EXCLUSIVE STREAM AND REVIEW OF Thisquietarmy: Métamorphose (Grains of Sand Records, 2017)
We here at Somewherecold are proud to present to you an exclusive stream of Thisquietarmy: Métamorphose. Please see the review which is below the stream. Play it while you read if you wish. Also, please support the artist and pre-order the album on CD or in Digital format.
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Hailing from Montreal, Canada, Thisquietarmy is the ambient, experimental project of Eric Quach. Wintersleep was Quach’s first release in 2005 and he has been prolific ever since. He has mastered the art of moving through various genres while maintaining his own unique sound. A gifted guitarist, he composes experimental soundscapes that move from quiet drones, to noise, to delicate shoegaze, to metal dreamscapes. He paints with a broad brush and, because of this, he produces unique and ever expressive compositions. Métamorphose is Quach’s twenty-fifth full-length release, on some of which he collaborates with other artists. This number doesn’t include his collection of EP releases as well. The journey Quach takes his listener on is neither entirely calm nor entirely disturbing as he builds sound structures that move the listener between the two, creating moments of contemplation and also of unease, using verses from a poem by Meryem Yildiz.
Métamorphose begins with “Métamorphose I: Le temps, la lumière”, an extended piece clocking in at over 13 minutes. It begins with a high-toned hum that is very electronic in texture. Another, parallel drone begins to develop as the track moves forward. Quach’s composition is patient, building ever so slowly as the initial drone becomes wrapped in increasing layers of rumbles, fuzz, and warbling textures. The build becomes massive with the tones almost creating a gale force wind sound with the drones riding the wind currents. Eventually the layers begin to peel away and calm enters the picture. This calm leads directly into “Métamorphose II: Toujours ce rappel de l’éphémère” without pause. The drone is now bright and pronounced, with traces of hope. There is a metallic tinge to the sunnier sounds while low humming guitars swell periodically in the track, threatening the peace with ominous fuzz and deep rolling tones. Eventually, these deeper tones overcome the central, bright drone, as a wall of sound begins to ebb and flow. Screeching layers leap over the subtler moments. At 6 minutes in, a new, beautifully composed tone enters the mix, bringing in even more depth and texture to an already complex piece. The track has a long fade, allowing the listener to breathe and contemplate.
“Métamorphose III – De ton corps qui se métamorphose lentement en un autre corps” is the shortest composition on this two CD set. It begins with a low, fuzzy rumble and slowly rises in volume. It’s a coarse, abrasive piece riddled with beauty. “Métamorphose IV – Ce corps ne te sera jamais étranger” has almost no volume at the outset and slowly comes up in the speakers. An eerie, crumpling noise sits in the distance as a sci-fi sounding drone enters the mix, overpowering everything else. A horn-like sound calls out among the soundscapes and then fades as guitars wail in answer to their call. Rumbles swell over top, lifting and diving. A melody almost becomes present as the chaos circles around it, pulling it down into the denseness of it all. The spaces in the piece eventually open up and bright guitars flitter about while various other sounds infiltrate the soundscape. “Métamorphose IV” begins to fade rather early in the track as layers begin to peel away and space opens even further. Various sounds, clicks, buzzes, and bleeps fill the speakers as it comes to a close.
“Métamorphose V – Puisque tu t’y familiarises au fur et à mesure qu’il se transforme” vibrates with a soft, lulling sound, undulating until some of the vibrations get drawn out into longer notes and then fold back in on themselves. Quach is a master at his craft and incredibly patient. He waits, allowing the repetitions to build and then he releases them into something else or adds layers when the feeling almost reaches a breaking point. It’s beautiful timing. There are sounds like balls of fuzz rolling about the soundscape, making their way violently over the top. An epic feel comes into the mix around 13 minutes, as a soaring synth-like sound peers out from beneath the tidal wave of layered pieces. “Métamorphose VI – Tu aimerais parfois te retirer de ta matière” is a shorter piece with floating, spaced-out drones. It is dreamy, contemplative, and restful which gives the listener a reprieve from the more lofty and louder tones.
“Métamorphose VII – Et t’observer changer, en retrait” warbles into the speakers. The title here suggests a change back to a former form or self. The struggle to remain anew, perhaps? I have yet to talk in this review about the titles of each track and that was slightly on purpose. I wanted the mood of the music to be talked about without the track titles evoking too much but I think it’s time to mention them here. Change is a constant theme in the titles and the need to view that change, experience it, or be reversed within the struggle of change. Here, we have that reversal. The drones are beautiful, soft, lulling the listener into a different world. Sci-fi synth sounds play about the drones in an almost uneasy pattern. Fuzzy guitars eventually become prominent and act as a counterpoint to the glossy textures. They overpower everything, growing, twisting, swirling until the fuzzed-out guitars are ever present. The track opens up and repeating guitar moves about, slowing fading into the distance. “Métamorphose VIII – Après un certain temps, tu rapatrierais tes formes” begins with a metallic hum and picked guitar in the distance. Brief moments interrupt the soundscape with the silence of the drone. There is an otherworldly, almost computer sounding tone that circles in and out of the mix, moving around the central drone. There is a sci-fi dread deep in the recesses of this track, creating a rather ominous emotive feel. Further, there is an almost orchestral feel in how the drones drift apart and sound like a variety of strings.
“Métamorphose IX – En y glissant ton esprit comme dans un gant neuf” moves even more into the sci-fi realm with robotic tones and textures. It is eerie and otherworldly. A louder synth swells over the other robotic tones, bringing in some vibrating, slightly fuzzy textures. Gleaming guitars become a counterpoint, giving some humanity to the swirling sounds. “Métamorphose X – Tu manierais ta peau afin de l’attendrir” flows out of “Métamorphose IX” seamlessly as dreamy guitars begin to envelop and take over. The robotic tones are now distant, left behind and the eeriness only subtle, found in the deeper tones of the guitars. The guitars play long, drawn out notes over the drones as they lazily lumber about and swell. There are some resplendent moments where the tones burst forth with a hopefulness as they dive back into the gleaming river of sound.
“Métamorphose XI – Puis tu épouserais les tréfonds, sans doute” has this massive, rumbling floor in it that is magnificent. Quiet, metallic noises play about on the floor as it flows through the track. The metallic sounds grow, lifting a lighter, airier drone. The roar of a swelling tide of sound grows and reaches a peak around the 5:30 mark, exploding into the speakers. Then, the high tide recedes, leaving behind calmer sonic ripples. “Métamorphose XII – Avec cette complicité qu’ont les étrangers heurtés d’un coup de foudre” is the finale to Métamorphose concluding a breathtakingly beautiful journey. The same drone from XI comes up into the speakers again and dissonant guitars ring out over the drone. There is a discordant playfulness here. A deep, growling rumble inhabits this soundscape as its dense presence attempts to overpower everything else. Over halfway through, the track increases in intensity with several other layers being added. The guitars roar into a frenzy and then begin to fade and the layers begin to silence, one after the other.
Eric Quach has produced twelve tracks that evoke beauty, caution, contemplation, uneasiness, and so much more. There is so much for one’s ears to capture here, as each listen can and does evoke new responses as well as new things heard. Métamorphose is a demonstration of Quach’s artistic prowess and the maturity of his compositions. The journey of change contained in Métamorphose is composed in brilliant aural strokes, both subtle and fierce, engulfing the listener in a palpable experience.
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