Probably rather wrongly I usually gauge peoples musical obsession upon how deep their love of the obscure goes. Sure plenty of people love Metal and Punk, but it’s Experimental music that is surely the measure of a real music nerd. I myself stumbled upon Experimental and more precisely Noise music a long time ago mainly through the fabulous documentary People Who Do Noise (YouTube it, you won’t regret it). Going forward from there I became aware of the contemporary Classical composers John Cage and György Ligeti whom in turn opened my ears to the wider world of Classical. To add to this I was also given the opportunity to write reviews for a local Experimental music zine, a proud moment for me and a means to attest my love of the bizarre.
Delving into the mysterious water of oddity we discover Thisquietarmy, the solo escapade of Eric Quach a trailblazer for the Canadian Experimental music scene. His history is laced with almost fifty releases from thirty labels, not to mention collaborations with the likes of Monarch, Year Of No Light and many more. Yet it is to 2018 we turn our attention and to the release The Body And The Earth, promising more guitar wizardry and metallic Shoegaze-laden Ambient Drone there is plenty for a music nerd such as myself to get their teeth into.
The Body And The Earth may only be four tracks long but as you would expect from an Experimental release such as this, the aforementioned tracks are lengthy, two of them passing the ten minute mark. Therefore if you don’t like this brand of drawn out, progressive Drone then The Body And The Earth isn’t for you. In a similarly atypical fashion this release can easily be taken as painstakingly hypnotic, emotive and powerful as it can relaxing, ambient and really rather elevator. The later point being little more than a descriptor as oppose to a negative. Cometh brings the key elements of the album into focus, guitar driven progressive tones of pure bliss amid some pretty metallic, crushing drums that drive this album towards a more Drone or even Post-Metal sound.
As for the flow this release is certainly a journey, each track beautifully transitions into the next for a full album vibe. There is however very little to no variation in the Experimental features of this album. As previously mentioned the notions of guitar and drums are the focal point. This is to be expected if you look at Thisquietarmy’s prior works and for fans of Shoegaze this will be a delight. I do find that Sixth Mass and Algal Bloom are the pick of the bunch from The Body And The Earth, their length allows for a fully immersive experience, anyone who has attended an Experimental gig will be familiar to this out-of-body feeling. It is the sense that although the music is repetitive, its slow progression is like a tonal evolution moving from delicate sound to delicate sound with each silk woven note.
Overall The Body And The Earth is nothing new, it’s as cliché as Experimental music gets. Yet when evoking such emotion I feel this generic sound is only a bonus. I can’t say I wouldn’t like to see more variation but at the same time this album is very safe. It plays a good game but is by no means a winner, however that said this can lend a hand to those whom are less experienced in the underground. If you are such a person who is looking to scrap the barrel of music for the oddities that lay hidden then The Body And The Earth is a brilliant starting point and for that I can only give praise.
(7/10 George Caley)