Struggle Artist is the new album from Justin C. Meyers, the Minneapolis-based composer, artist, and head of the Sympathy Ltd. label.

We’re told that Struggle Artist portrays Meyers’ expectations and disappointments arising from making art in his free time. Created initially during lunch breaks and in hospital waiting rooms, and finished after being laid off from his job, it catalogues the despondency of the precarious life.

His previous album, 2016’s Negative Space (1981–2014), deals with the onset of chronic illness and near-death experience.

I’ve been privileged enough to pursue art in my free time, but between my job and my health I was finding I had less time and energy to sink into music. I tried applying for emerging artist grants and fellowships in an attempt to alleviate the need to work full time, but the time investment would never pay off as they were awarded to other deserving artists. These kind of “granular opportunities” were emotionally draining, they would pump up my expectations only to fizzle into nothing. This rise and fall is the basis for the compositional structure of “Expectations 1.”

The entire concept of Struggle Artist emerged as I arranged “Expectations 1.” Instead of taking a lunch break at my job I started taking material I had recorded over the past several years by editing and layering on my laptop. I would edit and arrange for 30 minutes and then clock back in. I would then listen in the background while I would work—reassessing the timing and layering of material to make mental notes for what to address for the next day’s lunch break. After about a month of this I was laid off with severance, which ended up functioning as a grant that allowed me to finish Struggle Artist while looking for a new job.

Expectations 1″ is rather simple, but it’s my favorite track and the emotional backbone for the concept of the entire album—without it, I wouldn’t have made Struggle Artist.” —Meyers

Struggle Artistwill land on May 11, with “Expectations 1” available for download via the WeTransfer button below.


01. Ambient Role Play
02. Draw Distance
03. Balloon Étude
04. NPC Loop 1
05. Self Portrait
06. Limit Break
07. Ambient Role Play (End)


01. Granular Opportunities 1
02. Granular Opportunities 2
03. Expectations 1
04. Expectations 2
05. NPC Loop 2
06. Noise Artist Cosplay
07. Struggle Artist

Expectations 1