Kanada 70 — Vamp Ire (2012, Constellation)
Buy [ no stream, sorry]
Since the mid 2000s, Toronto musician Craig Dunsmuir has deconstructed pop formalism, producing a slew of highly repetitive (at times somnolent) postmodern études. These works are brilliantly executed and take cues from a host of different stylistic predecessors, although Dunsmuir leans heavily towards 1960s-1970s West African Afrobeat (presumably, his selected moniker is an homage to Fela Kuti’s Legendary Africa ’70/Nigeria ’70 groups). From the coasting melodica on the opening “Ignore Dub I” to “Mou,” which shifts wildly into proto-industrial territory recalling the tension of Suicide and the atmosphere of Skullflower, Dunsmuir demonstrates (on the first two tracks, no less) that artistic prowess, depth, and versatility are not dependent on temporality (which is to say song duration) to appear fully-formed or well thought out. “Delivery” is acid-house for noiseniks. Pads gently swell in and out and the listener is submerged in the repetitive motorik machinations of the tune. Whether it’s two-minute fragmented electro pieces or reimagined Afrobeat motifs, Dunsmuir’s Kanada 70 resorts to a seldom used format which re-envisions popular music(s) structural make-up and its compositional process. The result is as interesting as it is accessible.