This Friday, June 27, marks the end of one of Seattle's most quietly ambitious musical projects of recent months. Since the beginning of the year, local "post-baroque nu-hoppers" Foscil (the more "serious" project from most of 8-bit rockers Truckasauras) have taken over Belltown's BLVD Gallery on the last Friday of the month for a musical residency, switching up their configuration with each performance. After months of honing their new material, Foscil are now moving into the studio to record a new album, appropriately titled Residential.
The foundation was laid for Foscil's residency at last year's Bumbershoot, where Foscil members Tyler Swan and Adam Swan curated the music for BLVD's art exhibition (Foscil couldn't perform because member Ryan Trudell was in Peru).
"We realized how cool it was to combine music and art in the gallery format," says Adam Swan of the experience. "People were more open to listening to the art of the music, rather than being there because it was the place to be."
After Bumbershoot, Foscil (along with BLVD curator Damion Hayes) decided to try taking the gallery performance concept to BLVD's Belltown location. They tested the idea with a "proof of concept" performance in November 2007 and officially kicked off their residency in January with a traditional live set. After that, the band branched out with an all-electronic set, a set as labelmate ER Don's backing band, a full collaboration with producer/MC Specs One, and they'll be capping the series with the complement of a horn section. Adam describes it as "basically all of the different projects/variations that we've done as a band or in the studio."
"It was cool to not be confined by the nightclub format with doing these shows," he adds. "There weren't really many costs, or the headache of promoting enough to make the clubs happy. It was just on us, which freed us up to do whatever we wanted artistically."
Far from being just a set of performances, the BLVD residency has essentially allowed Foscil to open up their creative process to the public. The gallery performances were a method of vetting new material. Now the group are taking the lessons they've learned over the last few months back into the studio to record the follow-up to 2005's self-titled release.
"The songs have progressed in huge amounts because we've played them differently, in front of people, and with different pieces of gear," says Adam. Comparing it to the last album, he says, "We have a bunch of new gear since then, and we are definitely way better at our instruments. We haven't used our new studio gear with Foscil, just the Truckasauras and ER Don albums.
"To tell the truth, the main reasons we did this are pretty selfish in a way," he continues. "The fact that people came out to support and were into it is awesome. You can't really ask for anything more than that."
Foscil play Fri June 27, BLVD Gallery, 8 pm, free, all ages.