Local ambient-folk project to debut on June 27 at Village Guitars
The Saskatoon music scene is consistently a Spring garden for new music. One such act, new to the scene but not to the stage, is Living Room, the solo project of Alex Stooshinoff.
Stooshinoff began playing with Optimystic in high school and saw incremental success, playing on Stripped Down and at the Ness Creek Music Festival. During the summer of 2012, Alex began writing and recording for his solo project. Originally, he played under the moniker Moths, though as he quips, “that was too metal for me… I bought an MPC and was fiddling with synths, and I tried to do a solo acoustic-electronic thing, but I wasn’t really enjoying what I was doing with that.”
Dead set on expressing his newfound musical creations live, Alex began learning how to loop, incorporating ever more equipment in his set. “Everything kind of just happened. I kept building from one essential point. It was one huge idea with several different ways of expressing it.” His writing and recording culminated into one twenty-five minute performance, which is now a recorded album dubbed Stasis.
Stasis is a journey from introduction to conclusion. Listening to the whole album is like tapping into the imaginative process of Stooshinoff, if only for six tracks. This isn’t simply vain, elaborately descriptive articling, but a true description of Stooshinoff’s writing process.
Stooshinoff describes his own project much the same way he wrote it. That is, he would describe an aspect of it, and then the next aspect of his record would occur to him, like a guitarist improvising on a loop pedal. “When I was recording everything,” Stooshinoff says, “I was very conscious of the energy I was putting into it, basically as if I was performing.”
Because of this live-off-the-pedal board process, Alex has developed an intimate sense of understanding with his project. Stasis is a head space with back story. “I don’t quite know how to relate to it” Stooshinoff says. “I haven’t been able to detach from it yet, to just get the listener’s experience.”
The clincher that makes this album an instant Saskatoon must-have is the team that mixed and mastered it. Josh Feldman and Bennett Dobni, both formerly involved in Feral Children as well as Zombifyus, are the mixing and mastering engineers (respectively) behind Stasis.
“I’ve known Alex for a few years from hometown Saskatoon, through mutual friends and the music scene,” Feldman said. “Not until recently have we become close friends, having spent time together during my visits home and during his visit to Montreal.”
Indispensable from the recording process, Stooshinoff flew out to the home and school studio of Feldman and Dobni in Montreal for the finalizing of the process. “I wanted to nitpick and stuff like that,” said Stooshinoff, “but that was just me being neurotic, and Josh was just like ‘let’s just get it to mastering.’”
Josh shared the same story. “We disputed over a bunch of technical specifics,” he said. “Alex was relentless with his expectations, which I was first stressed over, but came to admire . . . it [gave] me the general experience of working with sound, which I love.”
Despite the odd ticks and disagreements between the musician and the engineers, both came out with a deep appreciation of the project. “Those guys are incredible,” says Stooshinoff, “Bennet did some crazy work on it [too]. He bounced the whole vocal track through an old Rodec 60’s mixer. It created the warmest sounding thing.”
Though you haven’t heard Stasis yet, you can trust that it sounds just as warm and ambient as described here. And hey, isn’t it amazing that the Saskatoon music scene transcends the country of Canada? I don’t know about you, but I get stoked pondering it.
Stasis drops June 27 at Living Room’s release party down at Village Guitar. The deal is sweetened by the fact that this is a dual-release event, with Stephen Cooley of Caves releasing his new project, Mosaias. A video was made to accompany the entirety of Stasis by Zac Knuttila.