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Standout Track: No. 2, “Radio Forecast,” a 17-minute opus that ambles between gloom and cautious optimism. The ambient, minimalist track leaves itself open to interpretation. “It’s important for people to bring their own meaning or feeling into the song,” says guitarist Jeff Barsky, Insect Factory’s lone member. To listeners, he says, the track could be relaxing—or intensely dark.
Musical Motivation: The album is heavy on radio metaphors. “I think what I was going for is that radio in general mirrors the health of a society or culture,” Barsky says. “The radio belongs to everybody, and it’s free.” If the radio is interesting, he says, that may be “a reflection of the culture that’s challenging itself. And if there’s nothing of interest on there, then that’s the ultimate bio-indicator.” Barsky drew inspiration from the political letdowns of the last decade as well as social-justice movements like Occupy.
Ambient Activist: Barsky’s music has political potential, even if it’s instrumental. “I think if there were any lyrics it would immediately make everything way too literal. I think, given the type of music I make, I can play in a room and transform a room into something,” he says. “If my music has that sort of quality where it puts people in a place where they can contemplate or think about things, I think it encourages people to think.” —Reese Higgins
Insect Factory plays Artisphere on April 27.