Foreign Body Sensation is the work of Louie Schultz– a compositional mastermind crafting truly compelling modern electronic music. A classically-trained musician, Schultz refined his pop sensibilities in the bands Army Navy and Nightjacket.
While Foreign Body Sensation obliquely utilizes pop economics, debut album 𝙏𝙝𝙚 𝙀𝙘𝙝𝙤 𝙄𝙨 𝙞𝙣 𝘾𝙤𝙙𝙚, out September 17, was born more from the skills Schultz has honed as a music editor and composer, collaborating with the likes of Mark Mothersbaugh, Cliff Martinez, Terrance Blanchard, and Paul Haslinger. In fact, it was while working with Haslinger — a former member of Tangerine Dream — that Schultz turned full force to his love of analog synthesizers (he claims to now have a collection of around 40 synths at his disposal).
Fickle, yet capable of generating an almost endless array of textures and sounds, Schultz took his time not only discovering the unique capabilities of each machine, but integrating them into his compositional process. In some cases, many of the pieces that became 𝙏𝙝𝙚 𝙀𝙘𝙝𝙤 𝙄𝙨 𝙞𝙣 𝘾𝙤𝙙𝙚 had lingered for five years or longer — each new discovery tempting a brand new series of compositions. Eventually, Schultz found the right combination of ambient and discordant pieces, judiciously experimenting until they weren’t simply washed out or noisy, but imbued with deliberate momentum.
The Echo Is in Code’s first single, “Ventilator,” wraps the shattered vocals of multifaceted artist, producer, writer and composer Keeley Bumford, who is the driving force behind More Giraffes and Dresage in addition to having her voice featured on various television and film soundtracks, around a minimalist, ‘Switched On’ Trap House soundscape. Aside from being a nugget of pop bliss on an album that delights in old-school electronics, “Ventilator” serves as a breakthrough for FBS mastermind Schultz’s writing process for The Echo Is in Code. Bumford had sent him the vocals for another project two years prior. While the song was sitting around waiting to be finished, Schultz got the idea to sample bits of Bumford’s voice and see what might come into being.
“I was manipulating her vocals after having loaded them into my MPC and I found my way to this thing that felt like a stuttering choking sensation, like gasping for air,” says Schultz. “I imagined someone having a fever dream in an overrun hospital waking up to find herself on a ventilator with the bright lights hitting them, eyes wide… When that track came together, the record started to feel like a complete statement. And it felt relevant in a meaningful way. There’s abstract music that a lot of people love, but it’s definitely easier for a broader audience to connect when there are vocals — because of that human element — and that word ‘ventilator’ we’ve heard over and over again this last year.”
Schultz then sent the songs to people who, despite having sophisticated tastes, didn’t necessarily listen to a lot of abstract instrumental music. When their reactions were viscerally positive, he knew that he had something special to share.