The pop wilderness of Beat Connection

Garden variety
By REYAN ALI  |  July 6, 2012

SPACE EVADERS Beat Connection's The Palace Garden is an exquisite synth-pop trip, rich with twinkling wind chimes, R2-D2-on-the-dance-floor chirps, and a glistening Arctic fantasia.

Jordan Koplowitz's life — I'm disappointed to discover — was not forever changed by a momentous round of beer pong. A much-circulated press release for Beat Connection, the electronic project Koplowitz created with Reed Juenger, notes that the duo's "fate was sealed one night not long after they met, over a game of beer pong that turned into a discussion of mutual musical appreciation." Although the pair's friendship did spark at University of Washington in 2008, it wasn't a byproduct of red Solo cups and filthy shots of Natty Light. "Basically, we met the very first day we were at college. That night, we probably ended up playing beer pong because it was college and that's what college kids do," Koplowitz says, speaking via phone while the Seattle band is on tour. But the real reason they bonded was because of a digital arts and experimental media class where they found that they liked to make music together.

More specifically, Koplowitz and Juenger enjoyed making pop music, which was galaxies removed from their classroom's avant-garde sounds. After teaming up as DJs specializing in French house, they started creating music during sophomore year, first using GarageBand as their lone tool. At some point, Koplowitz submitted the Beat Connection song "Same Damn Time" to a blogger without informing Juenger. Said blogger was so smitten with the track that it motivated Koplowitz to take making music more seriously, which eventually led to the band releasing the EP Surf Noir in 2011. He describes Surf Noir as "segmented" because its tracks overall maintained limited cohesion with one another — a contrast to the narrative aspect of The Palace Garden (Moshi Moshi/Tender Age), the now-four-piece band's freshly released full-length.

"We talk about being somewhere totally different from where you are," says Koplowitz. "The Palace Garden is this magical place that you've never been before, and you meet a girl." The character of "you" likes this girl until you begin asking yourself too many questions, suggesting you shouldn't be with her, even though you probably love her. Halfway through Palace, you realize that all these worries are just in your head and go back to enjoying yourself. Koplowitz adds that its inspiration came from analyzing why a good feeling fades so often: "Is it because of the girl, or because of yourself or the place you're at? Is it boredom? It's an eternal conflict that we realize we all have had at some point."

Palace — recorded, produced, and mixed entirely by the band — spends most of its time as an exquisite synth-pop trip, rich with twinkling wind chimes ("En Route"), nifty R2-D2-on-the-dance-floor chirps ("Other Side of the Sky"), and a glistening Arctic fantasia ("Foreign Embassy"), complete with its tropical counterpart ("Further Out").

1  |  2  |   next >
Related: Robyn at the State Theatre, January 29, Photos: Kylie Minogue at Agganis Arena, The Ladybug Transistor create a new pop shade, More more >
  Topics: Music Features , Music, Pop Music, beer pong,  More more >
| More

Most Popular
Share this entry with Delicious
    In the arena of charming and entertaining indie-music figures, Marnie Stern stands unopposed.
  •   NO REST FOR BLACKBIRD BLACKBIRD  |  March 13, 2013
    Blackbird Blackbird's 2012 EP Boracay Planet takes its name from two sources: Boracay — a beach-filled, postcard-perfect island in the Philippines — and a dream Mikey Maramag had about the tourist trap, despite never having visited.
  •   WILD BELLE PUSH MAGICAL BUTTONS  |  February 11, 2013
    Wild Belle's multi-ethnic allegiances — Afropop, reggae, and rocksteady — fuse into American indie-pop and classic rock. Results are, at varying times, tropical, tepid, and tempestuous.
  •   THE LUMINEERS AIM FOR THE RAFTERS  |  February 01, 2013
    Jeremiah Fraites isn't famous — at least not yet. The drummer of the Lumineers, the folk trio who experienced an outrageously fruitful 2012, is talking to me two days before appearing on the January 19 Saturday Night Live, but he doesn't sound convinced that his band have crossed the fame threshold.
  •   PHANTOM GLUE COME INTO FOCUS  |  January 23, 2013
    Variations of "nightmarish" and "psychedelic" come up repeatedly as Matt Oates describes his band's work — which makes sense, given that Phantom Glue trace their roots back to Slayer, the Jesus Lizard, and cult post-hardcore act KARP.

 See all articles by: REYAN ALI