Having started out in the Winnipeg punk scene of the 80s and 90s with bands like XOXO and Bulletproof Nothing (who once opened for Fugazi), Steve Bates has made his name as a collaborator with Canadian (and Constellation) luminaries such as Elizabeth Anka Vajagic and GY!BE’s Sophie Trudeau. As a well-known supporter of the avant garde with a dedication to introducing experimental music and sound art to Canadian audiences, Bates also founded the Send + Receive festival in 1998 before moving to Montreal where he performed as Black Seas and formed Lanterner.
All that considered, it’s fair to say Bates is something of a legendary figure in Canadian underground music, so it’s perhaps surprising how rarely he performs solo. Thankfully, that’s about to change, because 23 September will see the release of Bates’ first new solo work for over a decade in the form of All The Things That Happen – on Constellation, no less, in what seems like a significant – if completely natural – step up from the days of funnelling all his output through his own label, The Dim Coast.
“These problems are multiplied by the difficulty I have in front of a tape recorder” may be a familiar track by now to Bates’ fans, having been released not long after the initial announcement of the album. The video, however, has only just arrived, and it joins the clip for “Destroy the palace” as the perfect visual accompaniment to its subject. A quieter, more sinuous track, “These problems…” dials back the silt and static to reveal the undulating sonic mechanisms themselves at work, revolving and reverberating against one another to create a groggily propulsive music independent of their aim – the very objects of Bates’ trade allowed to guide the way through a miasma of seasick loops and ringing feedback.
All The Things That Happen is released by Constellation on 23 September. Underscore is proud to present the premiere of the video for “These problems are multiplied by the difficulty I have in front of a tape recorder.” We hope you enjoy watching below.