2011 Top 10s and 20s
Spotlight 4

Cory Allen
Alva Noto
Bass Communion
Alexander Berne
Birds Passage / Rosado
The Black Dog
Ursula Bogner
Steve Coleman
Mats Eilertsen
Elektro Guzzi
Ben Fleury-Steiner
Golden Gardens
Thom Gossage
Steve Hauschildt
Helvacioglu & Pancaroglu
Larkian & Yellow6
Clem Leek
Hedvig Mollestad Trio
Yann Novak
Sasajima & Hirao
Scissors And Sellotape
Ryan Scott
Till von Sein
The Silent Section
Scott Solter
Anna Thorvaldsdottir

Newly Issued
The Beach Boys

Compilations / Mixes
Mike Huckaby
Radio Slave
Rebel Rave 2: Droog

Thavius Beck
Niccolò Bianchi
Falko Brocksieper
Alex Cobb & Aquarelle
Everything Is
Ed Hamilton
Tracey Thorn
Damian Valles

thisquietarmy: Resurgence
Denovali Records

Resurgence, Eric Quach's latest thisquietarmy collection, offers a summative and encompassing portrait of the Montreal guitarist's experimental music. Four years in the making, the double-CD set touches pretty much all of the imaginable thisquietarmy bases, with everything from ponderous, heartfelt meditations (“Whispers in the Trees”) to beat-driven throwdowns (“Revival”) part of the mix. Quach's signature blend of atmospheric moodscaping, heavy post-rock, industrial drones, and doom-laden psychedelia is well-represented in almost 110 minutes of material spread across two discs (the second is somewhat of a bonus disc in that it contains two bonus tracks plus a radio edit of “Gone to the Unseen,” a piece on the first CD). In the recording's heaviest moments, Quach nudges his sound in Nadja's direction through the addition of beat patterns so primitive they can feel like death marches.

The album opens with a strong one-two punch that pinpoints key poles of the thisquietarmy project: epic, doom-laden soundscaping and a fiery beat-driven blend that draws upon post-rock, krautrock, and post-punk. “Rebirth” inaugurates the recording with an epic slab of guitar-generated sputter and fuzz that segues without pause into, first, the post-rock drive of “Revival,” whose shoegaze-punk fury blazes for seven steamrolling minutes, and then “Renaissance,” which escalates the bruising attack of “Revival” to an even more vicious pitch. Soon to follow are “Birds, Ashes & Fire,” which presents wave upon wave of Frippertronics-styled guitar shudder, and “Whirring Brain,” which crosses molten chunks of guitar fuzz with cymbal flourishes and spacey warble. At the end of the first disc, “Gone to the Unseen” initially suggests it'll be thirteen ambient-doomscaping minutes of thisquietarmy at its most dramatic, until galloping beats and Meryem Yildiz's vocals appear to give it a powerful shoegaze shot in the arm. It's a fabulous flamethrower that might just be the best thing on the album.

Quach dials the intensity down a bit on the second disc, specifically in the plaintive “Waltz of the Mourners” and starry eyed meditatation “Scattered to the Wind.” As mentioned, Resurgence ends with two bonus pieces, the first of which, “Ballad of a Shepherdess,” prominently features the violin playing of Émilie Livernois-Desroches and is thus, in essence, as much if not more a Mains de Givre than thisquietarmy track. The five-minute piece is very much in the hypnotic drone style of Esther Marie, the recording the duo issued on textura's label in 2010, while the album's plodding closer, “The Cold Vacancy,” augmented by a spoken word contribution from Zena Virani, stretches its wings for a generous and slow-burning nineteen minutes. Though clearly the first disc is the one to focus on, taken together the two constitute as comprehensive a portrait of the multiple sides of the thisquietarmy sound as probably any recording has to date.

December 2011