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Introducing our BOTW: Beat Connection

When one thinks of Seattle, the first thing that pops into your head is probably not its coastlines, or jangly electronic music. If I were to say Nirvana, the grunge movement, Starbucks, or rain, some may accuse me of being old fashioned or “whack, man” (not least because Kurt Cobain is sadly no longer with us and Nirvana have disbanded, and the first Starbucks ever to be opened was turned into a furniture store years ago). If I were to make the bold leap forward into the 21st Century, and reel off some cultural signifiers from this Pacific Northwest city, I could just about muster potato farming and Fleet Foxes, but I shan’t do that because they are both distinctly average.

However, the shimmery, surf-inspired electronica of Beat Connection’s ‘Surf Noir’ is a “shore-in” to put Seattle back on the map (not that it ever really went away, I’m just being fastidious; they still have Sub Pop and the Space Needle, after all). Having met each other on a music composition course at the University of Washington, Jordan Koplowitz and Reed Juenger tinkered about together on Garageband for a bit, played some DJ sets, and generally hung out at college. They quickly moved on from the avant-garde experimentalism of their degree compositions, and both began honing their pop song craft.

That’s not to say their debut mini-album ‘Surf Noir’- it’s only 8 songs, bless it- is devoid of any experimental ambition, however. These dance pop songs encompass a whole world of acoustic instrumentation and electronic devices, from electronic handclaps and looped, taut guitars, to swirly house synths, tambourine jangles and background. As the name ‘Surf Noir’ would suggest, there’s something surfy- and no, we’re not talking about shit The Drums style surf- about this record. It could simply be the title of initial standout tune, ‘In The Water’, with its complimentary seagull caws and lapping wave soundscapes, or maybe it’s the high-fret guitar melodies. Maybe the members of Beat Connection intentionally did all of these things to provide us “music journo scum” with a set frame of reference so that we won’t refer to their release- just because their songs are predominantly happy, use a bit of guitar delay and loop technology, and occasionally incorporate some drum machine disco beats- as ‘the soundtrack to your summer’. Just sayin’.

‘Surf Noir’ was released on April 11th, on the Moshi Moshi imprint Tender Age. GO AND GET IT NOW.

-Tim Robins

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