Backward Music Vol 1
SCQ Rating: 82%
On the heels of Forward Music Group, the collective that showcases Atlantic Canada’s music scene for an international audience, comes Backward Music, a subsidiary that weaves music and technology within a unique aesthetic. That may read like a rather dry, almost corporate run-through but the label’s debut release, the plainly titled Backward Music Vol 1, belongs immaculately free of any cookie-cutter scene.
Concealing a treasure-trove of electronic, ambient and instrumental goodies, this collection acts as a seamless sampler for three artists: Bing & Ruth (one David Moore from New York City), Joshua Van Tassel (multi-instrumentalist from out west) and Tim Crabtree (who you might know, among other projects, from Paper Beat Scissors). Selecting these particular songwriters and tracks shows a respectable aversion on the part of Backward Music to typical compilation-type releases, as there isn’t a jarring transition to be found. From the overcast couplet of “And Then It Rained” and “Bottom Of the Well” that occupies the album’s midpoint to the gorgeous electro-acoustic tracks that usher them in and out, Vol 1 has a graceful flow despite its choice variety. “Holy War” delivers electric keys deserving of The Album Leaf but with live drums that give the track an added kick and “Wish You Were” oscillates a tender acoustic refrain with percolating staccato undercurrents.
On a disc curating such a lush in-between, it’s wise to keep things simple. While a step outside of the mainstream by way of its instrumental nature alone, Backward Music Vol 1 is wholehearted comfort music – life-affirming stuff you might not otherwise know exists. It also sets about establishing three unique artists to Canada’s under-established electro-acoustic scene. So let’s bring on Vol 2!