Review – “Rippling Waters” EP – Ostrea Lake

Rippling Waters EP Album Cover Artreviewed by Chris Matei

Some albums evoke a particular time period. Others give the impression of a certain mood. Rippling Waters, the soon-to-be-released EP from Halifax, NS trio Ostria Lake, seems to be most strongly influenced by a place. This is a place with dust and light, sparseness, softness, openness. A place that seems familiar, with the promise of discovering something greater as you delve down into it.

Rippling Waters is an album that blends intimacy with unexpected vibrancy. With a homespun production style and a focus on the resonant textural interplay of an assembled menagerie of stringed instruments, it intersects hushed, intense folk with a series of “lullabies” – short, sparse instrumental motifs whose titles homage to the natural world. The delivery of vocalist Elias Abi Daoud recall Rob Crow, Jose Gonzalez or Sufjan Stevens at times. There’s a clear, unblemished focus to the sound: subtle, ghostly reverb and doubling, string plucks, finger movements, plectrums skittering,  the rustling of clothes moving, the background shush of breath and signal-to-noise.

What makes Rippling Waters intriguing is Ostrea Lake’s ability to weave a sense of tension and progression into their plaintive, folky songwriting that recalls the dynamic skyward motions of modern pastoral post-rock. It’s an interesting contrast: in its songs, the band is clearly aiming for the kind of crescendoing, tremulous uplift that would fill an amphitheatre with peals of delay-heavy guitar in the hands of a band like Sigur Ros or Band of Horses. They achieve something compelling by situating these sonic ideas in a much smaller, more personal space and allowing them to open up, bright and wide.

“Rippling Waters” is out June 13 on All We’ve Got Records

Top Tracks: “In August,” Further,” “When the Storm is Near”

Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)

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Review – “July First” – Moss Lime

reviewed by Laura Stanley a1208175845_16

What in the world is a Moss Lime? Two things that are green – obviously – or maybe a lime that has rotted into an unrecognizable state. Hilarious name aside, Moss Lime are a surf-punk-rock trio from Montreal who radiate like the blazing summer heat. With their quick licks and even quicker lyrics, Moss Lime will get you digging out that embarrassing tank top in the back of your closet and ready for park hangs.

With a simple guitar riff and the repetition of the line, “I don’t wanna tell you, I shouldn’t have to tell you” in a low growl, the beginning of “July First” lays out a very different listening experience. We quickly learn that what “I shouldn’t have to tell you” is to “bring me dinner.” The earlier sinister feeling is actually completely legitimate (being hangry is a real thing) but still captures the lighthearted that makes Moss Lime so great.

Fittingly, the following song “Ice Cream Sandwiches,” and the later instrumental track, “Fish n Chips” are delicious. A loyally danceable bass part anchors “Ice Cream Sandwiches” as the trio’s cheeky call and response vocals adds an extra charming quality. The energetic closer “Sac-à-Douche” also makes great use of the band’s gang vocals as there is something uplifting about a group of women chanting “sac-à-douche.”

A tribute to the electro-dance song “Calabria 2007,” Moss Lime’s “Calabria 2014″ replaces the song’s original electronic beat with a stripped down garage-pop feel. Still completely danceable the song is less sweaty club and more sweaty basement party.

While I kick myself for not knowing about Moss Lime earlier so they could have been the perfect remedy for my winter blahs, be sure not to leave this EP off your summer 2015 jamz.

Moss Lime are playing a bunch of shows this summer! Check em’ out.

Top Track: “Ice Cream Sandwiches”

Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good)

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Review – “Dark Glasses” – Dark Glasses

dark glassesreviewed by Jack Derricourt

“Poetry is an unnatural act.” – Elizabeth Bishop

When I was younger, I thought musicians came from the clouds. Now that I’m 28, I’ve lived among musicians for years, and seen the world fall apart and be rebuilt a few times, I can assert a more nuanced view of things — but I won’t get into details. I’ll just say that it’s refreshing when I find music that recalls that initial, naive sentiment.

Dark Glasses remind of that old feeling. The new self-titled album is some kind of difficult and untouchable. The recordings don’t welcome you in as a listener. You have to wait for the shifting of pieces and the eventual rub of each track to formulate itself, and build. Elements are introduced with laissez-faire, kraut stylings. But let’s not get too complicated here.

The Victoria crew responisble for these sounds insist on groove, becalmed lyrics, and jangling, treble-heavy production. The combination works sweetly on tracks like “Sun Drenched Fields” and “Mistaken Attachment,” where the flow is all; the rigidity of punctuation built into the melodies and breakdowns never kills the general progression, it makes it all the more organic.

There’s a bit of everything to be found: cruiser tunes; sound assemblies without real purpose but to flirt with your ear drums; accoustic rumblings; and tarot card readings processed through lyrical constructions.

The real star of the record is “Undefined Colours,” a trip through ambiguity. Tones swirl and envelop the mood of the track, striking in different directions. Bass and drums lead to gothic spires of psych guitar, and delay-ridden vocals, give in to Smithsy, idealistic chord chugging. And then, a cold break, as if the rhythms and notes were never there at all. There are so many carefully constructed pieces, the song drifts past a cohesive whole. There’s something more going on, something too rich to limit and contain.

“You Know It’s True” provides a simple ending to a fairly complex record. While the track twists and turns, it’s essentially an affirmation, cemented in sweetness. The “path ahead” mentioned by Declan Hughes in the final verse lyric is the way out of the record, with only the quiet of group humming and melodically picked guitar work to end our time with Dark Glasses. It has, after all, been quite the trip.

This record is a solid work. The time and tinkering demonstrated in the breadth of each track makes for intriguing listening. Things that follow from established routines in popular music soon transform into new delights, things unforseen. It’s surprise that makes music captivating, and Dark Glasses surprise greatly.

Top Track: “Undefined Colours”

Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good)

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One-on-One with James Irwin

James Irwin

James Irwin

by Michael Thomas

James Irwin didn’t get into music until a little later in life, but his prior life experience provided a lot of material for his songs once he got into it.

It wasn’t until he was 19 and living in a house in Ottawa that he finally took up music, and only because his roommates had the idea of forming a house band. His roommate informed him that he would be the keyboard player, so Irwin bought one and an electric guitar before switching to acoustic, which he found to be easier.

Irwin’s songs are rooted in folk music, though his album Unreal embraces more electronic influences.

“I’ve always had a really romantic mind that likes to mythologize things,” Irwin said, catching up with us while in Toronto for Canadian Music Week. His mind no doubt had a lot to take in during his six years as a tree planter, working north of Thunder Bay, Ontario and in Alberta.

“It was super easy to see the beauty of the suffering. A man against nature I guess,” he says. “Just fighting with yourself all day long. It’s a real mental thing. You have to be able to fight off your mind for 10 hours to do a really repetitive, painful movement.”

Had his house band worked out, he said he would be doing punk or rock music, but found it easier to do folk because he’s considered himself more a writer than a musician:

“Being a balladeer suits me. I’m into lyrics and words and I consider songs to be a platform for delivering a story or a monologue. The simpler, the better.”

His songs seem to be an even mix of personal stories and tales of others; Western Transport was firmly the former, while Unreal looked more at the latter. Seven of the tracks on “Unreal” are about historical figures (ex “Did You Hear Who Shot Sam?”) or imaginary characters (“A Wave is a Wild Thing”) but a few are personal, namely “Everything Passed Me By” and “Face Value.”

When it came to “Did You Hear Who Shot Sam?” for example, based on Sam Cooke and Otis Redding, Irwin explains the process of building a “soundscape” around it:

“I thought of it as a soundscape that put a distance between me and the material. Struggles of black people in the 50s and 60s and not really about them. It was about my own concurrent perspective on it. So it’s a really murky perspective on connection. I was trying to evoke a…if a soul song was happening somewhere in your imagination and you were trying to get to it from across a great distance.”

As for the music, a trip to Toronto in 2013 was one reason Irwin started to experiment with electronic music. He wrote and recorded in two weeks an electronic album with a rented synthesizer and drum machine.

“I became so much more fascinated with the spontaneity of electronic music, which is what tends to be the opposite of what people think of it,” Irwin says. “A whole band is immediately available to you. I could write a drum beat, bass line, guitar and synth and then come up with hooks within an hour. With an acoustic guitar I stew over it forever.”

His time playing in the band The Moment—one based around grooves and dancing—also had a hand in his flirtation with synths. Initially he thought he’d be writing two albums, one electronic and one folk, before the two influences merged to create Unreal.

Irwin will be leaving Montreal later this year—not out of frustration with the music scene but because he’s attending grad school, though he is ambivalent about his place in the city that churns out a number of internationally successful acts.

“I thought I was making music that’s really uncool and I still think I make music that’s sort of uncool,” he says. “But I thought to a certain extent I was connecting with what was happening at the time. It turns out I wasn’t really, as much as I hoped.

“I think I’m fully supported but it would be a little easier if it was something people were willing to push outside of the community. It really is a tight community and people give me a lot of respect, and I feel pretty grateful and they respect my music, but I don’t necessarily receive the kind of support that could make me bigger. But I can’t blame anyone for that.”

Irwin has plenty to contemplate for the future—he’s right now on a solo tour in France and Italy, and has already recorded a third album. It took him four days to record it with a band, whereas Unreal took three years.

“It was such a better experience,” Irwin says. “I had made demos for most of the songs and then some of them didn’t work out. We only had two practices, and most songs I showed them just before we recorded them and then we made it up on the spot basically.”

Irwin hopes to finish the album by the end of the summer and then decide how to it’ll be released. Suffice to say 2015 won’t be a quiet year for James Irwin.

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Review – “Bombshells” – Dodgers

reviewed by Anna Alger

Fresh, intuitive guitar and basslines meld with experimental rock drumming in Dodgers’ aptly titled, Bombshells EP. The three-piece who hail from the outskirts of Vancouver are exploring propulsive garage influenced sounds on their debut, and are already at work on their first full-length as well as a Canadian tour.

Kicking off with “Cherry 2000,” succinct guitar riffs and a strong bassline ground the track, which explodes as the chorus hits. The musicians reel their sound back in during the verses. “Dead at Thirty, Buried at Seventy” features a full bassline and dark expository lyrics, as hinted by the song’s title. Dodgers take a more stripped back approach during the introduction of “Watch the Skies, Traveller,” wonky vocals leading the somewhat meandering track through its quiet verses and fleshed out, guitar heavy chorus. Their strongest instrumentation is featured in the somewhat improvised bridge, the guitar and bass trading off leading the song.

“Graves I Dig” is shrouded in minor keys and sinister imagery. Again, Dodgers succeed in having written a powerful bridge, led by the bass. The EP ends with “Kiss the Boys and Make Them Die,” sludgy guitar and weighty bass taking control amongst crashing drums. The pace picks up and with smart riffs, Dodgers solidify themselves as robust, inventive rock musicians.

Although the vocals are slightly lacking on Bombshells, the musicians’ interplay instrumentally more than makes up for this. Few bands are able to make rock songs that are to-the-point but still feature complex and sonically diverse bridges, which is the skill that sets Dodgers apart from run-of-the-mill rock groups. I am interested in seeing how their approach to song structure will adapt to the long play format.

Bombshells is available as a name-your-price download via Dodgers’ Bandcamp page.

Top Track: “Kiss the Boys and Make Them Die”

Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)

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Review – “Roll Up The Night Sky” – Dana Sipos

reviewed by Laura Stanley DanaSipos(Cover2)

Dana Sipos does not go easy on listeners in Roll Up The Night Sky. Yes, her folk-pop palette is warm, familiar, and fairly straight forward but those lyrics? They are a force.In her first breath Sipos sings, “take me outside to the edge of the lake where our lives and memories are,” showing us just how vivid and contemplative the album’s narration will be.

Growing up in Yellowknife, NWT but now a nomad, Sipos’ connection with the land provides a lot of the inspiration. Even the album title describes the imagine of the never ending starlit sky that seems to get bigger the further north you get. Her narratives balance nature and nurture (love) and envelop the notes she plays.

In the standout track “My Beloved,” a bouncy combo of folk standards (mandolin, guitar, banjo etc.) allows Sipos’ pastoral language – “love is cultivated in the ground” –  to run wild. This powerful connection between people and the land crops up numerous times in Roll Up The Night Sky. In “Night Sky,” Sipos slows down the tempo, but still manages to let the sun shine through, and sings, “ you left your stories soaking in the soil as you toiled with the barnyards and the cherry trees” for another vivid image.

Away from nature, Sipos’ rich language translates into some heartbreaking love songs. The morose “Portraits” is a little bit more chilling with the line, “cracks in the floorboards, filled with our sweat and tears.” “A Coronary Tale” has the most graphic lyric from Roll Up The Night Sky –  “We were much younger then when we stitched our hearts to our outstretched wrists…” An imaginative line that’s both heartbreaking and a devastatingly accurate description of love and lust, it’s Sipos’ attention to detail, like this, that makes her standout. 

The intricacies of Roll Up The Night Sky do not just lie in Sipos’ lyrics but care is equally placed in the instrumental arrangements. Like the road itself, a cello weaves in between “Road To Michigan,” for a great result, “Holy People” is a full and warm stringed affair that is one of the most layered from the album, and the closer “Full Moon Sinners” is a dense array of strings and keys that adds a sinister element that’s perfect for the song.

Keep on rolling, Dana Sipos.

Top Tracks: “My Beloved,” “A Coronary Tale”

Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)

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Review – “Vieux Loup” – The Acorn

vieux loupreviewed by Michael Thomas

Sure, The Acorn, Rolf Klausener’s best-known musical project, has been inactive for a while. But since Klausener and company regrouped, it feels both like the act hasn’t changed a bit and completely evolved at the same time.

The music of the Acorn is a masterful example of making simplicity dynamic. Each song is a beautiful little moment, a record of a time and space, and Vieux Loup finds itself in a very serene space. Very subtle washes of synth, careful and intricate percussion, sparse strums of the guitar—it doesn’t sound like a lot, but it adds up to something cosmic.

First single “Influence” is a record of how The Acorn has evolved. The monstrous bass in the song sounds like nothing else, and will literally rumble your headphones. The beat seems partially inspired by Klausener’s role in Silkken Laumann but retains the Acorn poetry, like “She said she stakes a claim with obstinance.”

But for the most part, the song compositions are simple and effective. “Rapids” may be the best “morning after” song this year, with the barest twinkling of synths and warm guitar. It’s like waking up after a pleasant dream and lyrics like “As you move your head from between the sheets again” suggest it’s an epilogue of sorts, despite being the first song. But there’s a stirring of doubt in the chorus, and doubt will come to define the record.

Closer “Artefacts” is a pleasant way to end, as Klausener sings of trying to avoid “a congregation of distractions knocking at my door.” In “Cumin,” the song’s theme seems to be finding the line at which doing too much for love is a bad thing.

“Dominion” sounds like it’ll be another gentle song thanks to the raw sound of the acoustic guitar (as well as some beautiful backup vocals from Ottawa act Boyhood), but it eventually reaches an unexpected crescendo, showing that not everything has to be peaceful.

At eight songs, the album manages to not feel at all cut short—it’s the perfect length for a dream.

Vieux Loup will be available via Paper Bag Records on May 19.

Top Tracks: “Rapids”; “Influence”

Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good)

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Premiere: Gold & Shadow – “Search for Sara”

Photo by: Matt Lineker

Photo by: Matt Lineker

Nanaimo, B.C. band Gold & Shadow are set to release their debut full-length album Torch this fall and we’re thrilled to be premiering the first single, “Search for Sara.” A story of a family’s grief after a mother’s death, Gold & Shadow mirror the emotional tides of the lyrics with complex guitar arrangements and a mighty percussion section. With a textured pop-rock sound similar, though piano-less, to their west coast brethren We Are The City, to say Gold & Shadow make powerful music is stating the obvious.

Sure to be filled with rich rock music, according to the band their album:

“…is wide in scope and sound, embellishing the guitars and drums with organs, harmonies, and widescreen ambience. A reflection of its West Coast origins, Torch is a perfect companion to the wild, oceanic landscapes of Vancouver Island, and a testament to the hope, beauty, and inspiration found therein.”

Torch will be released September 11, 2015 but in the meantime give “Search for Sara” your vote in the Telus STORYHIVE contest.

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Review – “Boxcar Lullabies” EP – Rayannah

a1994704064_16Reviewed by Chris Matei

As a former chorister, I must confess to having a bit of a thing for hearing the human voice precisely layered and pitched, forming tectonic shifts, creating emotion through intimate interaction and differentiation. Technological advances have allowed solo musicians to easily multitrack and loop their voices live, allowing for even one performer to achieve an unprecedented degree of tonal and harmonic complexity that can be manipulated and effected in real time. It is this core idea upon which Boxcar Lullabies, the debut EP of Winnipeg-based Rayannah, is based.

Boxcar Lullabies, however, is not just about stringing together ideas in endless 4/4 cycles. the EP showcases inventive instrumentation and arrangement ranging from densely textured, triumphantly crunching electro-folk (as on the opener/title track) to pitch-warping minimalist R&B and beatboxing (“Growing Song”) indebted to the pop sounds of the late nineties and early aughts, all the way to experimental tone poetry. It’s remarkable what kinds of sonic diversity are achieved here given the relatively simple components involved: voice, a bit of synth, percussion, strings and the occasional piano riff.

Rayannah’s vocal stylings are clear, forward and precise without giving off the feeling of generically slick, melisma-heavy radio pop-production pipes or the coldly ethereal qualities of many modern indie-electro vocalists. Her lyrics trend toward the intricate, traipsing from bar to bar and allowing a diaristic quality to shine through – especially as heard on “The Water”, as that song unfurls from a smoky whirl of cello into ghostly scale runs and an outright joyous afrobeat groove. “Tivoli” is the most straightforward song here, a fresh and effervescent travelogue of a pop ballad with light, closely twinned harmonies and sweeping violins.

“Tempête” is the most curious and delicate of Boxcar Lullabies’ songs, wisely saved for a poignant closing remark. It takes an extremely simple lyrical idea and gives it life from layering, delay, harmonization and modulation – as well as the introduction of rich, resonant bass accompaniment.

Boxcar Lullabies presents an unique collection of songs that showcases Rayannah’s diverse skills both as a performer and songwriter. By taking vocal and harmonic ideas born from pop and employing them in a variety of distinctly non-pop contexts, she has created something very much worth paying attention to.

Top Tracks: “Boxcar Lullabies,” “The Water,” “Tempête”

Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good)

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One On One with C Diab

by Jack Derricourt

“There it is you know . . . don’t you feel this?” – (The Reverend) Al Purdy.

cdiablo

I’ve never felt in tune with ambient music. Growing up on a steady diet of pop, rock, and Big Shiny Tunes, I didn’t really grapple with anything outside the simply structured chart topper until I was into my mature twenties. Now, in order to grip onto something that spans more than three or four minutes, doesn’t feature lyrics, and is primarily invested in soothing your mind or grating against your ear (with creative, not malicious intent), I find I need a metaphor. And the one I most often resort to, the one that jumps into my lobes with the most ease, is the landscape.

I construct a geography as I listen to ambient recordings. The sweeps of synth or guitar fuzz create slopes and valleys, shorelines and ridges, glaciers and volcanoes for me. It’s the easiest way to notice the changes in tone or direction, often subtler than what I listened to most recently, while spot-mopping the kitchen floor. Like one of those promotional fly-overs of the Canadian landscape found in the carcass of in-flight programming, my mind sets up a progressively widening shot of the artist’s scope and creativity.

This process fits right in with my experiences of C Diab’s music. I’ve been listening to the Cowichan Valley native for many years now. His geography is by now a favourite of mine; it’s a distinctly Canadian scenery, that’s both expansive and isolated in its expressiveness. And if that’s too high-minded, then I guess you could say that his music would make a most appropriate soundtrack for having sex in a canoe.

The collection so far: Interludes, Beacons, and No Perfect Wave. The latter two having been reviewed for Grayowl, I feel like I know C Diab’s music fairly well. A bowed guitar is the man’s main instrument, filling space with improvised aplomb. Though the sweeping gestures of this device are often accompanied by gritty tape recordings, little nuggets of celestial talk, or quotes from poets. This unique approach to album craft pours out of a “really weird community of humans,” the place that C Diab calls home, Vancouver. I’ve always been fascinated by the unabashed capital of West Coast Canada and its collection of wild drones and ambient stillness; the music stemming from this place has always drifted towards the avant garde in the most wonderful ways. The character of Vancouver and its inhabitants enters into his material, informs the atmosphere of his creation.

“It’s a more ambient and weird place. You have this deep, dark everything surrounding us for the vast majority of the year. You have this very dark, very wet landscape. And in this city, you can’t really escape that. In most cities, you’re in the city. Your mountains are the skyscrapers, you’re in the city, the metropolitan air. But here, you’re constantly reminded of how nature can just come and kill you and crush you at any moment. You’re surrounded by these massive mountains. It’s a dark, scary place, so I think the music reflects that.”

C Diab is no stranger to this wild side of nature. If anything, he’s graduated from a colder, lonelier type of wilderness.

“I think the music that is coming out of me is coming out of a very Cascadian place. I grew up on northern Vancouver Island, and spent a bunch of years up there. And the deepness and the darkness up there just informed the way I look at the world absolutely. The woods of my childhood haunt me everywhere I go.”

Both Interludes and Beacons channel that strange setting through wholehearted expressions of distant, drifting guitar work. The rather singular approach C Diab finds comes from bowing the strings and feeding them through effects pedals. It seemed so singular to me, for someone to take this on as their primary instrument. Where did this technique stem from? Like so much else in the artist’s oeuvre, it all evolved very naturally:

“I started a band, and there were a whole bunch of us. We didn’t know anything, we just had our guitars and just made sloppy rock music. And we had three guitars. You probably need only one guitar, so I was often left looking for a thing to do at all. It made sense if I just took a shitty old bow we had lying around the house and swiped it across the guitar a few times to make this ambient noise in the background. It would just make this kind of squealing sound.”

Years passed, as they do for most musicians, and C Diab drifted between the winds of folk music and no music, reducing his output to a collection of ideas bleeding over cassette recordings, smatterings, but no cohesive project. Then, in a moment of surreal chance, “I found the old bow in the back room when I was cleaning my house, and I just started playing the guitar with it again. And I played “Brief Prelude to Infinity.” And I realized suddenly that I had exactly just what I wanted. It was the sound that I needed to use. It was the sound which was able to perfectly express sonically what I needed to express.”

To hear that piece now, knowing that it was the spark for what would come is intriguing. Everything else that followed is there: the distance thrust between the listener and the source; the chorus of the ocean in a lot of the rhythms; the layering of tones that swoon and shift through time.

Stories erupt with such a profound shift in direction and intention. “Stone” is named for the rock gifted to the artist by his now-wife, a gift that stood by C Diab’s side throughout the recording. Beacons is greatly the channeling of the artist’s trip to Sweden. A great portion of these recordings feature fixed thematic sentiments, an intentional choice on the part of the composer.

“The song titles are usually picked from specific moments in my life. I’ll never sit down and say this is something I want to write about. I’ll just sit down and something will come to me. And somewhere along the line, whether it be the moment I sit down to write it — and finish it in that moment — or a couple of weeks down the line, I’ll realize it’s eliciting a certain thought.”

This might seem counterintuitive to the focused void of most ambient work. But C Diab is decidedly filmic. There’s a breadth present in his recordings that invites interpretation, rather than shunning it. He spends a great deal of effort to make his tracks approachable.

“Any concept I take, I know I have to get my hand around the neck of the thing and shorten it a bit, or else it’s just going to go on for minutes. When I’m recording I find myself with a ten minute track that I had tried to shorten from twenty minutes, and then I can’t imagine that particular track being shortened. I think that was kind of a flaw on the first album, because it ended up lasting like 55 minutes. I just don’t know really where to stop and start. And that was one of the good things about working on this one with Ian. He was another set of ears.”

That would be Ian William Craig, one of Vancouver’s most prolific ambient explorers. Craig recorded and engineered No Perfect Wave, an album that was mostly pre-written, a huge step in a different direction for C Diab. The result is a “sonic collage,” a combination of one style on top of the other, as C Diab would put it. Craig’s portion is most certainly the stellar effect manipulation on the recordings. “We threw all the muck and dirt we possibly could on top of it, record just through the crappiest oldest tapes. It was something that was really exciting to try.”

The tested elements of field recordings and surreal experiment continue on, however. This is after all, a record by C Diab. But Craig’s influence brings out something distinct from the two albums prior. The loneliness, the darkness of the established geography is focused through the lens of the producer’s manipulation. The narratives gain layers of obscurity they never had before, enhancing the listening process. It almost makes one want to moralize on the growth of the Canadian artist. Almost.

But C Diab doesn’t need to build the story up beyond the music, or even build up the importance of the music itself. No, it’s just a job without a paycheque as far as he sees it, a task to set upon and never relinquish, because it springs forth with easy electricity.

“Making music right now is very weird. I don’t have any manifestoes as far as music goes. If you were to talk to someone like Douglas Coupland, he’d probably say, “The musician’s purpose is this . . .” But I don’t believe in that purposefulness. It’s all very open and very personal — I don’t believe anyone should have to do anything in particular. I’m just doing this thing.”

Al Purdy is not C Diab’s grandfather. Yet, in my eyes, and the eyes of anyone who sees with a Canadian poetry heart, that pumps red and white and maple leaf blood, it’s a distinct possibility. There is a heritage alive in the minds of those that would keep it going; there is a place being brought forth by artists and composers and anyone with a wish to nurture its existence. Even in the deepest, darkest, weirdest corners of the country, artists like C Diab continue to manipulate and grow the Canadian consciousness. He’s just a dude, making music, like Purdy on the porch of his prairie cabin, drinking beer. But, like Purdy, he also knows how to walk the line.

“Music is the cosmic dart, Jack. We’re all just floating around, and we have no idea we are.” – C Diab

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