thisquietarmy, “Melted Lead on Ashen Fields”
Hypnotic auditory chaos: ethereal and majestic, vast and layered, reshaped and looped, and wound throughout with intertwining melodic passages – Eric Quach’s transcendent soundscapes are the “kind of sound that droneheads and ambient fans dream about”.
Guitarist and founding member of the Montreal-based instrumental shoegaze & post-rock band Destroyalldreamers, the self-taught auditory/visual experimentalist is also known for his work as thisquietarmy, a solo effort which started as a side-project of Destroyalldreamers in 2005, and became his main project in 2008. On various labels in Europe and North America, Eric has released several albums, a handful of EPs and several collaborations with artists such as Aidan Baker (Nadja), Scott Cortez (lovesliescrushing) & Yellow6.
Mains de Givre is a recent side-project of thisquietarmy that began in 2009, with violinist Émilie Livernois-Desroches (formerly of Profugus Mortis). The dark fruit of this union, Esther Marie, released in 2010 , was reviewed by Silent Ballet as a “… beautiful, haunting journey through swirling textures and moods…” ; an eerie snippet from the opening track can be heard in the short promotional video below, created by Meryem Yildiz. Coilhouse readers with long memories may remember Meryem from a previous feature.
Quach is also involved in a number of other projects, to include Parallel Lines, a ‘krautgaze’ trio where he’s joined by Ryan Ferguson on synths and Pascal Asselin on drums , and Ghidrah, a noise trio featuring thisquietarmy alongside Aun and Maggot Breeder.
On collaborative efforts, Eric shares:
“…the resulting chemistry and musical surprises of collaborations are often completely unmatched as they can exceed my artistic vision and expectations, and that’s what I thrive for when it comes to collaborating with one or several other artists. It usually either works really well, or it doesn’t at all.
“The more there are people involved in my projects, the more my artistic vision becomes impaired, and the more I lose control of the entity. I am a control freak, but I don’t possess the leadership ability to impose dictatorship upon others. The best way to remedy this issue was to have a project of my own and work strictly alone. Naturally, thisquietarmy became the project that has the most leeway in every aspect, and that I’ve put the most miles on so far.”
thisquietarmy’s live performances are inclusive sensory experiences, “multimedia installations”; largely improvised, multiple real-time loop sampling – thus rendering the effect of a “texture-over-texture wall of sound” – and prepared ambient visual projections. These abstract visuals, which Eric describes as “ghostly, sombre atmospheres”, in theory captivate the audience and act like a kind of hypnosis. With that kind of focus, he elaborates, “the brain will constantly try to make links between the sounds and the images, which transcends into emotions vis-à-vis of their state of being, at that moment. The pairing of these two senses is the perfect gateway to the imaginative realms. The connection between the aural and the visual is so powerful in terms of escaping the everyday reality… music can transport you into another world.”
“As an artist, I think it’s important to try and interpret your work with the help of another medium, instead of words. It seems like every form of art must be interpreted with words, which is in my opinion, the least accurate way to express the feelings you want to describe. I’d rather link a sound to an image or vice-versa as to leave the meaning open to interpretation and actually engage an interaction with the one who listens to the music…
Being … the pathway between two abstract medium opens up an infinite number of possibilities that relate to each individual, and thus a different interpretation affected by their life situation or past experiences.”
When not composing music, Eric also runs a successful label, TQA Records, which specializes in “innovative design & handmade packaging of limited edition EPs” and embraces “ambient/drone, shoegaze, kraut, instrumental, electronic & experimental sounds” Although the label was started as a platform from which to release the first thisquietarmy title, through working with like-minded artists and networking with reviewers, distributors, etc., a dynamic community of fans was created and TQA has achieved a “fairly impressive output of consummately crafted releases” in the last few years.
The label recently released two new Aural Diptychs -one which comprises two recurrent names that have often been tagged as ambient, post-rock & electronica: Yellow6 & Absent Without Leave, as well as Noveller/unFact, which features ‘two of the hottest names in the U.S. ambient scene today’: Noveller is Sarah Lipstate from Brooklyn NY – one-time member of Parts & Labor and Coldcave. unFact is David Wm. Sims of The Jesus Lizard. Other notable upcoming releases will include “Electroluminescent/Pattern Blue” before the end of the year and in 2011 decomposing the duos of lovesliescrushing and Nadja into two solo discs – Scott Cortez/Melissa Arpin-Duimstra and Aidan Baker/Leah Buckareff.
Proving he is never one to rest on his laurels and has in fact many, many irons in the fire, Eric notes that as for thisquietarmy, there are also a few upcoming releases in the works. A new album on Aurora Borealis (UK), Vessels, with artwork by Meryem Yildiz, a collaborative album with Yellow6 on Basses Frequences (France), and “an ambient document called Sunday Afternoon Drones which was performed impulsively in public on a Sunday afternoon” which should come out on a new German label.
thisquietarmy live at Christ’s Church Cathedral