Audio Mixers: Radwan Ghazi Moumneh; Suuns.
Recording information: Thee Mighty Hotel2tango, Montréal, QC.
Canadian indie electronic quartet Suuns first teamed up with friend Radwan Ghazi Moumneh, who had done like-minded electronic sound art under the name Jerusalem in My Heart, in late 2012. The longtime friends and collaborators got together with no definitive plan, hoping to maximize time together in a rented studio and come away with a wealth of new music. While the original sessions resulted in a plethora of new sketches heavy on mystical sequenced analog synth riffs and moody Kraut-punk rhythms, the recordings would go unchecked for over a year as both parties got caught up in their respective projects. After a well-received live version of the band performed at 2013's Pop Montreal festival, work resumed on the recordings, ultimately taking the form of this self-titled, seven-song album. From the beginning, soft-focus electronics take center stage, as with the spacy synth arpeggios and vocodered vocals that allow album opener "2amoutu I7tirakan" to drift into existence. Moumneh's background in sound art and audio collage is hinted at when the sound of dual analog typewriters clacking away cross fades rhythmically into the sound of computeristic synth patterns on the opening moments of "Gazelles in Flight." While kosmiche electronic textures are abundant, the project also explores Arabic rock influences on the moody drones of "Seif" and more softly drawn Chicago post-rock on the Gastr del Sol-reminiscent "Leyla." The album jumps between different modes gracefully, never committing fully to one style and often switching gears abruptly. The spontaneity of the project lends to its improvised, somewhat ponderous feel, but there's a grace to the various movements, so the shifts are rarely jarring. While there's no clear mission statement or overarching theme to the album, the group's collective energy is exciting and propulsive throughout, sounding very much like a group of close friends ecstatically pushing each other into uncharted musical territory. ~ Fred Thomas