Toronto-based octet EUCALYPTUS Announce New Album Moves Out May 13th, 2022 via Telephone Explosion Records

“Time stands still on the utterly beguiling first missive from Eucalyptus’s forthcoming album, Moves.” – Foxy Digitalis

Toronto-based octet Eucalyptus has been steadily gathering a devoted cult following since the release of their debut10” Eeeeeuuucaaaaaaallyyypppptus in 2012. Led by acclaimed saxophonist and composer Brodie West, the band’s languid, kaleidoscopic jazz is very much a collective endeavor, the product of an internal network of improvisational synergy they’ve built over more than a decade together.Moves is their sixth release, and somewhat of a milestone. In addition to it being the octet’s most psychedelic and arrestingly soulful release thus far, it’s also their longest—their first, in fact, to cross into the bonafide full-length territory. They’re marking the occasion by joining the roster of Toronto’s favorite Telephone Explosion Records.Touted as “innately personal” by DownBeat MagazineBrodie Wests unique vision has been nourished by a bafflingly diverse array of sources. Meeting the legendary Dutch drummer Han Bennink in 2000 at age 24 not only sparked an ongoing creative partnership (including two records) but also led him in a number of other fruitful directions. Bennink was the connection to exploratory punks The Ex, who brought West aboard for their collaboration with Ethiopian saxophonist Getatchew Mekurya, which produced recordings and tours worldwide.Where the Brodie West Quintet (Astral Spirits, Ansible Editions) trades in clever jazz asymmetry and his duo Ways is a stark and focussed exploration of rhythm, Eucalyptus is where this eclecticism is most audible. The band simmers with polyrhythmic percussion, laid-back jazz sweetness, various strains of psychedelic wonk, and subtle tropical aromas from dub on “Rose Manor,” named after the retirement home of his musical grandmother Lorna (ever a source of inspiration for West) to Bossa Nova, as heard on “It’s In A Move.” Its streaks of free-form bedlam and pure sonic texture keep listeners poised for perplexity and cheerful volatility.

Moves manage to approximate the playful, intoxicating warmth the band conjures in their beloved local live appearances. Eucalyptus has made a tradition out of mounting month-long residencies at Hirut, a cozy east-end eatery that serves delicious Ethiopian cuisine. Hirut even gets a nod in the credits. Perhaps it’s because this record’s subtle whimsy and inviting disarray draw so much from the spirit of those evenings.A large part of this odd concoction’s success comes down to West’s co-conspirators, a veritable who’s who of Toronto’s underground music community. Trumpet player Nicole Rampersaudwho has since relocated to Fredericton, New Brunswick, has sculpted her unique tone as composer-in-residence at Halifax’s EVERYSEEKER Festival and in collaborations with the likes of Rakalam Bob Moses, Anthony Braxton, Joe Morris, and Telephone Explosion’s own Joseph Shabason. Ryan Driver (clavinet) has cut a series of gorgeous song records for Tin Angel Records and collaborated with Eric Chenaux (Constellation) in various projects while leading a number of his own imaginative outfits. Michael Smith (bass) plays with Toronto psychonauts the Cosmic Range and has toured and recorded with MV+EE, Sandro Perri plus countless others. Fellow Perri collaborator, percussionist Blake Howard brings the palpable joy of his playing to collaborations with Marker Starling, Little Annie, and the surrealist mischief of GUH. 2021 saw Nick Fraser (drums) leading a disc on Hat-Hut’s Ezzthetics imprint. It follows a string of other celebrated recordings with international out-jazz heavyweights like Tony Malaby and Kris Davis for Clean Feed, Astral Spirits, and more. In addition to pursuing his delicate solo song work, drummer Evan Cartwright plays in both of West’s other projects and has performed and recorded with Tasseomancy, The Weather Station, US Girls, Badge Époque, and Andy Shauf.Another exciting development unveiled on Moves is the presence of guitarist Kurt Newman, who replaces longtime member Alex Lukashevsky. Newman’s whirling treatments and colorful array of tones figure prominently into the ensemble’s new and disorienting sound. Newman was the co-founder of the premiere Austin improv festival No Idea alongside Chris Cogburn. A ceaseless collaborator who’s worked with the likes of Sarah Hennies, Tetuzi Akiyama, Mats Gustafsson, he also leads his own projects such as Country Phasers and the Nashville Minimalism Unit. ~Words by: Nick Storring

Produced by Brodie West and EucalyptusCo-producer Matt Smith

“Curious, melody-rich tropo-jazz bursts into an experimental frenzy in a melange of fragmentary moods, from languorous to psych-tinged; masterfully agitated trumpet, clavinet and guitar and sax trilling thoughtfully. Pure imagination at play.” — COMMEND NYC on Kick It Till You Flip It

#5, Best jazz/improv releases of 2019 — Bill Meyer, MAGNET, on Kick It Till You Flip It

“Alto saxophonist/composer Brodie West makes music that’s both exploratory and engaging, growing from varied experiences playing jazz and its transmutations in Toronto and further afield… The entire LP testifies to West’s artful concision” — Stuart Broomer, The WholeNoteon Kick It Till You Flip It

 

Album (Olivier Fairfield of FET.NAT and Simon Provencher of Victime) Self-Titled LP Out July 9, 2021, via Telephone Explosion Records

Album is the experimental glitch-groove duo of Olivier Fairfield and Simon Provencher, two tirelessly creative musicians working in the small but fertile community of Hull, Québec. Fairfield keeps busy as a drummer and producer with acts such as Last Ex and FET.NAT, whose 2019 album Le Mal was shortlisted for the Polaris Prize. Provencher has earned his own reputation as the guitarist of frenzied post-punk group Victime, bolstering their songs with an array of alien sounds and bizarrely shaped instruments. Though the pair’s various bands have shared stages throughout the past five years, Album’s fractured beatscapes are the fruits of their first proper collaboration.

Olivier Fairfield and Simon Provencher

Fairfield and Provencher began working on the music that would become Album’s debut album with a series of freeform jams in late 2019. The guitarist added fretless bass and heavily processed vocals to these improvisations, as the drummer integrated vintage sci-fi sounds with a DX7 synthesizer. The most exciting moments of these sessions were then used as the basis for sampling as they sliced and diced passages back together into an eerily futuristic electroacoustic patchwork.

“It’s hard to tell what’s computer music and what’s actually played,” says Fairfield. ”There were some elements left to chance and instances where we would throw ourselves in blind, then choose to use it. Instead of saying ‘ehhh, let’s not work with this’ our instinct was to say ‘this makes absolutely no sense, but let’s make it work.’ By keeping our foundation simple, the hybrid sound of what was played and what was created electronically started to mesh together.”

While it’s difficult to pinpoint any direct influences on these unclassifiable beat-driven collages, Album contains refracted echoes of experimental hip-hop and the jazzy acoustic elements of drum and bass producer Roni Size. Fans of genre-defiant Warp Records acts such as Seefeel and Squarepusher may also find something to enjoy in Album’s blurring of ambient waves, instrumental shredding, and clicky electronica. “We thought of the ’90s as a reference point, but not any specific artists,” shrugs Provencher.

The duo decided upon their band name after including it on an early draft of the cover art with ‘Album’ written as a placeholder. Song titles like “Google rap hommage” or “New and annoying” are meant to be equally bewildering, while others provide subtle hints at the sounds included within. “108 Mystical edit 2k20” drifts through sections of abstracted g-funk and trip-hop with incantory effects-drenched vocals, before “108 Percussion hits (au moins)” settles into a rare air of propulsive tranquility. “When I hear that song I feel like I walk into a room that’s somewhat normal and can hang out there for a while,” Fairfield laughs.

While countless musicians are now forced to collaborate remotely, the pair developed instrumental chemistry that can only occur by playing together in the same room. By recording their initial sessions like a jazz album with only a few microphones, they were able to capture an air-tight instrumental bedrock that rewards close listening. “That kind of sound is hard to manufacture,” concludes Fairfield. “If we recorded guitars with amps and drums in a huge room it would be hard to distill it into what it is now. Our approach was very dry, soft playing. Everything is in the details as opposed to the girth.”

Tracklist:

1. 108 Mystical Edit 2K20: 4:58
2. Présage Jazz: 0:34
3. New & Annoying: 2:31
4. Interlude: 1:11
5. Hommage å M. Cusson Pour M. Hoek: 2:34
6. Google Rap Hommage: 5:04
7. 165 Refrains: 2:24
8. 108 Y2K Voice: 2:38
9. 108 Percussion Hits (au moins): 4:53
10. Mood Allée Cinq: 2:53
11. La Derniére:


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