If I tell you that Touching God, a duo from Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada, describe their music as ‘ blistering electronic noise-rock,’ you might be put off. If I tell you that the first track on their new five-track EP, ‘Profane,’ is called ‘Strepitus Diaboli,’ which is Latin for ‘devil noise,’ (good to see my O’Level Latin, B grade, back in 1974 has finally come in handy) you might again be put off.
But don’t be.
It’s a heavyweight brutal seventeen minutes or so, of that there’s no denying. But listen closely. There is structure. And there is melody. Maybe just not of the Judy garland style, that’s all.
My own experience of ‘noise’ music is more focused on the Japanese scene. The likes of Kawabata Makoto / Mainliner and Keiji Haino grace my record collection. But Touching God’s EP is different in that it doesn’t appear improvised. It has more of a wide, expansive soundtrack feel to it, and seems to be following a storyline. I have to confess, though, I’m not quite sure what that is exactly.
The opening track, starts out with the ringing of church bells, and very quickly you get a sense of doom rather than the uplifting call to worship you’d normally expect from such sounds. See – the bells gradually meld into one huge cacophony and muffled, spoken word is overlaid.
Set the mood to ‘creepy.’
Second track ‘Puissant,‘ French for ‘powerful,’ (Higher French, ‘C’ grade, 1975) steams in with a heavier than heavy riff and racing drums. The vocals are a hybrid metal and hardcore punk style, that demand the listener’s attention.
‘Kola,’ is my favourite track. Starting with a throbbing pulse, it soon develops into a latter day heavy drum ‘n’ bass style, but with growled and shouty vocals.
‘Courtship‘ is playing above, so no comment requited.
Final track ‘Vacant’ is a bleak collage of noise, again mixed with similar spoken vocals to that of the opener. Think evil Tangerine Dream! As the band themselves state, this and the first track are: ‘sound pieces that set the stage for an atmosphere of discomfort.’
This style of music may be a little niche, but it’s truly atmospheric and deserving of more musically open-minded listeners giving it time.
Profane will be available in full digitally through all streaming services from June 7th, 2019, and as a limited CDr, available on the band’s forthcoming Western Canada tour.
Touching God bio:
Currently based in Lethbridge, AB, Touching God’s members have also been in former grunge-punk band,Advertisement, and ongoing drone-ambient project, An Ant And An Atom. They have shared stages with Cherubs, Dri Hiev, Rhythm of Cruelty, and Conduct. This summer, they will bring their eviscerating not-to-be-missed live show on a tour to the West Coast of Canada with a returning appearances at Calgary’s Sled Island Festival as well.