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Siskiyou is the new group led by former Great Lake Swimmers member Colin Huebert in collaboration with Erik Arnesen (who still plays with the Swimmers). The group is based in Vancouver, Canada where Huebert has recently settled after a stint working on an organic farm following his departure from the Swimmers. This is their eponymous debut album.
Colin sent us a first collection of songs in early 2010 just as the bitterest months of Montreal winter were setting in. Working like glowing embers on us all season long, gaining warmth and radiance with every listen, the humble intimacy and composure of these recordings steadily drew us into the deeper tension between economy and epiphany humming at the core of the tunes. Emotionally direct, marked by an underlying darkness and doubt about relationships (to each other, to the environment, to mortality) without overreaching lyrically or musically, and without overriding the quiet exuberance embedded in every melody – the songs compel.
It was no surprise to learn that Huebert had channeled these songs with immediacy and austerity, recording dozens of tunes at home with only voice and guitar, generally within minutes of their conception, as an exercise in unmediated documentation. From this audio sketchbook, Huebert and Arnesen began building gently ornate arrangements on top of various tunes, recording overdubs in itinerant fashion in hallways, stairwells, bathrooms and parks throughout the Vancouver area. Banjo, piano, accordion and electric guitar play the lead roles in adorning Colin’s initial acoustic guitar sketches. The resulting collection of songs thrums with a scrupulous lo-fi backwoods energy and restraint. The music has been described as perfectly conjuring the lush, crisp yet often chilly landscape of the Pacific Northwest, and we tend to agree.
We are thrilled to present this first set of self-recorded, self-produced songs by Siskiyou – following the release of their debut free digital single (a cover of Simon and Garfunkel’s “El Condor Pasa”) in June 2010.
released October 7, 2010
Colin Huebert: voice, guitar, piano, drums, etc.
Erik Arnesen: banjo, voice, etc.
Karolyn Keir: various instruments
Dan Moxon: accordion
Peter Carruthers: upright bass
Daniel Hersog: trumpet
Recorded in various locations by Colin Huebert and Erik Arnesen, 2008-2009.