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"Zen cycles of ambient"

(pending release) - Skope Magazine

"Macs in Action story"

(since removed from - early story about adoption of home studio gear and sites like now-defunct - Apple

"Rustcycle - Daisho Review"

ARTIST: Rustcycle
TITLE: "Daisho"
LABEL: ACM Records

What does it sound like?
This work is a very personal mixture between electronic music and classical orchestral music with a strong orientation to melody and harmony. Some of the pieces, such as "Reverse I" are highly influenced by classical baroque music.

Similar artists:
I don’t find this album particularly comparable to other artists’ work, which is a good thing. Some baroque guitar orchestrations, remind of Mike Oldfield’s experiments a la "Hergest Ridge" and other of his later ambient works. There is also a resemblence of Olfield’s works in the harmonies and melodies of the album, showing an clear influence from folk music. In fact this album would be a good choice for fans of the British guitarist and composer.

The unconventional mixture of instruments by this "one-man-band" makes this album a very original work, which features electric guitar, violin, viola, acoustic drums, and electronic instruments. My impression about the album is that it is more interesting from the point of view of orchestral music and arrangements than from the electronic side, which is more standard especially in the programming.

I have the feeling that this is a perfect album to get fans of ambient and progressive music into electronic music. It is a very pleasing album and and I’m sure this kind of audience will enjoy it and will probably discover the pleasure of listening to modern electronic music. - Intuitive Music

"Rustcycle Skirts the Future with Daisho"


by Rustcycle

ACM Records

Adrian Johnson, the brains behind Rustcycle, is as much an electronics whiz as a music visionary. Cursed as a child with multiple ear infections, eardrum ruptures and subsequent surgeries, Johnson endured periods of functional deafness which resulted in an appreciation for both the beauty and intricacies of music. It also instilled an obvious curiosity for alternate methods of using sound for interpersonal expression. Daisho, Johnson’s second full-length Rustcycle project, skirts the edges of Buck Rogers-imagined 21st Century music.

Harking back to certain musical sensibilities explored thirty some-odd years ago by such visionaries as Mike Oldfield and Alan Parsons, Daisho wanders intentionally through the sub-psyche of electronic noise while never straying too far from the beaten path of melody, rhythm, and cadence. The effects is as times soothing and hypnotic, as on the album’s opener, “Yin and Phonic,” and on the moody, near-fatalistic march, “Reverse 1.” At times the project takes on a Kurzweillian, futuristic turn, replete with recurring thematic elements, as in the trance-inducing, “Anti-Gravity.” The title cut boasts a martial undercurrent, and its sister track, “Katana,” sports an industrial edge to its Star Wars flair.

Johnson gets his most spiritual on “Inner Reservoir,” with its use of chant-like human voices used as instruments. This is incense burning, meditation music for the 21st Century. Daisho may not be music for the masses. The melodic constructions are intricate, at times atonal and oddly syncopated. But for those who love to explore it is quite a ride.

For more on Rustcycle visit -

"Rustcycle - Daisho 9.5/10"

Musicianship – 9.5 out of 10
Adrian Johnson is an incredible musician, and in reality, nothing else really needs to be said! His skills as a guitarist, violinist, and sequencer/programmer make him a true triple threat in the world of electronic music! Far more than manual dexterity, though, Adrian possesses intelligence, heart, and soul – three elements that are essential in the creation of music that is sincere, intense, and emotionally charged! In my opinion, the music of Daisho actually exceeds Adrian’s physical limitations, taking on a life all its own! If his theories fall into place (and I can’t see why they wouldn’t), then I truly think he is on the brink of the next evolutionary step in music!

Songwriting – 9 out of 10

At times, electronica/instrumental music is either repetitive to the point of total boredom, or so disjointed that one finds it difficult to comprehend. With Rustcycle, though, that is definitely not the case! Adrian’s music is the product of intelligent design, and as such, there is always an underlying theme to discover! As you read his words, and listen to his music, each song is understood as a stitch in time, providing a glimpse into his thought process at the time of creation! You also begin to see that his music is not just a hobby, or a way to impress a girl – he weaves a tapestry, combining the threads of music, prose, poetry and symbolism! He has found a new way to compose, and it’s a safe bet that he’s destined to make the music industry a very different place! His best work is still ahead of him!

Sound Quality/Professionalism – 10 out of 10

I am quite comfortable when I say that Daisho is one of the best-sounding albums that I have heard this year! As it is with songwriting, Adrian doesn’t skimp when it comes to production/recording quality! Each instrument, electronic beat and sound effect sounds excellent; further, all come together in a nearly flawless mix! Acoustic and electric instruments alike are used to create earthy, ethereal sounds that become definitive in nature, helping to create the image and sound that defines Rustcycle! Daisho is a first-rate album, with excellent sound, recording and production!

Packaging – 10 out of 10

Adrian opts for simplicity in his graphic designs, utilizing minimalist elements/words surrounded by white space. I was particularly fond of the metallic backing underneath the CD tray! It helped to make the entire project very modern-looking!

Additionally, I love the way that Adrian composes lyrical/poetic content for each song, helping to convey his feelings and the song’s meaning. He usually includes one lyric sheet written in programming jargon – For a techno-geek like me, that is uber-cool!

Ultimately, the element that makes the most difference is information included in the liner notes. Instrumental albums are good, but the author’s thoughts and comments help to make a good project great! We want to know what was going on in their life or mind at the time of composition and recording! Adrian provides this info, bringing together all the right elements!

Favorite Tracks
Yin and Phonic
Reverse I
SCSI Navel



Overall Rating – 9.5 out of 10

If there’s a more intelligent person than Rustcycle’s Adrian Johnson in the music industry, I’d like to meet them! After hearing the music on Daisho, and reading the information in the letter I received with the CD, I’m convinced that he is creating a new frontier in music! Without going into a lot of the details, Adrian’s current work involves the development of an interface that will allow a musician to create music based on brain waves! In much the same way that prosthetics have been designed for paraplegics, allowing them to use brain signals to move a hand or fingers, Adrian hopes to create a way to make music that will bypass the hands, and come directly from a person’s mind! Pretty freaky stuff, huh?

With all that in mind, you must hear his work! He creates electronic/instrumental music with surprisingly traditional instrumentation (guitar/violin/keys), but it comes off as other-worldly, artistic and innovative. You will truly enjoy hearing Daisho – it’s worth its weight in gold!

—Mark Lush,, 5/3/06 -


Workaholics Autonomous DVD/CD - 2008
Daisho CD - 2005
Twin Arcs CD - 2002



(PDF Press Kit and video at - contact 1-719-238-2525 or

R E C E N T _ N E W S

Rustcycle was interviewed for the March 2008 issue of Skope Magazine. Rustcycle appears on the April 2008 Under the Radar Magazine CD sampler.

Rustcycle was select from over 400 electronic artists from eight countries to perform at the Vegas Music Conference.

In early 2007 Johnson performed his first international shows as a guest violinist for a band in Whitby, England and for a club event at Tanz-Haus West / Cantina in Frankfurt, Germany.


Rustcycle blends aspects of trance, ambient electronica, house, classical influences, and rock to form an instrumental soundscape that is emotionally evocative.

Rustcycle is a music and media project lead by Adrian Johnson. During live performances Johnson switches between DJing and remixing his arrangements, playing electric violin and electric guitar, and VJing or using custom interaction software that takes video input. At concerts the project often manifests as a solo act, sometimes as a performance group involving instrumentalists and vocalists, but always as a genre-challenging experience.

Johnson was asked to present his music visualization software at the prestigious IEEE VR 2004 virtual reality and haptics conference. His home-grown VJ software is an aspect of the live performance. Some of Johnson's music harmonization software was presented at GECCO 2006 (Genetic and Evolutionary Computation COnference).

Johnson earned his Masters in Computer Science at the University of Colorado. He has given several lecture / performance demonstrations at the University of Colorado and Colorado Technical University to explain his biologically-inspired music generation software and motivate students to blend creativity and technology.

For Johnson's unique genre-blending style, French pop star Ysa Ferrer and Portuguese guitar virtuoso Alexandre Caetano sought him out for remixes that would diversify their offerings.

Johnson received several points of recognition during creation of the second Rustcycle CD, Daisho. The first two CDs, Twin Arcs and Daisho, were both solo endeavors.

The first track created for Daisho, "Katana", was crafted with extensive use of the Sherman Filterbank II. Sherman Electronics used "Katana" to promote their hardware.

Realizing the tremendous value of the Independent Music Awards in terms of credentials, Johnson created a last-minute composition to give a taste of the upcoming Daisho CD. Johnson submitted the track "Anti-Gravity" and the song made it to the finalist round in the electronica category (top five), edging out hundreds of other entries. Judges included DJ Spooky and Steve Vai among others. "Anti-Gravity" was written and recorded in an hour, mixed and mastered in another hour. The song was later seen on the heavy rotation charts at XM Satellite Radio, Channel 52.

The half-complete Daisho disc was sent to ACM Records in early 2005. ACM Records signed Rustcycle. Through ACM, Johnson's music was screened for projects such as the European distribution of Fox's X-Files. Johnson's goal is to tie in exposure through film and television with the live concerts and online presence.

To understand Johnson's obsession with music and blending genres, one needs only to look to his past. As a child Johnson suffered with countless ear infections, four eardrum ruptures, and seven ear surgeries. A period of substantial conductive hearing loss changed Johnson's life when he had to read lips to understand his parents. When surgeries re-introduced Johnson to the auditory world, he became determined to never be exiled from it again.

Johnson played viola in grades 4-10 then switched to electric guitar almost exclusively for two years. The syncopated harmony lines practiced for years on viola complemented the guitar's melodic role. Johnson began arranging and recording guitar and synthesizer compositions when he started college in 1999, taking a few music theory classes along the way. He picked up electric 5-string violin in 2004 to expand his tonal palette and bring strings back into focus.

Johnson is also a software engineer and researcher at a Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC) and aspires to continue interdisciplinary work in the vein of inventor / musician / engineer / futurist Kurzweil.

Rustcycle has been described as a blend of Moby, Joe Satriani, BT, and NIN for good reason. Johnson's influences are varied, including those named and others who have innovated in order to push their genres' boundaries.