Music You Don't Know You Like Yet
VanGaalen is a visual artist and musician from Calgary, Alberta. His debut
album, Infiniheart, was released in
2004, featuring his eccentric artwork.
Since then, VanGaalen has released three other records, including the
Polaris short-listed Soft Airplane
(2008). According to his official page, over the past decade, VanGaalen has
been producing "living maps in songs, drawings, modified instruments,
animations and performances--shifting forms pointing to another world,
infinitely more liveable, maybe hidden just under the surface of our own." His music has evolved to become an
acoustic, electronic experience into this other world. VanGaalen's fifth studio
album, Shrink Dust, features an
aluminum pedal steel guitar, which VanGaalen spent over a year learning. This
instrument unifies the album and leads VanGaalen to call it a country record,
though the album still contains heavy rock and electronic influences. Themes of
death, transformation, fear, benign evil, and the eccentricity of love draw the
listener into VanGaalen's strange and often disorienting lyrics. "Cut Off My
Hands" opens the albums with VanGaalen's eerie vocals, disturbing lyrics,
unsettling harmonies, and dissonant instrumentation. From there, the album
moves into songs with clear Southern influence, like "Lila" and "Evil," yet
still contain the dread of VanGaalen's vocals.
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