Best Vancouver albums of 2015

minimalMinimalviolence – Heavy Slave
Genero Sound
Listen: “Husbands”

Heavy Slave makes a strong early impression for both Minimalviolence (Lida P. and lié’s Ashlee Luk) and Genero Sound, the all-female Vancouver label founded by Soledad Muñoz this year. The imprint aims to balance gender representation in the local arts, across several forms of media. Heavy Slave is Genero’s third musical release.

Ashlee and Lida make their drum machines work overtime on top of looped lo-fi electro tracks. The duo adds more and more percussion of several different timbres as bass rumbles beneath. On songs like “Wax Palms (Bodyheat)”, the mix of drum sounds rattles within the listener’s head like the marble inside of a can of spray paint.

Heavy Slave isn’t exactly violent, but it’s certainly corporeal, mainly due to its overall lack of refinement. On “Husbands” for example, Ashlee and Lida sound like they’re rapping a knotty wooden door with their knuckles or striking oil drums with the first blunt objects they can find. A synth with a vintage tone weaves through “Images with Restraint”. Though “Images” is the album’s most danceable track, Heavy Slave is almost anything but a dance record. Minimalviolence probably possess the required sensibilities to make a great dark dance record, but that might be too easy, and Ashlee and Lida – and certainly Genero Sound – are all about facing challenges head on and proposing their own.

Leslie Ken Chu

Leslie Ken Chu