Published May 24, 2008For anyone whos seen a room fall under the spell of the Mole, its no surprise that his long-awaited debut As High As the Sky (on Mathew Jonsons Wagon Repair label) is as good as it is. Colin de la Plante, the master sampler behind the Mole, has had long enough to rise to the occasion.
Rare groove by rare groove, hes been perfecting his disco-tabbed fusion of Detroit techno and British progressive house since 2001, both as a solo artist and as a member of the Modern Deep Left Quartet, a mostly live foursome with Victoria, BCs Mathew Jonson and Cobblestone Jazz, guys he grew up with.
"A lot of my songs are born in the live set, he writes via email. "They get tested there first and then arranged later, once I'm comfortable with my understanding of them.
Mole tracks are born the old-fashioned way, from a love of vinyl hunting and obscure sampling, and AHATS is very much the closing chapter for all the years he spent in Montreal digging through the vinyl cemeteries that dot the city. It could be the last gasp of Montreal influence; the Mole relocated to Berlin a few months ago, prompting a radical change in his sampling sources. "Now that there is less American music around, I'm getting into things I've never seen from the other side of the iron curtain, things like Polish jazz and Hungarian prog rock or German jazz rock. And this has been quite a nice new set of discoveries for me.
Canadas loss is Germanys gain. All those dusty grooves from Montreal basements have resulted in an excellent debut that breaks free from the European emulation that sometimes holds back Montreal producers. With AHATS, the Mole has delivered a headspace of his own, and its one of the funkiest, most confident and immediately engaging electronic albums to emerge from a Canadian producer in a long time.