Review / thisquietarmy x Away – The Singularity, Phase 1

To call Eric Quach prodigious would be an understatement. Under the alias of thisquietarmy, he has produced bewildering numbers of releases over the years – 14 albums at the last count and countless singles, EPs and collaborations, such as teaming up with drummer Aidan Girt (Godspeed You! Black Emperor) to form Some Became Hollow Tubes and working with Belgian experimental artists like Dirk Serries (Yodok III, Fear Falls Burning) and drummer Tom Malmendier.

This time he has joined forces with the legendary Michel ‘Away’ Langevin, founder, drummer and visual artist with fellow Quebecois noise makers, Voivod; the result is The Singularity, Phase 1, apparently the first in a (hopefully lengthy) series of sonic outpourings. From the atmospheric opening strains of ‘Alpha 0000 0001’, Quach’s familiar guitar sound is in evidence across the album, ebbing and flowing with droning, quiet, shimmering passages, effortlessly shifting to harsh distortion and disorientating soundwaves. The drumming from Away is as intuitive and it is inspiring, as you would expect if you’ve heard him before; both jazzy and tribal, thundering and gentle; his polyrhythms complement Quach wonderfully to create a sprawling, captivating soundscape that tells of some potential dystopian future, most likely similar to that depicted on the cover art, which he also provided. We’re giddy just recalling the sheer talent!

This is undoubtedly a fascinating record. It is not full of catchy tunes or indeed of individual moments of brilliance; rather, it is the astonishing overall result of two people at the peak of their powers, working together to create something different, challenging, engaging. Boy, have they have succeeded. The chemistry between the two just seems to drive them on, taking the sound further and further into the deepest recesses of outer space. The good news is they have hours and hours of more material in the bank and let’s face it who wouldn’t welcome more of this all-enveloping escapist music in these challenging times?

The Singularity, Phase 1 is out now and can be ordered here.

Words: Scott Crawford

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