Published Oct 01, 2004As the Broken Social Scene theme park expands, its members continue to erect new attractions; the Apostle of Hustle (BSS guitarist Andrew Whiteman) now adds his own amusement park ride to a long list of diverse and accomplished projects that already includes Stars, Metric and Feist. But the Apostle, an Afro-Cuban-influenced rocknroll band, actually preceded the current collective incarnation of BSS. Finally, a confluence of events has resulted in Folkloric Feel, one of the years best efforts, a dirty-under-the-fingernails exploration of dusty streets and urban effluvium all part of a process that Whiteman calls "gleaning (collecting whats discarded, to learn by laboriously scraping together pieces of information). That process is all over Folkloric Feel scraps of instruments, of melodies, and of lyrical snippets all meticulously arranged in a seemingly abstract pattern reveal their secrets slowly. Key to this process, as with other BSS projects, was producer Dave Newfeld, who instead of recording the Apostle, helped assemble the result from scraps of recording that Whiteman had haphazardly accumulated. In fact, this is the second crack at an Apostle record; the first was scrapped after Broken Social Scene hit its stride and creativity was clearly at a premium. The result is a beautiful album of soaring ambitions and smelly realities, the antithesis of most contemporary, "perfect recordings. Indeed, if anything Whiteman seems out of time Folkloric Feel is an otherworldly pirate broadcast from an warm island nation where beautiful women tap the rhythm with their feet, siestas are mandatory, and if you keep buying the band drinks, theyll play you beautiful maladies till sunrise.
This is a dirty-sounding record. Whiteman: Ive always wanted that, for as long as Ive been working on stuff. I used to call it sleaze, and there are elements on this record that sound sleazy. As a single statement, its good its my foundation. I can go anywhere, any musical direction, which I will do. There are all sorts of different chunks on the record, and theyre all pieces from my life. Its a feel, a texture.
How do you go about actively not making something perfect? I was definitely striving for perfection, but my version of perfection isnt Newfelds version. Its a total compromise. I love the record, but wow, are there ever problems. I can hear a bunch of things that I would have done differently, and I know Newf is the same way. But we knew what the vibe was the whole dirty vibe. Thats what people miss out on when they strive for perfection. You sacrifice the blood.
So if BSS is a collective, this is yours: youre the man. I could see why someone would think that, but thats really not the case. It doesnt feel like Im making my statement away from [BSS] this is my life, 15, 20 years of my life. Waiting for that cheese to get ripe. Im not a megalomaniac about things; I like other peoples input. Yes, it is my thing, but it comes from a lot of sources. The Gleanings a good title. Folkloric Feel is a better one. (Arts & Crafts)