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  • Writer's picturetinykingdom



When he set out to record Strange Calm, Vancouver songwriter Jasper Sloan Yip was trying to say goodbye. “I was dealing with a lot of climate dread, and at the same time, I could feel my musical life being pulled apart by different but equally powerful forces,” says Yip. “The songs on Strange Calm reflected these anxieties, and somehow helped me make peace with them too. It’s a meditation on learning to live with the death process.”

And then everything stopped. He and his band arrived at The Noise Floor on Gabriola Island to record their 4th LP with producer Jordan Koop (Orville Peck, Wolf Parade, Rae Spoon) on March 14th, 2020 just as life on the west coast shut down. “It was surreal. On one hand, it felt like an isolated recording studio was the perfect place to make an album about the end of the world, but on the other, we also understood that at any moment one of us might start showing symptoms, or we may be ordered by the province to pack up and go home. This tension was infused into everything we did.”

Thankfully, the band left the studio the following week healthy and joined the rest of the world in lockdown with six completed songs. Their tentative plans to return to the Noise Floor the following month to complete the album were cancelled, and Jasper, like everyone else, started to wait.

With the album ostensibly finished and nothing else to do, Jasper began work on a six-episode liner-notes podcast titled Strange Commentary to accompany the album. Spanning over 100 minutes, these audio liner notes paint an intimate picture that completes the songs on Strange Calm while extending far beyond them . “Strange Calm is shaped by its incompleteness. When I listen to these songs, I hear the music that isn’t there, and that’s ok. The podcast helped me let it be by giving me another way to finish the story,” says Yip.

But the end of every story is the start of another. By the summer, Jasper decided to record a second short collection of songs to release with Strange Calm, a decision that coincided with that start of a new chapter in his life: fatherhood. “I committed myself to recording more music, booking time at the studio before writing a single song. Almost immediately after doing that I learned that I was going to be a dad.”

Exactly one year after arriving on Gabriola Island to make a record about the end of the world, Jasper and his band were setting up at Afterlife Studio in Vancouver with producer John Raham (Destroyer, Tanya Tagaq, Frazey Ford) to record Blushing Autumn, four songs about the promise of new life.

“We all spent a year inside. Not just in our homes, but inside of ourselves,” says Yip. “For me, it began with the surreal experience of life imitating art in a scary way. I was ready to accept certain fates... But it didn’t go the way that I expected, and now, the strange calm that I was struggling with for so long is gone, and the world feels new again.”

STRANGE CALM 01 Halcyon Dream 02 Gin Fizz 03 Strange Calm 04 Silver Lining 05 Oleander 06 On The Beach BLUSHING AUTUMN 01 Blushing Autumn 02 August 03 Anew 04 Every Night, Beside You, I Lie Awake

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