Photo by: Kate Mada
Year Of Glad's AP Bergeron tends to live within his own head, colouring his earnest atmospheric folk songs with all the fear, doubt, joy and doom that he finds in introspection. It makes sense, then, that the Montreal Oh Hi collective member and moonlighting Saxsyndrum singer tends to prefer the old Bon Iver method of writing and recording: isolating himself in the country with just his thoughts and a guitar.
While he was making Resolving Host, though, high speed internet finally reached his family home in the woods of Nova Scotia and, suddenly, he started to pine for the days before it... not internet, but this internet. He felt nostalgic for the old "eeeeeugggh ahhuggh aughhhhahh" of dial-up. He missed the old technology and its mix of digital frontier-breaking and inherent limitation.
His new EP, fittingly, sounds both achingly human and strangely cyborg, like his most influential album is Kid A but his modem was only able to download the title track and "Optimistic." "It felt like a new kind of collaboration had emerged," says Bergeron. "Two selves at work: a blurry dialogue between past and present."
Like last time, the statement Bergeron presented us was to good (and too personal) to cut, so we've got it in full below:
AP Bergeron, Year Of Glad: Resolving Host started as an attempt to get back to something simpler and make more of a traditional folk album, where the songs could hopefully speak for themselves. I wrote the majority of the pieces in my usual way, on acoustic guitars alone in the woods of Nova Scotia. Despite my best intentions, the outside world just kept creeping into these songs; beckoning change. I was powerless.
The relative isolation of my family home on the East Coast meant that up until very recently we were unable to receive any kind of internet service other than dial-up. During the making of Resolving Host however, the high-speed devils finally worked their way into that sacred sphere and, oddly, I found myself pining for the old ways. Eventually a kind of nostalgia for dial-up and its limitations emerged and so, throughout the process of producing the EP, I sought out synth tones and production techniques that reminded me of the random telephonic blips and harsh static that would sound so faithfully each time I logged in. Regardless of all the obvious digi-trappings, I like to think there’s still a rustic kernel hiding in each piece; shining its murky light on how the thing began.
Admittedly, the record was made during one of the more trying periods of my life. The process of creating it was often an incredibly cathartic experience and I felt compelled to undertake almost every aspect of its production alone. Maybe the material felt too personal to entrust. This proved to be a far greater challenge than anticipated and my inner emotional struggle at the time was mirrored by the maddening process of sculpting the songs into anything I liked. The journey felt very long and arduous and by the end the sound of the record, as well as my way of seeing things in general, had both shifted wildly.
It felt like a new kind of collaboration had emerged. Two selves at work: a blurry dialogue between past and present. Two voices, one robotic and one human, became almost indistinguishable to my ear. Sometimes the auto-tune effect sounded as if it was choking the human voice, like an incandescent street light blotting out the moon. Acoustic guitars, battling feebly for sonic space, were quickly snuffed out by waves of electronic noise only to rise up and achieve some kind of improbable center. It’s the sound of subjectivity, and how strange and surreal it can be.
Resolving Host is to be released as a postcard in an attempt to illustrate the uncanny distance between one’s flawed past life and the resolution required to become a better self in an emerging world of changing morality and newfound accountability. I like how a postcard is something you can send back home when you’re far away, as a piece of some other place. I often wish I could deliver a message to my old self, to make him wake up and see beyond his small world. I’m really grateful for music’s ability to bring so much of what’s buried inside to the surface, like an x-ray projected onto a torso in the dark. Like a signal ringing from the heart of the forest, crying to be heard.
Year Of Glad's Resolving Host is out October 20 via Oh Hi. They play a launch party tomorrow, October 20, at 185 Avenue Van Horne in Montreal with The Highest Order and Cara Diaro.