lafayette
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lafayette

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Genre: Indie
Best Element: Sweeping, careening, beautiful post-rock that seems to make time stand still

In this perpetually busy world, music that makes the flow of time unimportant is very important music. Lafayette’s Transformations is, by that logic, very important music.

Having seen what Lafayette can do live, I’m not surprised to hear that the sweeping, careening post-rock they create translates magnificently to CD. Like many post-rock bands, they build from small beginnings (a drum line, a melody, a synthesizer burble) towards giant slabs of noise; but unlike many post-rock bands, they do it with a profoundly optimistic bent. While there is the occasional remorseful tune on this 7-song album (“Rest These Tired Hands”), most tunes suck the listener in by being the aural equivalent of a warm blanket. This is perfectly displayed on “A New Life,” where the blocky guitar chords and snappy drum-beat give way to beautifully cascading, lithe guitar work that makes me sit back and sigh a happy sigh.

That beautiful, cascading guitar work dominates “Zzyzx,” making it easily one of the highlights on the album. In addition to the beautiful melodies and tight interactions between various guitar parts, the drums add a lot of mood here; perfectly recorded, they create a epic, powerful mood without ever overpowering the sound. The drums, as well as every other instrument, are given room to breathe in this mix - no part covers the other. It’s an extremely well-produced album, and instead of production stifling or changing the sound, it brings out all the best in Lafayette.

The variety of sounds employed here is also impressive. “Series Fruition” is mostly synths, while “Fireflys” is drums/guitar/bass, proving that Lafayette is equally adept on both mediums but dependent on neither. This makes songs that deliberately incorporate both sounds very thought-provoking, as the listener has to think why a certain sound was chosen when it could just as easily been done a different way. Why is the beat in “Series Fruition” electronic instead of organic? It’s a question to ponder

Transformations is an album that can be deeply enjoyed on many levels. You can sit back and chill out to it very easily; the optimistic, warm-blanket feel ensures that. The bombastic drums and snappy rhythms definitely lend themselves to driving music, as well. Yet the album also stands up to those who would deconstruct the sound and think about all the inner workings. It’s post-rock of the highest order. Lafayette has a gift for creating music that is accessible yet still credible; enjoyable, yet talented; hooky, yet clever.

Stephen Carradini
September 2007 - Stephen Carradini - Independent Clauses


Lafayette/Jacob Furr
Sugar Brown’s, Lubbock, TX
Friday, May 18, 2007

Lafayette’s set also seemed to fly by, but in a much different way. After setting up an army of effects pedals and digital equipment, the duo proceeded to churn out upbeat, melodic, occasionally optimistic post-rock epics. There were so many sounds and different parts going on at once that it was best to just take the whole sound in at once and let the entire slab of music wash over your ears. They never let the set get repetitive, even though they played for a long time; they continually mixed it up by having guitar-based pieces next to keyboards-based pieces next to effects-based pieces. This continuous shifting of emphasis was handled really well, as their sound didn’t suffer in any of the various settings.

Lafayette’s set was so well-received by the coffeehouse patrons that they were asked to keep playing, and they performed an improv set after their original set that I wasn’t able to stay for. I, like the rest of the patrons, was truly thrilled by Lafayette’s music - it was extremely refined and talented that I don’t think a CD could have sounded any more precise or well-organized. And yet, even though they retained recording-like precision, there was an energy to their sound that completely made seeing them live worth it. They knew what they were doing, and they were having fun with it. As a result, the audience did too.

There’s not much more you can ask for at a coffeeshop show - some excellent folk and some amazing nearly-soundtrack post-rock back-to-back. I highly recommend checking out both bands….you won’t be disappointed.

Stephen Carradini
July/August 2007 - Stephen Carradini - Independent Clauses


Discography

Transformations (2007)

Photos

Bio

Simply pause—and take a breath. Inhale the dissolved sounds as they melt into your slowly calming mind, and let the music play on your hassled thoughts and see them fall into line with a horizon of pine trees, solid rocks and fresh air. You are at once put to sleep and woken up while you listen to these sounds, waking from an intrinsic sense of what is music, and what it is to share it with others. Like a stream running over mountain rocks, Lafayette’s music is shockingly fresh movement over unshakably good indie rock.
With the solid serenity mixed with mounting gains of layered music coming to an exultant peak then suddenly whirling back down like a wind kicking up the leaves, you almost feel the power of a mountain base holding up its craggy edges in their music. And edgy it is—their music, and their backyard. They are, of course, from Colorado. So under the influence of fresh mountain air, their musical family raised them into playing music since childhood, offering band members Andrew Lafayette Porter (guitars, keys) and Tristan James Porter (drums, keys, programming) the foundation of family and brotherhood as their basis for drawing together a musical project they titled after a name that reaches through generations of their family: Lafayette.
Their unbending distaste for the prosaic (or sometimes what is referred to as musical crap) takes them far from the mundane musical mainstream and projects them into a trendless, genuine search for what inspires them and makes them, very simply, create excellent music. And that is what Lafayette accomplishes: a search, a development, and a continual creation.
Since 2004, Andrew Porter has been writing music for this project, and in the summer of 2005 the brothers came together as the group Lafayette. Bassist Justin Shelp from Tri-Cities, Washington joined the group in 2006, though was not able to join them on their summer tour of 2007. That summer, brothers Andrew and Tristan took to the road and went on a national tour, where from every gig they found an enthusiastic new fan base and were asked back again by all their venues.
“In this perpetually busy world, music that makes the flow of time unimportant is very important music. Lafayette’s Transformations is, by that logic, very important music,” Stephen Carradini of the Indepent Clauses music review website wrote. “It’s post-rock of the highest order. Lafayette has a gift for creating music that is accessible yet still credible; enjoyable, yet talented; hooky, yet clever.”
The sophistication in their music arrives from their layers, interminable change-ups that flow with ease and create a definite sense of variety and freshness. There are culminating sets of packing drums and guitar, then purely symphonic keys and ambient beats—the two ends meeting with almost shocking compatibility, like bananas and peanut butter.
“Lafayette’s set was so well-received by the coffeehouse patrons that they were asked to keep playing,” Caddini wrote. “I, like the rest of the patrons, was truly thrilled by Lafayette’s music. They knew what they were doing, and they were having fun with it.”
Lafayette is a continually expanding and developing group that doubtless will have you entranced upon a first listen. Despite deadlines, hassles or traffic, the music will immediately transform the space around you into a place where time slows, and everything seems to fall into the backdrop as you simply listen, and simply be.