“Headaches,” one might think, would certainly rank low on a list of potential monikers for a musician, lest possible audiences be scared off – nomen est omen – but in New York there is someone who in fact records and performs under that rubric, a Canadian of several talents (he is also a photographer) from Edmonton by the name of Landon Speers, whom I featured in passing a while back. Although in his case the moniker was not the result of some mere idea but relates to an ailment he has said he’s suffered from chronically for a long time, fortunately the music itself is untroubled by it: there isn’t, in the electronica of this prolific sound-artist, anything that’s ear or head-splitting, and actually one of the functions of this music may itself be to still the pain, such that the activity involved serves as an analgesic or represents an answer to the search for some relief from, some remedy for a long-lived condition.
To judge by the reports on his website and blog, his dual professions – for in his work they do run in tandem – lend his life an itinerant character; most recently, as a musician he’s been touring alongside the band Purity Ring, and taking snapshots of the band-members in his capacity of photographer: and in general both the photographs he has published there, and the tracks he’s uploaded on his Bandcamp and Soundcloud pages, the solo efforts on his part and the collaborations with other musicians alike, exhibit the provisional condition of those who are on the road or doing a piece of the road together. Whether visual or sonic, they are recordings of fugitive moments, and here one feels that nearly everything – images, sounds, moods, paths, and even this “way of life” altogether, insofar as it is one – is stamped by and signifies its own transience.
In his music as in his photography, Speers is prolific; when examining the results one may sense that they, though of course it’s for their sake that the activity on the whole was undertaken, are at bottom the by-products of a process that is for him essentially vital – in other words, he does not so much make as exhale them: the sheer abundance of Speers’ image-streams may be taken to suggest that his creativity or productivity manifests something of the metabolic character of a living exchange or circulation of substance, while on the musical side it’s noteworthy how well his collaborations with other musicians generally turn out. Of these several have been made available on his Bandcamp page; while recently on Soundcloud he has uploaded a mixtape of songs or numbers that made their debut in the live concerts on his tour: this he’s sent forth under the title “Share My Love.”
From amongst his other pieces, here is some other music which stands out.
Firstly, a recent number, “No What?”
Then, from the early compilation Dirty Hairy, four tracks, “Simmer Down,” “Missed Train,” “Should Have Worn Shoes,” and “Dizbizy I.”
More recently, from Doc. I, put out under the alternative moniker Bad Dad, an inventive vocal track, “Bad Dad – 00100”:
Finally, to round all this off, three tracks he posted two years ago.
“I Wasn’t Born Yesterday”: