MSN002 : The Archie Pelago EP
The time has come. Straight up NYC vibes coming through. Our favorite “band” is about to release their first EP on 12″ wax and we couldn’t be happier, prouder or more excited. That’s right, Archie Pelago has teamed up with Mister Saturday Night to bring you a limited batch of 150g vinyl sporting three Archie originals. Pressed in Brooklyn, hand stamped by the band in Brooklyn, this is the type of local effort we strive to champion at OTS. Get yours on September 10th here (and don’t sleep as the rumors state the first pressing of 500 is already sold out to distributors).
Honestly, just given the names around this release, and the fact that the physicial release was made in Brooklyn, should be enough for any NYC “bass” fan to bag on sight, but in case you aren’t quite convinced, we’ve got a track by track review for you. Major thanks to Dan, Justin, and the rest of the team who graciously allowed us to hear these tunes before their release.
The A side sports two tracks. First up, “Brown Oxford.” Within the first few bars, the sound on this release sets itself apart. Listen to the air! It breathes! In a day and age of computer generated sounds, looped on computer based audio workstations, bounced to .mp3 and then played in dances on computers, it’s both refreshing and almost disorienting to hear electronic music in this way. While we know Archie runs things on Ableton (as they are seemingly booked more for Ableton workshops than performances (something you should be addressing with your local promoters)) they have managed to maintain the life of their acoustic instruments within the record’s only groove.
Because of this fact, A1 almost feels as though we are descending into an impromptu jam session that is already underway; listening in for 4 and a half minutes until it drifts away into the wind. Plucky cello loops lead the tune along over top a 4×4 kick drum beat. Saxophone stabs accent the groove alongside sparse snare fills until the cello gives out. This allows the sax and drums to take charge heading into some dub inspired territory. Like a jazz solo breakdown, once these two elements get their chance to shine, the bass line picks right back up and brings the focus back to the groove for the rest of the track.
A2 goes by “Alice” and she’s a sultry one. A simple 2 steppin’ rhythm carries some lovely halftime saxophone play and loops sounding like that same sax in reverse. When the beat drops out, the saxophone picks up the pace, then rejoined by the snares and hi hats until crashing into a saxophone led jackin’ groove. Halfway through the sax fades into the background, while I’m assuming it’s Alice herself who “ooos” and “ahhhs” us into the second half of the tune. It’s the third drop that really shines when you get to experience just how well all these elements play off each other. This one is a slow burn and exhibits the trio’s writing prowess just as well as their live show exhibits their improv chops.
The B side sports the longest track on the release, clocking in at almost eight and a half minutes. ”Frederyck Swerl” seems to be a fitting name, as the lengthy intro on this tune feels like a swirl of cello, snares and saxophone lulls performing in a round, with some heavy syncopation provided by craft delay work. Arguably the most psychedelic and dub inspired track on the release, this one bleeds emotion. Personally, I could get lost in this track, as the cello draws me into some introspective territory until the saxophone arrives and disrupts the mood, only to inspire some tension and anxiousness for the final drop. When that drop comes, we are transported into a world where the washy soundscape of minutes earlier provides a bed for shuffling snare rolls, accented by one drop snares with big reverb. More dub vibes over a house template and we aren’t complaining.
From MSN :
“We’re happy to present the second release on the Mister Saturday Night label. It’s an EP by Archie Pelago, a Brooklyn-based band that in the past few months has played both the Mister Saturday Night and Mister Sunday parties. They’re a trio of players whose lighthearted name belies the seriousness of their music. Consisting of a classically trained cellist, a classically trained saxophone player and a live programmer/DJ, they make songs that work as well on dancefloors as they do in headphones. This EP lays out their strengths perfectly: Brown Oxford swings; Alice simmers; and Frederyck Swerl pulls on the heartstrings. Handstamped by the band and the Mister guys and pressed to 150-gram vinyl with love in Brooklyn.”