Through the release of two albums and a couple of EPs, Montreal-based psych outfit Atusko Chiba — Karim Lakhdar (guitar, vocals, synthesizer), Kevin McDonald (guitar, synthesizer), David Palumbo (bass guitar, vocals), Anthony Piazza (drums) and Erik Schafhauser (guitar, synthesizer) — have developed and honed a reputation for crafting a genre-defying sound with a cohesive and hypnotic blend of post-rock, prog rock and krautrock paired with offbeat, subversive songwriting.
Live, the Montreal psych outfit pairs their unique brand of experimental rock with video and light installations trigged in real time by the band, creating an immersive multimedia, multi-sensorial environment. Over the past handful of years, the band has toured across Canada, the States and Europe, sharing states with the likes of . . . And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead, Big Business, Duchess Says, King Buffalo, and others.
Atusko Chiba’s highly-anticipated third album Water, It Feels Like It’s Growing is slated for a January 20, 2023 release through Montreal-based purveyors of psychedelia, Mothland. The album reportedly finds the Canadian quintet crafting a collection of drone-driven yet bombastic material that may draw comparisons to the likes of The Mars Volta, Beak> and Spirit of the Beehive among others.
“As opposed to our last album, which was about introspection, spacetime and the personal journey, the themes explored on this new album are related to our environment and our reaction to it,” the members of Atsuko Chiba explain. “Though not meant to be strictly political, our references stem from highly politicized movements and ideas. Division and group ideology are heavily explored. A prime example is the weaponization of vocabulary used to distract, displace and alienate us, forcing us to pick sides on every front. Our lyrics also strongly denote our innate love for all living things, encompassing a hopeful, if somewhat violent, plea for change.”
Clocking in at 7:45, Water, It Feels Like It’s Growing‘s first single “Seeds” is a slow-burning and brooding bit of A Storm in Heaven-meets-Dark Side of the Moon-like psychedelia centered around lush, glistening synths, swirling guitar riffs, tweeter and woofer rattling boom bap-like drumming paired heavily distorted vocal harmonies. The single also features a gorgeous contribution from Montreal-based string quartet Quatuor Esca, who perform an arrangement by Gabriel Desjardins. While possessing a sprawling, widescreen atmosphere, “Seeds” evokes a creeping sense of impending uncertainty and doom but with the tacit understanding that perhaps not all is lost — at least not yet.
Directed by longtime friend and collaborator Rodrigo Sergio, the accompanying video for “Seeds” shows performing artist and dancer Jade Maya embodying the song’s themes through physical movements that are subtle or violent in a variety of environments — both natural and man-made.