Devastates
CST087      CD 180gLP MP3 FLAC

Reviews
"Bridges the radical and the traditional, the beautiful and the powerful, the obscure and the accessible, in ways never before imagined. This is deeply textured, earthy music, alive with mystic energies that are both timeless and ancient. Scintillating, mesmerising and original, it's a triumph, and a joy to listen to. Wherever Elfin Saddle go from here is anyone's guess, but it's bound to be absolutely fascinating."
Trebuchet

"To the folk aficionado, Devastates is essential listening...it shows great ambition and pushes the limits of what can be expected in the genre. At times, it is sonically spectacular.
The 405

"One of the best albums you never heard of this year [sic]."
Spin

"A steam-engined song cycle of snowy, mystical, art-folk drones and singing...an elegant exercise in protest music – further adventures in what the band describes as the 'beautiful perpetual incomprehensible.'”
Globe and Mail

"Intense, passionate folk music shot through with a sense of urgency and, at times, menace...Elfin Saddle certainly have a lot to say for themselves and a unique, technically brilliant way of saying it."
Drowned in Sound

"It is the sound of our varied and disparate cultures being fed into a huge difference engine and programmed by some very talented musical arrangers. It is the sound of our collective demise as humankind fails to meet its responsibility to its host planet and despite the depressing inevitability of its political message it’s all rather bloody lovely."
Alternative Matter

"[The Changing Wind] begins with random sounds (plucked strings, repetitive metallic scrapes) that eventually combine to form a pattern. As suddenly as it becomes clear, new instruments fill in and change the rhythm; it does uncannily recall the wind changing direction, pulling and scraping at branches and leaves... A complex and sticky musical experience that lingers after the last notes have been played."
Bitch Magazine
WurldElfin Saddle  DVD / 10"+DVD / DL
CST069
Ringing For The Begin AgainElfin Saddle   CD / 180gLP / DL
CST059



Description
Elfin Saddle deepens its compositional and conceptual agenda on Devastates, the band's third full-length album and its most urgent, ornate and impassioned work to date.

The Montreal group, led by multi-instrumentalists Emi Honda and Jordan McKenzie (who also share vocal duties), has always shown a profound engagement with issues of environmental sustainability and the emotional impact of economic/political ideologies that continually foreclose on the possibility of genuine, progressive renewal and redirection. The band's music-making – and the parallel art practice on display in Honda and McKenzie's installation and video work – investigates the tensions between nature and technology on multiple levels. With Devastates, this is explicit in the lyrical narrative of the album as a whole and implicit in the band's use of found and re-purposed objects to create its soundworld.

The new album weds an operetta-style song cycle to an organic, junkshop aesthetic to great effect, forging a unique hybrid folk music that weaves Honda's trilling vocals (often singing in Japanese) and McKenzie's woodsy, unaffected baritone with threads of clattering steam-engine percussion, ukulele, accordion, glockenspiel and pump organ. The addition of Kristina Koropecki's cello alongside long-standing third member Nathan Gage (Shapes & Sizes) on upright bass allows for a doubly melodic/rhythmic low-end.

Recorded in a small abandoned chapel in rural Quebec, Devastates is intimate and humbly epic, anchored by a DIY aesthetic and fuelled by the desire to say something both critical and hopeful about our common earthly trajectory. This is profoundly un-escapist and engaged folk music that avoids the obvious trappings of folk traditions, grounding the listener in a sonic and narrative terrain that stakes out a highly original and distinctive definition of protest song.

Thanks for listening.

Release date: 6 March 2012
Running time: 43:16

Packaging notes
Devastates is framed by the beautiful and subtly disturbing artwork of McKenzie, with its front cover conflagration of mutant birds serving as the perfect visual analogue for the album's themes. The 180gLP format is lavishly packaged with a full colour liner notes insert and a screenprinted art poster, both printed on archival paper.


Tracklist
1. The Changing Wind
2. Kiboho
3. Boats
4. The Power & The Wake
5. Chaos Hands
6. Invocation
7. In A Blanket of Leaves
8. The Wind Come Carry


Credits
PERSONNEL
Jordan McKenzie: voice, guitar, half-accordian, drums, varied percussion, membrane pipes, organs, piano, pvc processing, tapes, phonographs, speakers, etc.
Emi Honda: voice, ukelele, drums, half-accordian, musical saw, extra percussion.
Nathan Gage: upright bass, tuba, voice (TRACK 6), piano (TRACK 8)
Kristina Koropecki: cello, voice (TRACK 6)
 
GUESTS
Radwan Ghazi Moumneh: zurna (TRACKS 5, 6), bells (TRACK 6)
Nick Kuepfer: bells (TRACK 6)
Raïa Haïdar: bells (TRACK 6)
 

Recorded by Radwan Ghazi Moumneh at a chapel in Mansonville, Québec, December 2010, except "The Wind Come Carry" initially recorded at The PJ Mansion in Montreal by Tyler Fitzmaurice & Jonathon Boles. Subsequent playing and processing recorded by Jordan McKenzie at Alma House, Montreal, from January to September 2011. Mixed at Thee Mighty Hotel2Tango by Radwan Ghazi Moumneh. Mastered by Harris Newman (Greymarket).

Art/layout by Jordan McKenzie.