Charles Barabé – ébauches

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[ Jeunesse Cosmique, 2017 ]

Another one from O Canada, this time by Montreal syntesist Charles Barabé, who goes more adventurous and experimental than his last year’s effort Les dernières confessions on two side-long pieces, throwing MIDI vocals, jagged rhythms and modern classical aesthetics into a blender, resulting in an ADHD-addled soundscapes that is at the same time pefectly musical and completely disorienting. Cut-up samples jump up all over the place while a piano plays a simple melody in the distance just to give way to some horns and xylophones. And the whole map changes every several seconds, while never losing the dynamic. How the hell does he do it!?

In case you considered this review tl;drhere’s a shorter and more concise opinion from the RYM user _nkb:

“what if Phillip Glass contributed avantgarde psuedo-rave music to the Age of Empires 1 Soundtrack?”

Make of that what you will. Age of Empires were fucking cool, and so is this EP. Recommended!

Darius – FRAMEDRAG

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[ LapFoxTrax, 2016 ]

Darius is one of numerous aliases of the Canadian electronic producer D. Halley, mostly known as RenardFRAMEDRAG is a collection of loose ideas, mostly resolving around airy progressive electronics and MIDI structures, channeling the cheesy hauntology of 80’s science documentary soundtracks and easy listening tunes. The overall effect feels like being stuck somewhere between a lab, a shopping mall and an arcade.  There are moments of contrast here: while “OSC Tuning” sounds like Software, “Have You Been to the Tower?” sounds like a schizophrenic metalhead doing an old video game soundtrack and “Strings Fashioned From Old Souls” could easily be an extra track on OPN’s Garden of Delete. Don’t let the cartoony artwork fool you: this thing is closer to CERN than Anthrocon. Recommended if you enjoyed DiscovererDocumentaires or early Giant Claw.

Avec le soleil sortant de sa bouche – Pas pire pop, I Love You So Much

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[ Constellation Records, 2017 ]

Before I heard the eclectic Montreal kraut-funkers Avec le soleil sortant de sa bouche I automatically associated Constellation Records with legendary post-rock ensemble Godspeed You! Black Emperor. They were/are great, but none of their stuff could be considered a summer listen.  Music to watch the world burn, yes, but not getting sunburnt to. Now, on Pas pire pop, I Love You so Much these guys make some of the warmest, sunkissed post-rock ever, taking influences from all over the map and making amazing soundtracks for all the bike and kayak trips that await you this summer. One second it’s motorik, the next it’s like a shiny disco ball reflecting Fela Kuti and Klaus Dinger in a dizzying, kaleidoscopic array. Highly recommended!

Phern – Cool Coma

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[ Fixture Records, 2016 ]

Now this is hella refreshing: this wonderfully lopsided, warped stack of twangy, somewhat post-punky slack rock from the Montreal bunch Phern is some of the most carefree, not-giving-a-fuck and simply fun music I’ve heard in some time. The cover is possibly a hint at how they compose their music: imagine a bunch of bricklayers who suddenly go “aw fuck it, we don’t need any muck, let’s just fucking tape some bricks together so a house is standing made by bricks stuck together by tape”. Phern’s sound is the same – it sounds like it’s about to fall apart and turn into The Nihilist Spasm Band at any second, but still manages to keep that seedy 60’s lo-fi sound. Weird as heck!

Fresh Snow – One

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[ Hand Drawn Dracula, 2016 ]

The neo-krautrock unit Fresh Snow might be one of Toronto’s freshest new bands to emerge in the last few years. They offer a highly emotional tone of psychedelia with some fixation on a steady, motorik-ish beat every once in a while. But they also seee no problem in going into a piano ballad or a new wave beat with its retrofuturistic feel. In some songs they can really kick a punch, like the autobahn punk of “January Skies” or the space rock homage of “I Can’t Die”. With some compositions, they like to go to Pink Floyd inspired soundscapes, like the ambiental suite “I Am Smitten With Your Wrath” or “Anytime Minutes”. A quite original psychedelic experience. Recommended!

Telozkope – Orgone Pornog

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[ Ghost Organics, 2016 ]

Orgone Pornog, the newest cassette by Landon Hildebrand a.k.a. Telozkope feels like a warm, soothing summer breeze perfect for the cold fall season. Ocasionally abstract and IDM-y, other times dancey and relaxing with cool guitar licks reminiscent of last year’s masterpiece Przelot by Polish duo Ptaki. The newest cassette by Telozkope feels like a soundtrack from a tropical island (or at least a mediterranean one), with warm ambience all over. Even the wordless vocal-driven tracks are carrying a burden of mystique, opening a fresh territory in Telozkope’s music. Recommended!

Ex-Terrestrial – Paraworld

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[ 1080p, 2016 ]

What’s that? Weed Temple is not dead? Apparently, it’s not! I survived a week during the Woodstock Festival, the mud and the dust didn’t kill me, so I can survive pretty much anything at this point. Anyway, it’s time to go back, and it’s gonna be with this mellow banger (isn’t that an oxymoron?) from Adam Feingold. Clearly inspired by Aphex Twin’s Selected Ambient Works, Ex-Terrestrial glides softly between ambient techno (“Paraworld”) and prime time stoner’s delight (“Blue Smoke” proves that the Amen Break will NEVER go old, no matter how many millions of times it was already used) to give you some of the best late night listening sessions of 2016. Highly recommended!