This is really more of an upping of the ante, than a debut.
Calgary’s Reuben Bullock already has a couple solo records in the bag; these new And The Dark band members seem to be the living amplifier he needed to fully realize his vision. This is all new material, mind you, save a grandiose remake of his previously-recorded “Bow & Arrow.”
Grandiose is clearly the operative word, with this menagerie; Reuben et al. subscribe to the same go-big-or-go-home rallying cry that Stars, Of Monsters And Men and Bruce Peninsula typically abide by. Dry eyes are likely a rarity, at Reuben And The Dark shows.
Their angle? The frequent deployment of familiar—or seemingly familiar—phrases, in choruses, mid-verse, everywhere. The first time you listen to Funeral Sky—and lines like “Roll like a rolling stone” in the vid below—you’ll swear you’ve been listening to it half your life.
About as assured and pristine a first outing as you’ll find.
The Singularity draws nearer. If we’re to believe what we’re being told (no reason not to, at this time), folklorist Henry Adam Svec (previously responsible for Folk Songs Of Canada Now) and programmer Mirek Plíhal have built a computer program that writes original folk music.
How does it work? Svec plugged “the totality of the history of Canadian folk music” into LIVINGSTON (how did he do that, we should probably ask); it ran that raw data through “algorithmic agents and compression formats,” and outputted transcriptions of original music (which then needed to be interpreted and performed by humans).
The hominids playing Volume 1 (there are more to come) include: Svec, Misha Bower (Bruce Peninsula), Marshall Bureau (Octoberman, The Pinecones), J.J. Ipsen (Hayden, Jim Guthrie), Andrew Penner (Sunparlour Players) and others.
You can read more about the project and pick up Artificially Intelligent Folk Songs of Canada Vol. 1 for free, *here* (you can also choose to make a donation). Check out a live performance of “Takin’ Off My Glasses Tonight,” down below.