Hold True

Digital Download $9.99

Montreal Mirror music critic Lawrence Joseph picked Hold True as one of the top ten albums released in 2010.

Hold True (Accroche-toi) features acoustic soundscapes framed by rich percussive explorations, extended trance/groove pieces based on Indian raga forms, and guitar-inflected free fusion, punkbop compositions with a dissonant edge. Hold True, draws on groove elements of funk and rock and features, in particular, Wallace's sensitive drumming and Fischlin's adventurous Abercrombie- and Frisell-inflected guitar-playing. Other passages explore spacious, out-of-tempo and textural material, with Heble's dense piano at the extreme of the treble register coming to the fore and multi-instrumentalist Melville's inventive playing adding to the insurgent sonic palette. Vertical Squirrel compositions explore distinctive instrumentations that include radio frequencies meeting up with baroque pipe organs, bass banjos, the Cuban tres, melodica, home-made percussion instruments, and the octave Hammertone.
Highlights of this release include an extended elegiac piece dedicated to Algerian/French philosopher Jacques Derrida and to guitarist Fischlin's father, a mini-suite featuring Melville's explosive and unpredictable baritone playing and Heble's hypnotic piano, and the sinuous melodic and percussive intertwinings evidenced on Leaps of Faith. All the music on the album centers on live improvisations that showcase a range of playing styles and unexpected instrumental collisions. Number 204 on the venerable Montréal-based avant-garde label Ambiances Magnétiques, Hold True celebrates musical collaboration across cultures, risk-taking, and various forms of musical assonance. Look for a 2011 tour with the Vertical Squirrels coming off the launch of their album at the closing concert in the 2010 Guelph Jazz Festival: "the kind of event that lets you fantasize ... that music can change things" (Globe and Mail).

"The Squirrels gnaw out a unique brand of in-the-moment improvisation on this debut CD. Based in Guelph, ON, these multi-instrumentalists’ wide tonal palette is held together by trance-like, chim ing percussion from Rob Wallace. "Ah/Ha!” could be a long-lost late-’60s Can track, while "Leaps of Faith” reveals a Fripp influence from guitarist Daniel Fischlin and "Amnesiaville” exhibits the free-jazz tendencies of pianist Ajay Heble. Despite these recognizable roots, Hold True is an unclassifiable blast of fresh air." 9/10 Trial Track: "Nomads, Sparrows & Machines” (Lawrence Joseph)

Daniel Fischlin (guitars & effects, percussion, provençale flute); Ajay Heble (piano, percussion, melodica); Lewis Melville (bass guitar, baritone, bass banjo, pipe organ, percussion, radio frequencies); Rob Wallace (drum kit, percussion, vocals)

1. (Put Some) Spunk in Your Funk
2. Nomads, Sparrows & Machines
3. ¡Ah/Ha!
4. Danse des araignées mécaniques
5. The Shining Sea
6. L' impatience des poissons (élégie)
7. Leaps of Faith
8. La mnémologie/Amnesiaville
9. The Nobodies
10. Resurrecting the Good