When we first heard "Pocket Check" by San Francisco's Windsurf we spent a while trying to decide if it was the soundtrack to a chilled out adventure in space or an epic beach session. Once their album Coastlines finally hit our desks we thought we'd finally have our answer. Not quite. It turns out the rest of the album walks the same line as "Pocket Check," conjuring mental images of both sand between our toes and floating around eating space ice cream. But honestly, the economy is rough, money is tight and "The Big Island" is a seven-and-a-half minute staccato guitar plus Club Med congo jam that works almost as well as a real life vacation. Download "The Big Island" exclusively below, and read our Gen F on the band from FADER Number 55 after the jump.
Download: Windsurf, "The Big Island"
Windsurf says relax
Story Ross Simonini Photography Theo Rigby
Windsurf’s cosmic house tracks play at an easy California speed—just right for Sunday afternoon head nodding. Where most dance beats are designed to yank you onto the floor, the spacious pop made by San Francisco duo Sam Grawe and Dan Judd are more suited for long walks on Ocean Beach, and, according to them, reading a book on BART. It’s all a part of a musical style they call “pacifica.” Grawe describes it as a “West Coast alternative to the Cologne sound—sort of an electronic, futuristic, sunset disco kind of vibe” that includes the work of fellow Californians The Beat Broker, Rollmottle, Project Sandro and Mardu. “There just wasn’t any kind of scene for what we we’re doing,” Judd says. “So we made one for ourselves.”
Both Grawe and Judd talk a lot about getting into the right musical mindset, which, for them, means channeling German rockers Harmonia after they got all hippie and ran off to the countryside to immerse themselves in hermetic electronic jam sessions. So, at first, it seems weird that the members of Windsurf actually work for a living (Grawe edits Dwell magazine, Judd designs websites), and even weirder that they want to keep it that way. For the past three years they’ve been putting together Windsurf tracks, remixes for LCD Soundsystem, plus their solo projects Sorcerer (Judd) and Hatchback (Grawe), with no intention of reaching that increasingly anachronistic goal of “making it.” Instead, they want to keep Windsurf far away from the careerist cycle of eat-sleep-record-tour, and closer to their summer hobbies, like scuba diving and surfing. “We like getting inspiration from our vacations in Mexico,” Judd says. “A lot of our ideas come from just looking at the ocean and relaxing.”
It’s not just talk. On their self-titled full-length, the tracks roll out like waves and open up like the summery firmament. Combining Judd’s Michael Jackson beats and R&B guitars with Grawe’s epic prog synths, they liken the results to “’80s montage music.” And they’re right—cue up their twelve-minute opus “Crystal Neon” and POOF! Andrew McCarthy materializes, pondering his mistakes while pitching a rock into a lake. But for all of Windsurf’s nostalgia there’s nothing overtly ironic about it. “We’re making music for ourselves,” Grawe says. “We just want some cool music to listen to in the car while driving on Highway 1.”