M. Geddes Gengras – Expressed, I Noticed Silence
7.29.22 by Matty McPherson
Do yourself a favor and find yourself the time to put yourself in a room–virtual, imagined, or real–with M. Geddes Gengras. It’s a known fact that Ged’s a voracious zoner, but he also carries a PhD in “talking and dub fun facts.” I had a chance to sit down with Ged where a story of a life lived and seeped in scene histories, label ascendancy, modular synthesizers, and DUUUUBBBBB all interconnect. Ged’s probably told this one dozens of times. It’s a known fact that it is a story worth thousands of words and well worth a listen. Nevertheless, I could not have been more thankful.
Ged’s been with Hausu Mountain for the last few years, an institution that’s seen him albums release at a slower, more time-relaxed pace. That does not mean ideas are not spur of the moment, rapid-fire permutations, as Times Makes Nothing Happen made abundantly clear. It was Geddes’ hardest rapid-fire GAMER music put to ferric tape in a hot second; a strong slab of IDEA-core music. Yet, there’s always room for a hard pivot back. Expressed, I Noticed Silence is a series of six strangely beautiful and isolated zones that do not reset his work at the label. I am the Last of That Green and Warm Hued-World, alongside Ishi (on Leaving Records) may have been a world apart so long ago, but they’re still starting points to this string of bliss. Yet, what Expressed, I Noticed Silence makes a big leap in is how Geddes has been tinkering with the “zone as an expedition.” There’s a greater sense of domestic life and companionship embellished within.
Really, that’s just a fancy way for me to say there’s a special guest strumming and thrumming throughout these wildly quirky bliss arenas: Cyrus Gengras, of Kevin Morby’s backing band. The Brothers Gengras are in lockstep here. For both brothers, there’s a sense of playfulness within this approach (and not just because the track titles are rather funny). It’s easy to imagine both the brothers in a canoe: Ged navigating us downstream, through a thick fog, with his Moog Sub-Phatty and Waldorf Microwave XT acting as radar and sonar, as Cyrus strums a cocooned chord, reverb’d out and keeping the pace gentle. If you know your 2003 shoegaze (a landmark year for digital guitar integration into electronics), then you’re going to quite enjoy your time with the chaps. Together, they’ll follow a zone out to where it lands.
“Discovered Endstate Always” is a precise, practical opener that really lets them sink their teeth into their respective strengths. Together, the two create a near-ambient house chill out, where synth waves and samples act as otherworldly choruses of birdsong and ethereal voices. This is to say, these zones have the immediacy of a lush paradise as much as the chill out room. “The Harmony and Also I Became Square Movements” is another poignant examination of this process, featuring Geddes’ percussive amalgamations of banshee beats stoned out, bobbing and weaving over its six minutes. Finally, closer “Deadly, Holy, Rough” brilliantly traverses three different zones in one track. With reverent synthesizers, we might as well be starting in Dracula’s castle, yet the duo quickly find themselves in a valley at dusk, with synthesizer twinkles radiating the energy of fireflies. But by the last two minutes, whatever dusk’d energy we thought we had settles into a deep breathing rhythm. The bass drone sounds of two hearts beating, as if we’ve been in a sensory deprivation status all along.
Limited edition C38 orange cassette with black imprints. 2-sided 3-panel JCard with artwork from HausMo Max available at the Hausu Mountain Bandcamp Page