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Week 7: Madness

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“My Guilty Pleasure…” Part 1

Once again, I had the wonderful privilege to receive an incredible amount of suggestions along with the stories associated to most of them, to the point that instead of having a 50+ songs playlist or having to dismiss too many of your suggestions, I decided to make it a 2-part, 2-week Spotify playlist called “Guilty Pleasure – Super Deluxe”. So not only do we have the opportunity to discover or rediscover more of your songs, but it also gives you a little more time to send me your sonic guilty pleasures! 😉

Week 7
Feature: Madness

I will always remember the moment I discovered the music of Madness. I was in my favorite record store in downtown Montreal. I had skipped school to attend the gig of one of my favorite local bands who was opening for PIL later that evening. I was in the hardcore music section when I heard that cool music playing. It was something I had never truly heard before, but it was all cool sounds I liked from other bands; brass, upright jazz piano, the upright bass. But all the instruments were played in a different way. I was like: “Wait a second! What’s that kind of music playing?” I was already quite fond of reggae music thanks to Don Letts and Joe Strummer, but that moment would be the beginning of a long love affair with English ska music… Thanks to Madness! 🙂

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Week 6: Nick Drake

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“I Hate Loving You…” Part 2

Once again, I’ve been truly touched to receive your song suggestions, the stories associated with them all, some of them as emotional as others were funny! Thank you all for turning my weekly @Spotify playlist into something way more interesting and meaningful than a distant assemblage of songs.

Therefore, I decided to answer a question by Zoé from Paris, France: “What was your first heartbreak and what band/artist did you turn to in order to overcome that emotional pain?”

Week 6
Feature: Nick Drake
http://smarturl.it/AHFdigitalnoises

I don’t know if the expression “the first cut is the deepest” really means anything regarding emotional pain, but I certainly experienced something that felt like the most devastating sensation of all in my last 2 years of high school. I didn’t see love quite the same way my friends did at the time, I wasn’t really dating, nor was I someone people were eager to be romantically involved with. And I realized quite fast that a guy obsessed by Kant’s perspective and Baudelaire’s work wasn’t really what other people considered cool, not as a potential fun person to go out with at least, especially at 14-15 years old!

This probably explains why my first heartbreak never came from a breakup but from the terrible realization that the person I had strong emotions for during all my high school years would never reciprocate those emotions. And it’s not because my closest friends hadn’t been trying to expose that obvious fact from every possible angles for years… But I was some sort of an idealist and probably secretly believed that poets would always win over the coolest and most popular ones… right?!

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Week 5: Damien Rice

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“I Hate Loving You…”

This week’s theme for my Spotify playlist couldn’t be more accurate as when I asked my dear and precious Your Favorite Enemies bandmates if they had any song suggestions. They all told me something like: “It will be difficult for you to pick only a few songs for your playlist, as almost all the music you listen to is a long wrist-cutting soundtrack of death itself having an everlasting suicidal heartbreak”. So, as you can see, it’s always inspiring to commune with them, especially on very spiritual matters such as assembling a playlist… Oh, well! I love you nonetheless!

One thing is for sure though, is that I read every single story you attach to the song suggestions you send me, from inspiring let go, stopped abusive cycles, breakups that led to finding very special loved ones, identity crisis turned identity affirmation, cheating tragedies, cheating forgiveness, up to rejoicing moments of relationship toxicity coming to an end… It was really moving, touching and humbling to read it all. Really, thank you again for your trust, you are really generous with me.

Week 5
Feature: Damien Rice

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Week 4: Nouvelle Vague

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“In the Name of Love…”

I wrote this as I was on a tiny airplane, my ride from Washington DC to my Virginian Highlands hideout for a few days, before going back to LA. I listened to all the songs you so generously sent me for my weekly Spotify playlist “Digital Noises for Analog Souls”. I’m always very impressed to discover just how diverse in genres the songs are, as I am moved to read the stories you shared with them. I feel even more privileged to discover those little pieces of your history and I am truly thankful for the trust you have in me to expose your hearts as you are doing through those songs. They are even more meaningful to me now… Music is truly about communion.

It was obviously a little difficult for me to ignore the fact that this week’s playlist would be published pretty close to Valentine’s Day. I’m not particularly fond of everything that comes with it, but I decided to play along, to have fun while trying to add a bit of “noiseful” soul to the most commercial of all love celebrations. I hope I won’t ruin your special dinner or put an awkward strangeness to you fuzzy evening music – Which I started having doubts about when Jeff, passing by and hearing the music, asked me: “Oh! You’re doing your weekly playlist! Are you assembling a “bad date gone weird” song list? It sounds Creepy good!”
Me: “WHAT?!? What do you mean?!”
Jeff: “Nothing! The songs sound great. But if it’s about having a romantic dinner or getting into a sweet mood, well… it explains a lot about your social life, brother!”
Me: “What is that supposed to mean?”
Jeff: “Nothing…”
Me: “What?!?”
Jeff: “Nothing! Keep doing you, buddy! The playlist sounds great!”

Week 4
Feature: Nouvelle Vague

So, regardless of that obvious “romantic bullying” I’ve been the victim of, here’s nonetheless my artist feature for my 4th “Digital Noises for Analog Souls” playlist, “In the Name of Love…”: the French band Nouvelle Vague. For me, they represent one of the most “let go” and moody type of bands there is. I discovered them about 10 years ago, in a beautifully happy sonic accident. 

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Week 3: Son Lux

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I’ve been traveling pretty much every day last week, and when I’m on the road like I often am, I’m somehow more careful, if I can say it this way, with the music I choose, more conscious of what I feed myself with, in a way.

In fact, I like to see that state of mind as not only becoming one with the sounds, the words and the atmosphere of a song or an album, but also as an understanding that all those little sonic details and whispering words will set the mood I will be in after. It’s especially true when I’m flying, as I’m more sensitive and emotional, therefore more inclined to fully let go, to completely immerse myself in the music.

This week’s feature on my Spotify playlist “Digital Noises for Analog Souls” is the American artist Ryan Lott and his incredible project Son Lux. I discovered Ryan’s music back in 2009 when a friend offered me their fabulous album “At War with Walls & Mazes” saying: “I hate that band, so it means you will LOVE it. Let me know what you think!” Well… that friend was right, as I remember having only listened to that album for about 2 months nonstop, which completely alienated that friend in the process. He shouldn’t have given me that incredible album in the first place, right? But I am incredibly thankful he did! 

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Week 2: MONO

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I have been really floored and quite inspired to receive SO many song suggestions from you after I introduced you my new “Digital Noises for Analog Souls” Spotify playlist, all personal songs, with a personal meaning to them. I believe that music, along with visual art forms, is the purest of all communal expression as it doesn’t require any far-fetched analysis or overly pompous explanations to feel the emotions they are made of or shared from. So again, thank you for sending me your personal favorites along with a few words explaining why via comments or personal messages with the mention “my fav song, #10, playlist”, or whatever may catch my attention quickly 😉 You guys will always have the #10 spot on every one of my weekly playlists “Digital Noises for Analog Souls”.

This feature will be biased. I knew it even before writing a single word about MONO’s new album “Nowhere Now Here”. First, I’ve been a MONO fan ever since I had the wonderful blessing to hear the album “You Are There” played on a tiny little screen at Tower Records when I first visited Tokyo back in 2007. I wasn’t much a fan of instrumental music at the time, but MONO kind of opened the door to another expressive dimension that would later become a very important part of my personal and artistic expression and would lead me to become a massive fan of Mogwai and Explosions in the Sky to only name these 2 bands. MONO will however always remain my first love.

I have never missed an album release since. But even more, I’ve been able to grow with them, to evolve as they have, to live it all as a fan, which for me is becoming difficult with time… Mainly because I saw behind the entertainment’s “magic secret” curtain and kinda lost my innocence on the magic that I used to find within my favorite artists’ stories, I guess. But some of them, like MONO, remained what I call the epitome of what it means to be creatively honest. After so many albums, so many tours. I know how easily corrupted that honesty can become, for whatever reasons, right or wrong. But still, for me, MONO is some sort of a personal anchor into that fast fading realm of real, of honest.

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Week 1: Sharon Van Etten

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My new Spotify playlist… I need your help!

I’ve recently had the pleasure to be invited to hold a weekly playlist on Spotify, a list where I could share about music that “made” me as an artist, a person. So instead of exclusively dwelling in the past, like I love to do with my blog “Out for A Spin”, I decided to share a top 10 list of whatever music I’m listening to, that I’m excited about, or that I simply feel like communing with you, no matter the artists, songs, style, old or new…

To do so, I will feature one of my favorite artist’s new album, whenever possible, who will take the first 3-4 spots in my top 10. Tracks 5 to 9 will be the music I’ve listened to during the previous week. And track 10 will be YOUR choice! So share with me some of your favorite songs, as they may make it onto my playlist! Just message me on Facebook and mention that it’s for #10 🙂 It can be whatever you like, as simple as whatever moves you or whatever you want to share and I will randomly pick one of those songs to share through the digital web world. Oh, I called the playlist “Digital Noises for Analog Souls”.

I’ve been faithfully following Sharon’s career from pretty much the beginning. I became even more of a fan of the artist when I had the privilege to discover the person itself. I always had a soft spot for the honesty with which she shared her heart out and obviously always loved her voice.

Therefore, I was really intrigued when I heard she was heading to the studio with renowned producer & engineer John Congleton. John worked on several records that are part of my personal all-time favorite artists, such as Swans and Explosions in the Sky. I was wondering if it was marking a shift in Sharon’s beautiful ethereal style, if we would witness an identity metamorphosis or if we would be invited to commune a new season of her life. I’m like every fan; excited about new material but worried to feel like losing something that was important to me, which is why I rarely listen to album pre-release singles or tracks…

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5 Albums You Must Listen to! | November 2018

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As published in Jano Lapin

Read the original article here

We listened to all the new releases and here are our choices! Here are the 5 albums you MUST listen to that released in November 2018.

Alex Henry Foster – Windows in the Sky (Psych/Art-Rock)

Unexpected. That’s the word you’ll read on almost every article written about Alex Henry Foster’s first solo release Windows in the Sky. Since the album came out, it has chart topped Québec sales even reached #3 on Canadian sales. Its first video, Summertime Departures is still the most watched video in Quebec per palmares ADISQ. No small feat for a record that has been released without any promotion!

Magnetic. This is the word I would use. The album is hard to describe but there’s an unseen power that attracts you to it. And forces you to play the album again and again. It’s an intimate, cinematic voyage often led by Foster’s spoken-word delivery. The guitars, airy, are majestic. From The Pain that Bonds (The Beginning is the End)’s first lyrics “I just don’t know how it feels anymore” to The Love that Moves (The End is Beginning)’s final ones “I will conquer darkness and make it shine”, the poetry, dark, reflective, often repetitive, will captivate you all the way through.

The Hunter. This mammoth of a song (14 min 36 secs) is the masterpiece of the album. With “The Hunter is coming” as its leitmotiv, the song, structured like a crescendo, changes perspective halfway through and unfolds like a short story. Haunting!

Must. Listen. To: The Hunter (By the Seaside Window), The Pain that Bonds (The Beginning is the End), Snowflakes in July, Winter is coming in, The Love that Moves (The End is Beginning).

Phil Naud
December 14, 2018

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Alex Henry Foster: A wide-open window on his flowing memories

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As published in Daily Rock

Read the original article here

Following the unexpected success in the charts of Alex Henry Foster’s new album “Windows in the Sky”, Daily Rock Québec is happy to introduce a very particular interview with the artist. Up in the air in between two big cities, creator Alex H Foster answered our questions about this album; intimate, expressive and very appreciated.

PS: Our interviewer Jérôme Go-dreault says that he has perceived and reconnected with a vibrant and compelling sound, just like Mr. L. Cohen knew how to make me feel. Congratulations, and thanks to Mr. Foster.

JG: Who is Alex Henry Foster? Where are you from?

AHF: We are starting the interview with the question for which the answer is the most difficult to me…! I will simply say that I’m a hardcore fan of music, poetry, skateboard, baseball, and video games, and that I am the father of 2 pups answering to the names of MacKaye and Leonard, which I have adopted in Austin, Texas, at the end of a North American tour with Your Favorite Enemies, a little over 3 years ago now…

I come from Montreal, but I moved too often during my childhood to be able to say exactly where I would consider having grown up…

I studied social work, worked with children victims of sexual abuse, and at the heart of the HLM (“rent-controlled housing”) community of the South Shore of Montreal before committing to my passion for music full time with Your Favorite Enemies some years ago…

JG: Since when and under which circumstances did you start creating music?

AHF: I think that as far as I can remember, I have always created music. Some cassettes hidden in the infamous family archives testify of the constant and uninterrupted way I had to make my parents go crazy while singing continuously… and to make noise with everything that could produce a sound and could be broken or strongly damaged while making said noise…

I logically integrated punk / hardcore / noise bands during my teenage years, thus increasing the circle of people I could render insane while playing Minor Threat, Ramones, Gang Green and other compositions, all of them equally disturbing for my friends’ parents, neighbors, school’s social workers and other people worrying about the fact that not being that good didn’t seem to have an impact on the passion with which I was turning to it so devotedly and… non-stop.

But it’s when I met Sef (Your Favorite Enemies’ guitarist), during his internship at the community organization where I was working – and through him his brother Ben (multi-instrumentalist and producer) – that my passion for music went from seriously dangerous to dangerously serious. We then founded Your Favorite Enemies and left school and any other form of normal type of social life potentially leading to a life made of promises… and of being good sons.

What would follow is in theory largely documented in dark places of the internet!

JG: What are your musical inspirations and your artistic process?

AHF: They are numerous, I’d say, but they must first and foremost be authentic and honest. My process is probably based on not having a pre-established process. I like to be surprised and capsized, which probably explains why I can listen to Japanese traditional chants, Nick Cave, Swans, Fugazi, Mats Gustafsson, traditional flamenco and The Cure in the same evening… it’s the emotions, whatever they might be, that inspire me.

JG: How and why, aside from the circumstances already mentioned in the media, producing a solo album?

AHF: It happened a little bit by accident. I was on an exile in North Africa as I was totally exhausted, both physically and psychologically, after 5 years of touring with Your Favorite Enemies. It must have been close to a year since I had last touched an instrument, but I was writing poetry so as to live and assume some emotions I had buried deep down inside in order not to have to face the reality and risk of losing myself even more than how I was feeling at that moment…

Ben came to find me in Tangier to work on a movie soundtrack, and following discussions, he encouraged me to put those feelings I couldn’t express in music, which slowly became a song, and another one, and finally a cohesive ensemble of what I like to call “moments”. I didn’t have the ambition of making it an album, as I didn’t want to have to face those words, those sounds, and those feelings after, even less have to talk about them publicly, like right now…! In the end, it’s the other members of Your Favorite Enemies who have encouraged me to do it, saying that it would set me free and allow me to assume its nature fully – and they were right to say so!

JG: Would this album have come to life if circumstances would have been different?

AHF: I don’t think it would have seen the light of day, it’s that simple… neither would have any of the music to come.

JG: Tell us more openly about your latest album; WINDOWS IN THE SKY:

AHF: It’s a personal and intimate album, but from which the honesty produces an invitation to share and commune. I’m discovering its true nature through the eyes of others and through how they make it theirs.

JG: Is this album a reflection of all your expectations and what are its qualities?

AHF: I didn’t have any expectation. I never had any expectation for anything I produced with Your Favorite Enemies before. For me, art and creation have for only interest the honesty with which we abandon ourselves to it. And the more we expose ourselves, the more we accept that we have nothing more to give than what we have at the moment we are creating. It’s, in my opinion, the reason why all creations evolve naturally with time, if only for the way we give a new look at what once was, thus making it something that is in the present moment as well. Creation evolves to the measure we allow ourselves to evolve as a person. At least, that’s how I see it.

JG: How many stars on 10 would the album deserve?

AHF: I don’t believe in the gradation of art. Some artists hate that people evaluate their artwork. For me, it’s all a matter of perspective, to put it simply. People who let go to the journey that “Windows in the Sky” is have a perception that is as right as mine… I never feared critics, as when a work is shared, it no longer exclusively belongs to me.

JG: Who are the main people who collaborated on the album production and in which studio was it recorded?

AHF: Ben has been the maestro behind the creation of this project, but all the members of YFE participated in it and have all offered a piece of themselves to it. It was imperative to invite them to do it.

The production happened in 3 totally different places and in completely atypical conditions. Between a small fortune studio located in Tangier, up to the incredible YFE studio located in a transformed Catholic church, to a creation station in the highlands of Virginia…

JG: Could we hear some of the tracks on the album Windows in the Sky played with the band YFE?

AHF: I hope so! They all sent me their resume to be part of the potential backup band if I ever wanted to share the album in a live mode! I will therefore have them audition; it’s a serious and professional project!

JG: How will the future with the band YFE be seen following the success of this solo album?

AHF: For me, it’s all pretty simple, as I live music without cultivating the ambition of success and without any careerist perspective. Understand me well; I am incredibly happy that people took “Windows in the Sky” for themselves in such a personal and intimate way. But it influences in no way what is to come next. And knowing me, people for whom YFE is important understand this and support me in that sense. It is the same for the members of the band: we are, first and foremost, a family. What will follow will be determined by what we want or need to live, create and share.

JG: We heard that you were presently working on a movie project which could be a follow-up to this album. Would you like to tell us more?

AHF: I told myself that after the release of a surprise solo album while people were expecting a new YFE album, the most logical decision in terms of “career move” would be to offer a third project which would not be YFE nor Alex Henry Foster and to talk about it during interviews about my album “Windows in the Sky”…! I guess we understand a little bit better now why I wasn’t the one mandated for YFE interviews 😉

JG: Why choose Japan, is there a special link with this country, for this new album and/or with the band YFE?

AHF: It was important for me to host that type of event in Japan.

I have always had a very singular relationship with the people of this country, very intimate I would say, may it be through suicide prevention projects, the soundtrack for the Final Fantasy video game we did, or the privilege we have to be welcomed as family every time we go over there to share music or other projects.

And to have done that in Tokyo was on one hand the fulfilment of a promise I had made to the parents of a fan who tragically took his own life, and on the other hand a way for me to share emotions that are sometimes only expressible through music for people who, like me, don’t feel like they can express their nature.

JG: Is an international touring project something foreseeable for this album?

AHF: Yes, surely, but I must determine what I will want to share and the way I would like to do it. I’m still reflecting on all of this, but I have desires of “moments”, and not of another rock tour…

JG: On the album, the texts seem to have a big importance and we would like to know if those were written specifically for this album? Furthermore, if the musical compositions were inspired and crafted starting from each of the album’s texts, or the contrary?

AHF: The texts are always what comes first, which is pretty rare, as texts are often written to accompany the music. May it be for YFE or another project, for me, it all starts with the texts, which flow from the vision I wish to explore for the album that will carry them.

JG: After listening and discussing about the album with a few people (which liked it), two of them told me that in some moments, they thought the music was redundant. What do you think about it?

AHF: It’s probably due to the fact that it’s an 8-song album of over 60 minutes of orchestral noise music and spoken word…! But seriously, the nature of “Windows in the Sky” is meant to be, first and foremost, a voyage, and I believe it makes sense according to the measure with which you abandon yourself to it. We all have our way of consuming or living music. For me, it was my way of expressing myself, without having to ask myself too many questions on anything else than what I felt like sharing. But I totally understand as well why those people lived it this way. That’s the beauty of sharing and of letting the others define the experience.

JG: Does Alex Henry Foster have the idea of producing a second album of the same type and do you think it would have as much success?

AHF: If we look at my discography, I believe I’m incapable of sticking to one specific genre, of building my decisions on what would make more sense in order to surf the same wave the longest or of doing what has to be done in order to reach success…! Considering the fact that I dream of making an album mixing old shigin chants (a traditional Japanese chant) and some avant-garde noise, I’m thinking this might be the last time you will want to ask me questions – which also explains why I wanted to beat a record of words written in this interview!

Jérôme Go-dreault
December 8, 2018

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5 things to know about Windows in the Sky by Alex Henry Foster

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As published in The Vancouver Sun

Read the original article here

Windows in the Sky | Hopeful Tragedy Records

Those who watched the Canadian music charts the week of Nov. 9 were scratching their heads when Alex Henry Foster’s debut album came in at #6 on the Billboard Canadian Albums chart. SoundScan reporting for Quebec sales over the next two weeks showed the Montrealer hitting top spot in the charts and reaching #3 nationally just behind powerhouses Muse and Imagine Dragons.

So who is this guy?

Well, apparently his old band is big in Japan. Foster plays in the 2015 Juno Award nominees Your Favourite Enemies whose 2014 album Between Illness and Migration had a Rock Album of the Year nod. If you don’t remember it, don’t beat yourself up. That category has given us, among others, such memorable acts as Finger Eleven, Sum 41 and Slik Toxik. Your Favourite Enemies are still active with a new album in the works.

Windows in the Sky dropped without any advance hype or tours announcements although Foster has said that there are plans in 2019 to take it on the road with a multimedia project. YFE are likely back in the new year too. But right now the focus is on this suddenly successful solo album.

Here are five things to know about it:

1: Full-on Post-Rockin’ Roll. Huge cascading guitar chords, echoed spoken word vocals, distantly reverberating choruses and as much overlaid orchestration as you can fit on a track. Songs such as Winter is Coming in sound like Bullet the Blue Sky U2 channelling Loveless era My Bloody Valentine by way of a band on Fluttery Records. It’s a big sound.

2: Seasonal sounds. If there is one thing Canada needs more of, it’s expansive and atmospheric music that goes well with snuggling down in a warm room for a few months until the “beautiful shivers go goodbye.” That may mean Snowflakes in July in this nation, but it’s all good.

3: Cool entry/exit. The Pain that Bonds (The Beginning is the End) opens the eight song album. The Love that Moves (The End is Beginning) closes it. The two songs intertwine not just in titles, but in build. Slow moody chording becomes more urgent and smashing in the opening, more distant and evolving in the closer. If the views we are supposed to be seeing in our Windows in the Sky are akin to a cranial train ride through an imagined landscape; then this works like a sonic journey.

4: The Hunter (By the Seaside Window). Perhaps in homage to his Japanese fans — the album was launched in a series of live listening sessions in Japan — this nearly 15 minute-long workout has a secondary vocalist saying something in Japanese as Foster’s vocals grow more and more paranoid. Fans of serious guitar noise must check this out.

5: Yes, it’s about grief. Windows in the Sky was written in isolation as Foster worked through the passing of his father following a long battle with cancer. It’s exploration of devotion, loss, sorrow, grief and exhaustion will echo with many who have been through such a process. Perhaps that is why the album resonated with so many, as the population ages this story becomes more and more repeated.

Stuart Derdeyn
November 27, 2018

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