ALBUM REVIEW: Gigas' - “AQL”

Gigas' “AQL” sounds surprising like the live show, with lo-fi synths panning back and forth across the stereo field while sporadic vocals spill over the top. Digital drum machine beats thump incessently underneath, betraying the music as the work mostly of one mind, though the band now incorporates a full lineup of musicians.

There are a lot of interesting sounds, with psychadelic filter sweeps, samples, and the occasional strained guitar melody, but the lo-fi production does tend towards ear fatigue on repeat listens. (To be fair, I'm listening to this from the bandcamp stream; but, at the same time, most music is consumed in lossy digital formats now-a-days – but then again the extended range of digital instruments can be impacted more harshly by these encodings than instruments with a shallower range. It's a toss up.)

Many of the tracks, like the live show, tend to blend together and aren't always focused on a single identifiable motif or theme, instead focusing on a collage of other worldly sounds, or the tribal percussion and vocal hauntings of “In the Sun.” With any vocals proper generally buried deep in the mix, it's music that some might pigeon hole as “background music” but there's a clearly deliberate and confrontation sound to the music that might be routed in early proto-punk or highly cerebral ambient ala Boards of Canada.

As the tags on the site suggest, this is a sort of electronic shoegaze; stripped of the drum machines it could easily be called ambient. Lacking the higher tempos generally associated with “techno” of any kind, this is clearly music for thinking, and maybe dancing if you're on downers. But it's a sound that is pretty fresh to Halifax, and probably holds it's own nationally and beyond. With a little more polish and something to tie the tracks together, I can see this band going places with the right exposure. It captures the attitude of 90's slow wave music like Spacemen 3, and earlier electronic pioneers like Suicide or the Silver Apples, but puts a fresh foot forward. Highly recommended for late night headphone listeners.

http://gigas.bandcamp.com/album/aql
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Written by Dan Nightingale

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