Mike Shannon Memory Tree

Mike Shannon Memory Tree
Throw this in your car stereo for a late night drive down a long road in the brush. The mood has been set for this, Mike Shannon’s third full-length artist album, Memory Tree. That is, if you’re scouring the hills for roots techno that’s soft, mellow and glitchy. This record should have a place in your collection for nights to relax by the figurative fireplace. Shannon makes his entrance unassumingly with the low crackling audio of "Beyond Incubation,” reminding us of the mood warm vinyl can set. The album carries on into cleaner and more defined sounds that resemble brilliantly shined metal. The third track, "Wolf Module,” continues down the urban road, creating a musical backdrop for a factory filled with underground mechanics and gears. "Dr X” brings in sounds cavernous and upbeat that would mix into any deep house set in a club that pays homage to the classics. Memory Tree is airy, luminescent, deep and rhythmic. It holds elements of many electronic styles — Detroit techno, ambient and house — bringing them all together in this warm place where a genre is merely a noun, and music never ceased to be real.

In what way could the music industry in Canada show more support for techno?
The industry in Canada can’t realistically support techno more than it already is. Techno has always been a relatively underground thing in Canada but recognized worldwide as a quality breeding ground for some great labels and acts. Plus 8 and Minus are technically Canadian labels, for example. There aren’t any other outlets to support techno in Canada that aren’t already being exploited. I mean, I guess editors at magazines like yours could give myself or other artists a cover once in a while [laughs]. And I guess the majors could take electronic music a little more seriously and sign something that doesn’t sound like it belongs in every other Molson Canadian commercial. Look at what the Dutch did with Tiesto. Maybe the Canadian majors can try the same thing with some good-looking kid from Winnipeg or Yellowknife.

What sparked the creation of Memory Tree?
The Memory Tree seed was planted when I was arriving in Berlin. I just set up a new studio and a lot of ideas started to flow. A lot of things personally were happening that inspired a lot of the tracks. It just made sense to compile things and work on a new album for 2008 but I didn’t know where or how it would exactly end up when I started working on it. I personally wanted to write a collection of tracks that broke some new ground for myself, shying away from the ultra-minimal and trying to write some more soulful techno.

And what was your experience finally releasing a record with Plus 8/Minus?
Working with Plus 8 was like a childhood dream of mine coming true. I always had a ton of respect for Rich, John and the artists involved with the label. Some of the first techno records I owned were on Plus 8 and to be a part of that as a Canadian was a milestone in my career. Running a label, my experience working with Rich and the Minus guys has been an interesting and inspiring. Just seeing how the whole machine works and how it’s possible to create a label like this that’s almost completely independent and compromise-free. Rich most definitely tries to follow through with things so that they work out exactly the way he had planned it. Of course, things are never perfect every time but they certainly plan them to be and go to great lengths to make sure it comes out looking that way. (Plus 8)