan Rincon – Spotlight City (2024)

Self-Recorded and Produced

“As a drummer, I never had any hand In the actual recording process other than playing so it has always been a bit of a mystery to me,” Rincon says. “I started out making super primitive recordings and with the help of some of my engineer buddies, started getting proper equipment to record at home. I still have no idea what I’m doing and ask friends tons of annoying questions (thanks Arian).”

While self-recording may be a new experience for Dan, his interest in electronic music goes back to his high school days.

“I started getting interested in noise music and circuit bending electronics in high school, probably around age 16 or 17. Ever since then I’ve had an interest in electronic music,” he says. “My first synthesizer was the Radio Shack Moog MG-1 because it used to be really cheap and it’s just snowballed from there.”

Origins of Spotlight City

Osees and/or CastleFace fans may remember the Zebulon Sessions from the summer of 2020, where the Los Angeles venue hosted live performances without an audience for streaming on YouTube, Bandcamp, and more.

Dan Rincon of the Osees was featured on a Zebulon Session in June of 2020 playing ambient electronic music, and this was the first time that many fans heard him play this type of music.

“I started recording before that with no album in mind, I think one or two tracks from Spotlight City are from around that time,” Dan says. “It’s all over the place in terms of when each track was recorded. My next record will probably have at least one track from 2019 haha.”

As for the name, Spotlight City is a city in a fictional film that Dan imagined when coming up with the concept for the album, with his music serving as the hypothetical film score. This was done as a creative exercise.

“To keep myself from aimlessly making music, I started trying to make a score to a fake movie or something so that the themes would be similar,” Dan explains. “In the end it didn’t really work out that way but, Spotlight City would have been the city that the “film” would have taken place. I just wanted to give myself a direction to head in.”

Spotlight City by Dan Rincon (2024).

Improvisation & Closing Thoughts

According to Dan, improvisation has been a huge part of his creative process with this project, using the modular synth to simulate having another musician in the room at times.

“A lot of the background stuff, or “texture” is made from programming my modular system to semi randomly play in a key or keys that I tell it to and I’ll start building on top of that. It’s kind of like having a band mate.”

As a closing thought, Dan says that he hopes people enjoy the record as much as he did making it.

“It’s definitely a niche album and I hope it finds a place in the pantheon of records that have been a major part of my life!”