I know I'll probably come off as naïve when I say this, but I am consistently blown away whenever I see a musician build a song with a looping pedal. The first time I saw this live, it was at an Andrew Bird concert, and I'm sure my jaw was hanging open the entire time. It was like seeing magic up close. How the qualities of precision and imagination met in perfect harmony. Melodies were assembled and introduced, removed and reincorporated, creating a symphony of disparate elements controlled entirely by one man. As gimmicky as the whole operation undoubtedly is, I continue to find myself transfixed by Andrew Bird's ornate style of looping an, even more so, Reggie Watts' looped and improvised comedy mind-warps.
Something I've not quite seen before is the utilization of the loop pedal in service of atmospheric post-punk. Seattle's Ever-So-Android takes a cue from Reggie Watts, building a foundation of beat-boxed vocals over which to layer moody guitar lines.
"I played in bands for a long time, on the East Coast," says Ever-So-Android guitarist Drew Murray. "I came out here, and met Hope (Simpson), who was a barista. We became friends, and she told me she could sing. One day, she sat down on the floor with an acoustic guitar, Indian-style, facing away from me, and played me a song. I really liked her voice, so I said we had to do something together. It eventually evolved into this whole looping thing. ... I was inspired by Dub FX and Reggie Watts, and it was something that I was thinking of doing by myself, but I prefer not to sing. I mean, I can't. Hope can sing."
On some songs, like "Forward," the guitar lines are spindly and awkward, and the beat-boxing is sparse, creating an eerie platform on which to position Simpson vocals. Other songs, like "Wasted Places," carry a more menacing atmosphere, with beat-box intonations lurching the song forward, and effects painted over the churning guitars and the plaintive wails of Simpson.
"I had never beat-boxed before, and I was never a heavily affected guitarist, either," says Murray. "I was just used to the clean channel and the dirty channel. And then, like I said, it just evolved. Ever-So-Android was just a concept at first, and now it‘s this whole thing."
Murray's inexperience as a beat-boxer relegates him to more simple beats (as opposed to the pyrotechnics of someone like Reggie Watts), but he uses this to his advantage, creating heavy, driving rhythms that don't so much add texture as create a kind of martial momentum. The result is a hypnotic wall of sound. It's jarring to meet the end of a song, having been lulled into the doomy vibes of Ever-So-Android. Somehow, what starts as a house of cards eventually transforms into something much more fluid and immense - like raindrops collecting into a deep pool until the only word you can use to describe this new mass is "flood."
[The New Frontier Lounge, with Sliide, DJ Darren Selector, DJ Guldi, Delicious Brown and Ninja Monique, Saturday, April 14, 9 p.m., cover TBA, 301 E. 25th St., Tacoma, 253.572.4020]
Stage & Visual Reviews