1 February 2009

Panpot reviews Blackhaunter

On fifth solo offering, Eric Quach [also of Montreal's destroyalldreamers] creates layers upon layers of beautiful noise

Thisquietarmy’s fifth album, Blackhaunter, feels like one of those imaginary soundtrack albums. This time, it’s not so much for a film, but for a dance piece. More particularly, for an interpretive dance describing a journey across some barren grey landscape. That may sound cold, but it’s not. It’s actually warm and lush. That’s not altogether common in the world of guitar drone, but Eric Quach, the man behind the album, has been refining this for years and he could safely make the hushed squalls of his guitar compete with meditative organ music.

Blackhaunter begins with a simple motif, slowly turning with tonal variations, but never burying them. The shifts in tone create a distance between the different layers and the track creates a wonderfully spacious quality, retaining the nudity of each stream of sound. This spans over two tracks and then burrows into a rather different place. The next track, "Vampyrs", commences with a lengthy and captivating otherworldly sound before becoming heavier. Drums come in and break up the space that was created and things become more angular, more controlled. Perhaps that’s why the following track is entitled "Taming the Beast". The remaining tracks follow much the same pattern, oscillating between the delicate drones and the shattering drums. From beginning to end, the album holds together without ever peaking, instead simply resting for moments in the sonic equivalent of a blur. Despite some gentle passages, it never become fragile and it feels like it has carefully encapsulated something larger than itself.

- Matt Purvis


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