Canyons!: Trapdoor / Diamonds 3"

Spartak + John Chantler: Split 3"

With these latest 3-inch discs, hellosQuare proves that ROOM40 hasn't entirely cornered the market on electronic experimental music originating out of Australia. Milo Mylecharane (aka Canyons!) shows he can serve up deeply textured ambient drift as well as anyone on his four-track outing (created with guitars and “broken laptops”). The moniker suggests explosive sound but Trapdoor/Diamonds is entirely the opposite, dominated as it is by placid pools of ambient drift punctuated by soft ripples, percussive accents, and guitar shadings. Understandably, some degree of guitar rawness enters into “Gang Fights at Night”—it would seem ridiculous for it not to—and slide guitars do meander through a bed of field recordings (outdoor sounds of water, etc.) in the title piece but Mylecharane's seemingly more inclined to produce gentle consonant drones of glistening tones and sparkle like “Secret Birds.”

The other release pairs a long improvisation by Spartak (Shoeb Ahmad on guitars, loops, and computer; Evan Dorian on drums, percussion) with two pieces by John Chantler. Chiming guitar shadings open the floodgates in “In This Light, These Children of Men…,” a nine-minute piece based around loops constructed from music by the hardcore band Ohana. Dorian makes his presence felt subtly with cymbal and drum colourations that don't impede the melancholic flow generated by the lulling guitar reverberations. Guitar shadings are also the order of the day on Chantler's “Show Me Your Bright Lights…” and “…No Sad Songs Tonight,” with free drum accompaniment providing a sensitive dialogue partner throughout. A mood of late-night calm shadows the first while the second adopts a more animated approach by pairing multiply layers of acoustic guitars and electronics with rambunctious rhythm playing.

November 2008