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Jlin on How to Play With the Impact of Your Music (Video)

+ This excerpted lesson is presented courtesy of Jlin’s in-depth course on Soundfly, Jlin: Rhythm, Variation, & Vulnerability. Sign up and learn to create deeply complex rhythmic tapestries of sound, brimming with emotion.

“What does impact sound like?”

Jlin’s music is often called “aggressive” — so much so, that when she first started releasing music her fans thought she was a man — but she doesn’t think that’s the right way to look at it. Instead, she describes it as trying to play with impact — on herself and her audience as well.

Think about how those two descriptors differ from one another:

Aggressive music is in your face. Impactful music is in your mind, heart, and body. Aggressive music hits you hard just for the sake of it.

Impactful music grabs your attention in order to tell you something. Aggressive music attacks you. Impactful music approaches you with vulnerability and openness.

Jlin is constantly aiming to surprise herself and grow through the creative process, something we explore in more depth throughout her course on Soundfly.

With regard to the listener, she looks to create something that grabs our attention and leaves an imprint on us. There’s nothing shy or uncertain about Jlin’s music. The sounds hit hard and the pace is staggering at times. Loops appear and then disappear before you get too comfortable with them. Samples are often chopped beyond recognition.

Throughout it all, the music carries a deep sense of vulnerability, offering countless paths of exploration and discovery.


What does playing with impact mean to you?

How might you make your music more impactful — both to yourself as a creator and to your audience as receivers of your art? Jot down some notes and come back to this idea when working on your next piece of music.

Explore your answers to those questions by free writing for 10 minutes. There are no wrong answers — just see what comes up for you. If you’re already a Soundfly subscriber, you can feel free to share what you come up on Slack.

Don’t stop here!

Producers, Composers: break out of repetitive loops, add emotionality and unpredictability to your music, excite your beats and rhythm patterns, and so much more with Soundfly’s exciting new course with boundary-shattering artist, Jlin: Rhythm, Variation, & Vulnerability.

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Jlin on Soundfly

Jerrilynn Patton, better known as Jlin, is an electronic musician from Gary, Indiana. Patton began producing rhythmic dance music as part of the juke/footwork scene in Chicago, and first gained notoriety with tracks appearing on Planet Mu’s 2011 compilation, Bangs & Works, Vol. 2, alongside RP Boo, DJ Rashad, and others. In recent years, her music has veered off in a direction entirely her own, with releases like Dark Energy (2015) and Black Origami (2017) garnering immense critical acclaim. Considered one of the most innovative and boundary-pushing artists of the last decade, Patton has worked with creative luminaries like Björk, Kronos Quartet, Holly Herndon, William Basinski, Third Coast Percussion, and more. Despite relying on samples early on in her career, Patton’s music has markedly abandoned the use of borrowed material in favor of using original sounds and instruments to produce a unique style of “vulnerable” electronic dance music that is at times frenetic and unpredictable, at times minimal and spacious, but always concise, emotive, and communicative. Jlin's online course, Jlin: Rhythm, Variation, & Vulnerability, is available now exclusively on Soundfly.