Shortwave Nights
CST104      CD 180gLP MP3 FLAC

"A stunning collection of drifting, ambient soundscapes... Hiss Tracts have made an album of experimental music that feels like it was made to engage rather than alienate, casting aside inscrutability to create something surprisingly fragile and soulful."

"These artists are on top of their game... The title track, for example, combines post-rock and drone in a manner that defies both. Twin guitars meander in a static field. Cello lends a dark undercurrent, a hand visible beneath the muddy river. A distorted transmission attempts to break through, but succeeds only as the selection is winding down. “test recording at trembling city” is introduced with crackle – just another broken signal dying in the wires. But by the end, it seems as if every signal in the city is flooding the system at once. Hiss Tracts – the name implying both electricity and evangelism – holds an analog mirror to a digital world, and sweeps up the glass after the mirror has been broken."

"The album moves forward as a dreamlike patchwork, with flickering dulcimers melting into decayed cassette tape drones, cut up dictaphone whispers morphing into cinematic ambience, and the ever-present sprawl of the pair’s electric guitars droning, fluttering and yearning in equal measure throughout."

“Hiss Tracts specialize in...finding both pointillist use for carefully culled sounds and emotive, cinematic effect for the album’s repeating auras of dread, unrest, and wonder. Indeed, Shortwave Nights is an apt title for the album, a forty-five minute short-film of strange buzzing sounds overheard in close proximity, almost intrinsically evocative of witching hours."

"Lush but sinister, nightmarish but dreamlike, oppressed but elevated. The sustained bell tone and feedback provides ample industrial decay, while the shimmering guitar chord lets a little light into the scene, allowing sudden and brief moments of literal brilliance. Although there is a definite burden to these sounds, a grim sense of dread, Hiss Tracts maintains an uplifting tone."

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Shortwave Nights is the debut album by Hiss Tracts, a new duo featuring David Bryant (Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Set Fire To Flames) and Kevin Doria (Growing, Total Life). The two met in 2004 and struck up a musical friendship that led to three Growing records being made at The Pines (Bryant's recording studio in Montreal) and a separate collaboration between the two, initially in conjunction with experimental filmmaker Karl Lemieux (also GY!BE's current 16mm auteur/projectionist). Rehearsal tapes from a set of sessions for a Lausanne Underground Film Festival performance in 2008 became the foundation and starting point for Hiss Tracts; David and Kevin continued working throughout 2009-2013, but much of the material from their earliest session is still present, in one state or another, within the tracks on this debut album.

The sonic preoccupations of Bryant and Doria are well-known and well-documented across many highly acclaimed recordings over the past fifteen years, from the organic, group-based, semi-improvised collage albums of Set Fire To Flames to the glimmering, immersive minimalism of Growing and the more maximalist full-spectrum noise works of Total Life. David and Kevin are instrumental music practitioners of uncommon depth and intensity; Hiss Tracts opens new collaborative, procedural and narrative pathways for these fine musicians to continue exploring soundscape-based composition and production. Both are guitar players, and the electric guitar figures as both recognizable and unrecognizable source instrument on Shortwave Nights, but the deployment of a wide range of additional analog sources and signals ensures that there is no confusing this for a guitar-based drone, noise or post-rock record.

Shortwave Nights defies categorization by terms like "drone" or "ambient" and it does not easily slip into any of the predominant subgenres that have proliferated around studio-based soundscape work in recent years. Insofar as drone is a touchstone, this has mostly to do with the approach to mixing, which tends towards a transcendent/trance-inducing integration of elements into a unified, saturated, wall-of-sound stereo field. The album contains no beats or programming and very little that is identifiably loop-based or overtly sampled and sampler-driven. Occasional deployments of digital signal processing remain firmly in the service of Hiss Tract's overriding framework and commitment to analog sources and human instrumentation. This is not an electronic record, nor does it sit comfortably at either the pastoral or spooky/sinister poles of any ambient or 'whatever'-wave spectrum; it can perhaps best be placed within the broad lineages of post-industrial and musique concrète.

Meditative and visceral, humming with the electromagnetic atmosphere through which all manner of frequencies, transmissions and surveillances pass and collide, Shortwave Nights strikes an evocative balance between sonics captured-channeled-harnessed vs. composed-sculpted-performed, with an almost documentary rigour and restraint that nonetheless remains profoundly charged and engaged. Constellation is thrilled to introduce this new project with a brilliant debut album that has heavily infiltrated our brains and bloodstreams since Bryant and Doria first played us the nearly-finished recordings in the fall of 2013. Thanks for listening.

Release date: 13 May 2014
Running time: 44:28

Packaging notes
CD comes in a custom gatefold jacket printed on thick 24pt. paperboard with a printed CD dust sleeve. LP is pressed on 180 gram virgin vinyl at Optimal (Germany) and comes in a heavyweight jacket with black poly-lined audiophile dust sleeve, credit insert, pull-out art poster and download code for 320 kbps MP3 copy of the album.

1. ...shortwave nights
2. half-speed addict starts with broken wollensak
3. slowed rugs
4. drake motel / "9 gold cadillacs"
5. windpipe gtrs.
6. halo getters
7. for the transient projectionist
8. ahhh-weee dictaphone
9. test recording at trembling city
10. beijing bullhorn / dopplered light

David Bryant: Guitar, tape machine, piano, mellotron, portasound, bowls, field recordings
Kevin Doria: Guitar, oscillators, sampler, synthesizer

Jonathan Parant: Computer synthesis / digital wrangling
Brooke Dane Crouser: Krapt out Nashville guitar, dictaphone
Kristina Koropecki: Cello
Karl Lemieux: 16mm film projector
Will Eizlini: Triangle

Recorded/mixed by Hiss Tracts at The Pines, Griffintown, Montreal.
Mastered by Harris Newman.

Black & white photographs by Hiss Tracts. Film strip/tape panel and 16mm film re-photography/hand-processing of B&W photos by Karl Lemieux.

Thanks: Jonathan Parant, Karl Lemieux, Steve Bates, Michaela Grill, Carla Bozulich, Brooke Crouser, Katherine Peacock, Don & Ian at CST, the asshole who stole Kevin's van while we were mixing...