Band of the Day

2012.12.14

Harlan

Experimental electronic pop that started as a Master of Fine Arts thesis
She's a wandering crocodile, stricken in the streets. Caught between a diverted eye, and desire for sleep.
lyrics from Two

Harlan began as a solo recording project by founder John Harlan Norris in 2005. While attending graduate school at LSU in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Norris conceived of a recording project that would coexist with a body of paintings for his Master of Fine Arts Thesis Exhibition. The resulting album, recorded entirely by Norris himself, was called The Still Beat, and it quickly caught the ears of several local musicians who soon formed into the band Harlan. The Still Beat received national distribution in 2007. Usatoday.com called it “really smart pop from Baton Rouge, Louisiana; classic songs mixed with moments of weirdness and overall a killer.” Harlan’s second album, Spiderette, was released in 2008 and was described by music critic Alex V. Cook (Paste, Wire, Oxford American) as “a mature, confident album filled with wonder.” Harlan’s latest album, Night Loop, began as a series of electronic improvisations that were eventually formed into completed songs through an exploratory process combining vintage analog synths and drum machines, natural instrumentation, and loop-based production. The result is an album that moves Harlan into new sonic territory, exhibiting a wide array of influences ranging from Kraftwerk and Brian Eno to The Go-Betweens and The Clean. The album, produced by Harlan, was recorded largely in New Orleans and Arkansas throughout a two-year period. Night Loop was mixed by Ray Ketchem (of the band Elk City) and mastered by Alan Douches at West West Side Music. Thematically, Night Loop observes the sense of groundlessness that can arise during the unwieldy transition from youth to adulthood. Whether the result of perpetual roaming (the southern travelogue of “Mirrorland”), the unease to be found in domesticity (“Death in the Living Room”), or the mercurial nature of love (“Sending Your Positions”, “Catherine O’Hara”), Night Loop embraces a sense of mystery and stares deeply into the unanswerable question of where do we go once we’re supposed to have arrived.