Timber Timbre’s Taylor Kirk refuses to give in to modern despair

Illustration by Dougall Dawson
The crossing line of Sincerely, Future PollutionWood stamps latest release on Arts & Crafts and City Slang – is the impermanence and precariousness of modern civilizations, Taylor Kirk told me. “I had the feeling of this great distraction, of the fragility of these modern and dystopian urban civilizations, of the idea that things are bigger and more complex, bubbling and stirring under the city,” said the author. -composer and singer. “Things feel really fast.” Some of these sentiments are expressed in the “Western Questions” deck, perhaps alluding to the cynicism and fear that permeates the status quo. “Hollywood halo, UFO light seeping from every screen. Western issues, desperate elections, Halloween campaign.” Previously, Kirk was in charge of instrumentation when he was in the recording studio. With the new album he sang and produced, while Mathieu Charbonneau, Simon Trottier and Olivier Fairfield took care of everything else. “To me that’s why it sounds so good because [I wasn’t] there shit, ”Kirk said. Such an arrangement could explain the album’s departure from the genre Americana, including Hot dreams, the group’s last record, released about three years ago and shortlisted for a Polaris Music Prize. And if it holds up, Sincerely, Future Pollution is a far cry from the eponym of Timber Timbre. Timber Timbre’s wheelhouse was typically imbued with a folk and blues spirit, sometimes drawing inspiration from the occult and the weird. The integration of the weird into much of the band’s music is the result of Taylor Kirk’s affinity for the supernatural. “I’ve always been obsessed with magical objects, certain types of charged images, art, rituals,” he said. This obsession is reflected in the first line of “Magic Arrow”, a song of the same title: “Mystic pam, gem and tarot, some escape your magic arrow”.

Kirk grew up in Brooklin, Ontario, a small rural community north of Whitby, and attended mass weekly with his parents. These visits became the fodder of his fascinations. “I met a lot of Mormons growing up and I was always quite curious about these superstitions. My mother was very superstitious.” It was the environment of the United Church that prompted him to become a musician. Kirk said he saw a child of his eldest perform a cover of “Heart-Shaped Box” and felt so moved by it. “I could feel it in my body and I couldn’t believe this guy had the knowledge to do this. I demanded that he give me guitar lessons in that same basement.” When he started working on Cedar shakes, a woody, independently produced album that was released in 2006, he listened to Alan Lomax’s folk anthology, a collection of field recordings of gospel ballads and folk music across the south. It is not surprising that Kirk also took inspiration from Talk Talk, namely Rise and Spirit of Eden, two “alchemical” albums, as he described it. I asked him how he would characterize Timber Timbre’s latest music. He compared it to Vangelis’ score on Blade runner. “There was something about the feeling,” Kirk said. “There was something very cold and threatening, but also very promising, or promising.” “Skin Tone”, an instrumental on Sincerely, Future Pollution, testifies to this. I guess Kirk is happy: he told me he tries to avoid recycling a particular sound. This record is proof of that. “I’m not crazy about bands that sound more and more like themselves or like that one thing,” he said. “I would rather do something different each time, rather than continue to refine. With this record, there is less fetishization of Americana, the type of music that I had been obsessed with in the past. palette, the instrumentation is very different for me. These sounds were never really part of my lexicon. “

Sincerely, Future Pollution composes intoxicating synths and basslines, channeling 80s music. Typical Timber Timbre elements are still present, such as Kirk’s vocal vocals and steel accompaniment. Sharp and expertly placed guitars and thrilling rhythms continue to be heard. The album is dark, threatening and yet reassuring, a delicate balance that weighs on most of the group’s work. While some songs may be somewhat inspired by events in the United States, they should not be confused with a de facto political record. The fallout from President Donald Trump’s election was just hard to ignore, Kirk said. “The album seemed to mean something else after the election – those few little references really came through. I enjoyed the privilege of being a musician who can be left on my own so I can work my shit.” did he declare. “Somehow it seemed impossible this time to stay completely away from [politics] because you couldn’t not talk about it. I think there was this frequency of anxiety that was right all over the place all the time. And I think it burst my little bubble that I usually work in. ”
Julien Gignac is a writer living in Toronto. Follow him on Twitter.

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