David Bevan


Manhattan, NY


    Oneohtrix Point Never is the nom de drone of Brooklyn experimentalist Daniel Lopatin, who, working largely with vintage synthesizers, has created some of the borough's most enlivening soundscapes of late, garnering enough attention locally and afield that Mexican Summer awarded him (and frequent collaborator Joel Ford) their own imprint and recording setup. His breakthrough LP, 2011's Replica was created by sifting through hours of vintage television audio, creating a dense, dystopian, sometimes disorienting fantasia that touches on AnCo's themes of indistinct memories and hazy dream states. Back to the Centipedia glossary NEXT: Onibaba


    From the moment they formed in Brixton in 1976, this English trio began experimenting beyond the guitar. In the process, they became instant, uncompromising heroes to generations of tape loop-torchers, soundscape-searing post-punkers, post-rock nerds, pre-industrial primitivists, noise-pop scamps and free-spirited rappers alike. Back to the Centipedia glossary NEXT: Traxman


    The first studio full-length from David Berman's Silver Jews' project, 1994's Starlite Walker found the Virginia native's poetry paired with languid, lived-in instrumentation provided largely by his friends in Pavement: Stephen Malkmus, Bob Nastanovich, and Steve West. The loose experimentalism that marked Berman's earlier recordings is still there in parts (a certain attraction to the budding minds in Animal Collective, teenagers at the time of its release) but the songwriting here is a genuine wonder, an early page in what has become one of indie-rock's most cherished songbooks. Avey Tare: Just coming from the time we made mixes for each other. There was times I'd make mixes for Brian of seven-inches I had, and I'd have the record on the wrong speed.


    Pavement's essential bootleg recording, 1994's Stray Slack, gathered audio from the vaunted indie rock fivesome's two night-stand at London's Brixton Academy two years earlier, months after the release of their much ballyhooed debut, Slanted and Enchanted. Live, they were all over the place: looser and tighter and noisier all at once. The recording also captured them at their shambolic best (their line-up still featured drummer, noted eccentric, and fan favorite Gary Young), just before they'd begin transitioning away from the experimental tunings and lo-fi tomfoolery of their psyched-out beginnings, toward the more polished "Cut Your Hair" fare that would land them on MTV and Lollapalooza the following year. Avey Tare: Pavement were definitely a unifying factor in Brian and I's friendship. "Cut Your Hair" came out in 9th grade and we got that.


    A longtime friend, fan, collaborator, and "honorary member" of Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti collective, the Minnesota-bred Maus is a student of music theory and philosophy currently juggling doctoral work in the latter with his own solo career. Those two purviews collide in his own work, though, Maus using a primitive keyboard palette to construct iridescent, experimental pop songs that — in addition to evoking classical music's titans — also function as treatises on a variety of existential quandaries. Also of note: his startling live presentation, a thoughtful combination between karaoke and performance art that's impossible to forget. Avey Tare: He's a really interesting dude. I met him on tour with Ariel when we toured with them in 2006, I think. It's hard to put a finger on it. I guess it's the dark…it has a fantasy quality to it. It's hard to put into words.


    Following his experimentation with delirious, out-of-sync loop phasing, Steve Reich, American minimalist pioneer, turned his attention to the idea of "pulse": music built on repeated notes, played by several musicians at varying volumes in the same key, stopping and starting at varying times. The result, heard best on his landmark 1976 piece Music For 18 Musicians, was surprisingly melodic, expansive, hypnotic, euphoric, and impossible to follow. Geologist: We had told Josh and Noah that since it was gonna be their first time [trying acid], it would be music they wanted to listen to. One of them brought Music for 18 Musicians by Steve Reich. I was sober that night.


    The Beatles' seventh studio full-length was not only a rapid departure from its largely acoustic, folk-inflected predecessor, 1965's Rubber Soul, it was a kaleidoscopic break from anything pop music had proffered before. Though the Fab Four experimented in just about every way possible — phased vocals ("And Your Bird Can Sing"), dreamlike guitars running in reverse ("I'm Only Sleeping"), the wild abuse of tape loops ("Tomorrow Never Knows") — the songwriting was as strong as it had ever been. Its dissonance was modern, and the wake it's left is audible in everything Animal Collective has achieved. Geologist: I think the Beatles album I've always liked the most is Revolver. I think in the context of Centipede Hz, you'd kind of have to go with "Tomorrow Never Knows." We all grew up as huge Beatles fans. My parents were huge Beatles fans.


    This relatively thin and decidedly cash-grabby (arriving after the band's departure from I.R.S.) compilation came late in the Cramps' career, but Bad Music For Bad People is a sumptuous collection of 11 hits ("Human Fly" is represented) and B-sides that often serves as an introduction to the psychobilly legends' swampy goo goo muck. For some members of Animal Collective, Bad Music was as unlikely gateway not just to punk but notions of the abrasive as well, birthing Avey Tare's sharp ear for sharp edges. Avey: I remember driving in the car with my cousins, 7th or 8th grade. Their older sister has this Cramps tape that she was listening to in college. It was just the weirdest stuff I'd heard until that time. I heard punk music but I hadn’t gotten into it much. It just seemed so dark and druggy. Who are these people making this music? That was a switch for me.


    It begs repeating that the Seattle-via-Aberdeen trio's indelible pop melodies were tangled up in paradox: This was experimental music — seven-minute feedback jams, Flipper-fucked bassline monotony, vein-popping screams — born against the grain, far more stark, unsettling and terrifying than subsequent sing-alongs would suggest. While their music has influenced countless bands before and after Cobain's suicide in 1994, its their legacy as the world's first Billboard-dominating rock band with punk rock beginnings, as eternal outsiders, that has forever linked them to fellow freaks and weirdos to come. Geologist: It was probably the same experience as a lot of kids. I remember hearing it on the Top 40 radio station, but in a joking way. The DJ was talking about having to buy a birthday present for his nephew or something. And he was like, "He asked for this new group.

  • Helvetia

    Hear Helvetia's Quietly Psychedelic 'Nothing In Rambling' LP

    Last week, SPIN's Marc Hogan noted that "A Mirror" — an "iridescent" highlight from Portland-based psych-rock trio Helvetia's forthcoming Nothing In Rambling — felt like "an Ambien-popping variant on vintage PacNW indie rock" that "suggests a Built to Spill you'd space out to rather than sing along with." Over the years, chief songwriter Jason Albertini (formerly of Duster) has maintained a revolving cast of personnel around him, including members of both Dinosaur Jr. and aforementioned tourmates Built to Spill. And while his outfit's seventh full-length provides a deliciously mercurial reflection of its loose lineup, Albertini's mutant psychedelia never sounds quite the same way from listen to listen. Below, hear it from top to bottom.

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