Both the music and visuals of “Fields and Pier” show just how haunting and lovely indie folk music can be.
As a member of Grammy Award-winning a cappella quintet Pentatonix -- among other outlets -- Avi Kaplan has long since established himself as a remarkable vocalist, musician, and arranger. It’s not too surprising, then, that he’s recently branched out into his own project, Avriel & the Sequoias, whose debut EP, Sage and Stone, will arrive on June 9th. To help tide over fans until then, he’s just put out the first video from the release, “Fields and Pier”, which does an excellent job of setting the stage for the whole sequence. Rustic and grave, it’s a gorgeously somber and symphonic slice of introspective chamber/indie folk that’s sure to stay with you.
Kaplan cites adored artists like Bon Iver, Simon and Garfunkel, and Iron and Wine as inspiring his blend of “lush, layered vocals, intricate arrangements, and tasteful acoustic performances”. Indeed, the spirits of those groups (as well as others, like the Dear Hunter, Sufjan Stevens, Fleet Foxes, and Of Monsters and Men) can be heard in every bittersweet harmony, soft lament, reflective guitar arpeggio, and dense string embellishment. Really, it wouldn’t be out of place in an indie drama or Wes Anderson film, and the video -- which “pays homage to the wild and beautifully unkempt world he came up in, as well as Sequoia Natural Park, where he initially found his voice and inspiration” -- is just as tranquil and tasteful. It features Kaplan singing alongside himself across rivers, fields, and the like, symbolizing the internal wonder such scenes and sounds can elicit.
He explains his intentions and processes further:
“Fields and Pier” is a conversation between my past and present about my journey thus far and what’s to come. As an introduction to Avriel & the Sequoias, this song represents the sounds that I grew up with, fell in love with and continue to be inspired by. For the video, I wanted to show how my music is deeply connected to nature. The film crew and I traveled from Oregon to California to capture every scene that I had in my mind while writing the song. Each location and shot were chosen to match the different elements of the song. The strings are represented by the way the leaves tremble in the Northern California wind, the steady finger-picking is represented by the sun-kissed fields of Oregon and the cello by the slow, steady current of the Smith River.
Both the music and visuals of “Fields and Pier” yield a weighty artistic statement from Avriel and the Sequoias; together, they show just how haunting and lovely folk music can be. There’s little doubt that the rest of Sage and Stone will be just as magnificent, so there’s no reason not to preorder it now.