Thisquietarmy: Wintersleeper (Thisquietarmy Records, 2005)

by Jason

Thisquietarmy WinterAn experimental, ambient, shoegaze project by Eric Quach of Destroyalldreamers, Thisquietarmy blends moody brilliance with subtle shoegaze elements. Hailing from Montreal, Quach founded Thisquietarmy Records, a separate entity from the music project and a vehicle by which he could release his new, experimental project. Entitled Wintersleeper, Quach recorded these five tracks in the middle of the Canadian winter. The mood on the disc is somber and isolated, painting songscapes that stretch for miles and evoke loneliness.

“A Hammer Parade Falls from the Sky” introduces this debut. The song reminds me of snow falling lightly, creating white land contrasting with the dark gray sky. Using layers of guitars, Quach is a master at painting lurid and almost oppressive landscapes. Honestly, this song makes me long for Kentucky in the wintertime. The track is beautiful, silent, white, and dangerous all at the same time. “Tsunami Death Toll Arising” begins with spacey sounds and a wall of drones that act as a foundation for the hums and vibes rolling throughout the song. The hums and vibes eventually swell, like the image of a Tsunami, to engulf the other sounds in a wall of brilliant sound. This is followed by “Bombing for Peace Fucking for Virginity.” This track starts with an abrasive feedback with glimmering guitars that reverberate, cutting the feedback a bit. Mixed with pulsing sounds and peppered with minor chords, this track really depicts a wasteland. Perhaps, and the title is the clue, this wasteland is the very protest Quach has against the Iraq war. Hard to tell without lyrics, but I think the title really is ironic, pointing out the stupidity of both goals: destruction and death as a means to peace and sex as a means to virginity. Towards the end of the track, pounding sounds echo, as if bombs were dropping on the listener’s head.

“The Panning Ice Age Experiment” begins with whirling guitars that pan between speakers. Again, shimmering guitars dance between the panning and join in the panning at times. The build on this track is slow and patient, building the emotion of the song and allowing the listener to soak in the effect. Spacey sounds eclipse some of the more blatant guitars and pull the listener into a wind tunnel of sorts, haunting and ethereal. “Methane Rains and Gasoline Rivers (Titan)” begins with an eerie hum and drone. The somber mood combined with the title elicits the coming doom of environmental rape. Clicks and pops dot the drones, flowing throughout the dreamy waste.

This disc is a must for any ambient/shoegaze fan. With dark, expansive dreamscapes, Quach is a supreme musical storyteller.

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