FYEAR - FYEAR 162852
1 LP
FYEAR is a Montréal-based ensemble led by composer Jason Sharp and poet/writer Kaie Kellough that fuses spoken word into genre-bending compositions for electronics, two voices, two drummers, and processed saxophone, pedal steel guitar, and violins.

FYEAR incorporates drone, out-jazz, post-classical, ambient metal, avant-rock, and modular synthesis in a sonic and stylistic palette the opposite of collage or pastiche: the FYEAR ensemble integrates a unique and unified sound/aesthetic while traversing adventurous and variegated terrain.

Kellough's poetic materiality conveys acute political-existential themes, alternating between declarative, meditative, and cut-up/semiotic manifestations.

This self-titled debut album is a supremely innovative 40-minute multi-movement work; an ardent mission statement that mines the interzone where Saul Williams, Moor Mother/Irreversible Entanglements, Shabazz Palaces, Zulu, Angel Bat Dawid, Damon Locks/Black Monument Ensemble, Shabaka Hutchings, and Matana Roberts are all iconoclastic neighbours.

FYEAR melds improvisation and composition, traditional notation and graphic scoring, electronic and acoustic instrumentation, lucid recitation and abstract vocalization, balancing intensive structure with an expansive sense of exploration.

Through several years of collaboration, development, workshops, commissions and performances conducted by Sharp and Kellough, their wordsound practice has culminated in this nine-piece group which also features poet/writer/activist Tawhida Tanya Evanson (present director of the Banff Centre Spoken Word program) violinists Josh Zubot and Jesse Zubot (Tanya Tagaq, Darius Jones, Joshua Hyslop), pedal steel player Joe Grass (Tim Hecker, Patrick Watson), drummers Stefan Schneider (Bell Orchestre) and Tommy Crane (The Mingus Big Band, Aaron Parks), with live visual [typo]graphics from Kevin Yuen-Kit Lo, who also designs the album art.

Propelled by the vocal interactions of Kellough and Evanson, FYEAR interrogates our present and future post-capitalist polycrisis, invoking collective anxieties, emotions, and critiques.

Sharp's music comes in waves and squalls, his bass saxophone clear as a foghorn in places, but often processed to generate synthetic drones and tones in exudative harmonic sequences with the swells of Grass' pedal steel guitar.

The Zubot brothers add sometimes searing, sometimes ambient, sometimes frenzied and semi-improvised strings, as drums shift from paintbrush textures to driving crescendos and the occasional blast beat.

Kellough, a recent recipient of the Griffin Poetry Prize (Canada's premier poetry award), channels the overstimulation, alienation, and atomization of our info/culture wars in a febrile medley of fragmented and layered texts, conveying the clash of authentic and performative politics, contentious catchphrases and empowering slogans, didactics and diaristics, whitewashes and greenwashes, mantras and testimonials, meta- and micro-analyses; our whole impossible existential stew of dissociation and yearning and anguish and hope.

FYEAR re-poetizes our constructed, manipulated social/conceptual realities, re-inscribing questions about the future by setting them to a wildly dynamic and evocative temporal soundtrack: Who does it belong to? How will it be shared? How do we project a collective future into the contested challenges of climate change, global migration, wealth gaps, safety/precarity, identity/affinity, segmentation/segregation, all our seemingly irreconcilable histories and forward visions for the world we dream to inhabit? Timely and timeless themes to be sure, but FYEAR materialises them in a distinctive and vital sonic expedition where contemplative, disquieted, and visceral readings of our struggles, fictions, shackles, desires, neuroses and freedoms unspool through a fervid artistic lens that brims with thought, feeling, and urgency.

Thanks for listening.
  • Tracklisting
  • 1.2. PRECIPICE