Electronic music star tyDi combines with classical music producer Christopher Tin for ground-breaking album

William Laws

Combining classical and electronic music might not sound like a natural blend to most. In fact, iconic electronic producer deadmau5 ripped the idea on Twitter in an expletive-laden rant when he heard Australian producer Tyson Illingworth -- who performs under the stage name tyDi -- would use elements of both genres on his new album “Collide."

Upon listening to “Collide,” however, it becomes clear this is no cheap attempt by Illingworth to bury string ensembles under a pile of heavy electronic beats. The 30-year-old earned a bachelor’s degree in classical music theory from Australia’s prestigious Conservatorium of Music, and he’s long aimed to incorporate strings into his music. tyDi’s last album “Redefined,” which topped several dance music charts, successfully fused acoustic instrumentals into upbeat dance tunes.

“I progressively tailored my music to be more live than just electronic,” Illingworth told AOL. “I wanted to learn these things -- even though I’d already studied the degree -- I wanted to get in a room and work with 10 stringers and guitarists and drummers and record them all.”

But “Collide” is a totally different animal than anything Illingworth has made before. He knew if he wanted to integrate a full-blown symphony into his work from the beginning of the production process, he’d have to lean on someone with more knowledge in that arena.

That’s why he co-produced “Collide” with Christopher Tin, a two-time Grammy-winning classical producer and composer who has scored films, video games and music. And his influence on “Collide” -- an often beautiful affair with epic orchestral soundscapes -- is obvious, and represents an exciting next step for tyDi.

“The way Chris and I worked on the orchestral stuff, and the way it blends with the album, it’s like nothing else,” Illingworth said. “They weren’t songs that were already done that I just threw an orchestra on. They have room to breathe for every moment.”

Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of “Collide” is what this means for tyDi’s live performances going forward. Illingworth and Tin both dream of a scenario where the former can play keyboard and synthesizers while Tin conducts a live orchestra. It’d be a ground-breaking progression to bring that setup to the electronic music festival circuit.

But before those resources can be committed, the album must find an audience accepting of the newfound classical influence in tyDi’s brand of electronic music. Illingworth is confident his fans will support his transformation.

If not, however, he’s prepared to move onto a new career path and fulfill his lifelong dream of scoring films -- a process that’s already in motion, thanks in part to the talent he showcases on “Collide.”

“I’ve been treating it like it’s the last electronic [album] I’ll ever make,” Illingworth said. “I think it’s a beautiful progression in electronic music. If you do the same thing over and over, you get locked in. That’s not my thing; I want to be different.”

Perhaps skeptics like deadmau5 will change their minds after hearing "Collide."

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