15 Songs, 38 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Home recording is hardly killing music, as the music industry tried to suggest under a different context many years ago. Musicians sequestered in their basements worldwide are recording material that’s every bit as interesting and sonically impressive as that being produced in the world’s most accomplished studios. Noted illustrator and animator (his work has appeared on MTV2), Chad VanGaalen has been working at a feverish pace in his Calgary, Alberta basement studio, putting hundreds of songs to tape and paring them down to album length for mass consumption. What to make of this eclectic mix that divebombs from manic new-wave metal (“Flower Gardens”) to swaying acoustic falsetto (“Graveyard”) without pause and with odd homemade instruments poking through the arrangements? Much like VanGaalen’s lyrics, it’s probably best not to take anything too literally and just groove on the ‘sound.’ VanGaalen’s at his best when he sounds like a down-and-almost-out Neil Young, hanging onto the bar for last balance. “Systemic Heart” sounds like a country-band stuck in a junkyard, with bleating harmonica, staggering cardboard box-like drums and frayed vocals that suggest the party started days ago and refuses to die. Not life-changing stuff, but generous in spirit, nonetheless.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Home recording is hardly killing music, as the music industry tried to suggest under a different context many years ago. Musicians sequestered in their basements worldwide are recording material that’s every bit as interesting and sonically impressive as that being produced in the world’s most accomplished studios. Noted illustrator and animator (his work has appeared on MTV2), Chad VanGaalen has been working at a feverish pace in his Calgary, Alberta basement studio, putting hundreds of songs to tape and paring them down to album length for mass consumption. What to make of this eclectic mix that divebombs from manic new-wave metal (“Flower Gardens”) to swaying acoustic falsetto (“Graveyard”) without pause and with odd homemade instruments poking through the arrangements? Much like VanGaalen’s lyrics, it’s probably best not to take anything too literally and just groove on the ‘sound.’ VanGaalen’s at his best when he sounds like a down-and-almost-out Neil Young, hanging onto the bar for last balance. “Systemic Heart” sounds like a country-band stuck in a junkyard, with bleating harmonica, staggering cardboard box-like drums and frayed vocals that suggest the party started days ago and refuses to die. Not life-changing stuff, but generous in spirit, nonetheless.

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