Dusted Reviews

Kanada 70 - Vamp Ire

today features
reviews charts
labels writers
info donate

Search by Artist

Sign up here to receive weekly updates from Dusted

email address

Recent Reviews

Dusted Reviews

Artist: Kanada 70

Album: Vamp Ire

Label: Constellation

Review date: Jul. 3, 2012

Craig Dunsmuir is hardly one of Toronto’s unsung heroes, but his profile is noticeably lower than Glissandro 70 co-conspirator Sandro Perri, who last year enjoyed significant critical acclaim with Impossible Spaces. Since 2004, he’s been making solo recordings and limited edition CD-Rs as the amusingly named Craig Dunsmuir’s Solo Guitarkestra, more recently as Max Gross, and DJ’d as part of the Invisible City Sound System crew. Vamp Ire is his latest, part of Constellation’s successful Musique Fragile collection (Pacha’s Affaires Étrangères and the Hangedup/Tony Conrad collaboration Transit of Venus are the others).

It’s not that Vamp Ire is a radical diversion in from his previous material – there are no vocals, certainly, and songs float solidly between one and four minutes. His musical vocabulary, however, has expanded in new ways that continue on from last year’s Meagre Means. You can hear in the Guitarkestra works from 2004 that Dunsmuir has long exhibited a fascination with tone and fluidity; even when he’s not necessarily playing the same notes, missing (intentionally or not) a pluck here or a strike there or adjusting up and down the neck, the trance endures. The same could be said of Glissandro 70 or Meagre Means and the same applies in a roundabout way here on Vamp Ire.

It’s strange that he’s still able to make these influences sit right beside the more familiar fare of his lighthearted post-rock and Afrobeat guitar licks but his talent lies, unlike Demdike Stare or Vatican Shadow (say), in placing them next to one another rather than blending them together. Following on from Meagre Means, Dunsmuir has absorbed the influences of darker music more readily – the depth of dub, the cold mechanisms of techno, and the abrasion of early industrial factor in heavily.

Take the opening drone “Ignore Dub I” and its transition into the motorized descent of “Mou” that follows, or how “Delivery” sounds like a machine working overtime in a 1950s sci-fi flick, yet “Gnaer” sounds like a jaunty math-rock intro that never quite gets going. There’s the angry orchestral touch of “Annoyo” right next to the “world music” shake of “Redrag.” The groove that he works remains the tie that binds throughout these 15 songs.

I’m inclined to believe Dunsmuir is using the same drum machines and effects as before and recording straight to his TASCAM 8-track as he’s also done in the past. It’s an interesting listen, but with more music on the way as Kanada 70 and Max Gross, Vamp Ire stands out in the catalog at this point primarily for its packaging. As a milemarker on the way to other, newer sounds, it may yet represent a turning point. Wait and see.

By Patrick Masterson

Read More

View all articles by Patrick Masterson

Find out more about Constellation

©2002-2011 Dusted Magazine. All Rights Reserved.