Four years since their last recording came out, Victoria’s Compassion Gorilla are back with a new lineup and a new album.
The new record, released this fall, is called Coalesce. Guitarist and singer Chris Fretwell said the title refers to the band combining separate and distinct musical styles and concepts into a cohesive collection of music that can stand up as “its own thing.”
“The new CD is kind of the culmination of three years of consolidating a new membership and a new sound for the band,” Fretwell said.
“That’s kind of what happened over those three or four years of reformation… A lot of musicians with different musical backgrounds coming together and creating something that represents their shared and different musical backgrounds.”
Nanaimo residents will have the opportunity to hear these new sounds when the band – Fretwell, trombonist Daniel Cryderman, multi-instumentalist Ian Daykin, drummer Dan Beer and bassist Eli Bender – performs at the Vault Cafe on Thursday, Nov. 9. It’s their second visit to Nanaimo since September to support the new album.
“I think the sound is more unique and refined than any of the previous recordings and it’s also had the benefit of a few guest musicians as well,” Fretwell said, adding that Coalesce is also “the first album of this band to feature a full drum kit, which has a big impact on the overall sort of punchiness of the music.”
Fretwell said Coalesce updates the band’s Latin American sound, while remaining rooted in that timeless musical tradition.
“The goal was to create something that had a sonic texture of an older-style recording and to feature some of the folkloric music knowledge and experience that some band members bring to the project. Then from those older sounds, to bring them forward in a newer way that’s kind of informed by a more modern pop and dance band kind of sensibility,” he said.
“And the recording process was designed to create a simple and concise sound that was warm and a little bit older-sounding.”
That approach meant eschewing modern recording techniques in favour of time tested alternatives.
“A lot of the recording process these days wants to have a different microphone for every little thing that’s being recorded and you end up putting together a bunch of little pictures to create a big picture,” Fretwell said.
“Instead, you could find the right way to get that big picture in one shot, which is kind of what we really went for.”
WHAT’S ON…Compassion Gorilla performs at the Vault Cafe on Thursday, Nov. 3 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 at the door.