Epsilonlab AudioVideoTherapy

Montreal is truly on some next shit. Nowhere is the city's progressive artistry more evident than in the work of Epsilonlab, a collective of techno producers, video jockeys, and interpretive dancers. AudioVideoTherapy brings the collective's live performances into the home environment in glorious fashion. Comprised of 12 A/V compositions, this disc is a collaborative effort between Montreal's hottest techno producers and their counterparts in the video-making field. Taken alone, the music of lap-toppers like Eloi Brunelle and Ghislain Poirier is outstanding. These tracks make for a moodier companion piece to last year's more floor-oriented Montreal Smoked Meat compilation. Deadbeat's contribution, in particular, is a gem; clearly under the sway of his German counterpart, Monolake, the native of Kitchener serves up a generous slab of echo-laden digital downtempo. Tasty stuff. Throughout, a cast of talented VJs strut their stuff against the boom-tick backing. The weakest of these compositions seem to get stuck in the locked grooves of the accompanying music, mining a standard dance club visual trope: repetition. But in general, the jocks do an impressive job of fleshing out their aural inspirations. Some prefer to sync their clips' internal movements with those of the backing track. Others, like the eccentric Johnny Ranger, take us on a wild journey, crafting a narrative in a style reminiscent of the silent film era. Props, especially, to Pillow, who takes digitally-shot footage of commuters and manipulates these images in subtle, yet ingenious ways. For all his cohorts' computer-generated pyrotechnics, Pillow finds the beauty in simplicity. Extras: documentary short, artist bios. (Fusion III)