Hiss Tracts is an ongoing collaboration between accomplished and acclaimed sound sculptors David Bryant and Kevin Doria, who have for the past several years been diligently building up a body of captivating soundscape work. Both players are well-known for their work within various strains of drone-inflected and experimental music: Bryant as a member of Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Set Fire To Flames, Doria as a member of Growing and for his solo work as Total Life. With Hiss Tracts they channel these bona fides into thrilling new territory.
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 that comprise Shortwave Nights, their debut album. The record will be released 13 May 2014 via Constellation.
Doria and Bryant weave threads of dissonant drone, lush ambiance and sharp sonic textures into an immersive and complex sound world. While at first glance nebulous and disorienting, the duo mobilize an incredibly diverse sound palette to articulate a distinct intentionality and narrative flow, layered with haunting tension. The beat-less walls of sound erected by Hiss Tracts are rich, ornate and unmistakeably human (if perhaps at times a bit rough to the touch).
For the week preceding its release, Hiss Tracts' stunning debut album, Shortwave Nights, will be streaming in its entirety via Tiny Mix Tapes. You've already heard a few selections from the album: the title track, premiered last week by Decoder; "for the transient projectionist"; and "halo getters", released along with a gorgeous video created by Montreal experimental filmmaker Karl Lemieux (embedded below). Line of Best Fit have hailed the group's prowess "in finding both pointillist use for carefully culled sounds and emotive, cinematic effect for the album’s repeating auras of dread, unrest, and wonder," while A Closer Listen said, "Hiss Tracts holds an analog mirror to a digital world, and sweeps up the glass after the mirror has been broken." We're thrilled to now present this collection shimmering, sweeping soundscapes in its entirety. Head over to Tiny Mix Tapes now to listen:
We're a few weeks out from the release of Hiss Tracts' Shortwave Nights, and today the good people at Decoder Magazine have premiered the album's title track. "...shortwave nights" opens the record with a wash of churning drone before introducing one of the album's more directly melodic figures, build up from sparse guitar notes and haunting cello. Head over to Decoder via the link below to listen:
Decoder call it "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."
Shortwave Nights is out May 13. The full run-down, including pre-order info, can be found here.
Last week we welcomed David Bryant and Kevin Doria's new Hiss Tracts project to the Constellation roster, and let a gorgeous video for their track "halo getters" out into the world. We're now pleased to officially announce the release of Hiss Tracts' debut album, Shortwave Nights, on May 13th. See below for info on the album, and to hear "for the transient projectionist", another track from the album. The full run-down, including preorder info, can be found on our release page.
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.