The Meets | It Happens

by Lee Adcock

Was it in The Guardian…? Yes, I think it was. An article many months ago pronounced the death of instruments – that music hacks, keyboard wizards, and laptop DJs are storming the spotlight and stealing the star power from traditional guitar-centered bands. The author concluded that ordinary rock acts will become marginalized to quant little sideliners, while the boys with the synths will command the top billings.

Perhaps there’s some merit to this. That is, if you believe in the dichotomy of electronic vs. acoustic implied by the author. Or, for that matter, the dichotomy between programmer and performer. Or even the most widely regarded dichotomy of soloist vs. band, which by its numerical nature seems infallible. Either it’s the work of one, or the work of many.

Well, meet The Meets. They’re not a band, per se, but a collective of many musicians, reigned together by recording mastermind Brandon Locher. This bloke runs a label called My Idea of Fun – and his kind of fun is to catch sounds and rearrange them into new creations. (For instance, dig his ‘Conversations 2012′ piece, which is essentially one of the most elaborate prank calls ever devised.) So here, with The Meets, he’s recorded multiple musicians’ improvised performances, spliced up the parts, and re-stitched them into an LP, It Happens Outside.

First, the warm-up – a good, quality drone to clean yr head and prepare you for the skittering, smacking, scattered madness that is the rest of the album. It’s a fluid beast, this LP, shifting from the wacky worming clarinets of ‘Stoned Eyes’ to the gently rolling piano sway of ‘Nobody, Not Even The Rain’ to the clattering jangle of ‘The Fish’s Eye‘. Mind, all throughout this first half of the album, drums rattle and ramble – it’s like the heartbeat of It Happens Outside, the thumping, clattering blood and bones of the thing.

It’s truly a painting, a Technicolor tapestry, with myriad color and texture in each track. ‘She Who Laughs Last‘ paints broad strokes of cool with its soulful synths and record scratches, but also peppers in punches of various horns. ‘Today Grew Dark’ splices in chirping beats with tiptoeing piano and leering woodwinds. And probably other instruments, too. You listen to these songs, and you often lose track of the vast number of components streaming through your head.

But never will it sound like aimless nonsense. No, there’s quite a deal of structure here. A bit jazzy, sort of skankin’, slightly hip-hoppy, but always a riot. And not like a white riot or a teenage riot – a communal riot, something anyone could join in and clap their hands and ring a bell to and not worry about losing a eye or other body parts. It’s not clear what exact genre you could file the Meets under, especially not when you drift into the odyssey of samples that is ‘The Witching Hour‘ – and joyously drift out of it into the rumbling light of ‘As A Period In Which Nothing Happens‘ (which is an oxymoron, because LOADS of things happen, such as a squawking sax riot, a drumming rampage, and a flyby of cackling ghouls).

Perhaps it’s best I stop typing now, although I could go on. Suffice to say, though, that It Happens Outside is a glorious, ordered mess that you’ve just GOT to hear to believe. Better yet, you could buy the LP, which is a piece of art in itself – that explosion of color matches the sound of the album brilliantly.

It Happens is out not and available via Bandcamp:

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