In the book The Island Of Seven Cities: Where The Chinese Settled When They Discovered America, Paul Chiasson, a Toronto architect and amateur archeologist, makes the claim that it was the Chinese that discovered America before Columbus, evidenced by the ruins found at Cape Breton Island, NS. The Hylozoists new album, L’île de Sept Villes is indebted to this book by name sake only, but there is an element in both that connects to an unmapped journey of discovery and territory claim. L’île de Sept Villes, the third record by The Hylozoists brain-child Paul Aucoin, is a sonic dream, where greater focus is put on the landscape of the pieces; where time and space are shifted with each song but provide an ongoing background for one’s voyage in reverie. It solidifies The Hylozoists as Canada’s indie-art orchestral mavens.
Since its formation in 2002 in Seabright, Nova Scotia, the band has been releasing records and touring. Sounding like a score to a movie not yet made, The Hylozoists’ music is performed live by an ensemble ranging from six to ten musicians Aucoin knows from his life as a producer, arranger, engineer and performer. The band has shared stages with The Besnard Lakes, Cuff The Duke, The FemBots, Destroyer and Lambchop to name a few.
In that time Aucoin (vibraphonis and composer for The Hylozoists) has also worked on various productions including: Laura Barrett’s Victory Garden, Andre Ethier’s On Blue Fog and Born of Blue Fog, Cuff The Duke’s Sideline of The Cities, Wayne Petti’s City Lights Align, and Golden Dogs’ Big Eye Little Eye. He’s contributed arrangements, vibraphone or his engineering skills to The Fembots, The Constantines & Feist, Hayden, Brendan Canning, Elliot Brood, Small Sins, Cursed, Quest For Fire, Jason Collett, Roxanne Potvin, Holy Fuck and Great Lake Swimmers. Aucoin has also been working on films, scoring Sara St Onge’s The Funeral (showcased at Sundance) and The Lobotomobile (premiered at TIFF), a musical based on Walter Freeman’s life as a crusader for the art of the lobotomy.
L’Île de Sept Villes was produced with Jeff McMurrich (Constantines, Hidden Cameras, Sandro Perri) who helped the band achieve a much bigger sound. “Bras d’Or Lakes,” the feature track on the record is both haunting and hopeful as strings are weaved around a buoyant piano melody. The animated video for “Bras d’Or Lakes” is currently underway and will be serviced to all video outlets, including Bravo, MusiquePlus, and music and art blogs. The band continues its tradition of using literary titles with the opening song ‘The Possibility of an Island’, named after a Michel Houellebecq novel, and “Soixante-Sept,” the last track on the record, which was originally Commissioned by CBC as “Oh Montreal” for DNTO’s Expo 67 Special.
Since their 2006 release La Fin Du Monde, the band have cemented a live line up that’s captured the hearts and minds of anyone watching: “…the sound of the vibes, billowing and folding inside the high-roofed gallery, was astounding on its own — and backed by the soft beats of the drums, the low rumble of bass, and the veritable orchestra of other instruments — it really (to put it crudely) blew us away. I know nothing about these guys except that the stolen snippet of unplanned music they gave us was some of the freshest, most delightful and more enjoyable at the SXSW festival.” – About.com
Tour dates are being confirmed for 2009 with Central Canada in February, moving to the East Coast of Canada and SXSW in March and continuing into late April with West Coast dates. The band will be performing at festivals in the summer of 2009 as well as continuing their work in the US with dates ranging from April to July.