Jim Pietkivitch

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In the '90s, instrumentalist Jim Pietkivitch acquired a small following in the new age market -- and the producer/composer accomplished that by providing albums that are fairly unpredictable. Some new…
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In the '90s, instrumentalist Jim Pietkivitch acquired a small following in the new age market -- and the producer/composer accomplished that by providing albums that are fairly unpredictable. Some new age artists make a point of being as predictable and formulaic as possible; their primary goal is to help listeners relax and unwind by giving them a peaceful ambience, and they want to make sure that listeners know exactly what to expect from one moment to the next. But Pietkivitch, for all his peacefulness and tranquillity, has shown a willingness to try different things on different songs. Pietkivitch obviously appreciates different styles of music -- he doesn't come across as someone who listens to new age exclusively -- and he is likely to incorporate elements of European classical music one minute and jazz the next (and perhaps world music after that). Pietkivitch has also been influenced by progressive rock, especially Tangerine Dream and Pink Floyd; other artists who have affected his work (either directly or indirectly) range from Steve Roach to George Winston to Jonn Serrie (not to be confused with New York-based jazz pianist/keyboardist John Serry).

Pietkivitch began studying music in the '70s, when he was a pre-adolescent. After starting out on the oboe at the age of 11, Pietkivitch took up the acoustic piano in 1978 and drums in 1980. As a high-school student, he played in various progressive rock and jazz bands -- and one of the people he studied with was jazz drummer Joe Pulice. But eventually, Pietkivitch made new age his primary focus and learned about the uses and possibilities of electronic synthesizers. He learned that programming synthesizers could allow him to function independently as a one-man band; even so, Pietkivitch never gave up acoustic instruments altogether, and his albums -- although heavily electronic -- have also found him playing traditional ethnic instruments that are generally associated with world music (such as Native American drums, the African djembe, and Tibetan bells).

Pietkivitch's recording career began in 1994, when he recorded and put out his debut album, Twilight Dreams. At first, Twilight Dreams suffered from limited distribution, but that changed when the independent Ivory Moon label re-released the album in 1995. It was in 1997 that Pietkivitch started his own label, Electrofine Music, which released his second album, Spiral Journey, the following year. In 2004, Pietkivitch put out his third album, Inner Worlds, on Electrofine; the album, which he produced, features guest Melanie Lunsford on flute and vocals.