Jacqueline edeling

Beandon’s Music Corner: Pyreburning by Arvid

Welcome to Beandon’s Musical Corner, the only place on campus for in-depth and comprehensive reviews of the latest releases in rock, jazz, experimental… and just about everything else. Brandon Rupp (also known by his mononymous musical title “beandon,” under which he releases music and DJs as KZSU’s student music director) explores a new title and gives unfiltered commentary regardless of genre. Don’t hesitate to send him some music, he’d like to take a look!

In today’s internet age, websites like Bandcamp and SoundCloud allow virtually anyone to create and release music that no major corporate label will ever touch. For many years I have been one of those independent artists: Arvid, the mononymous name of Luke J. Ross, from New York. From his cassette-recorded debut “Old Factory Living,” a fantastical slice of quirky chamber pop, to his more mature (and masterful) sophomore effort “Goodnightdaydream.”, Arvid’s career arc has left me surprised, amazed and, above all, excited for his next step. With 2022’s “Pyreburning,” Arvid continues his streak of great music, venturing into his most experimental and layered output to date.

I was able to reach Arvid for an email interview and was thrilled to finally get a glimpse of his artistic process. Arvid wrote to The Daily that music therapy early in his life inspired his initial love for the art form. “I spent my whole life jumping from instrument to instrument in school until I got my first guitar at age 12, and I never really wanted to. ask it,” he wrote. He added, “There is no more effective way for me to convey my feelings and ideas than through music.” Based on the quality of his output, I’m inclined to agree.

Although musical similarities to Ween, Animal Collective, Neutral Milk Hotel and Alex G can be gleaned somewhat throughout his work, he wrote to The Daily about his more obscure influences, citing ‘The Residents’, ‘Robert Wyatt, especially his Rock Bottom record, “Talk, Talk” and “Scott Walker.” I was incredibly impressed with the wide range of music that struck Arvid’s ears – they are some of the best experimental musicians of all time.

The opening track “Headlights” is a beautiful mature ballad with fantastic guitar playing. Shimmering electric guitars are backed by firmly strummed acoustic chords, and after the first verse and chorus, the song explodes into a psychedelic 7/4 passage. Throughout, the instrumental production shines as a clear progression of Arvid’s sound. The track’s lyrics explore paranoid themes of isolation and distrust – the track’s repeated mantra is “Hey / What are you doing here? / I don’t know who you are / There’s no no one inside / And I don’t like the look of your headlights.

The album immediately cuts to the second track “Windows” with a churning, staccato noise (similar to Animal Collective’s “For Reverend Green”) permeating the mix. The song quickly turns into a beautiful psychedelic pop melody powered by a unique chord progression and driving drum beat. A noticeable change from his first two releases is Arvid’s tendency to explore a much more progressive song structure: almost every track here changes significantly throughout its performance, leaving the audience to feel several different emotions in the context of a four-minute pop song.

The country-tinged “Ghosty” is “Pyreburning’s” lightest but most charming moment, with fun, random percussion and dreamy vocal melodies. This track manages to strike the perfect balance between accessibility, creative production and instrumentation. “Ghosty” is a wonderful pop single twisted by Arvid’s inventive brand of psychedelic noise manipulation (in the best possible way).

Yet it is “Garden’s Gone” which claims the title of my favorite song. The whimsical guitar melody, muffled vocals, and ambient outro comprise the best moments of pop bliss seen on “Pyreburning.” The chord progression is once again very distinctive, and the guitar sound is reminiscent of what I think has become Arvid’s signature sound: a guitar so buried in effects that it’s virtually indistinguishable from the synth who supports her.

The most significant upgrade seen in the creation of “Pyreburning” over Arvid’s previous work is in its experimental structure. In an A/B-side dynamic that mirrors David Bowie’s masterpiece “Low”, the A-side features some nimble, upbeat pop cuts contrasted by a long, instrumental B-side. In Arvid’s case, the entire B-side is one continuous track, “The Pyre”, which features buzzing synths straight out of “In the Airplane Over the Sea”, walls of noise reminiscent of hard rock noise and tribal percussion reminiscent of Boredoms. “Vision Creation Newsun.”

Over the track’s 21-minute runtime, it effectively morphs from movement to movement, running through a myriad of captivating instrumental passages that flow seamlessly together. While I was initially skeptical of its length and placement in what is essentially a five-track album, the song really does provide a satisfying conclusion to the record. “The Pyre” constitutes Arvid’s most meticulous production to date, especially when paired with a fantastic mix that elevates every sonic detail. At times, the song sounds like it’s about to go off the rails, like in the dissonant mid-section of “The Pyre, Pt. 1,” which sounds like the inside of a nuclear power plant about to go off the rails. collapse – but Arvid is able to immediately bring the listener back every time. Moments like these contrast with the more ambient sections of “The Pyre”, which feature fast, arpeggiated synth lines backed by wave-like pads flowing in and out of the mix.

“The Pyre, Pt. 2” sounds exactly like a classic Fishmans track, with its reverse drum pattern and dreamy guitar/piano lines seeming to be a direct reference to the album’s brilliant composition “Long Season.” More references to this Fishmans masterpiece are seen in the third part of the composition, as it seems a paraphrased version of the final melodic line from “Long Season” plays throughout. All the moments where Arvid’s influence can sometimes be worn too obviously on his sleeve, however, do not detract from the record – on the contrary, they provide better context for the independent artistic creation process that fueled “Pyreburning “. In many ways, echoing all the references and nods throughout the record is both a hint of influence and a fun way to engage more deeply with the creation of the work itself. In the end, it just goes to show that Arvid is just a guy like all of us…who records brilliant psychedelic pop gems in his spare time.

Although I liked this last version, I always announce “Goodnightdaydream”. not only as Arvid’s masterpiece but also easily as one of my favorite albums of the last decade. “Pyreburning,” however, goes beyond being a worthy successor and turns into another wonderful left-field swing for Arvid’s dynamic discography. In many ways, his work is inspiring: I can give credit to someone like Arvid, who was able to create major-quality records from the comfort of his own bedroom. If you enjoy any of the artists I’ve mentioned throughout this article, or just want a fun and unique musical experience, listen to this record immediately.

Editor’s Note: This article is a review and includes subjective opinions, thoughts, and critiques.ues.