Eric Quach (thisquietarmy) and Aidan Girt (Godspeed You! Black Emperor) have teamed up with Ripcord Records for the release of their second album for the intriguing project Some Became Hollow Tubes. “Unhealthy For Sensitive Groups” follows their 2019 debut, Keep It in the Ground and is available for streaming below.
Although both Eric Quach (thisquietarmy) and Aidan Girt (Godspeed You! Black Emperor) have created some of the most intriguing solo works of the 21st century, they are artists who well know the sparks of genius that can happen through collaboration.
Originally started through a chance meeting in 2016, the two soon engaged in file sharing with the goal of creating a demo of composite sounds. This came to fruition in 2019 with the creation of their debut album ‘Keep It In The Ground’ through Gizeh Records and then an early document of their initial Berlin jam sessions, ‘In 1998 I Thought This Shit Would Never Change’ via Consouling Records. And so was born Some Became Hollow Tubes.
The inspiration for their latest full-length came from multiple sources, the first being a request for a new composition for their home and frequent collaborators Gizeh Records to be included as part of their ‘We Hovered With Short Wings’ compilation. That cut, ‘No One Is Ok’, prompted a new flurry of activity from the duo and the creation of two new tracks, both released on Bandcamp day “just to be able to move on and focus on the new stuff,” as Quach put it.
At the time of release, wildfires were sweeping across Canada and these devastating events also found themselves playing a part in the album’s shaping, influencing the song titles as well as that of the record; ‘Unhealthy For Sensitive Groups’ being taken from an air quality warning which struck the band’s dark sense of humour just right.
Opening track ‘All I Can Think About Is The Earth On Fire And The Smoky Skies’ has all the intimidating grandeur that its name suggests, Girt’s drums thunderously rising above waves of droning ambience and white-hot textures that push and pull at the senses, rising to a fevered climax that feels like the world being born in reverse.
‘No One Is OK’ taps into a different sense of darkness, frazzled industrial synths and needle-sharp snare punches coiling themselves around a universe-sized core, a Hawkwindian jam session going wrong in all the right ways.
As a closer, ‘My Eyes Are Itchy And I Can Barely Breathe’ overflows with energy, Girt feverishly working his kit as Kraut rhythms pulsate and swell, Quach throwing shape and colour around while keeping a tight rein until the album comes to a juddering, deeply satisfying halt.
Unhealthy For Sensitive Groups is a fragmentary snapshot of turbulent times, of darkening skies, of devastation and of rebirth. As the duo themselves put it: “the music has our sadness. This world is dying, the machines are getting better and better at eating material things to create nothing and all we can do is make wordless music in response.