<i>"The longing for impossible things, precisely because they are impossible; nostalgia for what never was; the desire for what could have been; regret over not being someone else; dissatisfaction with the world’s existence. All these half-tones of the soul’s consciousness create in us a painful landscape, an eternal sunset of what we are." </i>―Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet It seems the young harpist, distinguishable by her brown bangs, has little in common with the 20th century Portuguese controversialist. And yet Pessoa’s words could not have more accurately described the vivid sentiment embodied in Emilie’s work, ringing especially true in the Montreal-based singer-songwriter’s first LP record, entitled 10 000. Longing, anguish and love emerge from its sound and travel through the trembling flesh of those listening. Her songs are written with a vibrant, sensitive intellect; each is a world populated by the faces of fleeting passions. The extraordinary musical quality of these finely crafted pieces stems from another brilliant mind: Jesse Mac Cormack, Emilie’s accomplice and producer since her late teens. For her LP, 10 000, Emilie wrote the lyrics and music, then fully constructed the songs with Jesse and her drummer Francis Ledoux. The record came into being upon a frigid February, in the sprawling house where Studio B-12 resides nestled in the woods of Valcourt. The 1969 dwelling by architect Jacques de Blois stands suspended in time. Sunlight pours through its enormous windows, onto the retro-futuristic furnishings of rooms too numerous to count. In this eccentric venue, succumbing to one’s vision becomes inevitable. “We went to pick up our sound-engineer, Jean-Bruno in Montreal in the middle of the night. He and Jesse got to work as soon as they arrived. It must have been one in the morning. When I woke up at eight, the two were still there, working on the same song […]. We would willingly work fifteen hours a day.” Ogden sat in the basement, the drums and other instruments were set up in various other spaces, and meters upon meters of wiring snaked across the floors of uniquely shaped rooms. As with the Valcourt home, Emilie’s immersive universe is made up of countless rooms, dissimilar yet housed under the same roof. Here, a folk‑Art Nouveau ballad (Blame) beckons; there, a pop song pays tribute to the inaccessible (Ten Thousand, the deftly altered recollection of a biblical passage: “ten thousand talents that you’ll never see”); elsewhere, a musical novel dwells on end of an imaginary romance (White Lies). The musician also deconstructed and reconstructed two tracks from her previous EP, Babel and Long Gone, and added six more original songs. We enter fascinated and emerge wholly enamored, feeling as though the female voice and beguiling harp had somehow spirited us away for space of 10 000 lifetimes.
The Barr Brothers are Montreal-based band built around brothers Brad (guitar and vocals) and Andrew Barr (drums), with harpist Sarah Pagé. Hushed Americana lonesome and future-primitive delta blues clear the path for West African polyrhythms and classical motifs. They're currently playing many shows in North America and Europe to promote their extremely well received second album, Sleeping Operator, released in last october. This "more immersive" album (Globe and mail) is nominated at the 2014 Juno Awards in the Adult Alternative Album of the Year category alongside Leonard Cohen.
While Pallett has served as a versatile collaborator to many projects in both pop and art establishments— the list is far too long to recite here, but you know where to look— he is equally beloved for his accessibility; for the way his art reflects & resonates with Mainstream Pop Culture; for the emotionally cathartic outlet his music provides. Pallett was recently nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Score, alongside Arcade Fire, for their work on Spike Jonze’s Her.
Patrick Watson is a Montreal-based singer, pianist, songwriter, band leader and composer. He fronts a four-piece band quartet composed of Mishka Stein (bass), Robbie Kuster (drums), and Simon Angell (guitar), who are often also accompanied by a string quartet. Together they craft dreamy soundscapes with the execution of jazz musicians, seamlessly blending organic and electronic elements into rocking cacophony and pared-down ballads alike, with Watson’s haunting voice always at the core.
Plants and Animals are a rock-and-roll trio from Montreal comprised of Warren Spicer, Nicolas Basque, and Matthew 'the Woodman' Woodley. They first gained international recognition for their debut full-length, Parc Avenue, in 2008, and have been touring the world ever since. Their sophomore album, La La Land, was released in 2010. They released a third full-length album called The End of That in early 2012, and are currently in the studio recording their fourth.
Montreal's new rising dark stars. Images du Futur was release in early 2013. The band toured the world in support of it. This album allowed them to be part of the 40 albums nominated on the long list of the 2013 Polaris Music Prize. The piece "2020" ended up on the soundtrack of the Ryan Gosling's movie, Only God Forgives.
Thus Owls are a five-piece Montreal/Stockholm band based around husband and wife duo Erika and Simon Angell. The band originated in Sweden as an outlet for Erika’s songs and unique vocal-style. She met Simon by chance while the two were touring in Europe as part of different bands paired on the same bill. It wasn’t long before they were married, and making music together as Thus Owls.
Daniel was born in Montreal and has been writing songs and leading bands there all his life, from very early teenaged days in the Harry Rags, to his later endeavours with Shoot the Moon and Percy Farm. (He has since begun using an abbreviated version of his actual name, Daniel Isaiah Schachter, as his stage name). His second solo album, Come Into Gone, will be released by Secret City Records on March 31st 2015.
Basia Bulat is a singer-songwriter and multi‐instrumentalist from Toronto who has found acclaim for her exuberant live show, soulful voice and well-crafted songs. Her critically acclaimed third album, Tall Tall Shadow, co-produced with Grammy-winning engineer Mark Lawson and Arcade Fire’s Tim Kingsbury, was released worldwide in 2013 by Secret City Records. She featured in many Festivals and Talk shows, was nominated for a JUNO in 2014 and toured all over Europe and North America.
En novembre 2012, Suuns et un ami de longue date, Radwan Ghazi Moumneh de Jerusalem In My Heart, ont loué un studio à Montréal pour sept jours. L’idée était de collaborer sur des ébauches d’idées de chansons et de compléter autant d’enregistrement que possible, sans discrimination. La session a été un succès, résultant en beaucoup de chansons vibrantes où l’on retrouve d’imposants synthétiseurs analogiques, des influences arabes et une sensibilité électronique.
MIRACLE FORTRESS is the cognomen for Montreal-based musician and producer Graham Van Pelt. Also a member of Think About Life, as Miracle Fortress Graham records and performs a wide array of musical soundscapes, hooks and beats. His 2007 debut, Five Roses, received widespread critical praise, including a Polaris Prize nomination. He's currently working on a long-awaited sophomore release.
Diamond Rings is Toronto-based recording artist John O'Regan. He writes songs you either already, or will one day, sing in the shower.
Human Highway is the new collaboration from two of Canada’s most-loved troubadours: Jim Guthrie and Nick Thorburn. Both artists have been long-time fixtures of Canadian pop music. “I think this album works because Nick and I both share a love for oldies” Guthrie says, “it’s a new genre called ‘Golden Moldy Indie Oldies’. It’s AM radio rock for the babies of the future past.”
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