Ceramic Hello :: The Absence Of A Canary (Suction)

Suction Records have managed to reissue an obscurity from a fellow countryman who trail-blazed the synth wave sound. Ceramic Hello traverses the grounds of inspirational electronics to weirded-out abstraction.

[Release page] There are a handful holy grails of Minimal Synth. Brent Wicken and Roger Humphries’ Ceramic Hello is one of the hallowed. The Canadian outfit formed in 1980 and had a short period of productivity. Suction Records returns from its semi-retirement to reintroduce this seminal synth sound of 1981.

The upliftingly titled “The Diesquad” opens. A work of dystopian pop is the outcome. Slow beats are coupled with drawn lyrics and a dejected disposition. “Climatic Nouveaux” comes from a similar place. The machinery hums with a chirpy cheerfulness, but the human side of project pours forth with despair and misery. Across the album are noodling respites, melody tests offering a playful refuge form the pain. Chords are pulled across themselves, strung out and stretched. “Geometry” reverses chords where “Symphony of Shudders” depicts a Kafkaesque world of synth runs and modern miscommunication. But not everything on The Absence of Canary is downtrodden. Despite the name, “Grey Man” is a warming piece of electronics. “Footsteps in the Fog” comes straight from the distanced minimal wave tradition whereas “Ringing in the Sane” is a compuphonic work of mental abstraction—something of the Wibbley Brothers to it. “Gestures” is one of those pinnacle moments of Minimal Synth. The poetic vocals come from a crestfallen existentialism. Absorbed individualism coupled with a contemporary commentary linked to a heart wrenching synth line. The peculiar and introverted “Dig That Crazy Beat” closes in a flourish of insanity.

Suction Records have managed to reissue an obscurity from a fellow countryman who trail-blazed the synth wave sound. Ceramic Hello traverses the grounds of inspirational electronics to weirded-out abstraction. Finally this pioneering LP is available again.

The Absence Of A Canary is available on Suction. [Release page]

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