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Canadian bowed guitarist and multi-instrumentalist C. Diab announces his fifth album Imerro.
(Real name) Caton Diab creates soundscapes that evoke the spectacular wilderness of his childhood home in northern Vancouver Island. Incorporating experimental textures, folk overtones and tape manipulations, C. Diab uniquely finds the unseen spaces in-between, and fittingly dubs his creations “post-classical grunge”. Imerro explores new sonic realms and is the culmination of a sound world that Diab has built up since the critically acclaimed ‘No Perfect Wave’ (2016, Injazero) and subsequent releases ‘Exit Rumination’ (2018), ‘White Whale’ (2020) and ‘In Love & Fracture’ (2021). The Wire calls it "ambient music in the best sense - music for living, which can be both non-invasive and immersive...epic"
Imerro was recorded in late July and August of 2021 at Risque Disque Studio in Cedar, BC, during the summer’s unprecedented second “heat dome”, which saw temperatures soaring to over 40 degrees. Recorded with regular collaborator and engineer Jonathan Paul Stewart, the pair journeyed by boat to the studio to a place with minimal distraction with a plan of “simple ecstatic improvisation.” Diab explains: “I wanted to place myself in a space for creation with little thematic pretence, with the belief that music ‘shows its face’ as you move along. I would pick up an instrument, whether I had experience playing it or not, and make a sound. If it wanted to be played, it would play.”
‘Ourselves At Least’, the rhythmic album opener gracefully leaps and bounds with a human-like metronome at its core, capturing a rush of elatedness felt by Diab over the course of its late night creation. ‘Lunar Barge’ bursts into life with tone-bending bow strikes that glide across Diab’s guitar towards a climatic peak before the track drops into an electronic/acoustic trance. Inspired in part by the rhythmical works of Huun-Huur-Tu and the animated cello play remindful of Arthur Russell. “Lunar Barge is a track for a dry, hot night in the forest (which it quite literally was.). I roamed around the floors of the studio picking up any instrument standing out in the moment, and tried to see if it had anything to say.”
‘The Excuse of Fiction’ sees Diab return to free-flowing guitar play, the chosen instrument of his youth. He loops layers to form an ethereal backbone before plucking further melodies from the air on top. The result is a cinematic guitar-laden expanse brimming with optimism and nostalgia. The title references a quote by Zizek: “We need the excuse of a fiction to stage what we really are.” Themes of remembrance, yearning and desire pervade the album's 9-tracks with a palpable presence as we reach ‘Quatsino Sound’, named after an inlet on Northern Vancouver Island where Diab grew up. It features hoopoe birdcalls which were sampled from a found cassette tape of African sounds before being randomized until it became rhythmic, then embellished with synth lines, bass drops, and bowed layovers. The album centres around the nocturnal ‘Crypsis’ with Diab sleepily playing notes on a switched-off Wurlitzer before dampened piano chords, bow scrapes, and noisy glitches reverberate. ‘Erratum’ erupts with untamed force from a war cry of screaming saxophone layers reminiscent of Colin Stetson. Its visceral thirst and energy seem to be a response to the heat of the night and Diab’s urge to play the instrument he loved but had yet learnt. ‘Tiny Umbrellas’, an improvised pass of banjo, bowed guitar and ethereal modular synths breathes a contemplative pause before ‘Surge Savard’ chimes in. This whirlwind closer started life as a longform jam under the influence of psychedelics; its modular synth, air organ, guitar and sax lines were initially improvised with final touches made at Watch Yer Head studio.
Imerro is a collection of song odes to both heat and desire, closely felt. Its title literally presented itself to Diab from a random page contained in a poem by Ezra Pound found in the book ‘The Imagist Poem’. Searching for its meaning, Diab discovered that Imerro is “a Greek word for ‘desire for, I desire you’, yet nothing could substantiate its truth. “It made sense, almost like it had chosen me. An obscure word for Desire, one that might not even exist, or is so ancient that nobody really remembers it meaning anything. It's just a sound, like an album.” Imerro finds Caton at his most expressive and free-spirited. Inviting the music to find him, almost by osmosis, foregoing any preconceptions of playing any instrument he is unfamiliar with or regrets not learning during adolescence. This is music for wide screens: the result is an undeniably evocative, moving and mysterious voyage.
A1. Ourselves At Least
A2. Lunar Barge
A3. The Excuse Of Fiction
A4. Quatsino Sound
B3. Tiny Umbrellas
B4. You'll Never Come To Dorset
B5. Surge Savard