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Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada | INDIE

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada | INDIE
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"Zulu Report: The 10 Albums Making us Smile This Week"

Browse > Home / Culture, Kits & West Side / Zulu Report: The 10 Albums That Are Making Us Smile This Week…
Zulu Report: The 10 Albums That Are Making Us Smile This Week…

January 1, 2011
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Our friends over at Kitsilano’s Zulu Records once again present their weekly Scout feature, the Zulu Report. Within, staff from the West 4th music store provide The Track, the song that is on heavy rotation that week; The Playlist, which is pretty self-explanatory; The Gig, the must see show of the week; and The Glance, a view ahead to music on the horizon. From their ears to yours, enjoy…
The Track

currently on heavy rotation in the store…

Dreamscaper from Ye Olde Maids’ “God Blesses Us, Mother Dresses Us” (Heartworm Press).

We at the store are big fans of Cold Cave’s moody, synth-rock Depeche Mode-isms, so when we heard that main man Cold Caver Wes Eisold was putting out a selection of solo home recordings we were duly excited. Coming off as something more charming and home spun that his more slick primary musical guise, God Blesses Us, Mother Dresses Us is a fun and fried-out set of junky recordings that resemble something like The Vaselines jamming with New Order in some deserted Northern England bunker. If this all sounds terribly obscure let me just say that Ye Olde Maids should please fans of the amateurish pop that’s played just for the hell of it!
The Playlist

Here are ten selections that are making us smile…

DAFT PUNK Tron Legacyy OST (Walt Disney Records)

It would not be Zulu’s place to weigh in on the quality or lack thereof of the new “Tron Motion Picture Event,” but we can say with full confidence that our fave French motorcycle helmet duo have produced something none of us thought they had in them: a true film score. This is not a Daft Punk party album but rather something more lush, moody, and yes, cinematic.

AFROCUBISM s/t (Nonesuch)

Well this is a treat: a mix of African and Cuban players that inspired the wonderful Buena Vista Social Club album ten years ago. This is the album that “could have been” or “should have been,” for reasons much too convoluted to get into here. So much more than mere dinner music, this is the real thing.


We’ve listed this album before, but it warrants re-listing because, despite the various blog world backlash, King Night is actually really good! You might be inclined to hate it, but in fact this is a totally original blend of southern crunk, laptop fuckery, and spooky, drugged out bad vibes psychedelia. Awesome.

JEFRE CANTU Love Is A Stream (Type)

Zulu has deep love for the kind of jams that fill Cantu’s Love Is A Stream. Blurring the lines between attractive and repulsive, Cantu smears washes of noise and ambient texture over top of slowly evolving melodic bliss-outs. Beautfiul.

NO UFO’S Mind Control (Nice Up Int’l)

No stranger to the Zulu Report, local home recorder No UFO’s returns on another beautiful cassette of sound collage that conjures up a rich history of Chicago House dance jams, German kosmiche drone-tones, and gnarly 21st century digital fuckery. Limited quantities. Zulu’s got a few left.

BRIAN MCBRIDE The Effective Disconnect O.S.T. (Kranky)

Brian McBride, one half of Zulu faves Stars Of The Lid, soundtracks a documentary about declining bee populations. The result is exactly what you’d want and expect: an album of austere beauty. This is a tasteful modern chamber composition that never veers into flaky new age wretchedness.

AHNA s/t LP (Broadway To Boundary)

Ahna have proved to be one of our city’s most striking acts. That’s no easy feat considering the number of bands calling Vancouver home. Always evolving their sound, its great to finally have a long player from these two, especially one that features no less than two locked grooves! - Zulu Records via Scout Magazine

"AHNA/Datacave Split Cassette"

It's my pleasure to review this little piece of dynamite, a split cassette between Montreal's Data Cave and Vancouver's Ahna. Two very different bands coming together in a lovingly made and limited to 100 copies release; this is what it's all about. I wouldn't be surprised if they hand dubbed these babies themselves.

Data Cave get the gruesome ball rolling by providing nine bursts of chaotic fun that'll be sure to knock you on your ass. What was that old adage? "Not five slaps to the face, but five slaps to the throat!" Yeah, I like that. In this case it's nine unwavering slaps to the ole adams apple. You won't be able to swallow anything after this generous helping.

Fucking Rad.

AHNA slow things down with five helpings of their own. There's an undeniable sense of foreboding throughout the entire arrangement. This is some seriously dark stuff and perfectly contrasts the frantic and wild Data Cave side. A wonderful effort through and through. I've never feared a cassette tape until now; it grabs you and just won't let go.

If you're lucky enough to get your paws on one of these before they're gone you best make the most of your opportunity and snatch it up. - Junnnktank Charlottetown Webzine

"AHNA: Trapped in a Dark Circle"

Three hours into their cross-Canada tour, Vancouver’s drone violence two-piece AHNA’s van was impounded for excessive speeding. Although the new B.C. driving laws had taken effect days before, the rookie cop threw the book at the pair. But Anju Singh (drums, vocals) and Graham Christofferson (bass, vocals) refused to sacrifice the seven days of shows and friends they would have spent waiting for the van. Speaking about the decision to continue with the tour, Singh says, “You know what? Fuck it. We’re not giving up on the tour: we wanna play these shows, we wanna see our friends, we wanna do this. So let’s fucking go! We rented something and we’ll deal with it when we get back. I’m probably going to get three jobs when I come home, just work like crazy. Oh well.”

This is a telling account of Singh’s attitude. Self-proclaimed “fuckups,” they accept making mistakes as their MO: breaking things, forgetting things, doing things slowly. But self-consciousness hasn’t tainted their progress, as they’re currently on their most ambitious tour to date.

Despite the rocky start, Singh is excited as she describes touring with Montreal’s Data Cave, as well as playing some dates with Burrow Owl. Want to know if touring with someone is a good idea? Trying sharing a bachelor apartment between five people. If you haven’t killed each other after a week, you’re good to go. While Singh doesn’t actually recommend this test, she says that it was the inspiration for this tour with Data Cave. “We love (Data Cave’s) music. Watching them every day fucking rules. They seem stoked on us as well,” Singh humbly admits. AHNA’s live setup is simply Singh on the drums and Christofferson on the bass, partly due to Singh’s desire to focus on drumming (self-taught drummer of just two years) and partly due to minimizing their set-up time. Singh played the electric violin in the band’s inception, and hopes to reintroduce that to their live performance. For now, they’re focusing on doing less better, but are looking forward to recording the new material they’ve amassed in the time it took them to release their self-titled debut album.

AHNA is a joint offering from Broadway To Boundary and the band’s own label, Soldier Pumps, recorded at Fader Master’s Studio in Vancouver by Jordan Coop. Founded by Singh and Christofferson, Soldier Pump has released mostly cassettes including a Reflektions/V.Vecker split, an Empress double cassette and Fortress. AHNA is the sole vinyl release to date. “It’s something I would like to put more energy into, but it’s hard because we’re not very organized” laments Singh.

Dealing with themes like anxiety and fucking up, AHNA rejects binaries like good and bad. The vinyl features a locked groove on either side of the record, rendering the beginning and end meaningless as it becomes conceptually never-ending. Inside of this dark cycle is a grab bag of screams drenched in anxiety, trembling chants, howls, yelps and spits. Building and decaying drone sections give way to spastic spurts of furious drumming. Both vocal deliveries sear with anger and frustration. Singh’s growls grow into hair-raising screams, while Christofferson’s ancient chanting seems to waver and tremble under its own weight. - Beatroute Vancouver


Ahna is a local two-piece drone violence band that has just released their first self-titled LP. Recorded in the dead of winter by Jordan Coop, the record is as intense as the crushing rainfalls that will soon envelop this city. Graham Christofferson (bass, vocals) and Anju Singh (drums, vocals) have put the album out on their own small, independent label, soldierpumps. It follows, and is influenced by, their 7” The Confederation of the Cult of One.

The vinyl release of Ahna features a locked groove on either side of the record, so that one end feeds into the next beginning. There is no start and no finish. Rather than resolving at the end, the album cycles deeper into the cold, nebulous recesses of Singh and Cristopherson’s collective psyche.

The album proceeds slowly. Loads of feedback is met by a slow, pounding drum beat. Throughout the course of Ahna, these droned-out sections are broken by a fury of rapid drumming, bass riffs and screaming. Still, Ahna never loses its focus or its careful construction of an emerging style of music that combines, in the very best way, drone, metal, punk and noise. I suggest picking up the vinyl before the darkness of winter settles in.
- Discorder

"AHNA: All ages rages on"

What do you do with your anger and frustration? Some bury it down, deep inside themselves, trying to ignore it. Some individuals let it come through in heated words and fisticuffs, but there are a lot who vent it creatively, through art or writing and, of course, music. One of these, AHNA, is a Vancouver-born two-piece band playing self-labelled drone violence. Anju Singh (drums, vocals, violin) and Graham Christofferson (bass, vocals) have been in many bands and music projects, and have always wanted something that would allow them to express insecurities, anxiety, failures and frustrations.

"I was tired of playing music that suggested that I knew something, had an answer, or sounded like things were just fine when they weren't. I was sure that I was not the only person losing their mind in a constant spiral, so I wanted to make music that reflected that, to find those people that felt like fuck ups but had so much to offer outside of falling apart once in a while," Singh says. Before AHNA started, Singh and Christofferson were in a band together called i/i which had started with that goal in mind. The four piece went on hiatus for a while, which is what eventually led to AHNA as a continuation of that idea (i/i has since reunited). Singh reminisces of earlier jam sessions with i/i, saying, "Getting four people in a room doing that together is like a gigantic ball of nervous, twitching anxiety that is ready to explode."

AHNA have had four releases to date, with a self-titled LP coming out this month released on their own label, Soldierpumps. The label has released Vancouver local noise/drone bands as well as AHNA's first three releases. While keeping busy running the label and preparing for their upcoming six-week tour across Canada, Singh and Christofferson are also working on other projects. Singh plays drums in a project called Fortress, violin in i/i and also a solo drone project, and, most recently, she has joined a band called Bleeder playing bass. Christofferson has four other projects: i/I; Christian Marls I, II and III; Angelust; and a solo project called Worker.

All ages shows are definitely a favourite amongst both members. "All ages shows are kind of rare for us. Whenever we do play one, it's always the best show; people actually get up and move around, unlike bar shows," Christofferson comments.

"All ages shows are important, mainly because I don't think age matters. I have some friends that can't get into bars, or have to leave after they've finished playing a set, but they are people who really influence the way I think and see things," says Singh. "It seems like the very nature of a bar is that it creates a world for you. Most bars have an overall facade that it imposes on people." In Vancouver, there aren't too many all ages venues. House shows do happen, but rarely. "Going to a show when you're a kid is really great, to meet other people that share the same passions as you."

The name AHNA originates from something Singh used to hear her grandmother say. They chose AHNA because they like the way it sounds, absent of hard syllables. "It sounds awesome to whisper," Christofferson admits. With varying influences from individual people, local bands and interactions, AHNA brings you an original sound. Low bass swings, like a terrible mood, and fast, thrashy noise parts keep you interested with no song sounding the same. Singh finds that local bands and friends are the most inspiring. "I'm always surprised by the people around me, by how committed, talented and sincere they are. It’s basically like, fuck, let's do something, let's make something happen."

After seeing the band live, AHNA would be happy if you felt inspired, walking away thinking that you could do something similar. - Beatroute Calgary

"AHNA Interview/Artist Showcase"

Ahna consists of the incredibly talented Graham and Anju. The two have been making noise and sound experimentation for many years together as well as in in various side projects. Ahna’s sound has changed and evolved over the years they’ve been together. It’s shape evolves from experiences and bands they see while on tour as well as within their own home in Vancouver.

To release their records they started Soldier Pumps, a small record label that releases Vancouver’s noisicians in many formats. Although it was started to be for Anju’s and Graham’s own projects, it has now added artists such as Empress and Holzkopf to the roster.

Graham’s side project, The Worker, will be playing in Calgary in February.

Pick up your copy of Issue #4 to read more about Ahna.

"AHNA at Broken City (Calgary)"

Next up, one of Vancouver’s most standout groups, Ahna, an arty sparse/minimal violent black metal-esque bass and drums duo who has been releasing stuff under the radar on small Vancouver-based labels for a few years. Their live sets fully translate to the already very strong recordings they’ve put out. The spaces between the eerie and agonizing distorted bass and drum stabs make for a thrillingly engaging listen. Throw in some painful shrieks/growls by members Graham and Anju and the end result is a primal music that is provocative and sometimes exquisitely off-putting.

Shearing Pinx, a Vancouver noisy punk institution, finished the night off, but down one member. The duo of Nic Hughs and Jeremy Van Wyck’s turbo-bouncy now wave is inevitably fascinating, but the tour without guitarist Erin Ward takes one bewitching ingredient out of their magic potion. Shearing Pinx can usually do no wrong, but out of their long history as storied headliners, this was one of the few times when they were upstaged by an opening band — Ahna. Shearing Pinx’s set was undoubtedly memorable, but, surprisingly, not the highlight of the night. - Beatroute

"Review of Red Tape Release"

Without a doubt AHNA’s Red Tape was in my top 5 independent releases of of 2008. Anju and Graeme, the two components which make AHNA, attack minimalism armed with a violin and bass guitar. The violin provides hidden structure within the undulating currents of bass-drone while they march forward into a triumphant summit; quick-victors atop a vertex of creative streams. Or, perhaps, a vortex? Either way, the two-track, 20-minute cassette is a rewarding, engaging, and wonderful listening experience. Red Tape is a rare treat in the experimental cosmos worth returning to; something we will surely look back on as wisps of distortion wash away our memories. I just wish it was longer! - weird canada.com

"Review of The Cult of One"

Last year AHNA released this amazing violin+bass drone cassette (to be reviewed soon) and quickly re-emerged as a thrashy hardcore outfit. The dialectic has completed its full swing as the new CD sees the duo finding a compromise between the slow-and-low and hypertonic thrash. The searing bass-lines and feedback squall are patterned with the drummer’s screaming as the songs build into 10 second cycles of drone. It’s an interesting format and I’m excited to see where it goes. I was happy to catch them live during Calgary’s Sled Island music festival and it was a definite highlight. However, I kept asking myself: how many doom groups have female singers? I like it. - Weird Canada

"Review of Sled Island Festival"

Ahna Played next bringing forth Demons of Decibel. I think they may listen to a lot of Nile.  This Duo makes scary music for being such pleasant people. - BT Edmonton

"Review of Live Performance 2008"

ahna, apparently, is a rotating cast of musicians all hell bent on drone-improv. The only member I recognized was the violinist from i/i, Anju. Their set was particularly satisfying, as their lean on drone tended to be a lot more grating than most of the acts on the bill, which I definitely dig. Don't get me wrong, I love me some transcendental drone, but my pain hungry ears appreciate the harsher side of things just a bit more. Anju's violin was an electrified grind on the ears and was the captivating force in ahna. I recommend checking 'em out soon... - Expressway to My Skull, (blog)


"Old Ones" Streaming on exclaim.ca as part of Bloodstains Across BC comp.

SEPT 2010:
AHNA: LP - Self Titled - (Soldierpumps/Broadway to Boundary) - currently playing on Western Canadian Campus/Community Radio, charted as #1 in Vancouver, Abbotsford, Calgary, Kamloops, Edmonton in Loud and General Charts.

AUG 2009:
AHNA/solars split 7"

JUNE 2009:
AHNA: the cult of one, cd-r. Radio play, charting on campus community radio stations

SEPT 2008:
ahna/shearing pinx/stamina mantis/twin crystals: BLOOD KLUB split 7".

SEPT 2008:
ahna : red tape. Cassette on thankless records.



AHNA is a 2 piece from Vancouver that explores the realms of drone and slow, sludgy doom and contrasts this with anxiety ridden spazz. AHNA describes the marrying of these elements as "drone violence": a cross between drone-doom and power violence. AHNA recently completed their 4th cross-country tour in November 2010, touring the release of their debut self-titled LP released by the band and by Vancouver's The Broadway To Boundary (Mutators/Heavy Chains/Shearing Pinx). Upcoming, they are embarking on a Spring Canada 2011 tour and another tour to Europe for summer 2011 in support of their second LP due out on Just Say No! Records in the early summer 2011.

Recently, AHNA opened for notable Canadian drone band NADJA and most recently opened for Wolves in the Throne Room at the band's request. AHNA is currently included on the Bloodstains Across BC compilation released on Mammoth Cave Recordings and has a newly released split 7" with Shearing Pinx coming out on Georgraphing Records.