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Cousins Tom van Buskirk and George Langford, making up the musical duo Javelin, had a set up somewhat alien to the WERS studio. With a hybrid percussive section consisting of a traditional crash and snare matched with a drum pad loaded with a myriad of interesting synthesized drum hits. Next to that was an MPC sampler, a staple in hip-hop and electronic music production. The only string instrument was Buskirk’s electric bass, and resting at his feet was a Mac Book running the music sequencing program Abelton Live. It was a truly “2013” set up, but produced music that sounded like something from the future.
The first song of the set was “Airfield” from their latest release Hi Beams. The song was immediately energetic, dance floor friendly, and accessible. It showcased a clear Talking Heads influence, which makes sense considering their signing to David Byrne’s record label. Despite having drum sequences being played through the laptop, the band retained a lively presence, and the computer acted not as a crutch, but as an instrument that needs mastering just as any traditional one does. Music is in a strange, transitional period where computers are starting to be recognized as valid musical instruments, instruments that Javelin embraces whole heartedly. “It was accepted for Kraftwerk” said Buskirk “it was accepted for run DMC and then for all hip hop and electronic, its accepted sometimes hated others. I don’t think it will ever be a non issue”
The band followed up with the opening track from their latest album “Light Out”. The song made equal use of marching band style snare rolls and heavy synthesized bass hits. There was a mind bending effect applied to the vocals that distorted them, making them sound robotic and otherworldly, but, just like with the music itself, it never lost touch with humanity. There is always an underlying pop appeal beneath the weirdness of Javelin’s music “I just straight up listen to the radio” explained Langford “On this tour we listen to nothing but the radio, I guess it filters through our brains and makes our music sound the way it does. Sometimes I think our music is weirder than it actually is.” Buskirk shared a nostaligic affinity for radio hits with his cousin “Most of my musical memories have involved the radio,” he said “but then I kind of gave up on radio, I stopped paying attention. My favorite is when the most popular song in the country is also a really good song.”
The band closed the set with the song “Drummachines”, which just so happened to translate literally in describing the music. The complex melodies created by the pairing of sequenced and live drums with analog sounding synthesizers buzzing away on top made the song sound like a bee hive that fell from a tree surrounded by a hoard of confused, agitated bees. The song was essentially a near perfect pop song that was twisted and torn until it become unrecognizable. The vocal melodies were sweet and catchy, yet somewhat creepy and off-putting. The music that Javelin played was filled with contradicting ideas that, when they meet, bring out the worst in each other. Somehow, however, Javelin managed to mediate a discussion where they settled their differences, compromised, and formed an indestructible alliance.