Imagine a highway, stripped of all life and containing their minute particles, each one full of information and colour, sound and breath. Imagine the highway reaching to the sky, its steps as notes and stretches of sound as the straights. thisquietarmy have created such an image in their collaboration with Voivoid’s Michel “Away” Langevin, their rhythms bringing soul and a tangible “known” in a world full of the unknown. Eric Quach (the sole member of thisquietarmy) and Away may work in the abstract of synthesisers and modulated frequencies but The Singularity, Phase I feels rooted in the present and reflects a journey of discovery in its electronic pulses.
The dense beats of “Alpha 00000010” (played by Michel) drive forward the glistening synth lines of Quach, which twist as the song progresses and build an ever clearer picture of the engine on the road pushing for that extra ounce of power to make it over the finish line. Langevin’s drums are robust here, the strikes deliberate with eyes on the horizon and the ultimate goal of transcendence, while Quach’s guitars trip out over feedback and cosmic energy.
“ALPHA 00000011” treads the pathways of post-metal in its shimmering guitar patterns and melancholy atmosphere, allowing for respite in the voyage to the stars that thisquietarmy X Away have vowed to take us on. While “BETA 00000100” begins on more subtle gestures of sound it soon moves into discordant drum structures and unusual guitar lines in order to create a feeling of being off-balance, as though this is the turbulence that is experienced when moving through the clouds.
The Singularity, Phase I is only the start of this collaboration between the two Canadian artists, with Phase II set for later in June (this review has been a long time in limbo, apologies). This expansive, cinematic work is a beautiful reminder that the unexpected often brings about the most sublime of experiences and that the experimental is welcome in the world of drone.