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Excavacations Four CD
WEIRD-085 Excavacations - Four CD

After exploring maximalism to the, well, max, Excavacations seem to have coalesced into a much slicker machine. The concise Four EP represents a new direction, seeing their sound refined to its most impactful and focused to date. The duo continue to expand their ambient form of noise pop by means of reduction. They've somehow herded in the length of their drones and abstract wanderings to become laser-guided jabs. Electronics and vocals lead the way over sonic territory that may feel familiar one moment but uncharted the next. Still remaining is their trademark of placing catchy rhythms and melodies into traditionally "uncatchy" structures and environments. It's all further enhanced by abundant vocal harmonies and bass lines designed to wedge into your psyche.

Starting with Dolphins, endorphins, listeners are immediately invited to visit this new space the duo has been cultivating, revealing its abundant layers of moss and mysteries to discover. The male-female duet of Succession, the apparent single of the EP, combines the heaviness of Gil Scot-Heron with the sky high sound of M83. Participants are then moved forward to The Field-esque leanings of Floating in Balloon before losing themselves entirely in the computerized desert chants of Sweat Drips in Ear.

Four songs, four sounds, all crafted by the same four hands. One might understandably wonder how to classify these tracks but, really, who cares?

It's Excavacations.

Artwork by Phil French (Stunned)
Ltd Ed CD EP. Digital version available at online retailers.
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Excavacations In Perris-Beauchamps Digital
WEIRD-084 Excavacations - In Perris-Beauchamps Digital

Following last year's compilation of songs gathered from their tapes on Stunned Records, Avant Archive, and Paramita Recordings, Excavacations has finally announced their album of all new material for Weird Forest Records: In Perris-Beauchamp.

Mastered by M. Geddes Gengras, this is the duo's most accessible presentation of their trademark amalgamation of ambient, rock, drone, pop, and electronic music. Employing a frontier-centric approach similar to current and former labelmates Grouper, Emeralds, Sean McCann, and Sun Araw, Excavacations are set apart by their ability to transport noise-laden soundscapes into the pop realms inhabited by Sufjan Stevens, Van Dyke Parks, Dirty Projectors, and Sonic Youth.

As was the case with Weird Forest's release of Lil B's trailblazing record Rain in England, it is evident here that rather than imitate or corral their sound to fit within an existing genre or throwback style, Excavacations write music that can only be described as their own.

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Excavacations Object Permanence CD
WEIRD-079 Excavacations - Object Permanence CD

What to make of Excavacations? Are they a pop band? Perhaps, except they spend as much time zoning out and embedding weird sounds into extended soundscapes as delivering infectious payloads loaded with hooks. Are they drone? If so, this is the catchiest drone you'll ever hear. Are they rock? Maybe -- they rock hard at times but not often. Are they bad spellers? Probably (don't miss that extra 'ca' in the name). But if we live in a post-post-everything world, then Excavacations is simply music for the 21st century.

Object Permanence is one of the catchiest releases in the Weird Forest catalog but this isn't empty-calorie Diet Mountain Dew for the ears. The hooks will stand out initially but repeated listens reveal nuances embedded in the music and the care that went into creating these compositions. The boys aren't afraid of big hooks and choruses but they warp traditional song structures and abandon verse-chorus-verse. Indeed, Excavacations don't write songs as much as they craft delicate sonic vignettes, song miniatures that ebb and flow, often interweaving and bleeding into each other. Maximalists by nature, nearly every track incorporates overdubbed layers and unusual sonic elements into its core but somehow it all just works -- the songs never sound overcrowded or weird for the sake of it.

Object Permanence comprises of songs culled from a string of underground cassette releases on the venerable Stunned, Avant Archive and Paramita labels plus 4 new exclusive tracks but the album sounds like a cohesive statement. Partially re-recorded, mixed and mastered specifically for this release, these songs have never sounded better.

Excavacations - Object Permanence Preview by Weird Forest
Exquisite color pencil art by Phil French of Stunned Records.
Deluxe CD digipak edition.
Excavacations - Ojbect Permanence CD

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