By Alex Mohammadi
Electronic music has always been one of the core elements of Montreal’s nightlife, and since the early days of Montreal’s underground scene, the city has been carving itself a distinguished signature to the feet and ears of party go-ers and dancers all around the world. Obviously, the fame it has is greatly due to talented local artists, since the quality of the music played at venues still matters a great deal to clubbers here, which has allowed the scene to develop along with the versatility of its DJs and producers. One of the few montrealer artists that has effectively demonstrated this lately is DJ and producer Tazz, whom after releasing a series of EP’s on various labels from Canada and abroad was finally offered the opportunity to release his first full length, Adventures of Tazz, by British label Tsuba Records, which was released last Monday, march 19th. Although he was already renowned for his distinctive eclectic sound in his productions, by taking on such a challenge, his talent was spread over one more dimension of electronic music, and he did so cogently by taking the listeners on a voyage, a literal adventure, around the depths of the underground world of techno through the exploration of some of the darkest and most intriguing corners of his mind. As we travel down the musical lines of the album, which suits the middle of a bright day just as well as the dead of a moon-less night, we are taken around the globe, from the abstract depths of aphotic Berlin at night to the hardness of the most lavish and dark warehouses of Detroit.
The album starts with Giovanni’s Keys, which softens the mind up and carries it around, forward and backward, leaving a sense of analog warmth behind before leaving the listener to the hard cadence of Worked It. It builds up from a loose kick to a deep voyage through the celestial waves of the brain, before dropping one of the grooviest beats of the album to ones conscience. As the hats and claps succeed one another, a bright symphony comes in and gives the listener a sense of what’s to come, just like early terrace pre-parties set in good vibes as the sun sets before sleepless nights of dancing. The track exits in well layered delays and reverbs before leaving probably one of the rawest sounding kick drums of the album takes over accompanied by distant clap as one seems to be approaching the source of an abstract chant in a labyrinth carved in the mind, allowing one to explore gardens of growing flowers set at the middle of it, and then time seems to slow down as one develop unity with the melody. Many Reasons! turns into a mild rhythm before allowingCaptain Groove and The Oscillators to set in, which offers rich synth stabs, succeeding from a 2 tone synth, that get a flow of blood pulsing from on ear to the other, clearly outlining the eclectic nature of the whole album. That’s What it Said leads on into a summery nocturnal dubby vibe that builds up around a certain sense of broad depth and its wonderful textures set a transcendental dimension to the track. The percussions are filtered out and the remaining synth holds on until La Salade Techno comes in, an acidic rhythmic raw groove that offers the darkest enlightenment and mesmerizes the body while inciting muscles to primal like dances, almost setting one in a trance like state entirely controlled by kicks, soft melodies and beautiful chaotic layers of sound, on the verge of the definition of noise, yet fully keeping the beauty described by the definition of melody. Wobble Theory then leads its way through a techy filtered drum line while harmonic beeps dizzy the mind around and rids it of any formal landmarks, allowing one to fully appreciate the soft dub lines carry the soul around, before the track melts into Light Yellow Synth, offering the listener a break for the body and an ecstatic experience for the mind as it pulses long waves to the brain and lets it transform and go from one phase to another while remaining within the boundaries of the skull.
Moreover, the album also comes with 2 bonus tracks, one of which is a previous track Tazz released on Tsuba last year, while the other one is a remix by label boss Kevin Griffiths of Tazz’ track Welcome to Dub. The first offers dynamic grooves that suit the living room just like the dance floor, that is, if your living room isn’t already a dance floor to you. Welcome to Dub however offers a deeper more melodic sense, as it develop on a very cold yet comforting synth line.
Along with the article, Tazz has offered Music Never Lies access to the recording of the set he threw last Sunday at the renowned Salon Daome, where his album release party was hosted. The mix is courtesy of AudioBoxLive.com, which broadcasted the whole set as Tazz graced the Daome sound system of his sound, accompanied by resident Max Reynolds.
Music Never Lies also had the chance to get a couple of Q&A’s with the artist, and here are the wise words Tazz granted us:
- MNL: Were you trying to achieve something in particular with the album, as opposed to only music, or was it really strictly about the grooves and melodies?
- Tazz: I always look to evoke emotion. Be different as much as I can. Very critical with the sounds. Always looking for new synths be it software or hardware. As you can see in the tracks there’s lots of ups and downs. I also work with musicians of course, so the tracks do tend to be very musical.
- MNL: How did you find the “adventurous” aspect of full lengths, i.e. how you can plot a story on a larger scale with more ups and downs? Or did you manage it more like an unmixed DJ set of your own tracks?
- T: I never plan any of the music writing. All I have is a specific direction and that is underground music period! Most of my productions gravitate towards deep house/techno, but I have experimented with other genres as well. Just a bit!
- MNL: In relation to that, did you build the structure of your album similarly to how you plan your DJ sets or was it completely different?
- T: Not exactly, but I can say that so far all the tracks work very well in a DJ set in a club environment. If the asses are shaking that’s all that matters!
- MNL: Through the album production process, did you find yourself comparing the creation process similar to that of other forms or art, such as literature? Do you have other artistic interests from which your skills with that particular form of art were used/hidden somewhere in the cd?
- T: I’m not much for words tell you the truth. I just let the music do the talking. But can you really compare art forms? At the end of the day artists just create, we just do. It’s how us people express ourselves, either through words, music, visuals or all together.