Sometimes I picture the streets of Montreal as being jammed with electronic musicians all bumping into each other like charged particles. Here’s one with a positive charge: KROY (Camille Poliquin), whose synthpop is inventive and reflective.
‘Health’ is the debut by a young trio from Abbotsford, BC. Lead singer Trevor Blaak’s vocal stylings will evoke memories of Jeff Buckley, but the music here is more jazzy and free-form. Given the band’s poise, inventiveness and lyrical depth it is rather startling that these three young lads just recently finished high school! This is a mature work for an artist of any age.
Mi’ens is a math-rock duo from Vancouver, with Evan Johansen on drums and Kim Glennie on guitar, loops and the occasional vocal. On their latest album they bring vibrancy, warmth and joy to a genre that is too often dismissed for being overly clinical. And it’s nice when a band gives you a title that pretty well sums it all up — ‘experimentalsparklenoisepop’. Yup.
The elusive character known as C. Diab has produced another beautiful work of sonic architecture with his latest album ‘Beacons’. He has established a signature sound with his use of a cello bow, sometimes actually on a cello but usually on an electric guitar (and perhaps on his shower curtain, I can’t be sure). His ambient sound sculptures sometimes take you on a journey, other times they ebb and flow. And then there are times when they just leave you transfixed in place, taking in the ‘now’. Standout track: Outside Light.
by Mark Anthony Brennan
Release Date: August 12th, 2014
Sean Travis Ramsay’s (a.k.a. Slight Birching) vocalization on ‘Cultural Envelope’ is often closer to spoken word than true singing, and even when he does actually sing he does so with such an idiosyncratic quaver that it serves to underscore the very personal nature of this music. He comes across as a genuinely friendly guy who is extending you an individual invitation to share in his musical world of indie folk musings, swooning pedal guitar, gentle acoustic guitar picking, delicate synth touches and the odd surprise (such as the trumpet work of Joseph Hirabayashi on the title track). Continue Reading
OK, so just what is it with me and New Brunswick these days?? I don’t going looking for it – music from that province somehow just keeps crossing my path. I don’t mind!
Vogue Dots are the experimental duo of Babette Hayward and Tynan Dunfield, and their self-titled debut is a thing of rare beauty. The only negative thing to say here is that it is too damn short. The Vogue Dots are meticulous in their production, leaving not one note wasted or out of place. Listening to their EP is such a rich and satisfying experience that you want to scream in frustration when it ends all too quickly.
This is essentially indie folk set to dreamy electronica. The duo weave complex tapestries of clever instrumentation, while Hayward’s ethereal voice hangs in the air like a wispy cloud. From the throbbing, danceable beats of “Skinny Thing” to the gorgeous atmospherics of “Mercy” this is one of the best collection of songs you’ll hear all year. Guaranteed.
And, hey, thanks New Brunswick. Stay classy!
by Mark Anthony Brennan
Release Date: May 27th, 2014
Label: Six Shooter Records
Tanya Tagaq is unique in today’s music scene in that she practices the Inuit art of throat singing. To be more precise, she performs a solo adaption that she taught herself (apparently in the shower) based on the traditional duet style. Her attempts to bring her throat singing to contemporary listeners have met with mixed results on her first two albums. Her vocal stylings have at times been so alienating and foreign as to be unmusical. At others times she has made poor choices in accompanying instrumentation, and it is best not to even dwell on the unfortunate inclusion of a rapper. On ‘Animism‘, however, Tagaq makes a wise choice of collaborators and the results are magical. Violinist Jesse Zubot and jazz drummer Jean Martin are, in fact, are to be credited as much as Tagaq for the successful sound on the new record. In effect, producer Zubot (with additional help from Juan Hernandez) creates the sonic landscape within which Tagaq can carve her sound sculptures. Continue Reading