Hiawatha Language

Last year, Toronto, ON's David Psutka (aka Egyptrixx) put out one of the 2011's criminally overlooked releases, Bible Eyes. It was a mass of austere, shrewd 16-bit electro. Conversely, Halifax, NS's Ian McGettigan (formerly of Thrush Hermit) released his second LP as Camouflage Nights earlier this year, showing just how bloated and gratuitous beat-based indie can sound. With Language (the first release from Psutka and McGettigan's collaborative project, Hiawatha), the duo concurrently cut the fat and tone the muscle, leaving the listener with near-flawless explorations in the emotional push-pull that electronic music can conjure. Using heavy doses of digital distortion and off-kilter rhythms, while falling into digestible four- and five-minute runtimes, tracks like "Glass" and the two-part "Permission" feed off the polarizing clashes between the foreign and familiar. With Language, Hiawatha have managed to create a transcendent piece of art, the kind that comes off as pedestrian, but feels ethereal. (Last Gang)