Tag Archives: Recollection

Recollection Volume 2 – Depend On This

Recollection is a project to review my record collection. I will listen to an album I own and review it. The album will be chosen randomly by computron. Today computron chooses… 

Album: Depend On This
Artist: Ruth Minnikin and Her Bandwagon
Released: 2009
Format(s) I own it on: Vinyl

cover-752010No, seriously, this is random. Yes, Ruth Minnikin sang on the last album, and now here we are talking about one of hers, but honestly, it’s random.

Depend On This is two variations of one EP. Side one (and yes, I own on this on vinyl) has six songs in a straight up folk-pop arrangement with elements of ragtime and jazz, while side two could be described as dance arrangements… if dance used so many orchestral instruments.

The vast array of instruments is definitely a highlight of this record. Minnikin’s records generally are a bit more sparse, and this record provides a much more varied soundscape. The bass clarinet seems to the instrument holding the sound down throughout the record. I’m not always a clarinet fan, but it seems to work well.

Highlights

The “cha-cha-cha” at the end of “Four Churches.” Yes, definitely this. It’s a great song regardless of that fact, but it adds so much.

I might suspect I enjoy “Sleeping and Dreaming” as it describes a condition I have, but I don’t think so, I think it’s just generally a pretty good song. I’ve never dreamed of The Beatles that I recall, as I don’t recall if I ever dream, but if I did, THAT WOULD BE AWESOME!

“Depend On This” is amongst Minnikin’s best songs. Definitely the highlight to this album, and her career.

Lowlights

The biggest problem to this record is that it’s the same thing twice. Yes the remixes are quite different from the first side, but it’s not a big enough difference to hold your attention for it twice in a row. Those pieces work better in shuffle mode amongst a larger collection.

Ruth Minnikin

Interview

I’ve had the privilege of meeting Ruth Minnikin a few times, and sent her a quick email asking if she’d be willing to participate. Luckily she was, so I present to you an email interview done from Canada to Korea.

AA: How do you see Depend On This now that you’ve had a few years to process the album?

RM: I just finished listening to Depend on This, start to finish, for the first time in a long time! Early on in the album’s development, I was aware that it would be an epic sound journey. I envisioned it as a piece of sound art, conceptually based around the music-making ritual itself! Re-visiting it now, i am still very proud of the project!

AA: What song(s) stand out to you and why?

RM: “Sleeping and Dreaming” pulled on my ol’ heartstrings. I wrote it about my Dad, his sleep apnea diagnoses, surgery, and then his recovery. When he had finally gotten to dream, after decades of no REM sleep, he dreamt that The Beatles were coming (for the first time) to North America! He woke up in a state of excitement and confusion, he thought that he must buy his tickets at once! My Dad passed away in 2010 and now he frequents my dreams!!

AA: Which did you enjoy making more, side A or side B?

RM: This record felt like a pulsing mountain that I needed to conquer! It took years to write and record. There were around 30 musicians (from around the world), 3 producers (myself, Andrew Watt and Charles Blazevic) and visual artists (myself, Craig Buckley and Jesse Jacobs) involved. Some of the songs had over 100 tracks! I couldn’t possibly imagine picking a favourite side! It was just as much about the endless climb to the summit, as it was the admiration of the vista from it’s peak!! I just can’t compare the two!

AA: As a listener, which do you enjoy more, side A or side B?1

RM: This is a snapshot taken from a period in my life! It is all relevant and necessary! It can not be separated from me, as it is me! It’s one single art piece with several ways of perceiving it!!

 AA: How do you feel you’ve changed as a musician since the release of Depend On This?

RM: Nothing has changed. I am still performing, making music and using it as a tool for therapy and creatively. Performing and writing will be with me forever. I am very excited for the ideas i haven’t yet thought of, the concerts i haven’t performed (or seen) and the albums i haven’t written (or heard)!!

I am extremely thankful for my family (full of musicians and creative minds), my musical family of old and dear friends (including my brother Gabriel Minnikin, who i have traveled the world with performing) for being so incredibly supportive and never once telling me to give up on my zany ideas!!

My life has been formed and guided by my family and art and music making. These are powerful forces that I will continue to let push me in the right direction!!

Thank you again, Ruth. Photo by Randal Tomada.

Men 1 (50%) | Women 1 (50%)
Canada 2 (100%)
Ontario0 (0%) | Quebec0 (0%) | Nova Scotia2 (100%) | New Brunswick0 (0%) | Manitoba0 (0%) | British Columbia0 (0%) | Prince Edward Island0 (0%) | Saskatchewan0 (0%) | Alberta0 (0%) | Newfoundland and Labrador0 (0%)
Northwest Territories0 (0%) | Yukon0 (0%) | Nunavut0 (0%)
  1. Here’s where an email interview doesn’t work so well. Based on the previous answer, I wouldn’t have asked this question. It’s obvious that Minnikin sees the two sides as one whole, whereas from my perspective, I see them separately. Oh well. []

Recollection Volume 1 – Down At The Khyber

Recollection is a project to review my record collection. I will listen to an album I own and review it. The album will be chosen randomly.

Album: Down At The Khyber
Artist: The Joel Plaskett Emergency
Released: 2001
Format(s) I own it on: CD/Vinyl

The Joel Plaskett Emergency - Down At The KhyberThe Joel Plaskett Emergency’s Down At The Khyber is the perfect choice to start this project. The album was chosen randomly, but Plaskett was the first artist I ever interviewed1

Pictured to the left is the album’s vinyl release. When I interviewed Plaskett I had him sign my copy; it sits framed in my living room.

Plaskett had, throughout his years with Thrush Hermit, traveled from coast to coast. Down At The Khyber is a record about a life on the road. From the title track where his true love will never betray him, even if he’s on the road, to singing about his popularity soaring while on the road to Saskatchewan, to driving across the country by the “Light of the Moon.” Plaskett’s songs live in the geography of Canada; he practically bleeds maple syrup.

The Joel Plaskett Emergency were Joel Plaskett, Tim Brennan, and Dave Marsh.

Highlights

The title track is about meeting his love at Halifax’s storied Khyber Club. It’s a tale of love and trust. It’s also a killer rock and roll song.

“Blinding Light” is a beautiful country duet with the then-Guthrie Ruth Minnikin. Any time Minnikin sings is a pleasure and Plaskett puts in his best vocal performance of the album.

Plaskett apparently likes to drift off to the CBC and found that the 3AM sign off was too early. “True Patriot Love” is a rock and roll anthem about the CBC’s sign off.

The album finishes with “Light of the Moon,” a beautiful acoustic song about traveling from Canada’s west to the east. It’s hauntingly beautiful and ends the record with a ruckus deserving of this album.

Lowlights

This album is pretty damn solid, but I often take a pass at “This Is A Message” and “Unconditional Love.” Not Plaskett’s best songs, but still good.

Men 1 (100%) | Women 0 (0%)
Canada 1 (100%)
Ontario0 (0%) | Quebec0 (0%) | Nova Scotia1 (100%) | New Brunswick0 (0%) | Manitoba0 (0%) | British Columbia0 (0%) | Prince Edward Island0 (0%) | Saskatchewan0 (0%) | Alberta0 (0%) | Newfoundland and Labrador0 (0%)
Northwest Territories0 (0%) | Yukon0 (0%) | Nunavut0 (0%)
  1. For Being There Magazine. Click here for the article. []

Recollection

Next week I’m starting a little project. I’m going to review every album I own. That’s a lot of records. I’ve thrown them all into a database and have a script which randomly chooses a record number, I then review it.

This is an excuse to break out from my constant playlists. It’s also a goal to get myself writing more, and hopefully better. It’ll also give me a chance to perhaps do some small interviews.

We’ll see where this goes.