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XMAS VOL. 1 REVIEWS

Geoff Westen offers a disturbing version of 'Jingle Bells' for free

"Straight from the chaotic mastermind of one supremely disturbed individual comes a free download that you can slip into your holiday playlist to spice things up a little. That's right, Geoff Westen has done it again. This time, he's released a delightfully twisted track of blissful dissonance derived from smashing together rock, pop, a splash of jazz, a smattering of hip-hop, and whatever else was within reach to create an urgent hodgepodge version of "Jingle Bells." As an added benefit, if you crank this track up really loud, your neighbors will be too afraid of your mental well-being to criticize you for decorating your house in a Griswold-inspired Christmas lights extravaganza!

The free track — well you do have to trade your email to get it — fairly accurately captures the hurried insanity of the holidays. It is an out-o-breath anthem that carries all the frenzy of a Black Friday excursion to the mall with your out-of-state in-laws who just happened to have dropped by for a surprise visit on Thanksgiving. The song should come with the same caution that you find at amusement parks: "This track is not meant for individuals with a heart condition, those who have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, or people who are easily agitated." It will push you over the edge!

According to his bio, Westen is a creator who tempers his artistry with a dash of "cynicism and obsession." His latest release is I'm Not Crazy (Disturbing Music) — though, if you constantly have to tell people you're not crazy, chances are, you just might be! His music is "designed to excite your aural neurons and invigorate your cerebral cortex."

In 2006, Hybrid Magazine named Geoff's album, The Pigs: Oink!, as one of their "up and coming favorites." And, his current offering has allegedly been endorsed by the Claus, himself: You've never heard it done like this. A perfect add to your Christmas playlist."

Whether you believe that last tidbit or not is immaterial, the important thing is Westen has a reputation. In fact critics have stated "it doesn't matter what kind of music he takes on, he beats the crap out of it. You know it's his music and he owns it!"

Don't question it, just download it. And, if you like what you hear, check out Geoff Westen's Digital Activity XMAS VOL. 1 on sites like Spotify and CD Baby. All kidding aside, it's a wonderful compliment to the most cherished season of the year."
Allen Foster – AXS 2015

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"Music Editor, Michelle Lambert, intrigued by XMAS Vol. 1's cover art depicting Santa at the computer keyboard, discovered Digital Activity and programmer Geoff Westen who has taken time-honored holiday favorites and run them through his digital blender. One listen to Jingle Bells and that was my next Christmas album!

Electronica Christmas heaven! DIGITAL ACTIVITY Xmas Vol. 1 will have you skipping through your holiday preparations, two-step shuffling around the Christmas tree and bobbing your head on the way to the mall for that last very special Xmas gift.

Cheerful, original arrangements filled with kooky, sophisticated riffs and unlimited virtual variations that keep coming as sure snow flurries to articulate 10 classic Christmas favorites. True to the tunes that you've heard over the years, yet filled with sound surprises that are sprinkled among lush and simple synth voices of every kind - singing Merry Christmas to us in an interesting new way.

Techno shuffly drive with a hint of hip-hop to Silent Night — is as COOL as a snow filled winter sky.

A sentimental strain of I'll Be Home For Christmas has lots of sub-rhythms and sub-melodies created by keyboard sounds of every variety.

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Christmas is giddy with anticipation — how can we wait to open those bright packages.

This is candy cane and eggnog music. Pure digital fun. Add a new variation to your holiday collection. It's hip and sentimental — groundbreaking and nostalgic. Hey, Christmas is coming. Get this CD, and have yourself a Merry Moog Christmas!"
Michelle Lambert – New Digital Reporter/CD Baby Talkback
Thanks Michelle - GW

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"Digital Activity, Xmas Vol. 1" (Digital Activity Media) - When Christmas is taken over by the robots, only Digital Activity's "Xmas Vol. 1" will survive. Running "Jingle Bells," "Home For the Holidays," and seven other favorites through the computer, it's Mannheim Steamroller for the Y2K. And my computer luvs it!"
Polly Higgins Tucson Citizen
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"Well, if it pleases Mr. Van Ness to call Xmas Vol. 1 post-modern, then so be it. I hear crisp, original, and at times delightful arrangements...the music is fun, and the extended arrangements make the CD a good candidate for background party music. In particular, 'Have A Holly Jolly Christmas' plays nice, and is a relatively under-utilized Christmas recyclable, so on that basis alone XMAS VOL. 1 is a worthy addition to anyone's CD changer during the extended holiday season that is (yikes!) already upon us."
Richard Banks Christmasreviews.com
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"DIGITAL ACTIVITY: Xmas Volume 1 (CD on Disturbing Music) Arranger/programmer Geoff Westen and his troop of Digital Activists apply a quirky sense of modern technology to a selection of Yuletide songs. The result is a holiday record that brings these seasonal standards into the 21st Century. Synthesizers and e-perc dominate the new modes. The delivery is carefully handled, and the execution will bring smiles to even the grumpiest scrooges."
Matt Howarth Sonic Curiosity
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"If you want a different spin on holiday music, this is a CD to invest in...very updated and pop-oriented. Arranger/programmer Westen (one of Santa's elves?) converted the Digital Activity studio into Santa's workshop. It's great for any Christmas festivity...'Christmas Soundscapes' with a rock flavor for the entire family, perfect for a very cool yule."
Mark E. Waterbury – Music Morsels
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"Each year, there is...a slew of hip icons who attempt to bring back the musical ghost of Christmas past...(but) Geoff Westen has decided to put a more interesting twist to hits like 'Jingle Bells' (and) 'Silent Night'...In Xmas Vol. 1, his blending of sacred melodies and electronica offers some new hope for a successful resurgance of holiday hymns."
David P. Brown Synthesis
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"My wife will love this music and she probably can't wait until the next Xmas period to put this CD on repeat. So if you're planning for the festivities in December then this is a great present. Geoff Westen has taken nine Christmas carols and re-engineered them with digitally created sounds and made them sound even more easy listening than the originals...although it sounds over simplified and may at first appear to be very corny, you will have difficulty in preventing a wry smile on your face."
Brooky – Modern Dance
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"The Perfect Xmas CD...This has a little of the old, a little of the new, and lots of innovative music making. Especially liked the more contemporary versions of Jingle Bells and Silent Night. Digital Activity is comprised of electronic music wizards that take your holiday favorites to new places. Highly recommended!"
Jason Haggerty – DSML
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"As the title hints, this is computer-generated music...Old familiars like 'Jingle Bells' and 'Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas' sound inviting."
David Steinberg Albuquerque Journal
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"Jingle Bells and Silent Night would sound perfect at a contemporary dance club."
Chris M. Junior Asbury Park Press
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"Familiar holiday compositions are electronically altered in programmer Geoff Westen's digital blender."
Staff USA Today
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"Electronic takes on 'Jingle Bells,' 'Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,' and 'Have a Holly, Jolly Christmas,' are some of the clean, chipper works found on this album...kitschy...and charming."
Scott Iwasaki The Deseret News
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"Electronic treatments of Christmas classics is an inspiring idea...great background music for your holiday party."
Larry Rodgers The Arizona Republic
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This is the most popular CD around our house - any time of year!
Mom – Mothers' Helping

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