Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Majical Cloudz reveal Impersonator @ The Great Hall, May 13

Majical Cloudz is centered around Montreal-based songwriter Devon Welsh, who is joined by Matthew Otto to collaboratively produce and perform his songs.

Though Majical Cloudz stand stylistically apart from other artists in their Montreal scene - which includes Grimes, Doldrums, Blue Hawaii, and others - they're nevertheless proud beneficiaries of its camaraderie.  “The waves that are being made internationally by Montreal musicians really started in the fall of 2009," explains Welsh, "so the fact that it is finally happening is unbelievable and I’m euphoric about it, I don’t think I could find an art/music scene as rewarding to me anywhere else, because I think it takes a while to get comfortable being vulnerable in front of a whole community.”

While last year's Majical Cloudz II album relied heavily on the vocals of Welsh's ex, Claire Boucher (better known as Grimes), Welsh's own expressive voice became the main thrust of Majical Cloudz subsequent Turns Turns Turns EP. The forthcoming Impersonator – out on Matador May 15 – builds on that important development, bringing Welsh’s expressive ruminations on love, death and desire into sharper focus while further reducing the sonic accompaniment to a bare minimum of loops, whirs and thuds. 

"In the last few years there’s been a massive explosion of amazing music made with computers, samplers and other electronic equipment," observes Welsh.  "The possibilities became nearly endless and musicians indulged those possibilities. I love that kind of music but it also started to overwhelm me. I wasn’t cut out for the maximalist expressions of that style. So I took a break from music, and when I started again it was to make music that barely existed and felt like stillness more than movement. Where the songs could be more about humanness. I love all forms of electronic music, techno, house, rave, hip-hop, but I never want to feel like the music I’m making is just about stylistic play. The easiest way for me to do that is try to make something without obvious movement; where the music isn’t overstuffed sonically or referentially, it’s emptied out as much as possible. So the vision for Impersonator was to communicate a lot with as little as possible. It’s not meant to energize and turn you out to the world, it’s meant to do the opposite; it’s more like a cocoon."

Most of Impersonator was written at Welsh’s father’s house in rural Ontario, in the basement after he went to sleep. He says, “One day I realized I had 15-20 songs, and they made me feel like I had overcome the dead end I thought I was in. I started realizing that I could say anything I want in a song.”

Appropriately enough, Welsh cast his aforementioned dad, veteran actor Kenneth Welsh aka Twin Peaks' evil genius Windom Earle, as the lead in Emily Kai Bock's video for his song Childhood's End, one of Impersonator's more personally revealing statements.

"Emily and I have known each other for a long time, going back to the days of Lab.Synthese, which was the venue she lived in and ran with Sebastian Cowan, Alex Cowan and others," offers Welsh. "I have been a fan of her video work for a long time so I was thrilled that she was interested in collaborating with myself and Matt. I have been present at two of her other video shoots (for Grimes’ “Oblivion” and Solar Year’s “Brotherhood”) so it was an unfortunate but ironic twist of fate that we were on tour during the filming of this video. As a result, some of the details of its production are a mystery to me, but it makes it all the more fascinating for me to watch. My sincere gratitude goes out to Emily, Bobby Shore and everyone else involved in the production. It’s a truly cinematic video and we are honoured to have our song as the soundtrack.

"I’m also very grateful to have a video that features my father Kenneth Welsh, who is a very accomplished actor and who has spent decades acting for the stage, film & television. His career has been a long and impressive one but you may know him best from the television show Twin Peaks. His performance in the video is very moving and I’m mostly just really happy to be able to collaborate with him in some way (this is not the first time he has collaborated with Majical Cloudz, as he played the flute and trumpet on two early recordings back in 2010).

"Matt and I are both really happy and excited about the positive reaction to 'Childhood’s End.' It’s always a strange experience to make a deeply personal song and then release it into the world and play it for lots of different people during tours. Even though it gains a whole other significance by becoming part of who we are as a band, it still remains incredibly personal on some level. So it’s great that other people can get something out of it too."

Check out the Childhood's End clip below and catch Majical Cloudz on tour with Youth Lagoon, which makes a Toronto stop at The Great Hall on Monday, May 13.

Majical Cloudz tour dates with Youth Lagoon
4/30 Orlando FL @ The Social
5/1 Atlanta GA @ Terminal West
5/2 Nashville TN @ Mercy Lounge
5/3 Asheville NC @ Grey Eagle Tavern
5/4 Carrboro NC @ Cats Cradle
5/6 Hoboken NJ @ Maxwells
5/7 Northampton MA @ Pearl Street Nightclub
5/8 Hamden CT @ The Space
5/9 Brooklyn NY @ The Bell House
5/10 Philadelphia PA @ Union Transfer
5/13 Toronto ON @ The Great Hall
5/14 Columbus OH @ A&R Music Bar
5/15 Chicago IL @ Metro
5/16 Madison WI @ Majestic Theatre
5/17 Minneapolis MN @ Fine Line Music Cafe

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