Artist: Indian Wells
Release Date: 2015 Mar 09
License: CC BY-NC-SA
Label: Band Panda Records
Indian Well’s 2012 release Night Drops was very well received in the electronic music and indie press. it’s taken three years for the follow up release Pause to be released on Bad Panda Records, and the obvious question is: was it worth the wait?
Indian Wells: Pause
With all of the electronica I’ve been listening to lately, I think I have a tendency to get lost in the multitude of sub-genre’s that proliferate the scene. I’ve always tended to be more into downtempo and trip-hop style releases, while recently finding a level of appreciation for at least some psytrance works (see: The Word Beyond). Of course, I found my way into electronica via the EDM and IDM genres some years back.
So, at first this release posed a bit of a challenge for me. The opening track, Lipsia, starts with a clatter of bells set against a hazy background of human voices, but then finds it’s way into a more dance-like (house / techno) style piece with a solid beat taking the foreground with the bells and a series of pops as the background. This was definitely starting to look like a release that I wasn’t going to appreciate all that much.
But, with the start of Alcantara I had to throw out that perception. Yes, the piece features a solid, bouncing beat, but this isn’t a house or techno style piece. There are layers and layers of things going on in this track, including several rhythmic motifs that server to counterpoint the solid quarter note beat very nicely. The relationship between the two tracks is that there is an element of haziness to them. In fact, as I would come to understand, that is the element that seems to most consistently tie all the tracks on this release together.
Proceeding on to other tracks, the range of things that Indian Wells works with in his compositions expands. 8-bit synthesizer sounds, human voices, chimes and bells of different types, guitar samples, various types of clicks and pops, and other elements make up a sound palette that provides a seemingly endless range of variation, coloration and texture.
The thing that I came to understand about this release is that there is no fixed, formulaic construction to these pieces, unlike many of the dance works that I have derided before on these pages. Instead these works are carefully constructed, often taking turns that aren’t expected, and mixing in elements that make it more difficult to pigeon-hole this release into a single genre. And that’s exactly what I like the most about this release: Indian Wells has taken his inspiration from acts like Four Tet, James Holden,Arvo Pärt, Brian Eno and others and works his own magic with them.
My initial impression of this release was that I was going to be disappointed with it. It started off sounding like it was going to be a mostly techno release in a slightly different different tonal palette. Fortunately for me, that impression was dispelled by the second track on the release, and I found that instead this is a release that is experimental, mixing many different elements and styles together. It’s not a release that can be put into a single corner-genre. Indian Well Pause is a release that builds on a wide range of influences in a way that it transcends most genres.