WE ARE LIVING IN A DIGITAL WORLD 

DJ Ernest Gonzales can create a two-hour soundscape with the flick of his fingers - without ever touching a piece of vinyl

"I see it as cultural recycling," says Gonzales. "I guess it is stealing. Legally stealing music. My personal take on it is that I'm sharing it. I don't feel it's necessary to name the sources. People do it; whether it's literal sampling or unconsciously creating something that is a derivative. It's collaging. It's pop art. In the art world, people have been doing it for years."

In the strict sense of the term, Gonzales' music is electronica. His digital orchestrations are not driven by live instrumentation but by pre-recorded tracks, or samples. He is a DJ who can create a two-hour soundscape with the flick of his fingers - without ever touching a piece of vinyl. His home studio is his computer; his instruments are a pair of Pioneer CDJ1000 digital turntables and a synthesizer. "CD turntables let you manipulate CDs exactly like vinyl," Gonzales explains. "As a producer, I want to DJ my own tracks. The tables allow me to burn my songs onto disc. I'll burn two copies of my CD and pop them into the tables, simultaneously beat matching them, scratching them in, beat juggling my own tracks. It's something I could never do with vinyl. I'd have to press out my stuff, which

NIOSA COLLEGE NIGHT: THE ASTEX, ASSASYN DYNASTY, LOTUS TRIBE, 7ISH, THEORY OF EVERYTHING
10pm, Thursday, April 24, $10
Salazar Studio
120 Guadalupe, 225-1009
is too expensive. Instead, I'm able to DJ my own music as if it were on vinyl, and I'm able to perform my music in front of people."

Gonzales performs as the artist Theory of Everything at local hip-hop functions and art shows. His first full-length album, Algorhythm, is a cut-and-paste experiment in jazz, jungle, hip-hop, and trip-hop fusion released on Exponential, his independent label. Two years ago, Gonzales met DJ Jester, Michael Pendon, who asked the graphic artist to design his Web site (www.filipinofist.com). Gonzales later produced Jester's Heavily Booted album, which aired on the "Re:Mixology with DJ Jesuspants" show on the NYC-area-based radio station WFMU in June 2002. Recently, Gonzales teamed up with DJ Klassen, Christopher Klassen, to produce the first 20-minute mix in a trilogy of three-inch minidiscs scheduled for release in as many months. Polaroid is a departure from Klassen's signature hip-hop, showcasing what Gonzales calls the DJ's "eclectic ear." The mix is an esoteric amalgamation of electroclash, disco, punk, and hip-hop, which Klassen will spin live during his CD release party on Saturday, May 3 at La Escondida.

Gonzales graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio with a degree in photography, before taking a position at Color Solutions, a local studio that designs graphics for SA's booming trade show market. "I've been able to learn a lot while I've been there," says Gonzales. "But the work is really repetitive, cookie-cutter stuff." Instead of stifling his artistic creativity, Gonzales independently studied digital design, and began showing his print work at local galleries.

"The idea of sampling also affects my artwork," says Gonzales. "Sometimes I pull images, download them, combine them into really simple, basic pieces. My larger pieces are much more complex,

DJ KLASSEN'S CD RELEASE PARTY: DJ KLASSEN, CEPTACON, DJ JESTER, THEORY OF EVERYTHING, REALISMO MAGICO
9pm, Saturday, May 3
$5 21 and up
La Escondida
11407 West Ave
541-0001
mathematical." Gonzales' designs are deceptively simple compositions layered with visual complexity. "I use my own photographs, recorded imagery of what I see around me." The visual sampling synthesizes Gonzales' environment to a single frame, much like his music simultaneously fuses a variety of contrasting sounds into a single track. Examples of his visual work can be viewed on his Web site, www.thephuture.net, or on REM Gallery's site, www.remgallery.com.

In the fall, Gonzales will begin student teaching through Region 20's alternative certification program. He wants to teach graphic design at a high school, and is looking into the North East Independent School District's School of the Arts at Robert E. Lee High School, where students are expected to create video and multimedia projects using the Acid Pro computer program. "It would be pretty cool to inspire these kids, to have them make music. That's what I love, what I do on my own time, my day job," says Gonzales. "I would love to be able to teach that." •


More by Wendi Kimura

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