Yarns is the solo project of instrumental/ambient artist Martin Dawagne. Originally from Belgium, Martin now calls Ottawa his home and we are lucky for it. He manages to create incredible soundscapes as a solo artist, which is not often easy to do. He recently released a follow-up to his debut album Summer – Fall. The title of the new album is Winter – Spring. As Martin explains, “Both albums were recorded when I relocated to Canada, and lived in various places around North America, wandering around and trying to find my place in a country that has four real seasons (and not just rain, like the country I’m from).”
The tracks on this album are so diverse yet they still manage to form a continuous line from beginning to end, tying it all together. The spoken word and vocals on the album were provided by Megan Carty, “who also co-wrote the proses on both records.” The vocals added an an edgy tone, which was great. The tracks were produced by Mike Tompa (First Ghost, Silverstein), at Merriam Studios and Dreamhouse studios. The beautiful album cover was created by Martin as well.
I could go on about the album but this is, after all, an Under the Influence piece. We asked Martin what three albums have influenced him and his music and he replied with three great albums. Check them out below.
Check out the album here: https://open.spotify.com/artist/0tOtTKYCifu7zrpZ93c5St?si=4pWEXWrjTsmQWdGuDImClA
Yarns will be playing a show in Ottawa on February 1st. For more information on the event go here.
Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Lift Your Skinny Wrists like Antennas to Heaven
I’ll always remember when I listened to this album for the first time, and how I discovered that music does not really need words to be powerful. I pressed play, and all of a sudden I felt like I was wandering in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, with some dead-eyes robots reciting some loops at the corner of each streets (Yeah, I know, it’s really specific). Instrumental music has the power to spark a different sort of imagination. All of a sudden, you are not tethered to one specific theme, and you can make your own story out of it. This album is everything at once: nostalgia, threat, melancholia, light, darkness, rawness and finesse, delusion and hope, too. Everything is broken, and yet, hope keeps bleeding through the cracks. I always book 90 minutes of spare time when I decide to listen to this record; it’s almost like a ritual. GY!BE opened my eyes on the power of music over words, and I think that this album should be considered as an official part of Canadian heritage.
Arcade Fire – The Suburbs
This is another great part of Canadian musical history. The first time I saw Arcade Fire on TV – during my metalhead days -, I thought, “what is this bunch of phonies about?” I changed my mind a few years later when I heard the song ‘Wake Up’ again, and started listening to more of their music. I now adore everything about this band: their honesty, their humility, and their deep sense of what rock music should be about. Their songs always feel like a bittersweet celebration, a limping symphony, with a lot of disenchantment to it. However, at the same time, they have arrangements that are so upbeat and grand. It’s hard for me to pick just one Arcade Fire album, but The Suburbs is the one that really sold me on their music, with the Spike Jones video. Just like GY!BE, I have a soft spot for bands that are made up of 10 people (pretty ironic for someone who’s in a band of just one guy). When you see them live, it feels like there is an omnipresent movement, and every entity has a specific contribution in the joyful mayhem that is happening on stage. Their passion and their realness are exemplary to me.
Daughters – Daughters
I recently started to work on some new material for Yarns, and Daughters influences it a lot. Their guitar sound is a real enigma to me. A little bit like if someone took a Disney song and detuned it until it became totally unbearable, glitchy and distorted, while still being musical. Daughters’ music feels like a nightmarish soundtrack that truly achieves the feeling of loosing all sense of sanity. It is some noise straight out of hell, and the creepiness they manage to pull out is unique. I am highly influenced by their sense of sonic-texture, their obsessive loops, their pounding beats, their haunted lyrics – I could go on forever. Also, it’s really hard to pin them down to one genre – Is it metal? Industrial? Sludge? Creepy clown symphony? Because of the darkness they manage to depict, they deserve all the praise in the world of alternative music.