LISTEN: Javelin’s City-Spun Electronic Jam

Posted December 2

Over here at the O Music Blog, we’re fascinated by musicians who use tech to create new sounds and musical experiences. So when we heard that Brooklyn band Javelin had created a track composed of samples recorded in the New York neighborhood of Red Hook, we were intrigued to say the least. It doesn’t hurt that the jam sounds like a city marching to hell in a ’60s documentary about captains of industry — in the best possible way.

For its Sounds of the City project, PureVolume asked Javelin to choose their favorite New York neighborhood and create a song from its native noises. You can check out the making-of videos and the rest of the PureVolume playlist yonder.

“We don’t regularly [make music] as purely as we did in that video,” says the band’s George Langford. “Our process is totally all over the place. We really like exploring techniques of making things. The process is just as enjoyable for us as the end result.”

To create the song, titled “By Hook Or By Crook,” the band used two portable samplers that record onto an SD card. They then used MPCs — which they had in the car from tour — to record the track. “We had our own little mobile studio set up,” Langford says. In fact, about 50% of the song was created out on the streets.

While the band is currently working on their next album, this track will not be appearing on it. Still, they’re not adverse to trying out the process again.

“I would maybe next time go out into the woods,” says Langford. “It’s way quieter and you can get most isolated noises. But I really all those metal sounds that we were getting and there’s not a lot of metal in the woods. Maybe like an isolated trash pile somewhere. Like an abandoned junk yard. Like electronic Tom Waits.”

By Brenna Ehrlich