Matter Of Practice // Pseudo Laboratories
Edmonton’s Zebra Pulse has been sharing their ever-mutating brand of strange experimental music with anyone and everyone willing to listen for almost 11 years. Their new album, Matter Of Practice, released over two cassette tapes on Edmonton record label Pseudo Laboratories, is epic in its scope and so are its rewards.
No two Zebra Pulse albums or live shows are alike and Matter Of Practice continues in this tradition. Recorded at Ortona Armoury in 2016, the mostly improvised album blends elements of free jazz, noise-rock, tape manipulation, synthesizer music and skronk in to 70 minutes of restless energy on the verge of exploding.
A good example of this is the eight-minute track “Conference Call (On Skype)” as it gradually builds up tension in what sounds like a scene out of a post apocalyptic war with Zebra Pulse firing off beeps, laser beams and strange manipulated tape transmissions into the void. The incredible drums seem to ratchet up the eerie atmosphere as the track reaches its end. Infusing the music with vitality and decay, drummer Sean MacIntosh is the beating heart of the metaphorical spaceship that is Zebra Pulse. The album closer “Meconium Diamonds” is a minimal, hypnotic, beat-driven track which is reminiscent of some early Boards of Canada soundscapes until the drums and distortion leaks into the track in signature Zebra Pulse fashion.
Zebra Pulse are always charting new territories with their music and Matter Of Practice is yet another thrill-seeking adventure into their world.
- Piyush Patel
Soul Food The Autobiography Of... // Makebelieve Records
MC A.Y.E. (aka Calgary's Jahimba Hutson) and his band The Extraordinary Gentlemen are hitting an excellently executed bob-and-stride on their third full length, Soul Food The Autobiography Of... All the recent national attention is well deserved, if not, a long time coming. International attention is sure to follow, facilitated by worldwide release through Makebelieve Records.
Soul Food The Autobiography Of... is full of soundbites of family and friends, voicemails, snippets of conversation all warm, curious and inviting. The lyrical content is often dreamy, bouncy, personal life reflections. A.Y.E. peppers these reflections with questions that make one think, yet require no answer.
The Extraordinary Gentlemen's strength is their ability to execute a tight dizzying array of beats and tonal attitude. They seamlessly weave around A.Y.E.'s lyrical delivery like a comforting blanket and never fall into the trap of overwhelming the listener with sound. They do this by leaving plenty of space, giving the album a cohesive, jazzy, airy and fun feel. It allows the listener to really meld with the ideas, and digest the message. Standout tracks include; the dubby "Feed Me", the bouncing banging "Homie Lover Friend", and the jazzy "Give Thanks".
The entire album is a statement on life, love, family and the human condition. We often need reminding that living things thrive with care and attention. Creating this album reminds the listener of the importance of nourishment, both in a physical and spiritual sense. Gratitude is the gift that enables this record. It was imperative that Hutson give back to the community that surrounds and enriches his life. In the same way, this album is a gift, reminding you that love, family and human interaction are food for your soul.
This summer, I've found myself head-bobbing, cooking, eating, lounging and contemplating to this album. Nourishing my mind, body, and soul. You will too.
- Drew Cox