Guest article by Lauren Lyman
Post-jazz-rock is a progressive genre taking on a life of its own. After the loud riffs and swirling licks of tall and augmented chords level out, there’s room for a wider canvas. Austin band Every Shape a Diamond adds flare to this mix by incorporating the laptop for an avant garde feel. On May 7, 2016, the group held their official, self-titled album release party at Breakaway Records, and now audiences can own this string of progressive songs on vinyl and CD.
“Progressive music deals with complexity,” drummer David Pavkovic explained. “It’s music that makes my brain happy from processing the information.”
From Jam Session to Songwriting
Pavkovic and guitarist Joshua LaRue began working together in 2001 with indie-jazz-rock band HiM. At the time, they toured across North America and Europe. HiM was an evolving group that embraced world music, along with jazz and electronic soundscapes.
Since 2008, LaRue (also co-owner of Breakaway Records) and his bandmate turned their weekly jams into songwriting sessions. Usually, the process would take one to two years per song.
“Josh and I play each week to generate ideas,” Pavkovic shared. “Sometimes we create segments, sometimes full songs. From there we add melodies, switch sections around, change chord progressions, mess with bass lines, et cetera. Then, we start recording, which takes a few months to capture the best performance, and then do many mixes and remixes. We like to drink Tito’s vodka during this process.”
The biography on Bandcamp labels their new album “an instrumental affair, built upon LaRue’s Bill Frisell meets Tom Verlaine by way of Billy Gibbons guitar work, and Pavkovic’s wild-man-in-the-groove drumming.” For sure, Pavkovic’s drumming is in the pocket with a driving force, while LaRue provides lush harmonies, and a mixture of dissonant and consonant melodies on the guitar. Before each song begins, Pavkovic plays classical music samples and other canned sounds on his laptop.
“From a practical standpoint, the laptop is highly agreeable,” Pavkovic commented. “It pretty much always does what it’s supposed to do. It perfectly interprets my mouse clicks. It’s like being in a band with the best parts of “The Matrix,” while doing without the human battery farm. Plus, in between songs, I can order a used Herbie Hancock LP through the magic of the Internet.”
Every Shape a Diamond Combines Interests in a Genre
Fusion bands usually bring elements of other genres together, but it’s not easy to find a sound that allows a completely new genre to surface. By not rushing the process, Every Shape a Diamond has generated a comprehensive post-jazz-rock, nu wave blend.
“I love machine music. I love untethered music from humans,” Pavkovic said. “I love a great-sounding kick drum. I love an unexpected chord. I love rhythms that I can’t decipher. I love non-linear songs.”
The self-titled album for Every Shape a Diamond can be found on Bandcamp and is also available for purchase at Breakaway Records (211 W. North Loop Blvd.).
@theAustinot wants to know:
What is your favorite progressive band in Austin right now?
Lauren Lyman is a freelance writer, flutist, and singer. She is a graduate of Texas State University, where she attained a Master of Music in music history. She wrote her master’s thesis on the sisters of Heart, as well as Fiona Apple, Madonna and Janis Joplin.