“Doldrums swag is about setting sail before the ship has been rigged and successfully locking into a fluid motion.” – Flow Child (Doldrums live member & musical peer)
After a clutch of EPs on revered independent labels, eagerly devoured remixes for the likes of Peaking Lights, Grimes & Portishead, and years developing his craft as a DJ, producer and live performer, 22 year old Toronto native DOLDRUMS (aka Airick Woodhead) brings you his debut full length LP, Lesser Evil.
It’s an album whose sound is largely influenced by the transient lifestyle of it’s creator, drawing equal parts from European clubs and the noise music communities in Montreal, Toronto, New York and Baltimore. In these DIY spaces Doldrums has temporarily made his home, learning & being inspired by the fact that "you need to be able to adapt to any setting; a dance club, a rock band, a kitchen, an art gallery… You can't rely on anybody else. You do your best to fill as much of the experience with what you have and you fill the rest with pure energy until it's overflowing."
Over the last year, joined live by his collaborators on live percussion and electronics, this very energy & adaptability has captured audiences on tours with Grimes, Unknown Mortal Orchestra and most recently Purity Ring, as well as crowds at SXSW, CMJ, The Great Escape, Pop Montreal, Iceland Airwaves & Transmusicales. During these shows, Doldrums’ fluid ability to improvise and morph the set to suit the mood of the show has consistently left audiences surprised and energized. And this is the spirit that has been captured and committed to record for the 11 tracks that comprise Doldrums’ debut album.
Released on Feb 25th through Souterrain Transmissions in Europe (Feb 26th on Arbutus in North America), Lesser Evil was crafted between July 2011 & May 2012 through the cracked & glitched out screen of a borrowed Macbook – a screen which was scanned and fittingly used as the album's artwork. The music seems to arise from the same threshold at which technology is used hard enough that it breaks down completely. While earlier Doldrums releases have been constructed using solid samples of anything from 60s girl groups and Bollywood psychedelia to dial up modems and feedback, Lesser Evil is woven together from a more focused pallet of sounds; warped vocals through to analogue electronic gear.
Lyrically, Woodhead expresses doubts and self consciousness in his songs, like title track 'Lesser Evil'; a pledge to living in the present, and 'Lost in Everyone'; a twisted narrative of the pitfalls of an overly connected society. Though the themes of the album often dwell on confusion and paranoia, the tone of the music overall seems to be a kind of respite from these feelings, uplifted by finding an escape from them.
Throughout all of it, the dance jams, the abused samples, the wildly swaying moods and tempos, Lesser Evil is sewn together by the distinctive tones in Woodhead’s voice, ranging from the tender femininity of Sunrise and Holographic Sandcastles, to full-blown, tripped out howling on She is the Wave. A bold and varied offering that never once waivers when it comes to ingenuity, energy and imagination.