The Transcendental Power of the Body and Its Voice

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Doomsquad siblings Trevor, Jaclyn, and Allie Blumas compiled the following multimedia playlist, ahead of their Kalaboogie album for Hand Drawn Dracula / No Pain in Pop.

Our relationship to music has always been a physical one. Perhaps that came from growing up in a household with a drummer dad who would pound away at his kit for hours on end in the basement. (We’re kinda making him sound like a Neil Peart/mad scientist crossbreed, but he’s really not . . . I don’t think) Because of that though, we kinda just came to feel music as opposed to solely listen to it. We felt the beat on a corporeal level pulse into our bodies from the floor below. That same physical sensation we experienced then still sticks with us as we construct our own musical voices.

The people and videos below however once again changed everything for us, because through them, we realized you didn’t just need a heavy beat to feel the music, and in fact, the music didn’t even need to be external at all. These performers showed us how you could lock into a spiritual entrainment with your body and use it as an instrument to conjure up the most mind-boggling sounds, tones and voices. I’m mean, we wanted to know who or what the fuck they were all channeling? Something otherworldly? Or something very, very terrestrial? Either way, it's pretty wild stuff.

Most of these video clips are of singers, physical singers, who really show the instrumental potency of the body in relationship to its voice. They revealed to us the infinite qualities and characteristics you could draw from by just plugging into your own fleshy analog processor (ya, that sounds a bit gross). But this really changed everything for us, as we plunged head first into the psychedelic mind space of the electro-sphere of digital instruments and samples. We realized we didn’t have to continue to purchase new sampler packs, and spend hours layering or EQing that perfect sub kick in order to create a type of music that is really felt. We just had to look within ourselves . . . deep, eh? Now that’s your moral lesson for today. DIG OR DIE.

Mary Margaret O’Hara, “Don’t Be Afraid” (from the film September Songs: A Tribute to Kurt Weill)

Trevor: Mary is a Toronto icon and a creative figure who the city takes deep pride in. And rightfully so. We couldn’t think of anyone we’d rather have as an unofficial ambassador of our city. Well her, and Michael Snow of course. We are actually totally humbled to say we know this woman and call her a friend. In fact, before we we’re even really a band, one of our first “performances” was when she called us up on stage during a show at The Horseshoe Tavern and had us play one of our musical ideas while she sang over it. We were so psyched out. It was wild. Totally one for the books. Anyways, Mary remains a guiding figure in our musical ambitions, and we try and channel her spirit everytime we step up to the microphone.

Kronos Quartet and Tanya Tagaq

Jaclyn: We first discovered Tanya Tagaq when she was singing on Bjorks all vocal album Medulla, and have been following her career ever since. Tagaq reminds me of what mother nature would look like in physical form. The music she creates from her diaphram and throat is the ultimate sound of a human being in its raw form. Tagaq is from Nunavut, a Northern Territory in Canada. So much amazing art and culture comes from our Northern Territories and often doesn’t get the recognition it deserves.

I particularly enjoy this video because of the collaboration between Tagaq and the San Fran quartet. I love watching her listen to the instruments and interact with the other players. Tagaq seems to know what’s up and appears to have enough stamina to live through the apocalypse.

Robbie Basho, “Blue Crystal Fire”

Allie: I first heard Robbie Basho a few years back in the dead of winter when a friend played me “Blue Crystal Fire.” It immediately seeped deep down into the depths of my veins, like beets clearing out the toxins in your bloodstream after a night of intense drinking. To help you understand this song better, try to imagine this. You are standing on the top of a rocky mountain and all you can see is a 360 degree range of more mountains, clouds, and that one peaceful little valley down below you which holds a placid, emerald green lake. So then, imagine that brisk mountain air rushing by you lifting the hairs on your skin. And then imagine that air hardens and forms into beautiful crystals that aggressively land on the calm lake. Just as those crystals land on the water, the clouds part, and reveal the magnificent sun. This is Robbie Basho! His voice is like an angels’ sinking deep into your blood, whispering sweet nothings into your ear, as you stand on the glorious mountain all alone. And his guitar playing is like tiny little crystals gliding across the emerald lake that exists before you, sitting so majestically in the, used to be shadowy, valley. This is the sphere in which Robbie Basho exists.

Nico, “The End” (Live in Tokyo, April 11th, 1986)

Trevor: What can we say that’s not already implied here through Nico’s (one of our deepest inspirations) totally other-worldly performance of a Jim Morrison/ Doors song (another one our based-level icons). This shows the full psychic commitment she has to the music, and the performance, and the message! The medium is the message! And this video shows a serious artist committing to her art. A total art. GESAMTKUNSTWERK! A haunting lullaby, that carefully balances the soothing and the graceful, with the horrific and the ugly. This careful ying and yang is the same kinda efforts we try and make in our music, and it certainly originates here for us. We often dream of Nico singing this song through an antique microphone as all of hell’s fire burns around us, or an Alien space invasion destroys our beautiful planet, or the illuminati drives their capitalist empire to the brink of human extinction. We’re generally cheery optimisits. We swear!

Bulgarian Voices ANGELITE, Huun-Huur- Tu, Moscow Art Trio

Jaclyn: I seem to really resonate with the harmonies that come from the minds of the North. I think in a past life I lived in a cave somewhere, cold and snowy. I knew all sorts of mystical secrets and had the ability to sing drones and overtones simultaneously like the Throat singers from Huun-Huur-Tu. Listening to this track makes all things good again. I love how this musical collaboration is somewhat traditional, yet totally wild and crazy with Tuvan instruments, alongside minimal electronic beats and a Bulgarian Womens Choir. Totally mind blowing insane!

Marie Chouinard, “Body Remix”

Allie: Well, I know for a fact that many people have stumbled across this video on Youtube when they search things like “weirdest video’s you will EVER see”. But for some, this video puts it all into perspective. Apart from being involved in this musical project, I am also a dancer, and I can honestly say that this is the reason why I do what I do. Look at the way this Montreal based choreographer obscures the bodies, morphing multiple bodies into one, blurring the lines of gender specificity, its outrageous and completely insane, but I bet you will never see anything like this again! Not to mention the obvious fact that these dancers are extremely capable of portraying such a bizarre concept! This video is just one small segment from a large piece that is about an hour long. I highly recommend watching the whole video, if you find this interesting. I have seen it close to 20 times, and every time I am on the edge of my seat. DIG or DIE !! WHOA!!

Doomsquad's new album, Kalaboogie will be available on Hand Drawn Dracula in the US and Canada and No Pain In Pop in the EU/UK, February 25.