There seems to be a new/old music in the air, released by an electronic-savvy generation whose sound is derived from an army of one-person bands creating in the school of hiding-in-their-basement-making-genius-noise. Presently based in Paris, with day trips gigging in Berlin and Belgium, Woodhands was formerly based in Vancouver and is programmer and electronica artist Dan Werb. He first made his mark in Montreal fronting the seven-piece Red Pony Club, a Latin dance party outfit. After souring on the big band sound he went into self-imposed exile, a basement apartment across from a demolition site, and began to put together the pieces that led to this recording. It sounds as if it has been cooked up on a dirty cast-iron frying pan. The pops and crackle of vinyl mix with electric hum, Tom Waits-style piano, saxo- phone, sampled dialogue and late ’70s electronica, all seemingly pulled together on some Commodore 64 found in a dumpster. The genre: Electro-trash-Euro-scrap, but with the crucial soul of pop. The result is a cluster of charming hook-laden compositions. The Woodhands high-tech low-tech approach is what makes this recording work so well. It is never too slick and never too eclectic. The ambient rumbles are as important to the whole as anything else, and each has a reason for being there. Live, the band often performs accompanied by a dancer and multimedia projections — the music is only a part of the total vision. Woodhands performs at the Khyber on September 1.

Colin MacKenzie
categories: Coast pick,Canadian artist

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