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‘It’s nice to live on that edge’: Duo that met at UM fuses elements of jazz, techno

·4 min read

Without Miami, TWYN might not exist in its current form.

The electronic jazz duo, which has been in the Miami scene for more than 10 years, marries aspects of traditional jazz with Miami techno. They came up playing classic Miami venues like The Corner, Floyd, and Space Club.

“This group literally would not exist anywhere else maybe the way it is,” said drummer Aaron Glueckauf. “If you hear us using the sounds which push through those kinds of speakers which are made for a DJ or that kind of vibe, that’s the Miami aesthetic filtering itself through our sound.”

A collaboration between Glueckauf, drummer for Lemon City Trio and Electric Kif’s keyboardist, Jason Matthews, TWYN has had an important role in expanding Miami’s techno scene while moving the genre forward.

The two met while pursuing their jazz music degree at the University of Miami and began playing at underground hip hop events before Wynwood became a popular spot for music.

“Twins have a certain language,” Jason said. “There’s a sort of telepathy. Since we played together for so long, we understand where we can go even when we’re improvising.”

As jazz musicians, much of their writing comes from improvisation in live performances, where they take audiences through intense psychedelic journeys. But unlike many contemporary experimental bands, TWYN’s sound fuses as one clear melody that everybody seems to follow intensely, which creates an atmosphere unlike many others.

“I think people really pick up on the language that we’ve built with each other and our chemistry,” Jason said. “That’s amazing because a lot of the times we’ll be so deep in the improvisation of it that we’re questioning ourselves, and then when we come out, people are like ‘that was dope.’ ”

Their unique interfusion of rhythm and melody along with their seamless transitions can make you enter a trance, forget where you were moments earlier, and before you know it, land you dancing on your feet.

“It’s nice to live on that edge,” Aaron said. “Sometimes when you’re just improvising in front of a lot of people on set there’s an excitement that influences what you play, even when you don’t realize it.”

TWYN performed a series of concerts with New York’s experimental cyberwave band, Now Vs Now. Both performed at the new Space Park in the Magic City Innovation District for an intimate, yet electrifying night.

“A lot of people compare [TWYN] and us to jazz music,” Now vs Now keyboardist/producer Jason Lindner said, known for his work on David Bowie’s final album, “Blackstar.”

“We are still playing a branch or mutation of jazz, but it’s so much about providing new ideas and being contemporary. Even though we both love tradition in different ways, it’s more about forward-thinking and being in the moment.”

“There’s such a sort of gap between being a live band versus music being made by one or a group of people in a studio or on a laptop. The instances of having really fine, accomplished musicians who have a lot of musical training [are seen] less and less. So, I think we’re playing with that space,” Lidner said.

TWYN said they always chased whatever they were influenced by, and while the project started as more of a funk and blues instrumental band (originally called Edgy Sketch), Jason’s experimentation with synthesizers became the root of their sound today.

“The introduction of looping really kind of took everything to another level because now we could sound like more people than just two,” Aaron said. “[The origins of the sound now] come from using the format of jazz and funk, which is just improvisation and groove, and putting it through the lens of like modern technology and modern sounds. It’s like a live Hip Hop Instrumental.”

During the pandemic, the two built up a studio and put out an EP in December called “Eudaemonia”, featuring songs on Spotify like “Jellyfish.”

Now, they are working on a full-length album that they are recording in Jason’s home.

“We brought the drums over and put them in my bedroom, and then I was in the other room. We didn’t see each other, and we just did a bunch of ideas for like two months,” Jason said.

TWYN said their production mindset is different from their live playing in that when recording, they are trying to make songs that are cool for everybody to listen to. Their next album will have a lot of dance and groove music.

“What we’re bringing to the scene is the duality of going up and playing a set live that is stemming from jazz and from all these things we’ve been doing for years, but also having the studio side where we go to the studio and produce music that doesn’t need to be tied to what we do live,” Aaron said.

As Miami’s techno music scene continues to grow, TWYN may be at the front.

“It’s coming in waves everywhere, and I think Miami is no exception,” said Jason. “This is a place that’s suited for it . . . . I think we may be at the tip of a new wave of people doing more stuff like this.”

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