Jim Schliestett studied French horn with Ralph Pyle of the LA Philharmonic as a youth, recalling as a highlight performing with orchestra Mozart’s Concerto #3. He studied electronic music and composition with Gordon Mumma and David Cope while at UC Santa Cruz in the 70s, and the seeds were planted for an abiding interest in Eastern European contemporary classical music.
While in college, he picked up guitar, which he put to good use in a band called Thin Ice in the early 80s. This group recorded with rock legends Nicky Hopkins and Andy Johns, and opened for many established acts including Huey Lewis, Joan Jett, and Rick Springfield. He later turned towards electronic music, collaborating with musician and instrument designer Bob Bliss in making “Sunrise Sonata”, an electroacoustic tone poem, and going solo with “Thanksgiving Prayer”.
As part of Cyberlab 7 in the 90s, he became an Opcode MAX developer, leading to a tour across the US with the Future Zone of Peter Gabriel’s World of Music Art & Dance (WOMAD), creation of the video controller for a Stone Temple Pilots tour, an installation at the Digital Arts Be-In in San Francisco, and the writing of the time quantization routine for an interactive dance-triggered audiovisual experience now known as SpaceHarp.
After a move to New England for a job in software development, and a long hiatus for marriage and family, he began recording again in ’09 with computer scientist Dean Rubine as $ense, and- in addition to the usual electric French horn and guitar- eventually discovered a passion for fretless bass. Among $ense’s many utterances, math geeks in particular may appreciate their song “Easy as Pi”.