Over the last few years, Jace Lasek‘s fingerprints have been all over many of the most important and well received Can-indie releases. Whether it’s his own band or his skillful production and recording, he seems to have entered the “Gargamel boiling 6 smurfs” realm; all of his concoctions bubble up to create gold.
Lasek’s latest endeavor, The Soft Province, proves the point. The new self-titled LP is a musical collaboration with long time friend, musician and recording engineer Michael Gardiner. Recorded two years ago, the intricate mix of pop and warming fuzz evolved slowly from sketches written by Gardiner and the finished arrangements transport the listener to a dreamy state of bliss.
With both men so obsessed by sound, the delightful, well constructed results aren’t surprising; Gardiner’s 12-string work dances lightly, letting Lasek add just the right mix of thumping drums, bass and fuzz. That sonic understanding lets the duo ensure structure never restricts the sound or prevents experimentation, but they also manage to reign in the psychedelic meanderings that often plague artists sampling from the same sonic palette. These aren’t aimless wanderings; the melody of the opening track, “I See Two Eyes”, wraps around you like a warm, drug induced haze, making you smile for no apparent reason and their restraint helps the high last until the last note of the forty minute affair.
Every note, even tangential noise affairs like “Late Night” and droning “In A Some See No One Club”, float over your body, perfectly bouncing around your headphones but what makes the record work so well is how the duo – with guest support from members of Besnard Lakes and Suuns, Young Galaxy – manage to add enough muscle and triumphant surges to this sun kissed adventure to help it stand up during the cold winter months.