thisquietarmy + Yellow6: Death
Basses Frequences

Not the most uplifting title, now is it? Don't let that put you off, however, as what we've got here is a fine mini-album collaboration between two guitar innovators, specifically thisquietarmy (Montreal-based Eric Quach) & Yellow6 (UK producer Jon Attwood). After first meeting in Montreal on March 13th 2009 before individually taking part in the sixth annual Under The Snow Festival, the two escaped from the cold Canadian winter weather by retreating to Quach's living quarters and winging it for two hours while a computer documented their efforts. Mixing and editing came about a year later for a project that now conceptually assumes a character diametrically opposite to the chilly conditions under which it came into being.

As its cover photography suggests, the title Death perhaps references more the inevitable outcome that arises when one vainly attempts to survive a solo journey across the arid and unforgiving desert than it does to a state of being in general. The opener “Sand” builds stark, tensile tones into cross-hatches of querulous shudder, the track generally cultivating bleak moods of dread and isolation. With the blistering heat of the sun mercilessly beating down, “Furnace” conveys the traveler's gradual realization that death is inevitable under such circumstances. Inner anguish wells up within his/her soul as he/she trudges on, the intertwining guitar lines now shadowed by hellish wails that may or may not be the product of hallucinations. Two-thirds of the way into the piece, a violent guitar stab pierces the gloom, perhaps symbolizing the traveler's horror of impending demise as reality sets in. But immediately thereafter a hint of uplift arrives in “Salt,” though whether the gesture should be interpreted as an unexpected adjournment of death or as a transcription of the inner disorientation that colours his/her final moments can't be determined. Regardless, “Salt” unspools seventeen minutes of droning guitar vapours in a manner that'll be familiar to long-term thisquietarmy admirers (don't miss the brief surge that almost engulfs the whole at the fifteen-minute mark). We're told that Death is part one of two installments in the collaborative effort between the two, so hopefully the next chapter will make its appearance in the near future (the CD version includes two bonus tracks, an extra studio session track called “Crater” and an improvised live piece performed at the Under the Snow festival the day after the recording session).

November 2010