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Martial law

Oh there will be synths and poetry tonight at the Bus Stop Theatre with Martial Canterel.


Living room introspection with Martial Canterel. - ALEX GAIDOUK
  • Alex Gaidouk
  • Living room introspection with Martial Canterel.

Since 2002, Martial Canterel (AKA Sean McBride) has been making splashes after diving head-first into new wave with NYC pals. "There was a real internalization of wave music as a kind of untapped periphery. For us, it narrated a history of ideas that remained interred, and because of that, there was something very private for us. Culture was set against a backdrop of easy money and a music that was unaware of a historical arc," he says of trends in electronica. "Now, fast-forward 10 years and I see there is a similar operation taking hold in wave music. It has become reified and codified. It lacks a perceived past towards a future. It expresses a one-dimensional style that does not challenge itself towards any kind of overcoming."

And there we have Canterel's mission statement---turn waves into tsunamis. On Navigations, Canterel pushes electronic sounds to new, post-wave places. He begins his eastern tour in Halifax with Organ Magic and Guilt.

From Brooklyn, McBridge performed as Moravagine until his more nuanced attention to new wave as Canterel. On Weird Records, he is influenced by and influences European sound.

"Europe has been a urheimat [homeland] for this music," he says, "I have often said that America holds very dear to its heart the guitar, and in the heart of Germany is the synthesizer. That community seems to have always been there, as an interest that survived the late '80s and continues to this day. I was genuinely shocked at how many people took this music seriously."

The music in particular is minimalist and Cold Wave in its approach to both production and composition, created with simple electronics and released on cheap technology like tapes. But Canterel pushes past even these conventions, incorporating obscurities while playing live.

"I'm using a small modular system and several Roland SH-101s as controller keyboards. It's important that every element of the music is being generated live and in real time," he says. "Analogue is akin to driving a Ferrari--- digital is the video-game version."

Over heavy but condensed sound, Canterel voices cold, distant poetry to create an industrial energy that propels everything forward like tidal power. A side project to his duo, Xeno and Oaklander, Canterel's music invites movement like a hot night in Berlin. Joining this minimalist performance is Halifax's like-minded Guilt (Craig Leonard and Matt Grimson). "Guilt played its first show a year and a half ago in the Khyber Turret Room. Its second show was at OBEY Convention in 2012. This will be our third time playing live," says Leonard.

With only a sampler and a microphone, Grimson speaks poetic confessions with Leonard's industrial machinations. Leonard describes Guilt as a "Pasttime by moonshine to make mindnight mushrooms and green sour ringlets whereof the ewe not bites." He and Grimson hope to present "sins, in quotation marks." He adds that poetry and music intersect tensely.

Similarly, Organ Magic creates tension using a harsh musical climate and large-scale visual arts. Over two years into the project with Jesse Mitchell, Magnus von Tiesenhausen says Organ Magic's setup is wild. Like an electro-ghost seance, they hunch over "a lot of super-cheap drum machines and effects pedals that we've modified or built ourselves," he says, "It works erratically." Currently mastering a new release and trying to make his own lasers, von Tiesenhausen and Mitchell have four words to describe Organ Magic: "Glowing snake eye dice."

Both Organ Magic and Guilt are honoured to be associated with the OBEY Convention and Electric Voice Records, and Canterel's Halifax debut should mark the start of staying wavy.

Martial Canterel w/Guilt, Organ Magic
Thursday, August 22 at 10pm, $10
The Bus Stop Theatre, 2203 Gottingen Street

Martial Canterel - "You Today" Video (Stereogum Premiere) from stereogum on Vimeo.

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