RE: You

by Robert Honstein

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RE: You is a lot of fun. So it may not be obvious that it is also the result of a modern online-privacy violation nightmare. The unusual titles of these unusual tracks are taken from a series of about 100 messages, both incoming and outgoing, that were erroneously cc’d to me by a popular online-dating site in 2008. In some database on some server in some highly-air-conditioned room somewhere, some Midwestern, middle-aged Jeffrey K. Miller’s online profile had been mistakenly paired with my email address, and the result was a ringside seat at the romantic travails of a total stranger.

In 2008, dating online was generally considered a shameful admission of social defeat, a desperate attempt to connect made by those who couldn't cut it in the real world. That summer, as Robert and I read these messages, watching the font colors change, encountering strange new emoticons, witnessing a proliferation of maximalist orthography and punctuation not seen since the Vorticist movement (or a sixth-grader’s IM history), it was tempting to dismiss them for being ridiculous and naive. And from the perspective of The Elements of Style, of course, they are. Nevertheless, that very same naiveté gave us access to an emotional life that was too human and too real to ignore. We had to admit that we were not only amused; we were also moved.

Heard as a whole, these songs do not take us on the journey of a love affair, but on the journey of a longing for one. They trace the arc of a very real desire for something to happen. But for all their moments of excitement and absurdity, they never allow us to rise from the solitude of the desk chair, where the sound of the pounding heart is transformed by the fact that there is no one else around to hear it. This strange sensitivity that attends digital romance can be felt in every moment of these compositions. Now that I have experienced it myself, I've started cc'ing Robert on all my romantic communiques, in hopes that he can use them, too, to create something wonderful. I am still waiting, anxiously, to hear back.

-Jeffrey K. Miller

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released May 27, 2014

Engineer: Ryan Streber
Producer: Ryan Streber
Recorded at Oktaven Audio, Yonkers, NY

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New Focus Recordings New York, New York

New Focus Recordings is an artist led collective label featuring releases in contemporary music of many stripes, as well as new approaches to older repertoire. The label was founded by guitarist Daniel Lippel (who is the current director), composer engineer Ryan Streber, and composer Peter Gilbert in 2003-4, and features releases from many of new music's most active performers and composers. ... more

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