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年份 2018
藝人 Suuns(散失樂團)
專輯   Felt (CD)
廠牌   Secretly Canadian
樂風   Alternative, Art Rock, Club/Dance, Experimental, Krautrock, Synth-pop

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在黑暗中的愉悅。

Suuns 一直都不是個易聽的存在,,從 2010 年的第一張專輯《Zeroes QC》開始就能夠略知一二,當時在推薦人的時候都希望他們多給這張專輯的每一首歌一些時間,他們不是前十秒就可以決勝負的樂團,像是在挖某部分的淺意識,每個人的位置不一樣,而且是從黑色的部分開始,當癢處被搔到的那刻,你會跟上 Suuns 的脈動,找到屬於各自灰暗的快樂。

經過發行了三張專輯《Zeroes QC》、《Images du Futur》、《Hold/Still》的過程裡,Suuns 慢慢找到了由最自私的方式出發,也從另類吉他的主觀意識漸漸轉變為聲音的創造,用像是魔術般的合成器與扭曲吉他聲音找到最準確的表達作用,唯一不變的是主唱 Ben Schemie 夢囈般的狀態,在無意義的歌詞中強迫給予意義(他第一次來台死都不講歌詞,我私心覺得無意義),有趣的是,當他們開始自私,聲音卻變得更加有彩度,不再冷漠,而且非常的放鬆,但你聽到或許正是他們想欺騙你的,偏執與挑逗永遠不會在正面發生。

這篇推薦沒有提到半次新專輯的名字,Suuns 就是這樣的團,專輯名稱不一定重要,團員名稱也是,給他們的音樂多一點時間,直接聽並且放下耐心的限制,你會找到最深處的愉悅。(William, 原文刊登於小白兔通訊2018年第五期《高密度》)

“This record is definitely looser than our last one,” says Suuns singer/guitarist Ben Shemie. “Its not as clinical. Theres more swagger.”

You can hear this freedom flowing through the 11 tracks on Felt. Its both a continuation and rebirth, the Montreal quartet returning to beloved local facility Breakglass Studios but this time recording themselves at their own pace, over five fertile sessions spanning several months. A simultaneous stretching out and honing in, mixed to audiophile perfection by St Vincent producer John Congleton who flew up especially from Dallas to deploy his award-winning skills in situ.

While maintaining a pleasing economy, the informality of self-production has enabled Suuns to explore bright new vistas. “Us doing it ourselves, that process was like a very receptive, limitless workshop to just try out ideas,” declares drummer Liam O Neill.

Hence the hypnotic future-pop percolations of X-ALT or the way Watch You, Watch Mes organic/synthetic rush builds and and builds atop elevatory rhythm and the ecstatic, Harmonia-meets-Game Boy patterns. As befits a band who cite Andy Stott and My Bloody Valentine as touchstones yet dont sound like either, Suuns have always seamlessly blended the programmed and played. Never mere fusionists, its now pointless trying to decode their sonic signature as dance music that rocks or vice versa.

Other notable developments are singer/guitarist Ben Shemies newfound vocal range and buoyant melodies, showcased in such wholly unexpected delights as the yearning lilt of Make It Real and sax-smoothed Peace And Love, which sincerely comes on like a post-punk Sade. Theres a previously unheard confidence to the singer and lyricist, perhaps best exemplified by centre-piece Control, where his hushed tones are complemented by a bilingual voice musing on dreams and reality, sampled from an old Montreal social art project.

Suuns are proud of their roots in Canadas most socialist province, while sonically standing apart from Quebecs string-swept, accordion-driven, choral chamber indie scene. “Conditions are great for musicians, but not so much if you want to be a high powered investment banker,” laughs Ben. “If I could compare Montreal to anywhere Id say its kind of like Berlin, in the sense that there isnt a huge industry, so there isnt that much money. Plus you have to speak French if you want a career, so that stops too many people moving here. Its gentrifying at a slower rate than other cities.”

Quebecois natives Shemie and guitarist Joseph Yarmush founded the group just over a decade ago, the latter having moved to Montreal from a nearby village. The only member not to be formally schooled in jazz, guitarist Yarmush studied photography and utilized his visual training to help realize Shemies novel concept for the eye-catching album artwork.

“I was at a barbecue last summer and there were balloons everywhere,” recalls the singer. “I like this idea of pressure, resistance, and pushing against something just before it brakes. And there is something strangely subversive about a finger pushing into a balloon. It seemed to fit the vibe of the record we were making. We made plaster casts of our hands, going for a non-denominational statue vibe. Joe came up with the colour scheme, the sickly green background, and shot the whole cover in an hour.”


Its a suitably outré image for Felt, which breaks with Suuns earlier darkness for a more optimistic ambience. The records playful atmosphere is echoed by its double meaning title. “Some people might think of the material,” muses Ben. “I like that that could be misconstrued. Also its to have felt and not to feel – a little introspective, but that feelings in the past.”



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