Fluid Radio weighs in on “Skeleton Taxa” by Damian Valles

Posted by on Oct 3, 2011 in review, skeleton taxa | No Comments

“I feel like it’s my most accomplished work to date. The concept behind Skeleton Taxa is as a collection of individual pieces that work better as a whole, a patchwork of sorts. Some of the tracks have been sitting dormant for months to years, some are reworked tracks from a previous life, and some are fresh out of the box; hints of traditional song compositions intertwined with sound collage that, somehow, seem to fit together to create a cohesive ‘entity’ or ‘body’.” – Damian Valles

Canadian musician, Damian Valles has been performing for more than a decade with bands that run the musical gambit from punk, post-hardcore and math rock to electronic and post-rock. Over the last two years he’s concentrated more on solo work, creating experimental ambient and drone based soundscapes.

“Skeleton Taxa”, mastered by Taylor Deupree, is Valles’ seventh release to date; his first full length CD and his first for the Drifting Falling imprint. The punk/rock guitar influence is apparent from the first track ‘Bones Made Out Of Bone’ onwards – this album is blessedly possessed of teeth, sharp ones at that. Whilst the texture in “Bones…” is one of soundscaping, the field recordings and tremelo’d guitar chords have a restrained aggression that elevates the material from run of the mill drone to something more. This is cemented by ‘Storm Doors’, angular Ennio Morricone guitar spirals with a post rock twist.

“Collapse Process” has a similar delayed guitar backdrop, multiple layers of shuddering notes waving across the speakers. Interestingly, the thing that distinguishes Valles sound from that of his contemporaries is his grasp of dynamics – whereas one might expect others to span out the tracks and highlight the drone, Valles plays with peaks and troughs and gives the album a welcome theatrical tone. The theatre is in places both sci fi (“Calvera” and “Calacas”) and dramatic (“Ascent Of The Past” and “Bell And Arc” which teeter towards the math influence mentioned in his past musical history), meaning most will find something to hook onto. There is a lot of melody if you listen closely, and there is ample reward for doing so.

Valles’ name will also be familiar to those who recently downloaded the 42 track Futuresequence compilation, having contributed the track “Court Whisperings”.

Charles Sage for Fluid Radio

original review