By Jenna Lee Williams
EDMONTON — A pigeon fan once posted a photo of an unidentified breed on the Facebook page of Edmonton trio Pigeon Breeders. They asked the group for assistance in identifying the mysterious bird.
Of course, given the group’s penchant for “introspective ambience, tense and spastic electroacoustic interplay, scrappy free jazz, apocalyptic free-form drone rock,” the answer was adroit: they dubbed the bird an “experimental eagle.”
Thanks to the click-happy space of the Internet, there have been more than a few people who have unknowingly clicked “like” on the improvisational trio’s Facebook page. Hopefully, they also stuck around enough to explore, given that the music is a vast emotion-evoking soundscape chock-full of noise and varied musical elements. To boot, it’s been morphing and growing in crazy, free-form ways since the band’s inception in 2011 and they are currently on the verge of releasing their fourth album, Concrescence. To learn more (beyond the case of the errant feathered vertebrate fans, we mean) we caught up with members Will Scott, Tyler Harland, and Myles Bartel. They told us that while it can be hard to describe Pigeon Breeder’s instrumentation in the traditional sense, the trio generally sticks to a certain configuration.
“For me it is primarily guitar but through way too many effects and sometimes I will use other sound sources: the microphone or I will mic an amp. [Scott] has many items that you would find in a storage room in your house. He has things like a heat register cover, cheese graters. Scott is on percussion and bass, Bartel adds singing and guitar, and a bit of synthesizer,” explains Harland.
While their three prior full-lengths were on the Ramshackle Day Parade label and were created by recording one or two longer improvisational sessions, their new album marks a change in direction. Concrescence will be their first cassette release on Calgary’s Shaking Box Music label and was recorded in a different manner, thanks to the fact the once-roommates no longer lived under the same roof.
“We were able to jam at 2 a.m. and we were always able to talk about the jams after,” explains Scott of the impact their living together had on the project.
“We were able to refine everything and develop our own vocabulary,” adds Harland. “We learned how to read each other well when doing our improvisations.”
Now that they live in different homes, Pigeon Breeders approach and sound has changed.
“For the last two years though we have just been doing improv. We don’t jam as much as we used to. We just took recordings from different locations that we jammed at over the two years,” they explain, adding that one of the unusual locations was at Mile Zero dance studio, where live dancers performed around them.
“We have matured a lot of this cassette just by trying different techniques, using various locations and field recordings. Side A is more like what we used to do, and side B is something that we haven’t done before,” expands Scott.
“As time has gone on, we have gotten a lot more refined in terms of playing with each other and use a lot more restraint,” adds Harland.
Thanks to the nature of their chosen genre, Pigeon Breeders will march along their unusually progressive trajectory into the future.
“It is always going to progress with us,” concludes Scott.
Check out Pigeon Breeders’ album release show for Concrescence on August 4th with High Tides and Zebra Pulse at The New Wunderbar Hofbrauhaus in Edmonton.AB, Alberta, New Wunderbar Hofbrauhaus, Pigeon Breeders