We have a great video premiere today for Deep Toque, the first musical release from Boston-based prog-trad band Aerialists, in anticipation of their debut EP out in December 2015. The video was shot while recording at Fiddle Head Studios, an isolated space tucked between the ocean and forest on Mayne Island, BC.
Deep Toque, composed by guitarist Adam Iredale-Gray and named after the Canadian wooly hat, was the product of an exploratory writing process that took the tune through multiple time signatures before settling in 5/4. “I ended up writing something that sits between a jig and a reel”, says Iredale-Gray. “A lot of odd time signature fiddle music has this kind of insistent pulse, where the melody outlines the rhythm. My idea was to obscure that as much as possible with the phrasing and harmony. If you analyzed the tune it might seem weird, but we’re trying to make weird music feel natural”.
With members from Canada, the US, and Scotland, Aerialists have a lot of influences to balance. Each of them comes from a different folk music background, and all of them share an affinity for the sonic opportunities of contemporary music. Their upcoming debut EP draws from the wells of Swedish, Irish, and Scottish fiddle music, and adds a textural palette more akin to pop and post-rock.
In a world where hyphenated genres are becoming the norm, all kinds of monikers are available for a contemporary folk band – post-folk, trad-core, alt-roots, tune-rock. File under World, or file under Celtic? Aerialists fits best with the beautifully contradictory term prog-trad, creating an effortless fusion between the raw intensity of traditional fiddle music and the carefully crafted soundscapes of contemporary pop music.
Aerialists formed in early 2014 when long-time collaborators Adam Iredale-Gray (Fish & Bird) and Elise Boeur (Jenny Ritter) joined Nate Sabat (Mile Twelve) and award-winning Scottish harpist Mairi Chaimbeul, melding their ferociously creative harmonic sensibilities with a deep love for folk traditions. All four originally moved to Boston to study at Berklee College of Music, and thrive in the city’s hot acoustic music scene. The band usually performs as a quintet, joined by exceptional drummers including Jake Jenne (Alex Cuba).