Montreal’s Philippe Manasseh and Nadim Maghzal, aka Wake Island, have been turning heads lately with their terrific, darkly electronic new EP Sentimental Animals, which dropped back in April. It may be only three tracks long, but it’s an indispensable listen, seeing the band at their hardest-hitting, most-purely-electronic form to date. And today, we’re excited to premiere a remix of the EP’s closer “Pleasure”, produced by none other than Pierre Guerineau of Essaie Pas (who put out our #2 album of last year).
Guerineau takes the pulsing, paranoid experimentalism of the original and transmutes it into a cold-as-ice minimal synth track, featuring a simple but unrelenting drum pattern, with carefully-placed vocal shouts and ghostly synths weaving in and out of the mix. The tension is meticulously maintained, until finally, a beautifully-delayed, appropriately-massive sequenced synth arrives to take us home. A subtle, stunning creation!
Sentimental Animals is available now, PWYW from Bandcamp. If you’re in Montreal or Toronto, be sure to catch Wake Island this summer. They’re supporting !!! this Tuesday at Bar le Ritz P.D.B. in Montreal, and playing the Yalla Barra Stage at Toronto Pride on June 23, with a couple more Montreal dates at their Bandcamp.
Montreal duo Alexia Avina and Nick Schofield, aka Best Fern, have been stealthily cementing their rep as one of the best emerging ambient dream-pop acts in the country, and last year’s self-titled debut EP remains a frequent visitor in our tapedeck. Today we’re excited to premiere their latest, a four-song covers EP featuring classics by Jessy Lanza, Four Tet, Panda Bear, and Majical Cloudz.
These are no casual cover versions. Thoroughly and creatively reimagined all, it’s often a feat to behold, such as their condensing the Four Tet epic “Morning Side” into a stunning 4-minute ambient pop treasure. And we’ve already communicated our affection for their wonderfully airy take on Lanza’s “It Means I Love You”. Rounding out the collection is a heavenly rendition of Panda Bear’s “Comfy in Nautica” that might even be more reverbed-out than the original, followed by a delicate and harmony-laden take on Majical Cloudz’ “Bugs Don’t Buzz”. It’s a superb track selection, none of them easy or natural candidates for covers, and each taken to wondrous places by the Best Fern magic touch. We can’t wait for their next move, be it original or re-interpretation.
The Best Fern EP is available now from Bandcamp via Oh Hi Records. They’re playing several shows this month, with performances in Montreal on June 7 and at Suoni per il Popolo at June 17, as well as a June 22 appearance at Sled Island in Calgary.
UPDATE: the Covers EP is now also available from Bandcamp, with all money going towards helping Syrian refugees in Montreal.
All hail New Chance! We’re always thrilled to hear new sounds from electronic adventurer Victoria Cheong, and this time we’re blessed with news of a brand new mixtape, featuring remixes, instrumental experiments and collaborations with some names familiar to the astute music fan. (Romy Lightman! Jonathan Adjemian! Evan Cartwright!)
For now, dip into the welcoming world of “Luck be a Lady,” a floating ambient warble that could be the sound of a descending, welcoming spaceship. It’s paired with a video by Zoe Solomon, a mix of footage of Cheong and translucent anime, fading in and out with the static. Otherworldy indeed!
If you’re in Toronto on Sunday (May 7), you should absolutely spend your afternoon at her tape release show, a joint venture with Doom Tickler.