Sep 112014


(In this post our man in the UK, Andy Synn, reviews a live September 4 performance in Islington by the collaboration between Devin Townsend and Ché Aimee Dorval known as Casualties of Cool.)

Last Thursday I was lucky enough to see Casualties of Cool, the world’s finest proponents of Ambient Canadian Space-Country, perform a gorgeous, mesmerising set at The Union Chapel in Islington. And it’s taken me a while (I have been somewhat busy/ill in the intervening time) but I’ve finally got round to penning some thoughts about the experience.

To start with, for those of you who don’t know, the venue itself is pretty magical, a beautifully apportioned and enclosed chapel with rows of pews on ground level before the stage (and pulpit) and several more on balconies up above. The stained glass windows and hanging wrought-iron chandeliers add a touch of weight and worth to the surroundings, while the candles flickering in alcoves in each overhang only enhance the warmth and beauty of the place.

When it came to the show itself… well, there’s a reason this was sold under the title Casualties of Cool, and not under Devin’s own name. Because for once this really wasn’t a Devin Townsend show. Continue reading »

Jun 042014

When our man Andy Synn reviewed Casualties of Cool, the new album by Devin Townsend and Ché Aimee Dorval, he called the music “Canadian Space Country”. I thought that was a clever turn of phrase, but also an apt description of the songs. And when he came to the album’s second track, “Mountaintop”, he wrote that it generated an “earthy, alien-country vibe”, the “ghostly strumming and phantom background radiation conjuring a series of strange, synchestrated visions out of simple sound and silence”. Only today did I realize that “synchestrated” isn’t in the dictionary. But it too somehow sounds… apt.

And I’m thinking about “Mountaintop” because today the UK’s Independent premiered an animated video for the song. The artwork is by Jessica Cope, who also created the fantastic video for Steven Wilson’s “The Raven That Refused To Sing” (which you should watch here if you haven’t already). Here’s the description from the Independent: “It follows the story of a traveller who is lured to a sentient planet which feeds off of the fears of its inhabitants. He finds solace in old objects he finds there, including a vintage radio and a phonograph, and eventually confronts his fears. In turn, his actions free a woman trapped inside the planet.” Continue reading »