More Than Human's Winter Ritual with Sinoia Caves, the Passenger and Phil Western

Fox Cabaret, Vancouver BC, November 6

More Than Human's Winter Ritual with Sinoia Caves, the Passenger and Phil WesternFox Cabaret, Vancouver BC, November 6
Passenger
Photo: Alan Ranta
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Run by CiTR host Gareth Moses, More Than Human is one of Vancouver's most interesting labels. The fledgling outfit already boasts diverse experimental EPs from the likes of German electronic music legend Dieter Moebius, Planet Mu associate Ekoplekz, and London A/V artist Time Attendant. This pagan inspired "Winter Ritual" gave fans a glimpse at its past, present and future.

Kicking off the evening was frequent Longwalkshortdock and cEvin Key collaborator Phil Western. Sitting in the back corner of the stage, partially obscured by several folding tables covered in electronic paraphernalia, he started with an ambient soundscape that recalled Boards of Canada, building to deeper droning IDM by the end. It had a vibrant metropolitan kosmische sound, with his pulsing bass guitar swimming amidst the layers.

From there, Western assumed the role of sound guy to mix Sinoia Caves and the Passenger. Jesse Creed (aka the Passenger) is a longtime member of the MTH family, having been the name on their very first release, (Negative Object, from 2013, but both Creed and Jeremy Schmidt (aka Sinoia Caves) should be a big part of its future, with the artists slated to release the first two full-lengths on the label in the next year or so.

Having made waves as part of the Black Mountain collective, Schmidt showed that he clearly has the skills to carry a show on his own. With battery-powered tea lights illuminating his Oberheim OB-SX and Manikin Memotron keyboards, the distorted static visuals of Jean Brazeau flickering across the Fox's old movie screen behind him, Schmidt appeared virtuosic. Keeping time with his heels, he triggered organ-esque drones, creepy choir and vintage synth melodies while tapping out bass lines with his feet on a Moog Taurus. His sound has that classic Italian horror movie soundtrack vibe, which made his score for Beyond the Black Rainbow work so well, but to see him bring it to life solo takes it to the next level.

Creed capped the evening off with a sweet progression, starting with a buzzing ambient drone, built layer-by-layer until a prominent synth melody and steady beat emerged at about the six-minute mark. From there, Creed settled into post-apocalyptic downtempo acid, laced with the unsettling wooziness heard on so many Aphex Twin compositions. Creed was all business, his head down with the brim of his baseball cap hiding his face, but he had the biggest table of gear on the go, which didn't allow him much showboating time.

Altogether, this was a night of pure electronic music geekery. Western kept the sound on-point, and all three artists plumbed their diverse influences to converge on similar themes. With a pretty decent turnout for a Thursday night, this bodes well for the future of More Than Human.
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