Review – “EP” – Nothingness

a0083118131_10reviewed by Jack Derricourt

This EP should have been called Long-Short-Long, or Tercet. But EP has a great sound to it too. I dig it. The Vancouver four piece — comprised of the exceptional members of Riddley Walker and ambient master C Diab — make “Nothingness” sound fulsome and operatic. The blackness of a world kicked in the stomach by human induced climate transformations, laugh out loud capitalism hysteria, and peak oil first world problems crawl up in the womb of their sound; thankfully, the madness is willing to quiet down a bit and stir with the beat.

Groove. That’s it. The West Coast experimentalists have isolated pure groove, adding layers of drone, field recordings, and what-have-you; but in the end, there’s a deep soul to these three songs.

“It’s about to get loud,” utters guitarist/vocalist/producer Bill Young in two different parts of opener “Haymaker.” Context is at play then, all over the three tracks. The drums recorded as a distant element, a ghost in the machine, offer the most solid context, as guitars distort and change faces, and the bass speeds along like a poetic gazelle. But the words tell a broken story. Young speaks of the nagging truths that dismount life in 2015, the things that undercut every pay raise, every new relationship, every seeming political foot forward. Melting glaciers build the sound of “Haymaker,” just as much as the instruments at work.

“Sunshine Coast” is a fitting simulacrum: C Diab’s signature bowed guitar going hard, the coast itself carousing in the recording, the rocks and ghostly trees of that ocean-overlooking haven appear. It’s only one minute, but what more do you need to inject a hard shot of Sunshine into your veins?

The ending, “Overflow” describes emotional, as well as physical swellings, outpourings. The clamour of images is lent a hand by the layering of vocals, guitars, and more lively, cymbal and percussion heavy drum parts. As Young’s voice fades off on a high note, there is no real resolution on offer, just a trailing off of energy, a spark continuing to burn and carry on.

I’m not going to ham fist a moral from this EP. That would be undercutting the wonderful passivity of the lyrics presented by Nothingness. It’s a plain picture, with delicately structured music providing an appropriate response to an otherwise unearthly process of decay. Nothingness raise voices and questions with unique skill. Listen up.

Top Track: “Haymaker”

Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good)

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