Monday, April 16, 2012
Canyons of Static 10" on Fin Records
Got a big single a couple weeks back from Canyons of Static on Fin records, known for putting out an impressive variety of bands, always with serious attention to the packaging... in this case pioneering the 10" seven inch single. Two tracks from this Wisconsin instrumental quartet, partially made up of the husband/wife team of Ross and Aggie Severson. If you have room in your listening heart for another Explosions in the Sky, or This Will Destroy You's massive soaring sound, then you'll want to make space on those record shelves for Canyons of Static.
The thing about working in this style for me is how it literally can actually change the passage of time. All music is based on that kind of short term memory part of the brain in recognizing passages or repeated melodies, and Canyons are, for me at least, testing that pattern recognition in the way they move slowly through these large acoustic areas, without big abrupt changes, subtly plodding away on a massive 10" journey, which ultimately leads to a much bigger place than even they can probably imagine.
In the middle of this swirling guitar melody A-Side's "Wake" has a bass rhythm section that separates it from that typical layered, dense shoegaze sound. Drums pound along with a forceful forward looking bassline that's coming for you, hugely epic and unstoppable. Crashing crescendos, letting the sound ring out, respecting that sense of space, works to keep the tempo as slow as possible. It's such a deliberate build that stays completely natural, it can't be identified as entirely synth or electronic. They utilize their ensemble perfectly, taking their sweet time to weave post rock together with sprawling melody. This second soaring eclipse section is damn impressive...a huge distorted speech of a single note in gorgeous delay and somehow this piano twinkling electronic synth manages to peek around the density here. Going for the biggest, deepest groove, a droning giant stomping across the landscape. But hopeful, and bigger than yourself.
"Drift" is the B-Side's equally expansive piece that takes an immense amount of time to build and deliver. The 10" was obviously a necessity for Fin when approaching these guys, and they've mastered it with plenty of room on the low end for vinyl which is completely rumbling. The high melodic shimmery guitar is sustained forever while this orchestrated piece works through multiple heavy changes. It's hard to pin down this extended journey, let alone imagine the effort it takes to keep this in line....sometimes it feels like an overhwelming exercise in sheer endurance. They make sure to leave plenty of space to work this into an incredible high while breaking down the second half of the track only to go through the whole peak and valley again. A crunchy sine wave sound peeks through the melodic distortions towards the end of this, and it's like Canyons of Static throughout are playing with the similarities of range between the guitar and synth sounds. When it finally takes the time to work down out of this religious experience, it's complete, they wrap it up expertly and no one is left hanging without resolution.
Anyone who gets a chance to witness this live would be crazy not to pick this up. It's not long for this world at 500 copies from Fin Records (listen to the tracks over there). Crystal clear green tinged vinyl - like a flat sheet of washed up bottle glass. Printed inner black matte sleeve with credits in giant lettering as clear and straightforward as this tsunami wave within.