Review – “For Science!” – Waxlimbs

Grayowl Point

reviewed by Erik Sedore

Science, and its attendant technological progress and complications, is only ever going in one direction over the long run. You can try to build yourself an island if you want, but its shores will gradually get chipped away, atomized by an ever advancing digital tide. Toronto’s Waxlimbs have created a vaguely conceptual tale of the struggle to stay whole and human in a ever more inhuman world.

Fittingly, they take the form of a hybrid between a rock band and an electronic studio project. The opening title track takes a big swing, voices calling out in its lurching, grandiose chorus. That’s followed up by “The Joy Of Floating”, which seems to me to summon up the feeling of lightness that might accompany being transformed into pure, kaleidoscopic light, and shot out across the interstellar void.

“Molecules”, built on alternating calls and croaks of mechanized birds and robot frogs, is a lonely song, about passing…

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Review – “For Science!” – Waxlimbs

Some Writing Surrounding my Album

I put out a new album recently. Digging through my old documents, I found some writing that led to what some of the songs became, and a couple other musings. Posting them here feels good, so I’m doing it.


On Barn Burning

Old, dried Grey wood
A friend’s basement, herbal cigarettes
Stuffed marlin on the wall
Cold winter drive, coniferous walls

Green-shrouded basement,
we tried smoking today;
the basement stinks now

Warm, dark orange light,
A barn up in Caledon
Probably burning.


More Body

I am writing about my body.
Hang tense, with flashes of burst cell walls,
explosions of white chalk behind my eyelids.
My feet lie limp, my lower half sinking into disuse.
A great pool opens in my midsection,
an ugly willingness to drop.
My face hangs stern and my head pounds
in strange agony. My eyes twitch behind lids
and put pressure on my brain.
My breathing is uneven and my spine
pulls to the left.


An Image:
[Twelve Black Beetles, bottled.]


Konica C-35

My Konica C-35 was given to me by my Dziadzia. He had it since the 1950s and photographed a lot of people through it. He wasn’t an “art photographer,” but used the camera more for documentation of our family. Other Veterans, neighbours, loved ones; he was more interested in preservation than creation. When he gave me his binoculars, I came to the realization that he’s someone who based his life on experiences, on witnessing the world as clearly as possible. In contrast, I hardly leave the house these days, let alone take photos with the camera.


Monday February 29th, 2016

I hear the clinking of keys hanging from the ignition. My father tells me that people don’t pull over or remove their hats for funeral processions in the big cities anymore. Ahead of us, cars peel off the road to let the hearse pass; their drivers’ heads bowed. Light falls briskly against the mossy green lawns of St. Catharines around noon. My stomach drops a bit as the car lurches through potholes in the old roads, I’m brought back from a daydream to the moisture on my face and the strange weight on my chest. The car carries the faint smell of dried coffee and engine grease. I don’t mind; it’s a lot like being at home.


On The Funeral:

Grey with wind-blasted dew
We follow the old neighbourhood roads
through St. Catharines.
Opposing vehicles peel off the road
in a display of arms opening as ticker tape,
letting us pass.
The beetle-black of the hearse
an indicator that someone great is gone.

At the graveyard:
we step into the hellish cold
of a leap year, wind whipping our faces.

I haven’t seen my father cry since I was very young.
In his words, “he was a true gentleman.”
A poppy driven into the wood of the casket
breaks through him.
A flower from the bouquet blows to my feet,
I place it back on the lid.

 

Some Writing Surrounding my Album

Waxlimbs – The New Dirt

Another off-kilter review from our favourite Kai Nobuko!

Yeah I Know It Sucks


Artist: Waxlimbs
Title: the new dirt
Keywords: experimental, ambient, electronic, electronics, glitch, noise, rock,singer songwriter, Toronto

Like a burning forest the first track has the strangest kind of beauty to it. I mean everyone with a heart and some senses should love the forest, but the view of a fire burning everything down to ashes is not an unspectacular phenomenon to stare at. Waxlimbs brings this phenomenon in a song and music form; let’s put some marshmallows on a stick and poke them into the fire.

Waxlimbs also hits a sensitive subject to the collection ‘being afraid of dying alone’. It’s funny especially with the promised upcoming apocalypse after exchange of puppet masters in the US. The song writer clearly isn’t afraid of death, probably hasn’t have a problem with it; grabbing death’s hands for a dance and inspiration; but yet it’s the dying alone part that makes a person…

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Waxlimbs – The New Dirt

Track By Track: Masks

 

paul29
Photograph by Gabie Ché

The next song off Coldform, Masks started as a “morning after.”
Izzy and I had stayed up super late with Astrolope the night before; we had been recording vocals for It Turns You On. We woke up, had a crepe breakfast and started noodling around in the studio, and we came up with the bass line and arpeggio that starts off the song using my Minibrute synthesizer. We cobbled together a structure for the music and then sat down together and wrote the vocal parts. It was the first time I had sung on a song with someone else, so it was really exciting for us. After a few hours, we woke Paul up with a phone call and said “we wrote another song, come over,” and he did.

With the tune in his hands, he laid down the climactic ending heard in the album version. Being a percussionist, he also added some of the strange drums that can be heard especially toward the beginning;  the ‘ding’ sound was my favourite coffee mug, and the ‘shake’ sound was a can of nails.

I became very frustrated with my vocals on this song, and ended up re-recording myself about 6 times over. The others were more frustrated with my perfectionism than I was with the song, so I caved eventually and just left it the way it originally was.

Leaving this song to cure for a while, we came back almost a year later and recorded Paul playing the snare drum, replaced some of the samples (ie: the bass drum became a timpani) and cleaned up the mix. I added a little more “weepy” Minibrute at the end and the song was done.

Listen to Masks: http://bit.ly/25HAdku

Next up: Quantifiable!

Track By Track: Masks

Track By Track: Yourself Open

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Track By Track: Yourself Open

This song came from a friend lending me his electric guitar and me not knowing anything about playing guitar at the time. I recorded myself plucking and striking the instrument, and did a lot of sampling of individual sounds to a keyboard setup. I then programmed these guitar melodies like I would a softsynth. I ended up with a one or two minute beat. Once I moved to Montreal, I brought Astrolope into the mix and had him restructure the song with me. It became a six-minute strange instrumental, with a decent portion of it in 5/4 time. Izzy came over and we hashed out lyrics and recorded the vocals in a night.
This song was a real problem tune for me as the album started to take more of a form. It was too long, it wandered a lot and didn’t really have a payoff. I took some time away, about 6 months to a year.

On a plane to Mexico in 2014, I figured out the new structure. I wanted to cut the crap and make it more direct and give it a tangible climax. This became the version that can be heard on the record; something simple and to the point.

Listen to Yourself Open: http://bit.ly/1U2DV0A

Next up, Masks.

Track By Track: Yourself Open

Bandcamp, Downloads, Streaming, and the Inescapably Bright Future

Bandcamp Daily

In light of a recent report that Apple will soon abandon music downloads (later denied, but undoubtedly containing a certain amount of inevitability), we thought we’d take a moment to update you on the state of Bandcamp’s business and our plans for the future.

Bandcamp grew by 35% last year. Fans pay artists $4.3 million dollars every month using the site, and they buy about 25,000 records a day, which works out to about one every 4 seconds (you can see a real-time feed of those purchases on our desktop home page). Nearly 6 million fans have bought music through Bandcamp (half of whom are younger than 30), and hundreds of thousands of artists have sold music on Bandcamp. Digital album sales on Bandcamp grew 14% in 2015 while dropping 3% industry-wide, track sales grew 11% while dropping 13% industry-wide, vinyl was up 40%, cassettes 49%… even CD sales…

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Bandcamp, Downloads, Streaming, and the Inescapably Bright Future

The First Time is Terrifying

IMG_9410 copy 2.JPG
Photo by Sam Haggart

Waxlimbs has a small show at a small bar called The Cavern in a small city called Toronto on Wednesday, and we’re playing three new songs.

This is one of those times where I nervously consider how my experience of a song will translate to the experience of other people hearing it for the first time. Naturally, they won’t place nearly the same weight as me on the experience because I’m the one responsible for delivering it. What is terrifying is the thought that what we do as musicians won’t make an impression, that it will glance off people and spin into the abyss that is “new music.”

TL;DR: What if they don’t get it?

It’s also a very exciting moment where you get to do the thing you’ve been dreaming of for months or in some cases, years. All of the pressure, doubt and struggle that went into making this thing will finally be relieved on stage!
That’s a pipe dream- but every artist believes it on some level. Through presentation, they are free of the burden of keeping the material alive in their own hands- it will go into the world and grow on its own. This isn’t always true but everybody has that feeling deep down.
I know through cyclical discussions with friends that my fear is baseless anxiety, that things will evolve with time; my satisfaction will wane with it.
That validation that comes with “releasing” something is purely vapour, and that’s ok.

I think the hard part of having a back-catalogue is owning it years after you release it. I hate performing a lot of older songs now, but I owe that to the work. I need to support it after the shine has worn off. Otherwise, I’m squandering what might be there for others. It’s kind of like raising a kid, but with less sticky hands and gross things like that.

Alright, end-rant.
-Alex

The First Time is Terrifying