On May 30, Indianapolis lost a talented and visionary young artist.
Christopher Easton was a DJ and electronic music producer creating work under the name BlottBoyy. In a short period of time Easton established himself as a significant force within the Indianapolis underground music scene.
Easton began making waves as a musician while still a student at North Central High School before graduating in 2015. At a time when most young artists are blindly grasping for a direction or identity in their work, Easton was busy refining his surprisingly mature artistic voice. As a fan of Easton's productions and DJ sets, I felt his work held a vast potential and Easton seemed to be poised on the brink of finding a larger national or international audience for his art.
Sadly, all that promise was cruelly wiped away last weekend during a visit to White Rock Park in Shelby County. His body was found by a scuba diver 25-feet deep in the park's limestone quarry.
Easton was just 20 years old.
But he accomplished so much during his short life. Blottboy toured nationally with his friend and collaborator Ejaaz. He also left behind a handful of recordings featuring his compelling electronic music compositions. I greatly admired the music Easton produced as BlottBoyy. While his compositions often veered toward the abstract and experimental, Easton never lost touch with the soul and rhythm of dance music.
I also had great respect for Easton as a DJ. I recently commented to a colleague that I seldom listen to young DJs, as most haven't had the time to accumulate the expansive knowledge of music required to craft mixes with artistic depth. Easton was an exception though. I'd recently caught a couple different BlottBoyy DJ sets at Pattern Magazine and Joyful Noise Recordings events. On both occasions Easton's work behind the mixer was intriguing, filled with atmospherically diverse tracks that split the difference between haunting ambient expression and abrasive electro-noise.
Fortunately Easton preserved several of his mixes on his BlottBoyyy Soundcloud page. On that same page you'll also find a few of his original compositions, which range from more blatantly experimental pieces like "E L E" and "My Belief Is Ours,” both from 2014, to more recent tracks including "Out the Cage" and "Rave" which successfully reach for a big room/festival EDM sound.
In memory of Easton's life and work, I'd like to end this piece with a few words on my favorite BlottBoyy track. "Life With Color" was commissioned by the Museum of Psychphonics in Fountain Square. It's a site-specific composition referencing Elvis Presley's famous last performance at Indy's Market Square Arena. Clocking in at 11 minutes in length, "Life With Color" resonates with a grand, almost epic feel.
Easton spends several minutes weaving a swelling block of ambient symphonic strings over a light house rhythm, until midway through the track when the droning strings are overtaken by a chirping chorus of angelic voices and a full-on jacking house beat. After reaching a peak energy level the track collapses into itself, receding back to the calm atmospherics of the introduction.
"Life With Color" is a beautiful creation, certainly Easton's most complex and artistically ambitious recording. "Life With Color" will likely stand as the magnum opus of Easton's all too-brief career.
The artist statement Easton wrote for the work provides some insight into his character and artistic vision. I'd like to share an excerpt.
"My song 'Life With Color' is a beautiful journey that shows happiness in life. I wanted to create a song that people can escape to, and for just one second believe that they are in their fantasy. Everywhere around the world people love to dance to feel something which shows love and happiness… 'Life with Color' was inspired by the legendary singer Elvis Presley. Elvis was more then just a rock star on stage; he was also a leader to the world that touched hearts. The memories of Elvis Presley forever live in us through his music."
Chris Easton will continue to live on through all the lives his music touched, including my own.