Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Avagami-Metagami

September 1, 2007

Band Name: Avagami

Album Name: Metagami

Best Element: Jarring, discomforting, experimental and truly original synth-pop for the avid

experimental lover

Genre: Experimental

Website: www.avagami.com

Label: Lens Records

I’ve heard a lot of music since I started reviewing almost five years ago, but I have never heard anything remotely like Avagami. I can say without a doubt that Metagami by Avagami is the most jarring, discomforting music I have ever heard. I can also say that of all the bands that have tagged themselves experimental, Avagami is one the select few that tags themselves correctly.

Built of a variety of eclectic synthesizer sounds that range from droning to tinny, very fast (almost break-beat or glitchy) drum patterns and vocals that bore into the brain, these eleven very odd songs defy classification. At their core, these are mid-tempo synth-pop songs – most songs actually have clever arrangements. But something always gets a little bit odd. “Sickly Time” starts out like an old-school platformer video game soundtrack (good) before abandoning the concept for a grandiose, drawn-out groove (in this case, bad). The rapid sequencing intro of “Trombone Solo” is quashed, just as I was beginning to enjoy it. The drum/synth groove of “Luxus” introduces saxophone and harpsichord, while the nifty melodic pattern of “Eagle” is crushed by the vocals.

While the extremely eclectic arrangements are enjoyable after repeated listens, the vocals aren’t even bearable. There’s usually two vocal tracks: a vibrato-laden, faux-operatic baritone track doubled with a tenor who is almost always an octave or so higher. It’s very unusual and it’s a very jarring fit on top of the mostly high-pitched instrumental tracks. The one time it works is in “Unoriginal,” which fits a smooth, bass-heavy track against the vocals. It’s still not a song I would pick to listen to on a whim, but it’s definitely the best track here. The sound they’re trying to nail (synth-based pop with odd vocals that pushes the boundaries of pop music) is nailed.

If Metagami were instrumental, I would have given it a much better review – the clever synth-based arrangements are worth a listen. But when the vocals are added on top, it just becomes difficult to stomach. If you enjoy truly experimental stuff, this is for you – and only you.

– Stephen Carradini

Stephen@independentclauses.com

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Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.

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