If you went to school in Lafayette Township, you might remember a certain soft-spoken young man who confined himself to the back of classrooms and hardly spoke.
If you took the time to get to know him, you would have realized that Jon Irizarry, now a freshman business major and music minor, possesses both a keen intellect and an insightful perspective on life.
Thankfully, Irizarry no longer remains silent and is currently producing a sound that is both intricate and thought-provoking.
Having played guitar for six years, Irizarry has taken to the indie music scene in passive-aggressive form and is finding an outlet for his philosophic doctrine on life.
“(Music) is a way of me saying what I want to say, but never really say,” Irizarry said.
Irizarry is part of a greater departure from the roots of rock ‘n’ roll. Whereas most musicians are quick to list bands such as the Beatles or Led Zeppelin among their influences, Irizarry cites rising spectacle acts such as the Decemberists and Secret Machines as well as the solo endeavors of John Frusciante, guitarist of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
A listen to his full-length debut album, “Shadows Form Light,” certainly reveals Irizarry’s musical influences; however, he has managed to create something that is distinctly his own. The psychedelic rock title track easily entices the listener into a sonic journey.
“I wanted to create something to get lost in, or in a trance with,” Irizarry said.
“Shadows Form Light” takes part in a rising trend the music industry is experiencing: the availability of affordable recording hardware and software that are making the once unattainable prospect of a home studio a reality for many musicians, including Irizarry.
“If you listen really carefully, the quality isn’t as good,” Irizarry admitted. “But (home recording) really lets you experiment.”
Sonically, “Shadows Form Light” is both experimental and reflexive of Irizarry’s profound conception of life and music. There is a sense of maturity as well as diligence in Irizarry’s songwriting that sets him apart from other musicians his age. This introvert creates poignant music that embodies the intricacies of his personality, a goal many songwriters fail to achieve.
Considering the psychedelic, electric format of “Shadows Form Light,” in addition to Irizarry’s sonic experimentation, it may come as a surprise that he opts for the intimacy fostered by a live acoustic performance. Although Irizarry has created a sonic spectacle, his desire is to “keep the emphasis on the songwriter” by playing acoustic music at intimate settings, such as The Tapestry Caf? in Netcong, N.J.
However, Irizarry concedes that it’s often difficult to hold the attention of an audience with an acoustic act. His minimalist approach to live music also makes it harder to play at new venues.
Irizarry has managed to counter this predicament by habitually opening at The Tapestry Caf? on Friday nights, allowing him to expose his music to a different audience on a weekly basis.
Additionally, Irizarry has partnered up with other local acts, performing as an opening act to develop his following.
Irizarry is currently working on a follow-up to “Shadows Form Light” while attempting to further expand his fan base. Judging by his previous endeavor, he is sure to dodge a sophomore album slump and to continue the development of an already-captivating sound that will inevitably be embraced by the larger New Jersey rock scene.