Sunday, October 6, 2013

Avocados "Huge Panorama" C20
(Dept Tapes)

 Avocados play music that is equal parts digital and analog electronics; half and half common dollar store objects (I hear some casio beats on their song "Fence") and high end effects (flanger, wha pedal) can be heard throughout. Gentle electric guitars and synthesizers gravitate between chords and rural licks while drum machines keep quiet, steady mechanical beats. Avocados go from trance country car ride music like the songs "Canopy Tent" and "Huge Panorama" to ambient new age sound spaces like "Natural Halo". They're also unafraid to make trippy make out music like on "Self-Portraitin Tapestry" and "Body of Water". Fans of "Real Estate" or "The Sea and Cake" will get into this band easily.

The scales being played are equally influenced by western and eastern sources. The photographs on the cassette are rural but ambiguous of their location. They could be of New Jersey, Nova Scotia or Japan. The inability to pin down Avocados location based upon the design of the cassette liner notes is smart; this music travels, expands, contracts, speeds up and slows down. This is road trip music and is anywhere because it moves.

Contradictory, each song's structure is repetitive. Usually I am skeptical of repetitive music because propaganda is a simple message repeated loudly over and over again. This can be similar to your average rock song that will be at most three to four chords played to exhaustion. Stamina is more applauded then complexity with rock fans. Some blatant examples would be just about anything the Ramones wrote or that stadium verse chorus repeat of "We Will Rock You" by Queen. These songs can be hypnotic and therefore manipulative. They are what rev up football fans to fight their hometown rivals. My personal taste gravitates towards Jazz and Classical because these two genres usually focus more on longer, varied melodies or improvisation.

Hence, I would be hesitant towards Avocados because many of their songs only have a few chords presented and the drum machines are just fancy, hypnotic metronome. But I am still won over by this cassette because while the structures of every song on "Huge Panorama" are repetitive, they are more meditative than manipulative. Furthermore, each separate song is different enough that I can hear them as if they were movements in the theme of the cassette's title; "Huge Panorama".

If I have any complaints, it would be that none of these tracks have outros. Their endings are abrupt like when a cassette runs out of reel. It can kill the mood. It's not a huge problem, but a fade out at the end of songs like "Huge Panorama" would have been more satisfying than someone just turning off the drum machine.

Overall, this cassette is very well thought out and executed. It puts me in a reflective, calm and warm mood. Great for apple picking, hammocks, sunsets, yoga, or any mixture of these four.

--Jack Turnbull www.jackturnbull.com

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