Jugular Methot is:
Marielle Groven – piano
Alex Pelchat – guitar
Eric Craven – drums and amplified percussion
Jugular Methot makes improvised music. We explore detonative juxtaposition through uncovering combative approaches for piano, guitar and drums. We are used to being trouble-makers (too fast, too loud, too much).
Marielle Groven is a composer, her work draws on fragile and raw, often emotionally charged sounds and her pieces have been performed all over the world (see her site www.mariellegroven.ca).
Hoods Jinx is the first full-length album from Trace Magnette, a new project bringing together Montreal artist Eric Craven and longtime friend and collaborator (and former Montrealer) Damon Henry. The project, recorded in Montreal last July as Germany demolished Brazil 7-1 in the World Cup, distills the spirit of an intense three-day recording session. Hoods Jinx takes the intrepid listener on a barrier-breaking camel trek into scorching aural landscapes. Feedback loops and guitar scrapes are carved out around a solid architecture of rhythm. Nothing is abstract or slow burning: Hoods Jinx is immediate, vital, visceral and bloody-minded.
Trace Magnette is the sound of past and future Montreal. Post-industrial, chaotic yet disciplined, a sonic melting pot of the widest possible range of voices and influences. Its seven distinct tracks evoke back alley junkpiles, Mile-End breakfasts, snowbound Ladas, rent party handclaps, androgynous landlords, railway overpasses, broken synthesizers, linguistic threesomes, lost cats and found percussion. Throbbing drums, surgical guitar riffs, cinematic cut-ups, oxygenating keyboards and dubbed out basslines are all in full effect. Part Vorticist manifesto, part soundtrack for FPV drone racing: Hoods Jinx represents the best of the old and new, liberation and mourning, the sound of the broken sidewalk avant-garde.
A little backstory: Eric Craven’s Drophead project/label has featured collaborations with Silent Land Time Machine, onFrom Ashes Comes the Day , Nick Kuepfer, on ¼ Tonne Overhaul and cellist Mark Molnar on une gnolba en feu. The three musicians form the current line up of 1/4 tonne. Hoods Jinx sees Craven taking over the mixing duties and further exploring his outsider approach to guitar, keyboards, and loops. Eric Craven made his indelible mark as drummer in Constellation Records bands hangedup (a drums/viola duo started with Gen Heistek in 1999), Hrsta, and Silver Mt. Zion. Hangedup has toured extensively across Europe and North America, including All Tomorrow’s Parties in the UK and K-RAA-K in Belgium. They teamed up with legendary polymath Tony Conrad on Transit of Venus, released in 2012.
Damon Henry plays bass with the energetic No Wave-y, half-Japanese Ruby Karinto on the West Coast. He was also in the great math rock trio Saul Duck – I still have a CD cover made from a roofing shingle – and the hypnotic ambient post-rock Vancouver project ‘the beans‘ (who I saw once with The Flaming Lips and infamously played a continuous 48 Hour show at the now defunct Sugar Refinery).
But the Hoods Jinx DNA goes even deeper. The members of Trace Magnette started playing together way back in 1991 – with bands like Seatbelt, in their native Victoria, and Shortwave, based in Montreal, who played the Knitting Factory in its heyday. The album title is a tribute to a talented West Coast drummer and friend who died in 2012. It also speaks of speed, energy and recklessness. Magnette (a type of 1950s MG), like Drophead, hints at a petrolhead obsession. All of that history is layered beneath the sounds of Hoods Jinx. It is futuristic and forward-looking and yet suggests, not least by its analogue format, a trenchant critique of tinkerproof digital technology, cloud computing, sleek white boxes, and ubiquitous connectivity. It wants to break the code, mess with the sensors, get under the hood. There are unresolved tensions and contradictions, like a Bukowski-loving feminist or a bicycle activist with a secret love of old cars – the contradictions we live with every day, the things we love that threaten to kill us. It’s an incredibly deep, rich listen, the result of decades of collaboration, experiment and experience.
From Ashes Comes the Day is the result of the alliance between Montréal’s Eric Craven (Drophead) and Austin’s Jonathan Slade (Silent Land Time Machine). For more than a decade Craven has been a prominent member of Montréal’s experimental music community, widely known as the drummer in HRSTA and Hangedup (Constellation Records). His recent solo work as Drophead finds Craven buried in layers of drums and homemade percussion as well as guitar, field recordings, and a vast array of other instruments. Now on Drophead’s vinyl debut Craven’s outsider take on guitar and keyboard assimilates the tenor of Austin’s foremost experimental violist/vocalist and co-founder of HOLODECK records, Jonathan Slade. Slade is best known for his two albums as electro-acoustic solo-ensemble Silent Land Time Machine and his work in the bands Lumens and AMASA•GANA. Together, Craven and Slade push each other into expansive new territory, fully embracing a darker yet broader sphere of expression and emotive depth. The dialogue of tidal chaos and isolation that wax and wane across both hemispheres of From Ashes Comes the Day makes this a highly unique release for both artists.
Simply divided into two halves entitled “I” and “II“, From Ashes Comes the Day is a single continuous piece comprised of a series of interweaving sonic vignettes that swell and decay into and out of one another. This brooding and lucid work is in a constant cycle of ruin and regeneration, where one moment’s fragmented wreckage degenerates into the fertile breeding ground for the genesis of the next. Movements of rhythmic guitar sweep in and fade out, propelling the album through a series of pensive destinations, while damaged viola phrases frantically build and collapse alongside increasingly distraught vocal howls. At times the strings rise to a panic, forming invasive waves of tension that eventually disintegrate into sparse minimal soundscapes consisting of dense columns of guitar feedback and clearings of near silence. Although this record features no percussion, Craven’s atypical drum-style translates directly into a superb ear for texture and improvisational structure; while Slade’s melodic articulation surfaces unbalanced and unhinged, revealing an intensity that has been previously absent on SLTM records. Mutual respect for one another’s musical endeavors cultivated a lasting friendship between Craven and Slade, and eventually through months of long-distance recording an album finally emerged as a cohesive and compelling finished piece. Montréal-based musician and visual artist Nick Kuepfer (HRSTA, Constellation Records) designed the artwork and hand silk-screened the vinyl jackets, making the album’s black-to-red color gradient unique to every beautifully packaged EP.
Austin and Montréal are internationally known as musical epicenters, but very few cities can claim to have the prolific experimental communities that these two share. It was in this pair of concentrated cultural centers that Craven and Slade were tempered into two seasoned veterans of their respective underground circuits. Consistent releases and tour schedules have forged a strong connection between these two vibrant and parallel scenes, allowing this recording to represent a unique meeting of minds that highlights some of the best in experimental music from these two communities. What initially started out as a fun collaboration between long-distance friends unexpectedly became a catalyst for both individual and artistic growth while synchronistically bringing together two artists and the cities from which they come.
Mastered by Harris Newman at Gray Market Mastering. Design and silk-screening by Nick Kuepfer. Ravens on vinyl labels adapted from the original drawings of Jeremy Gordaneer. All sounds by Drophead and Silent Land Time Machine (adapted from Eric Craven’s live-score to a performance piece by Erin Flynn).
nick: guitar, live reel to reel loops, field recordings, gardening
eric: drums, amplified percussion, loops, libraries
mark molnar: cello on ‘ulna nerve hoot’
recorded at Farm Red Orach by eric (two stereo mics)
Thanks to Mark Molnar for listening, uncovering, advising, encouraging and tweaking these recordings.
photo on cassette face andre guerette
Cover illustration – jeremy gordaneer
a.a + ulna nerve hoot
1/4 tonne drawing by Jeremy Gordaneer Notes about this recording from Nick.
Soon after being asked to open for Lee Ranaldo and Steve Shelley for the Suoni Per Il Popolo festival in June of 2013 at Sala Rosa in Montreal, I lost the majority of the gear to which I was relying heavily on at the time to a break in of my then quickly dying truck. I had packed the back cab the night before I was leaving to work on my set in the country and covered it with scrap wood, fabrics and garbage to give the appearance that that’s all it was. The next morning I arrived at my truck to find a smashed out window and the contents of the back cab gone, aside from what I found trailed down the alley, the things that were too heavy to carry. Whoever carried the other things home had a non-lucrative bounty of analogue tape machines, a broken wind instrument, various small pedals, cables and a diary of writings from a recent residency I took part in on a ship in the arctic circle. Needless to say, the diary was a devastating loss, the rest, replaceable, somewhat. With the pending performance a few short weeks away, Eric gave me a call and offered to help me pull something together to which I was then completely unprepared for. We’d worked together quite a bit over the pastfewyears and this was a great opportunity to workshop something new and somewhat impromptu. Days after the performance we decided it was best to record what we’d worked on. Eric thankfully took the reigns of the process and in a few hours we recorded the full set twice using two microphones and a Dictaphone receiver in a cabin close to Montreal. The set was made up of 2 compositional framework pieces that were improvised around cues. This recording process has now become one of my favourite ways to operate; having a finished body of music in an afternoon. Also, another favourite new way of approaching the recording process – handing the entire collection of bed tracks to another set of ears to extract the best parts and produce a record with it. Huge props to Mark Molner for both performing his subtle but deadly cello bits in Ulna Nerve Hoot and for editing/producing this release which gave grace to the abrasion and grit to the velvet.
nick, eric and sy (on hand bells) providing a live soundtrack to a shadow puppet show at kids POP MTL Sept. 2013.
Eric Craven – Drums, Live Loops, Skateboard, Electric Razors, Guitar.
Mark Molnar – Cello, Live Loops, Erhu, Busted Circuits, Pedals.
These are documents of our process while we were trying to figure out which way was forward
I had returned to these recordings in the interest of remembering where Mark and I had left off. Also, I thought it might be possible take some of these rehearsal documents and make an edit that would be confounding through the intentional juxtaposition of ideas. After listening to some of what we had captured, I found the these recordings to be confounding enough on their own, to my ears anyway. It was hard for me to make edits that were less than 15 mins. I thought it might be fun to put together some of my favorite moments and share them on cassette. These are definitely ‘works-in-progress.’ Part of what I have enjoyed about compiling some of these sessions was the how much the process is visible. The parts that work… are mostly satisfying because you can hear us getting there.
A few notes on the process:
– we worked on some themes
– we gave our selves challenges (what would it sound like if we tried sound like the wu tang but didn’t borrow any musical ideas from them, or Scorn with out any of their gear or Ivan Shapovalov with out a meta narrative)
– we seemed to feel compelled to fill the space with as much sound as possible and when we debriefed it was usually to discuss how we might add more elements.
– pasta was prepared and eaten
– I recorded our practices with one stereo microphone
– I made an edit that was too long and passed that to Mark
– Mark cut the edit down to two 20 minute sides of a cassette tape
– Mark made different choices that I would have made and I am always happy to trust Mark’s judgement (but there is some beautiful mostly solo cello that we are missing out on)
Mark and Eric have been working at stuff together since meeting in 2002.
If your curious, listen to this live set from October 26th, 2007 at the Avant Garde Bar in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, (captured on a hand held recorder by Jean-Francois Blanchette)