In a Kant-referencing tweet, How to Dress Well’s Tom Krell said that “I believe that pop w/o the avant garde is blind & the avant g w/o pop is empty.” While this tweet addresses one of the big problems I have with artists in both genres who confine themselves to a limited palette of influences/styles, I think it particularly applies to the world of contemporary indie pop. This issue of limited influence is touched upon in Alex Griffin’s recent review of Jackson Scott’s record, which is one instance among many where a hyped-up pop artist has very little new to add to a well-worn genre. In the last few years, there have been far too many indie pop bands that express no interest in doing anything outside of their narrow niche. Maybe it’s just me, but I find that unbearably boring and, to reference Krell, blind.
However, despite the occasionally vacuous nature of certain pop/experimental artists, there have been an equal number of composers who wonderfully cross-pollinate these worlds and make strikingly new works as a result. This is where Excavacations come in. As TMT has previously discussed, this band manages to exist as both a pop and drone act, and on In Perris-Beauchamp, the group continues to blur the lines between song and sound art. Much like Julia Holter’s excellent Tragedy, Excavacations present a world where songs can’t exist without noise and noise can’t exist without songs. However, unlike the musique concrète pastiche of Holter, Excavations excel at creating melodic orchestral pop that alternately dissolves into and emerges out of expertly crafted synth drones. The whole thing reminds of what might have happened if See You On The Other Side-era Mercury Rev had decided to explore the influence of their mentor Tony Conrad a bit more. In Perris-Beauchamp is a beautiful merging of influence made even prettier and more pristine by the mastering job done by synth god M. Geddes Gengras.
You can sample a four-song suite of tunes from In Perris-Beauchamp below (other tracks from the record are available via the band’s SoundCloud):
• Weird Forest www.weirdforest.com