About Boston Hassle
Boston_Hassle on 10/21/2013 at 04:15AM
In 2010, Wes Kaplan released the album Teenage High-School under the name The Craters. A self-proclaimed "100% bedroom project," this album stood it’s ground in the scene for quite some time, now having it’s name dropped in small circles of music enthusiasts (eg. “Yo, do you like The Craters?"). The album showcased a trial and error production style, using a mixture of hand-claps, electronic drum samples, synths, un-plugged electric guitar loops, vocals, and a whole bunch of effects in a minimal manner, displaying Kaplan’s songwriting in as unique a way possible. Right off the bat, Teenage High-School was agreed upon by the few who heard it as a total jam, a very brilliant listen, and at the very least, an extremely unique pop album.
Bedroom projects are not everyone’s jam, many time’s a vessel for the masturbatory experimentations of any young musician, but with Kaplan, his ability to write something note worthy is blatant. Wes Kaplan is a Boston, MA based musician, more or less self-taught (with the exception of a couple of years of music theory and drum lessons). You can hear in The Crater’s music a very sensitive ear, able to discern the stand-out idea from the abyss. His creativity and emotion are in full swing, and you can hear that nothing holds Kaplan back from crafting a truly unique and beautiful ‘pop’ song.
The Crater’s goes back as early as 2004 when it was a more of collaborative approach between Kaplan and a friend of his. It was not until 2010 that he released any music to the public. Due to the spirit of the project, that being based in discovering what can be done with pop songs and experimental production approaches, The Craters only performed live a hand-full of times. According to Kaplan, there had been many attempts to emulate the sound with a live band (sample machine, guitars, drum machines), but living up to the recordings proved difficult in this live setting. There's was simply to many complexities on the recorded work that could not be done live.
It is Perhaps for this reason that Wes's second album, 'Velcro', did not receive as much attention and recognition as Teenage High-School. ‘Velcro’ incorporates entirely electronic instrumentation. The album took Wes about two years to make, and show’s his trial and error approach blossoming into a more fully formed expression. His song writing is still there, and so are the inexplicable instrumental interludes, bringing to mind the work of Eric Copeland of Black Dice fame. The instrumental’s show a deeper side to The Crater’s sound. The album employs everything that 2012 major label’s wish they could have found, but never did. Velcro is the type of album that makes you feel proud, due it’s pure unique musicality, it’s lack of pretension and the fact that it is so personal that it is ultimately relatable.
The DIY production found on Velcro may be some of the best you may ever hear, especially when considering Kaplan's lack of musical training. You can tell Kaplan had to sit at his desk in his room for many nights going over things to get what he heard in his head. The album's second track, 'In It For You' is one of the stand out points of the album, with truly brilliant drum production taking the cake. His cues from Aphex Twin are used with taste. Kaplan is not a show off, and 'In It For You' is a good example. It incorporates short piano melodies that pop in and out of the speakers, steering the track in different directions smoothly. How such a small thing can make a huge difference, i was not aware until I heard this song. The next song 'Sunsense' shows Kaplan's sensitivity to melody and how it can change the way chord's are displayed. His vocal tracks in the verse in relation to the synth work in the bridge can make you feel like you're listening to two different songs, but in a way that is vey comfortable and pretty.
Wes Kaplan is currently playing in the Qild Aykroyd and the post-punk/no-wave inspired group The Channels along side members of Guerilla Toss and Designer, as well as working on new music for The Craters.