Named for their founder, Jean Baptiste Joseph Fourier -- the discoverer of the greenhouse effect -- the Fourier series breaks down periodic and chemical processes into a sum of simpler functions. Fourier, the man, studied, according to Wikipedia, the series' "applications to problems of heat transfer and vibrations." Similarly, Fourier, the band, deconstruct whatever it is that creates primal, fuzzy, old-fashioned rock 'n' roll and make it their own.
If you were lucky enough to download their EP Altar before it disappeared from their BandCamp, you'd know that the guitar on its first track, "Void," sounds almost sorrowful. Like a chemical process, Fourier creates its own strange vibrations; for tracks that are so simple at their core, they're incredibly visual: They sound like drives in the desert, switchblades, melted candles. Everything is drowned in delay, even the vocals, which seem to be emanating from the interior of an ancient cave.
Daniel Mugruza-Ocampo and Doug Weber met, interestingly, on an online shoegaze forum -- a testament to their genuine love of making music (and music geekdom). Why a forum? Explains Mugruza-Ocampo: "In a city like Miami, it's a bit difficult to find others to play music with that aren't in four or five other projects... At that point, I had just picked up the guitar after a 13-year hiatus, so it was pleasant to meet someone who was more musically inclined than I was. A shoegaze forum was a good start but far from the sound I hoped to achieve with music. Reverb was a good start."
The aforementioned guitar hiatus was rough on their early recordings, Mugruza-Ocampo admits. "I suppose we wanted to convey a sound that was primitive in sound, minimal in structure, while still giving off a psychedelic vibe. When we started, I was so bad at guitar that I'd joke around and mention to close friends that it was as if we'd taken a 45 of the Troggs' 'I Want You' single, played it on 33 rpm, and compressed the shit out of the record. Truly an ugly sound."
Not anymore. If that was true, they've learned to mask it exceptionally well. "The vocals have loads of reverb on the recordings, and the main reason for that is simple: We are both terrible vocalists. But it's all just rock 'n' roll, the bastard child of the rhythm and blues. So the tortured vocals come show complemented the noisy, compressed recordings we made."
Adds Weber, "I have a massive love for sound, and the quality of individual sounds. I'm a freak for delay, fuzz, synthesis, anything that has a wide sonic variety within its greater category. I'm a total nerd about that, which has led me through all sorts of equipment. As for our vocals, they're sound and melody. That part isn't secondary, but it ends up being so. They just sound too good drenched in delay and reverb; we wouldn't have it otherwise."
Their upcoming Churchill's show is part of artist and Holly Hunt drummer Beatriz Monteavaro's birthday celebration, and their first with a full band -- Holly Hunt's Gavin Perry on drums, This Heart Electric's Ricardo Guerrero on bass. This will undoubtedly make things richer; the live drums will have to follow the drum machine-based metronomic patterns in their songs that helped make everything so heavy and dark.
That kind of sound, and its accompanying aesthetic, has been pervasive, seemingly everywhere -- even in fashion -- as of late. "I'm pretty far removed from what's fashionable," admits Weber. "For me, esotericism is tied strongly to other states of consciousness, whatever those may be, and I like to think that's our link to it. I draw a lot of inspiration from that. Our music has been fairly dark, but I wouldn't say we're strictly a dark band. If we made 'brighter' music I think it'd retain the same feel."
Fourier, The Band In Heaven, New Coke, Haochi Waves, Jellyfish Brothers, and Self and Other on Friday, March 23, at Churchill's, 5501 NE 2nd Ave, Miami. Admission is $5.