The accompanying notes for Tri Angles’ MUSIC CITY release are sparse, relating the music to “this traveller’s current headspace, an EP filled with twilight psychedelic jams.” But that doesn’t mean the songs aren’t meant to represent something more. Self-described as an intersection between drum and bass and trip hop, the three tracks serve as a platform for wordless storytelling, a form of creating that the producer says “plays into the way we understand our experiences subconsciously.”
Born just outside of L.A., David Angles’ parents moved to China when he was a year old. He spent his next 18 years traveling Asia. “Such a very different life,” he says. “Come 2008 or so,” he continues, “I end up at Belmont, of all places. I started writing a lot of electronic music, albeit terrible, and slowly worked my way to an understanding of how music works.”
He dropped out of school in 2010 and began embodying the “wandering artist” label he uses to describe Tri Angles. “I’ve been on that road ever since. I’ve been homeless so many times now. So many buses. I’ve spent time in so many cities traveling, meeting new people and expanding myself.” He continued to pursue music as he explored the country, “A cosmic tumbleweed, letting myself be pulled wherever I thought I needed to be, following a feeling.”
Seven years ago Angles adopted the SMILETRON moniker and quickly became absorbed in a niche community, incorporating 8-bit sounds into the creation of chiptune music. The ChipWIN Blog would call him “one of the most beloved and prolific artists in chipmusic,” but 20-plus releases into his journey, he found himself at a creative crossroads. Mainly I felt like SMILETRON was a finished story, he said in an interview last December. I wanted to start a new journey, but in a completely different direction while still retaining everything I had learned and accomplished on the last one.
This creative closure coincided with a return to a familiar setting. “I guess that was just about a year ago that I ended up back here,” Angles says of his return to Nashville. “I’ve been hiding out ever since, writing music and getting by.” After bookending SMILETRON with a performance at the chiptune-focused BRKFest, Angles further shifted his sound away from the genre with Tri Angles’ FARSIGHT release this past February. Octal Blog called it “a drum and bass epic.”
Speaking with The Waveform Generators last year, Angles explained that one of the best ways he’s found to explore the nature of the universe is through “creating fantastic sounds.” In this sense, Tri Angles provides him an avenue to share his stories without having to draw any hard conclusions around what he’s experienced. The sounds merely represent a step into the unknown. And with MUSIC CITY theres a sense that — at least for now — Angles feels at home with himself, his music, and his urge to explore. “Over time I’ve developed a very surreal attachment to the city. For someone with no home, this is the closest thing I’ve got. I’ll undoubtedly wander away sometimes, but I always come back.”