Saturday, January 28, 2006

Interior Design – Interior Design 03 (Canada Lynx Records)
Interior Design is Shockk’s solo project. He plays guitar in Mongoose and the on-again, off-again Roadbed, and is one of the most ridiculously talented musicians I’ve ever seen, much less hung out with. If he weren’t such a nice, modest guy, he’d probably be famous. With Interior Design, he applies his dexterous fingers to ambient music. I think this is his first CD, after releasing a handful of tapes over the years. It comes packaged in a DVD case with a hyper-elegant sleeve designed by SN Ratio (Simian of Supersimian—see below—who’s becoming Vancouver’s answer to Vaughn Oliver or Storm Thorgerson). Shockk deploys his mastery of beatboxes, effects and jazz licks on music that is a companion unobtrusive. At times this album sounds like Pat Metheny jamming with Boards of Canada. With the exception of “abrasion test,” featuring a touch of trumpet from Roger Dean Young, the music you hear is just the Shockker, his guitar, and machines. The rhythm tracks alone make for a fascinating listen (Shockk’s pretty handy behind a drum set and carries this over when programming beats), never mind his stunning guitar playing overtop—too well-placed and appropriate of tone to qualify as mere noodling. The songs are of a piece while maintaining their separate identities, and several of the longer tracks take some interesting directions. Track 10, “opaque,” nods to Roadbed in the form of samples of between-song banter from Roadbed gigs (if you listen carefully, this blog gets a mention). The distortion drone of “geometric” works as a soothing musical sorbet for a mid-album ear cleansing before the next piece gets going. While some might scoff at the idea that this kind of Ikea-core might be anything but sonic wallpaper, Shockk’s ear for detail makes the music work as both an active and passive listening experience. Bung it on whilst entertaining, or hunker down under the headphones, close your eyes, and start editing together your own private Koyaanisqatsi. A highly recommended accessory for good living.

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