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Brasstronaut go for techno precision on new album

Compared to the shuffling, acoustic sound of their debut EP, Brasstronaut’s new album <em>Mt. Chimaera</em> is an album of techno-like precision.

Compared to the shuffling, acoustic sound of their debut EP, Brasstronaut’s new album Mt. Chimaera is an album of techno-like precision.


The album came together during a winter artistic residency at the Banff Centre, where the band spent months stripping down layers of sound. Singer and keyboard player Edo Van Breemen explained the six-member group pruned what began as dense compositions, a challenging process much different than that used on 2008’s Old World Lies.


“(Mt. Chimaera) took eight months to mix ... and became a very subtractive process. We had lots more overdubs on our initial recording, and it was hard to decide what to add and what to change,” explained Van Breemen.


The resulting album reflects this meticulous approach to production — no surprise given Van Breeman’s long-term interest in German techno. A careful balancing of sound and space recalls groups like Wilco or Spoon that focus on arrangements as much as individual instruments.


Listen for the drop in Slow Knots leading to a keyboard and vocal-led breakdown and a rapid percussive burst. The elements may have emerged from the band’s jam space, but they sound just as inspired from the dynamics of electronic music.


“(In production, we used an) intense layering of sound –— of swirling sounds and textures — and in that way, the album is a little like electronic music. We focused on adding and subtracting elements in a way that comes out like techno,” said Van Breeman. “I’ve always liked minimal German techno. I lived in Germany, and spent a lot of time in Europe as a kid, and so I’m drawn to that music.”