Pigeon Breeders Interview

PB INTERVIEW copy copy

Edmonton, Alberta’s psychedelic noisemaking trio Pigeon Breeders were kind enough to chat with me via email about some questions regarding their music and what they do.

INB4TRACK:
I’ll go ahead and start off with the most mundane and asked question, what got you into producing the style of music you make? When was it that you decided you wanted to make noise as oppose to other more accepted forms of music?

Tyler Harland: It was gradual for me. I was playing around with effects during my time with my last band, The Wicked Awesomes. After that I was doing quite a bit of making more structured songs out of unconventional noises, having no-input and oscillations, fuzz pedals and stuff.

Myles Bartel: How many pedals do you have? A rough estimate?

TH: 30 or 40. When I was in Wicked Awesomes I was getting into noise as a sort of instrument, seeing bands like Holy Fuck. I saw them when we were playing Sled Island [an annual music festival in Calgary, AB] years ago. That’s when I started listening to them, as well as Health and Nice Nice. I thought of making a solo project with looping and noise within a structure. It just never really happened — and then Pigeon Breeders did.

Will Scott: What got me into this style of music was listening to jazz, particularly free jazz and the like: Medeski Martin and Wood, Ornette Coleman — and even more mainstream music, I would like the two minute intros of ambient sounds. So I started making sonic landscapes with my own music, but it was still structured within a beat. Then I joined the University of Alberta’s experimental improvisational ensemble [XiME], and that expanded my mind more. So I was already practicing with making stranger music. Then one day, I was working on a song in my room — just recording it — and I hear Myles downstairs in the basement, improvising with some other people. We had not yet discussed much about that music; he had just moved in and I didn’t really know him that well yet. Anyway, he was doing that sort of stuff on the same page as me. It was totally an unexpected surprise — and I went downstairs and I just asked him “can I jam with you? This is my style.” So him and I just started jamming. So that’s when it sort of started with Pigeon Breeders.

Also, I don’t like to classify our music as noise. We’re not a harsh band. We’re more restrained. If you want to pick a generalization I would say it leans closer to ambient.

MB: I think experimental improv. But noise has been a useful umbrella term for a lot of bands and styles.

WS: I don’t think we’re noise at all.

MB: Sonically, its a similar mindset, in that its essentially just chunks of sonic textures as the driving force. I suppose when we started, we were kind of a noise band in the more typical sense.

Basically how I got into noise was listening to Throbbing Gristle and others like them in high school. At the time I thought of myself mainly as a guitarist. I was playing in a punk band with some friends. We had some songs but we were having trouble with our direction. It was hard to write songs after the first batch or two, and we were without a full-time bassist. It just fell apart. So I took it upon myself to go forward and explore music I didn’t think I could do with other people. I had bought a Tascam 4-Track [cassette recorder] and started laying down layers of improvised guitar and other sounds. That was basically how Ocra started. At some point I was able to jam around with a few people but never found an opportunity for a full-time band within that style. So when I started jamming with Tyler and Will it was this amazing thing. I had been to a lot of the Ramshackle Day Parade concerts, and even performed a few myself. It was something I knew I wanted to be a part of, and incorporating my own performance style with other musicians really opened up a lot of doors.

INB4TRACK:
With all of these sounds coming together as a sort of living wall of noise, structurally, Nocturnal Reveries reminded me somewhat of Cleveland, Ohio ambient / drone trio Emeralds and Portland duo Yellow Swans. Are their any particular musicians that have influenced the sound of Pigeon Breeders?

MB: I’m somewhat familiar with Emerald’s back catalogue, and Yellow Swans I’ve barely touched.

WS: I’ve never heard of those bands. My influences are more of the home recording material, such as John Frusciante’s solo albums, which is him and his tape player, just experimenting with his guitar. It’s not really noise, but it’s a more angular approach to working with his instrument. I find that interesting and inspiring to me. MMW is a huge influence because of the sheer magnitude of their improvisational skills — I have pretty much everything they’ve recorded. They have live recordings where it’s completely improvised. The main thing that’s inspiring with them is that, like us, it’s just three guys; they’ve been together for so long, they just know where things are going. They’re able to work together, it’s like a conversation — they know what they’re feeling at all times, how to respond and instigate things, and they know where to stop. Other influences — tons of them. I love Charles Mingus. Can, also — just like MMW — they’re master improvisers. They’re able to jam for as long as possible, and always create interesting things. What really inspires me about them is that they’ve had six hour jams before, and they’re able to sustain, and be able to know that they’re playing for so long; they’re not getting everything out for the first five minutes. We’ve tried lengthy jams like that to force ourselves to come up with new ideas.

TH: For me it’s bands like Health, they were the “noisiest” of the first such bands that I listened to. I was really taken aback by the weird sounds — the two guitars and a bass just sounding like random instruments, synths, and weird textures and stuff. The way they make your unconventional, or not necessarily melodic things and angular sounds — dissonance and stuff like that — sound like music. On that note, a bands like AIDS Wolf, especially the first album, a song like “We Multiply” — there’s nothing that would be traditional guitar chord or anything, it’s just a melody created by noise and a basic rhythm behind it. It’s incredibly catchy, and for a lack of a better term, noise. Also, as mentioned before, Holy Fuck — at its heart, just two dudes with a tableful of effects and mini keyboards. The amount of catchy melodies and great music that they’re making from unconventional instruments, a lack of real instruments. They’ll have singing in a song where there’s no lyrics — it’s just vocals as an instrument that’s highly manipulated and pitch-shifted to create a melody.

MB: Most of my influences for Pigeon Breeders came about before, with my work as Ocra. Around that time I was heavily into post-industrial groups like Coil, Current 93, Nurse With Wound. I think some of that carries through, in terms of sensibilities. Ambient artists such as William Baskinski, Andrew Chalk, and of course, Brian Eno, were all a bigger focus of mine. I like asynchronous sounds that can be noisy but melodic as well; when everything is just sort of this beautiful blur of sound. In that time, I got to see a great pool of bands live — Shearing Pinx, AIDS Wolf, Zebra Pulse, etc. Getting pretty into the Dead C when were starting Pigeon Breeders had quite an effect. That whole dissonant, wrangled punk/improvised noise style is just so wonderful. Looking back, it seems noise rock had more of a role in the beginning. Now that we’ve developed into a much more ambient style, I hear us sounding more like bands such as Natural Snow Buildings, we’re kind of just drifting naturally in that direction.

INB4TRACK:
The sound of Nocturnal Reveries could be described as encapsulating; are there perks to utilizing an electroacoustic means of producing sound as oppose to exclusively using a traditional means of producing music (via guitar, drums, bass)?

WS: Basically, I feel we’re incorporating these non-traditional instruments — for me, antique or flea market-style purchases — and just finding what these items sound like. It’s a joy to try to get sounds out of things you never would think you could get sounds out of. We do utilize traditional instruments — we believe in the best of both worlds. We’re just interested in new sounds, whatever it is.

MB: It’s important for us to re-contextualize the sounds of certain things. It keeps things interesting for us. You can get into certain patterns and habits regardless of what you play — the instruments, the pedals, the sounds, etc. can all start to feel very familiar. But as soon as you throw a new idea or two in the mix, so much changes. And everything builds from those changes.

INB4TRACK:
Being that this is a very specific style of music in terms of interest, it’s no surprise that music of this nature often harbors a negative reaction from listeners who are unfamiliar with it. Has there ever been a time while performing live that you have faced a negative reaction from members of the audience or are they generally receptive?

TH: Usually at our shows, after performing, people just come up and say, “I’ve never seen anything like that before, that was really cool.” They’ll ask when we’re playing again, so they can see us more often. But, one time we did have a heckler. He said “sound check’s over” and some other things, just near the end of our set.

WS: I really don’t care what people think of it. I’m making music for personal reasons. Sometimes it grounds me, sometimes it’s a way for me to get my anger, my sadness, or my happiness out — I don’t care either way how the public takes it. But it’s a pleasant surprise when someone comes up to you and tell you that they do enjoy it. As for people who don’t, I ended up smoking outside with our one heckler after our set. We were joking around, he said “you basically just turn volume knobs” and I just said “yeah, and you paid to see the show.”

TH: Yeah, “you paid for our beer tonight.”

WS: So, we take it light-heartedly, and I think it’s funny. There’s a realization that what we like, other people may not like, and it doesn’t really affect me, or the band. And I kind of appreciate a heckler more than someone who’ll just say “nice set” or “that was interesting.”

MB: Well, if we’re playing a more drone-oriented set, it will indeed look mostly like we’re just adjusting knobs and pressing pedals. To a general audience, that’s visually uninteresting, and to someone who isn’t even into that kind of music that’s just meaningless to them. But if we’re playing a well-rounded set, we’ll overlap a variety of styles and sounds — it’ll be dynamic and interesting, even on a visual level. But even our most interesting stuff could beckon hecklers, simply because they just want to see the other rock bands on the bill. It could be worse for those people, they could be watching three dudes on laptops.

WS: For me, it’s just great to go out on a night, be out and play, have a couple of beers with our friends for free. When we started this band, we never asked the question of who we’re playing to. We never thought people would be interested. It’s just a surprise that they are, so we’re happy, and we’ll reap the benefits.

INB4TRACK:
Noise and ambient musicians are notorious for being prolific, often releasing multiple albums and sometimes more within a year. It is obviously important to remain consistent in releasing material in this scene but would you say that there should be a balance between the quality and quantity of what is being put out? With that said what is your process like in determining what does and does not make the cut?

WS: We record every single time we play, more or less. We have a backlog of recordings. Sometimes they go un-listened, but we’re getting a lot better at listening back these days. We are striving towards listening to every show we play. Listening back to your own recordings is one of the most beneficial things you can do. We don’t even have to talk anymore — we listen, we analyze. We know how to fix ourselves; we know how to fix the each other. For the recordings we put out, it’s usually Myles who listens to a lot of the stuff, and he will come and let us know what he likes. Then we’ll all whittle it down. He picks “the hits.”

TH: He’s the one that listens to absolutely everything.

WS: He weeds it out and then we’ll all have conversations, sometimes heated ones. We’ll think of what we actually really like. Do I think everything we’ve released has been golden? No. But I think in this style of music there will be jams that have a really good energy. There may be a minute here or there that I’m not happy with, but overall it’s the right decision to release. We also select democratically. If two people are into it, the third can veto. Sometimes the third person will give it more thought, and it will go through.

MB: There are moments where I don’t think it’ll sound right, in that the dynamics or the levels are a little off, and you kind of just have to deal with the odd moments like that. Even more so when you record how we’ve done most of our stuff — with a Zoom H1. We can’t re-record them, it just doesn’t work like that, and there’s little you can do with editing. But the performances matter. It comes down to: does this represent us as a band? When we pick something, is it appropriate? That’s why we moved from something like “Nocturnal Reveries” to “Luminous Debris.” The whole point was that we had this jam, then this live show shortly after, and both performances had all these motifs and on the whole they complemented each other and were worth listening to together.

TH: It sort of shows off our process.

MB: It was an early move to do that [a partially live album], but I felt it was an appropriate one. I wanted to get it out there, I have an archival impulse. It was a breaking point in what we were doing, I think. That’s why we put out “Squab” so early, too, in that it captures so well how sounded at the time.

WS: Also, upon selecting tracks, as we go through them for our next few releases, it will be our best material but also what’s very different. We’re never going to release the same thing, it’s always the most unusual thing that can take us to a new place.

MB: At this point we don’t all live under the same roof. There’s less jamming, which means less recording, and therefore less listening material to sort through. It gives the jams room to breathe, and therefore it gives us a lot more focus. None of our albums were recorded as albums, they were just jams. We could release more, we were pretty close to, but we feel content with what we have. We don’t need to capture us as we go all-out for a set’s worth of material as one continuous jam, recorded on a Zoom H1, and sort through it later. What we’re interested in currently is using actual studio recording equipment. There’s been a few sessions, and some experiments in limitations. We can explore different combinations of what we have at our disposal and find a way to construct a statement with it. That’s a new way to express ourselves to an audience.

Pigeon Breeders released their second album Luminous Debris on Ramshackle Day Parade on August 22nd.

Links:

Tumblr: pigeonbreeders.tumblr.com

Soundcloud: soundcloud.com/pigeonbreeders

Bandcamp: pigeonbreeders.bandcamp.com

Facebook: facebook.com/pigeonbreeders

-Tyler Thompson

2012 Year End List

In the annual tradition of most music review websites and blogs this list showcases my favorite releases of the year. To give you a little bit of perspective into my thoughts on 2012, other than a select few solid releases I was beginning to feel underwhelmed with what the year had to offer. For me, it seemed there was either an insufficient output of what I found to be preferred listening material or I just wasn’t impressed with releases I had been anticipating (Sigur Ros’ ‘Valtari’). Although, disappointed with that lack of music I deemed enjoyable during the first half of the year, the second half proved to be a surprising and welcome change of pace, not only because of the many long anticipated albums seeing a release but also because of my personal discovery of a number of unexpected new acts that resonated with me.

Regardless of how the year began for me it did end with a promising collection of albums, quite a few of which I wouldn’t have discovered without the convenience of other blogs and websites that, like inb4track, cater to the lesser known musical projects on the internet which I believe proves the importance of lists such as these – as a source for curious or adventurous listeners to get the chance to hear the best of what the previous year had to offer. Living in these times, with access to technology at almost any point during our lives I find that we are very fortunate in that nearly any piece of music you could want is available to be heard or downloaded for free. Thanks to the internet we have more options than ever in finding new music and inb4track has provided a way for me to do that and I hope it has provided you, the reader with the same opportunity, to discover new music in this massive ever growing database we call the internet. Although we at inb4track strive to expose listeners to new and often unheard of artists as well as promote these aforementioned unnoticed acts this list is an exception as it does feature a mix of some larger projects along with those hidden gems. With that said, these are my top 15 favorite albums of 2012… cheers!

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Solomon Solomon – Lent, or, ink on

During the summer, Studying released their first full length LP along with a statement that it would be their final release and that the band was breaking up. Members of Studying would continue to make music either with existing projects such as Caust (see my review of ‘Mass Graves’) and Perfect Future or go on to record as new projects like ‘Kaworu Nagisa’. Member Ted Gordon played in Solomon Solomon, a four-piece hardcore / screamo band from Annandale, VA during Studying’s rather short-lived lifespan. The band first caught my attention with the release of a three track demo album in 2011 but other than that they have remained relatively stagnent until the compilation release, ‘Lent, or, ink on’, an album collecting the few songs they wrote while they were together which was followed by the announcement of the band’s breakup.

Although a fan of many screamo / emotive hardcore bands, primarily ones from the late 90’s to the early 00’s many of the more recent incarnations of the genre just haven’t done much for me. It isn’t so much a problem with what the music sounds like, I do have a large soft spot for the more aggressive strains of hardcore music but rather that many of these bands end up coming off as lackluster clones or watered down versions of what some of the earlier bands, ones that helped shape the genre into what it has become today, bands such as Orchid, Pg.99, and Saetia, along with what many others did when the scene was at its peak. With rising bands like Pianos Become The Teeth and legendary early 00’s band Circle Take The Square putting out new material the genre is seeing a revival as a new wave of hardcore begins to take shape. As I said before, this new wave didn’t really have the same impact on me as it did the first time around but there are the few bands that do stick out and make a sturdy place for themselves, one of those bands is Solomon Solomon.

On the demo release the band exhibited their style of hardcore music infused with the instrumental dynamics found in many post-rock structured songs drawing comparisons to early 00’s screamo bands like Circle Takes The Square and namely City of Caterpillar whose brooding lengthy songs, songs that are winding, building, cathartic, and climactic became traits that took from the more obvious cliches of post-rock and applied them to their bone breaking compositions, a defining aspect of their brand of screamo that made them unique. The band was one of the first and most successful within the genre to begin taking influence from post-rock music and applying it to hardcore in this way which as of late has kind of become a growing trend in hardcore and screamo music. Like Studying the band does well in finding an even mixture between the twinkling tremolos and the signature quite / loud crescendo structured sound of post-rock while keeping ties with their punk roots although unlike Studying this projects leans a bit more toward the loud stylings of punk music. The three tracks heard on the demo release left an impression on me for their energy and some of the standout climactic moments, in particular on the closing track ‘Philia’, a track that builds to a climax for the 11 minutes that the tracks lasts showcasing the band’s ambitious songwriting abilities. The three songs heard on the demo see an appearance as reworked tracks on this full length compilation along with the addition of three never before released tracks.

Seeing as this is a compilation I was pleasantly surprised to find that this collection of tracks keep with a consistent sound which does nicely in making this release sound not so much like what it actually is, a collection of songs but rather a fully realized album. The energy that I liked so much when listening to the band’s demo is ever present if not even more so than it was. Where the three previously release demo tracks did give off this anthemic experience I found that they did lack the overall cinematic experience that the songs hinted at separately; I didn’t find that it worked as well as a whole. Thankfully, ‘Lent, or, ink, on’ addresses this issue as the album opens with a brief vocal sample that soon leads into some spastic instrumental work. I really appreciate the variation heard here which becomes an standout characteristic as the track eventually works itself into a clean section of weaving guitar work before picking back up, followed by some hair raising vocals. Throughout the entirety of the album Solomon Solomon combines energy with melodic and varied passages of strong instrumental work.

On Solomon Solomon’s 2011 demo I noted the track ‘Philia’ as my favorite on the album with it’s powerfully digry builds, blisteringly emotive screams, and thunderous drum fills it was an undeniably standout track amongst a set of two other already solid pieces. Although still remaining one of my favorite tracks I actually prefer the demo version of the ‘Philia’ rather than the version heard on this compilation. While the other two tracks featured on the demo do make an appearance on this release and do differ from their demo counterparts the differences on ‘Philia’ leave me feeling hot and cold. While the production sounds better in some areas, especially on the sample which features the famous speech from the film ‘The Network”, essentially the backbone of this track some other aspects of the production feel lacking, specifically the drums. On the demo version of the song the drums were thunderous, in particular toward the end of the track where everything climaxes but on this version it just doesn’t feel as powerful.

It is disappointing to see this project end like it did but ‘Lent, or, ink on’ does a good job of tying up loose ends and finally allowing listeners to hear a complete idea of what Solomon Solomon was. If you’re into early screamo this project pays respect to familiar sounds without sounding like just another clone; a reminder that this genre is very much alive even if the projects within it aren’t.

Overall Rating: 7.7

Favorites Tracks: ‘A Being Creates Itself’, ‘Through The Gaze of Looking In’, ‘Philia’

Recommended: Studying, Caust, City of Caterpillar

Released: 30 July 2012

Links: Listen here.

Tyler Thompson

Zebra Pulse – Endings

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2012 delivered quite a few new and unexpected and refreshing acts, especially when considering the variety of great noise releases from this year including larger projects such as Kevin Drumm’s arresting long-form release, ‘Relief’ to newer gems such as Divorce, So Stressed, BNNT, White Suns, and that Wreck and Reference debut that resonate so well with me. Overall the amount of creativity that came out of the experimental music scene in 2012 was overwhelming to say the least. Zebra Pulse however, is a noise project of an entirely different variety, offering a their own take on what seems to be an infinitely expansive genre.

Within the past year I’ve been hearing and reviewing quite a few projects from Edmonton, Alberta, specifically noise and experimental music ranging from the meditative noise of Pigeon Breeders, to Taiwan’s surreal nostalgia driven soundtrack experimentalism, and Meat Force’s horror inspired glitch pieces just to name a few. Zebra Pulse is a four piece noise band whose wholly improvised approach to noise music combines free-form drumming with electronics such as tapes and turntables that results in a wholly organic collage-like body of sounds.

What you will hear on ‘Endings’ are plenty of off kilter drumming set to a background of strange and sometimes unsettling noises. These noises range from discordant harsh electronics to warped vocal samples. Like I mentioned at the beginning of the review, Zebra Pulse’s style works like a collage of sounds, each musician bringing together different pieces of the music, many times pieces that shouldn’t go together and build from it. Their approach to creating noise rock is much like attempting to fit a puzzle piece in a place where it shouldn’t go; instead of finding the proper pieces Zebra Pulse says “fuck it” and smashes it into place until it does fit and thats not to say that this technique doesn’t work well, in some cases it works surprisingly well, much more than you’d think a band with a drummer and three other guys playing with tape loops and record players would be able to make it work. Other times however, the songs do come of as sounding forced or just out of place.

While there are moments where the electronics do compliment the drumming for the most part they come off as sounding like improvised pieces where drums are just being played overtop of a bunch of noise. ‘Endings’ lacks cohesiveness, the album sounds more like a bunch of jams than a fully realized record but although not entirely gripping it makes for an interesting listening experience for fans of noise and experimental music who are looking for something out of the ordinary, even in genres where ordinary is an often foreign word.

Overall Rating: 6.2

Favorite Tracks: “In The Tub In The Club”, 1GB of Dada

Recommended: BNNT

Released: 12 October 2012

Links:

http://zebrapulse.bandcamp.com/

http://ramshackledayparade.wordpress.com/

-Tyler Thompson

[willscott] – willscott… recordings

will scott... recordings [disc one]

When I was first informed of Edmonton, Alberta noise / drone trio, Pigeon Breeders I never imagined that this small town in Canada actually had stable place for other acts dabbling in the likes of experimental music until I checked out the 2012 Ramshackle Day Parade comp. which featured a solid collection of acts from the area and surrounding areas, the likes of which included musician, Will Scott, one of the members in Pigeon Breeders whose guitar oriented solo compositions draw from a number of influences and span a vast array of styles taking mainly from psychedelic, blues, and progressive rock and repurposing them into experimental and sometimes noisy electronic infused compositions that retain the catchy aspects of their contemporaries while branching out into newer territory.

The first disc in this two disc release can be seen as the more cohesive or realized set of songs whereas the second disc is more of a collection of short experimental sounds and compositions, “b-sides” and extras. Both discs do maintain a similar sound, although disc two does branch out a bit more, playing around with noisier sounds (‘3ree’, along with the inclusion of more irregular rhythms and unorthodox song structures that take queues from the angular playing of early math rock band such as Don Cabellero (‘Our Home Is Next…’, ‘No Love’) while some remind me of that Matt Stevens album that I reviewed last year taking from and meshing together a number of styles (‘Maybe and Sometimes’, ‘Funkin Ugly’).

While the first disc does provide a clear direction I actually prefer the diversity of the songs on the second disc. It’s pretty clear to me that ‘Recordings’ most successful attributes is it’s ability to appeal to a diverse audience. Even with the more straightforward efforts heard on the first disc each song provides a strong amount of variation with abstract pieces such as “Lonely Ground”, a track that sets itself apart starting off with guitars and “Ooohs and Ahhhs” that build to a climax before panning out and picking up with this directionless discordant noise. Although out of place among an album full of guitar based songs the track never sounds like it doesn’t belong. Even though [willscott] is primarily considered a solo project Scott is joined by a number of guest musicians who contribute the likes of guitar, vocals, lyrics, drums, bass, samples electronic embellishments, etc. that bring a sense of character where it would likely be lacking. While some of the songs are instrumental many do feature vocals and lyrics on tracks such as “The Saga Continues” from the likes as Elissa Cook whose voice soars above driving guitars and arena sized drums that gives this track a huge amount of space. ‘This Is What It Sounds Like To Record In A Cave’ and ‘Phatty Beats Bruce and Old Man Johnson” offer this free-form “frame of mind” style vocals reminiscent of rapping that strangely reminds me of experimental hip-hop group, cLOUDDEAD or even (dare I say) Beck. Initially one might think that all of this might be overwhelming but even with all of this variation it still works as a cohesive album.

The production is unreal, at times sounding like some strange lost alien blues jams. The drums are bold and cut through the mix without detracting from other aspects of the music and although the guitars are loaded with an arsenal of effects they don’t water down the tone and prove to be necessary as oppose to just being another addition to the sound. It is clear that every aspect of instrumentation on ‘Recordings’ was payed equal attention to but this projects biggest accomplishment is not only this ear for a great sound. Where musicians who have emulated a style of music from the past in this way tend to go wrong is in their pursuit to take the strong points of their various influences and combine them together as one. In doing this they push aside the possibility of using their influences to create something original and are left with this soup of sounds whose ingredients don’t mix so well. In an attempt to spice things up they continue to add additional flavors which aren’t as palatable together as they would be if they were left alone. I realize this is a terrible and overused metaphor, one that is just as bad as any band reusing past sounds but where [willscott] makes a difference is these sounds aren’t reused but repurposed and formed into something unique in its own respect without bothering to “pay homage” to earlier sounds but rather using these old sounds to do something new.

At the end of two discs of material there really is something for everyone to be heard here; if you don’t like one song on this release it’s likely that there will be a track among these two discs that will resonate. ‘Willscott… Recordings’ may be composed mainly of rock songs centralized around instruments traditionally found in rock music but this isn’t just another throwback retro-revival act. What is heard on ‘Recordings’ is an amount of experimentation that would not typically be expected or initially wanted on your standard rock album but is nonetheless encouraged because this is not your standard rock album and although it isn’t entirely new it is a carefully thought out coming together of influences and ideas that worked well separately in the past and sound great as a whole in the present. Do check this out.

Overall Rating: 8.4

Favorite Tracks: ‘SOS Fest Sucked This Year…’, ‘The Saga Continues’, ‘This Is What It Sounds Like To Record In A Cave’, ‘Happy Ending’, ‘Our Home Is Next…’

Recommended: Check out the Ramshackle Day Parade net-label.

Released: 04 December 2011

Links:

http://willscott.bandcamp.com/

-Tyler Thompson

Studying – Sophomoronic

On Sophmoronic the now seven piece band continues to explore the post-rock influenced sound that was first heard on their 2011 EP ‘Songs About Leaving Home’ and most obviously so on their more recent split release with local friends, Carved Our In Snow. ‘Sophomoronic’ is the bands first full length and also their final release which features some guest appearances including the addition of trumpet and cello.

Although identifying mostly with mid-western emo, within the past few years the genre has developed and maintain strong ties to bordering genres such as math rock and in Studying’s case, post-rock. On the song “The Passing of 34 Days” from their split release with Carved Our Names In Snow the band showcased their most obvious transition toward a post-rock sound. The bands taste for anthemic songwriting laden with the twinkly tremolos and the lush crescendos found in post-rock combined with the vocal aspects of mid-western emo make for a combination that couldn’t be more fitting. The album starts off with an apparent post-rock influence featuring reverb heavy guitars that chime along with rolling drums leading to a chorus featuring an ocean of smooth rising tremolos and horns which carries over to other songs on the album in various forms.

The whole album brings a refreshingly new youthful and energetic take to the genre, a presence that Studying did well on their debut EP, a sound that has developed and translated quite well throughout their short time as a band. It hasn’t been until now that this sound has been able to see a fully realized form and thankfully it has worked out quite well in the case of ‘Sophomoronic’. The album maintains a certain consistency; each song flowing together while still carrying enough variation to set themselves apart from one another. There are more straightforward moments on the album such as the song “Where Bluestone Meets Carrier” which is something of a ballad. The title track and ‘Goodbye, I Guess’ shows the band expressing a more agressive side featuring a transition to shouted / half screamed vocals. All in all each song continues the breathy sound that runs throughout entire album while offering something different calling for repeated listens.

Although consistent there are times where the songs do mesh together. The extensive use of reverb and cresendo-based song structure, as crucial as it was to the bands transition to a more post-rock sound, a sound that has set them apart from the bands they share the genre with is at the same time the culprit for the repetitiousness of the sounds here. While at times I do feel like this genre has been plundered of diversity I still feel like Studying has managed to not simply find a “niche” for themselves within it but has instead carved a name for themselves.

From the opening tracks glisteningly wintery guitar work to the albums dirgy wholly instrumental end this final album is a solid last release from a group of friends who know how to write something that is both catchy and relatable in such a way that it doesn’t sacrifice any of it’s artistic merits in the process. Although I’m sad to see this group split up I do think they are leaving on a good note with this release.

Overall Rating: 8.1

Recommended: Associated acts: Caust, Solomon Solomon, Carved Our Names In Snow.

Favorite Track: ‘Because What Has Hardened Will Never Win’, ‘Nothing But Figures’, ‘Goodbye I Guess’,

Released: 17 August 2012

Links:

Listen to the band’s final release here.

Tyler Thompson

Pigeon Breeders – Luminous Debris

Pigeon Breeders are a three-piece band from Edmonton, Alberta who you may remember from a review I did of their first release, Nocturnal Reveries, an album that brought together minimalist electroacoustic noise and thick walls of psychedelic drone. The latest release entitled ‘Luminous Debris’, a two part epic that continues to see the band move along familiar territory while progressing and pushing the boundaries of their sound.

Noise and experimental music in general have always been about improvising, at least in some aspects and Pigeon Breeders style of noise embodies the spirit of improvised sound. The group’s style of noise is psychedelic, trance inducing even but do take note, this isn’t psychedelic in the traditional sense so put away your shitty weed, your fractal youtube videos, and forget about The Flaming Lips. Pigeon Breeders brand of psychedelic is more meditative and a lot more noisy than what the word psychedelic entails.

Pigeon Breeders approach to drone and noise is more of an organic effort than most favoring the use of the electroacoustic noise of non-instruments and the exploitation of common instruments such as the reappropriation of the guitar, turning it into something more or less a device of noise making as oppose to a tool used to create music . If you are into drone and noise and this just sounds too out there for your tastes dont worry the band still implements some musicality into their performance which I would be so bold as to say the trio possesses traits similar to that of post-rock music, not so much the sound that is but the structure. The band’s post-rock tendencies aren’t so upfront, they never have been but still, their sound is created on behalf of each members contribution even if slight, they feed off of each other in this push pull kind of relationship where many of their tracks begin as these free-form jam session-like compositions in which each member of the band tends to bring a piece to the table and slowly build up into a crescendo or some sort of community of sound. At this point it isn’t about the technical prowess of an individual musician, I was never picking out passages from any one specific instrument that I enjoyed while listening to this. It is about the indication of something much larger that each musician’s sole contribution helps to create.

If you heard and enjoyed what ‘Nocturnal Reveries’ had to offer then Luminous Debris is sure to please. Each member’s offering, even if it is a minimal contribution serves as a crucial piece in creating these noisy soundscapes and proves that the musicians that make up Pigeon Breeders are surely masters of the improvised craft.

Overall Rating: 7.8

Favorite Tracks:

Recommended: Emeralds and Yellow Swans

Released: 22 August 2012

Links:

Listen to the new album via Bandcamp

Ramshackle Day Parade

-Tyler Thompson