Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Favourites of 2014

I know lists get all kinds of eye-rolling, and I certainly claim no expertise or superiority with mine; I'm simply sharing some of my favourites records (and shows) from this year.


Andy Stott - Faith in Strangers 
Austerity Program - Beyond Calculation 
Ambarchi/O'Malley/Dunn - Shade Themes from Kairos 
Bohren and der Club of Gore - Piano Nights 
D'Angelo - Black Messiah
Grouper - Ruins
Fennesz - Becs
Helm - The Hollow Organ
Hiss Tracts - Shortwave Nights
Jon Porras - Light Divides
Lee Gamble - Koch
Lykanthea - Migration
Marissa Nadler - July 
Mesa Ritual - s/t
Mike Weis - Don't Know, Just Walk
No UFOs - MPC Tracks Vol. II
Run The Jewels 2
Secret Pyramid - The Silent March/Into the Black (vinyl repress)
Swans - To Be Kind
Young Widows - Easy Pain

Not on the list because the vinyl hasn't arrived in the mail and thus I still haven't heard these albums because I live by strange rituals: Old Man Gloom - Ape of God; Oren Ambarchi - Quixotism (fingers crossed Editions Mego does in fact press this on vinyl).

(all occurred in Winnipeg)

Low - West End Cultural Centre
Oren Ambarchi/crys cole/Rosa Reaper - The Windsor
Total Life - Union Sound Hall
Killer Mike - Union Sound Hall
Neko Case - The Burt

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Rosa Reaper / crys cole / Oren Ambarchi - Live in Winnipeg

It's been a fantastic couple of weeks for shows in Winnipeg, No UFOs last week, and this show happened last night: Rosa Reaper, crys cole, and Oren Ambarchi.

It was great to see my friend Candice's vocal-only project Rosa Reaper. It was a swirling, disorienting cacophony of eerie melody and disconcerting growls.

The last few performances of crys cole I've seen have been fucking jaw-dropping. Even playing in a noisy, grimey bar filled with clinking bottles, yammering locals and the loudest goddamned bar fridge ever, cole still delivered a transcendent performance. Using a series of springs, contact mics, voice and steel brushes, her performance was nuanced, textured and powerful. What continues to amaze me is how well placed each sonic element is, delicate feedback, textured noise, hushed vocals and powerful bass feedback.

Finally, Australia's Oren Ambarchi delivered a mammoth performance. His trademark airless bass tones were pummelling, and his ability to shape tones in bewildering, beautiful ways is always impressive. His set culminated with an all-encompassing, fuzzed-out guitar drone looped and feeding back while Ambarchi took to the drum kit, delivering a kinetic, free-jazz tinged percussive onslaught. At one point, his kick drum was so powerful that it vibrated the strings on his abandoned Les Paul, sounding almost like ducked compression, the drones swirling and roaring back even louder after each kick. Stunning.

Oren Ambarchi.

crys cole

Rosa Reaper

Current listening: Earth - Primitive and Deadly; Brian Eno - Music for Airports; Doom - Born Like This; Autechre - Exai.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Last Days of Summer

A really busy week/summer over in these parts. I put on a show for some friends of mine this week and the Windsor and it was great. Line up was Crabskull, myself, Chris Bryan, and No UFOs. A fantastic evening of dark, cavernous sounds. I'm still reeling from No UFOs set. I posted a few pictures below.

Next week, September 3rd, crys cole, Oren Ambarchi and Rosa Reaper are playing at the Windsor. Needless to say, this is absolutely not to be missed. Doors at 8.

I'm working to finish tracking for my next record. I'm hoping to have it done before October, but we'll see. The pieces I do have finished have turned out quite well.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Review: Mike Weis - Don't Know, Just Walk

Mike Weis - Don't Know, Just Walk (Type Records)

It's been a while since I've written about a record, and the new LP from Chicago musician Mike Weis is a great place to start.

Mike Weis is the drummer for Zelienople and Kwaidan (of whom I've written about in the past and whose LP was one of my favourites of 2013), and anyone familiar with those bands will immediately recognize Weis's percussion here on Don't Know, Just Walk. Less familiar, and perhaps surprising (to me at least), is the wealth of instrumentation, sounds and atmosphere Weis creates both on his own and, looking retrospectively, in Kwaidan. This is the first solo record of Weis's I've heard, so I found this a fascinating listen on several levels, one of which is discovering how much of Kwaidan's murky drones and bleak, decidedly decaying urban soundscapes are present here as well and are owed to Weis's ability to work across percussion as well as field recordings and guitar and analog effects.

Of particular interest to me is the fact that Weis' main instrument is drums — cymbals, gongs, toms, kick, and a traditional Korean drum called a changgo. While guitar is credited in opener "The Temple Bell Stops" and a synth rises from the murk on "Out Of The Flowers," they are expertly disguised and implemented, respectively. Guitar and synth have been, and very much continue to be, the most widely used instruments in experimental music (I would argue), so that Weis uses drums to varying degrees, and with stunning results, is a breath of fresh air to my ears.

Album opener and side-long track "The Temple Bell Stops" begins with a haunting field recording of a Buddhist monk chanting, while Weis gradually dials in effects, leaving the listener in a swirling grey fog. Cymbals shimmer endlessly amidst whirring loops until the emergence Weis's percussion work provides a meditative pulse. This too recedes into the grey, giving way to ghostly chimes and subtle, creepy electronics. The half way point of the track descends into creaking metallic tones and unsettling radio transmissions, as if you've just drifted into a freight ship graveyard, everything heaving upon wave after wave of malleted cymbals and rumbling low end, until Weis opens things up with an almost galloping, circular drum pattern.

Things appear to lighten up on "But The Sound Keeps Coming," with field recordings of birds conjuring green, vibrant forests. But this quickly disappears into a field of sinister bowed cymbals and more of Weis's hypnotic percussion work; a powerful balance of light and dark, uplifting and sinister.

Certainly the most incredible aspect of Mike Weis' work here is that he recorded these tracks in one take. No overdubs (save for some synth parts). To keep so many loops, field recordings and effects going — and to such staggering heights — is no mere feat, but to do so while also playing percussion is a whole other level of mastery that will leave your jaw agape. Every sonic detail occupies its own space and every idea and motif is introduced and subtracted with such precision and control, making Don't Know, Just Walk a rewarding, astonishing, perfectly executed album.

This is an album with a well-constructed sense of purpose, and it does what all good records do: it makes you stop and listen, and it takes you away from whatever it is you are doing and leaves you somewhere else. In this case, it's a foggy, rusting, decaying port city in the darkest hours just before dawn. Highly recommended.

Available soon from the always-excellent Type Records.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Spring Updates

A few exciting things to mark down here.

1. I'll be performing at the 2014 Winnipeg International Jazz Fest with a new project I've been working on with local musician, producer, DJ and friend Tim Hoover. I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to open for Oneohtrix Point Never, as I've been a fan of his for several years. Our rehearsals have been going really well, and I think this is going to be a project you'll be hearing more from in the future. Bio below.

Tim Hoover and Curran Faris make music out of guitars and electronics. This collaboration was borne out of a mutual love for intricate pop, electronic and experimental music. The duo culminates Hoover’s extensive experience performing as DJ Co-op, as well as his moodier forays into electronic production, and Faris’ work in the rock outfit Warsaw and his experimental drone project Greenhouse. Together, their instrumental music incorporates chilly atmospheres and textured soundscapes with the formality and structure of dance and hip-hop music while incorporating the looser, more improvised sounds of noise and drone.

2. I'm currently in the midst of recording new material. I'll also be hitting the studio soon - my initial dates were postponed. More details coming soon.

3. No show announcements at this time. I'm currently focusing on recording and rehearsing for the OPN show. I hope to have a few soon though.

4. Total Life is opening for Silver Mt. Zion and I am incredibly excited.

Until then,

Current Listening: Jon Porras - Light Divides; Irkallian Oracle - Grave Ekstasis; Madlib & Freddi Gibbs - Pinata; Slates - Taiga; Helms Alee - Sleepwalking Sailors

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Quick update

Just a very brief update. I will be hitting the studio at the end of March. More details will come as I have them, but I'm really looking forward to it. In the meantime, I'll be recording at home, and rehearsing.

Currently enjoying: True Detective; The King in Yellow; Marissa Nadler - July; Trepaneringsritualen.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Review from Weird Canada

The fine folks at Weird Canada posted a review of Cold Wires. Original here, pasted below.

Winnipeg drone guitarist Curran Faris has become known for his signature tones and signals, elevating the listener in both live and recorded settings. Cold Wires continues his ethereal world of pedal worship, providing a musical base to a moment in which one can pause and be raised above the void of soundlessness in their mental make-up, looking down upon their thoughts as they are momentarily lifted into a lush musical landscape. Serving as the perfect follow up to his 2011 album Tired Forever, with Cold Wires Faris gives the listener another escape for 45 minutes and 14 seconds.

In other news, I'll be heading into the studio for a quick session in the next month or so. As well as recording at home.

Also, be sure you check out Weird Canada's newly launched Wyrd Distro. Hugely important resource for fans, artists and labels here in Canada.

Current listening: Grave Miasma - Odori Spelcrorum; George Harrison - All Things Must Pass; Vatican Shadow - Remember Your Black Day; Work/Death - Phone About to Ring; Bohren & der club of Gore - Piano Nights.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Tome to the Weather Machine Review

The folks at Tome to the Weather Machine posted a very kind, and very thoughtful, review of Cold Wires. In fact, they totally hit the nail on the head in terms of the sort of album I was trying to create, so it feels good to know some of that came across. Also, being recommended alongside serious favourites of mine like Jasper TX and Secret Pyramid is very flattering.


"Cold Wires" lives in that space right before that contact mic stab of metal-on-metal feedback. You know that hum of a loose connection? That static charge you can feel reverberating right up your arm as you plug guitar into amp. Imagine living in that world for close to an hour. The air heavy with pregnant ions, brittle snaps of crackling feedback, alternating pitches of frequencies being tuned to piercing, dog-level highs and rumbling, bowel-shaking lows. I would be unfair to limit the dynamics of "Cold Wires" to this moment, but most of the album rides this razor's edge of tension-filled soundscapes both cold and wired. While Greenhouse seeks golden and leaden sounds without, this rumbling hum often acts a center, a homing device that guides all melodies and stray pitches back into it's cold, loving arms.

Flying under the flag of the always excellent Winnipeg label Prairie Fire Tapes, "Cold Wires" is an exhibition of minimal drones polished and coded under a thick pall of ambient electronics that signal and blink like a nighttime aerial view of an airport. Which makes sense as much of this album feels like circling and coming home in the vein of highway amnesia or a dog settling down for bed. A drift back into something with a minimal frame, but filled with so much stuff. Our stuff. A place completely ambivalent to our existence until we arrive there and start unpacking.

"Cold Wires" ends with one of the most beautiful pieces of music I have heard in a very long while. After the ominous sustained tones, whale-song guitar lines and serrated organ of "Sick Breath", "Your Favorite Place" ends with an elegiac, three-minute guitar piece comprised of a few simple notes plucked out with plenty of space left slack for the warm sustain to simply hang in the air like a swarm of cicadas on a hot summer's night. A perfect way to end an album which utilizes long, sustained tones for remarkably different ends.

Physical copies of "Cold Wires" at the time of this writing are no longer for sale as Chris from Prairie Fire Tapes/Dub Ditch Picnic recovers from a serious car accident (our thoughts and prayers go out to him and his family), however, digital copies are available at the bandcamp link provided below.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Upcoming Performance

My next live performance will be January 29th at the Centennial Concert Hall in Winnipeg. I will be doing a 20-minute set before Glenn Branca.

Tickets and more info to be found here (except, I don't use a laptop): http://www.newmusicfestival.ca/wp/unholynoise/

In other news: some gear is broken. Damn.

Currently enjoying: Basic House - Oats; Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds - Push the Sky Away.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Regarding Ordering Copies of Cold Wires

As some of may or may not be aware, Chris and his partner were involved in a very serious car accident a few weeks ago. Thankfully they are both ok and are recovering. I visited Chris in the hospital yesterday, and his spirits are high. Needless to say, it was great to see him and I wish him a fast recovery. Having known Chris and his family for several years, I'm still shaken about these events. I simply cannot imagine what he and his family are living through right now.

For the time being, and understandably, copies of Cold Wires will not be for sale on the Praire Fire Tapes site - though digital versions are still available. It goes without saying that having copies of my tape available on the site is something that simply can't happen at this point — and I couldn't agree more. Chris and his family need this time to heal. Having something available for sale is of no comparison to another person's health and well-being. Heal swiftly, friends.

In the interim, if you would like a physical copy of the tape, please contact me directly at greenhousedrone [at] gmail [dot] com and I will get you sorted.