Fractal Pattern
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Fractal Pattern

Band Alternative Punk

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The best kept secret in music

Press


"Disk Review of No Hope by Earshot!"

These shoe-gazers from Edmonton whip up a brooding brew of textual instrumentals which linger, palpitate, serenade and carry you over the course of the 7 song disc: No Hope But Mt. Hope. This quintet must not have all that much to be happy about (after all, they do live in King Ralph’s province), but they have managed to channel the sobering reality of where there geography into a truly beautiful sounding Canadian meditation. The music on this recording sounds hopeless and it aches and patters along at a dis-heartening, honest pace. The album’s artwork is adorned with sombre monochrome landscapes of skies and mountains, murky song titles such as “faute de mieux” and “there’s hope for everyone on the internet” and the inside of this release notes that “fractal pattern is commited to compassionate living”. The music documented on No Hope but Mt. Hope sounds like the band has made some pretty impressive steps towards bringing their beliefs on life and music into somewhat harmony.

Sound clashes, feedback and whimpering moments of solitude, space resound repeatedly all throughout the course of this recording. Speckled influences of Slint-like climax/anti-climax arrangements, Constellation-bands, the Surface of Ecyeon and punk are all echo’d and filtered through a shoe-gazer’s gaze. Fractal Pattern create a unique sound through the timbre of the instruments that they have chosen to mix-up on this recording. The classic rock band configuration is highlighted by the swaying wind-y sounds of horn, bow, trombone and harmonica. As the tension builds and releases in their songs, Fractal Pattern weave a tapestry of unstable and uncertain sounds that seem to know exactly where they are headed. There is an incredible balancing act being waged here by the musicians of Fractal Pattern. This is one of those recordings that you put on and then forget is playing, but then remember that its playing because it catches you attention from out of nowhere, only to loose you again, but then pick you up again....
- Earshot


"Fractal Pattern continues "Gigs in Weird Places" series at downtown library"

Don’t get me wrong: I love going to bars and I love going out to see live bands. In fact, I’d venture to say that most of my measly income is spent on beer, cover charges and band merchandise-the three staples of any independent music scene. Nonetheless, despite enjoying an intimate (yet platonically heterosexual) relationship with many of the city’s doormen and being on a first-name basis with at least two dozen bartenders (and their girlfriends!), even I get sick of going to the same places all the time. In fact, my nights have started to blur together so badly that watching Cannibal Corpse and seeing the Organ have essentially become the same experience. Perhaps sensing the plight of cats like yours truly, local experi-rock outfit Fractal Pattern has decided to take a stand.

In a move that echoes bands like Godspeed! You Black Emperor and Do Make Say Think (who, taken together, have played in more churches in the last decade than Stryper), the Fractals have made a conscious effort to pull their music from out of the dark, smoky, booze-reeking underworld of local rock clubs and out into the bright, beautiful day. It all started last fall when the band played a show at the Catalyst, a space normally reserved for Fringe-type fare and wacky indie theatre. The show went off without a hitch and was the beginning of what’s unofficially become known in local circles as the "Gigs in Weird Places" series. "It kind of just happened," explains the band’s French horn player Jordan Faulds, sitting down with her bandmates at a local teahouse. "After we played the Catalyst, we were all talking about how cool it would be to do another gig in a weird place."

The Fractals followed up the Catalyst gig-which was also the pet project of local promoter Eli Klein’s Black Dot Productions-with a spring all-ages show at the super-hip downtown art gallery/hipster hangout Latitude 53. "We’ve kept all the art the same with [local artist] Matt Webb doing the poster design," says guitarist Andriko Lozowy. "When the seasons change, the colours change." So far, the series has paid off. As any promoter worth their weight in free booze and fruit platters will tell you, a huge part of staging a great gig is making the whole experience a memorable one for the punters. In what should prove to be one of the more memorable gigs of the summer, the band takes to the Stanley Milner Library Theatre stage this Thursday for the third installment in the series. The show also doubles as a sendoff for a massive West Coast tour which will take them as far south as California.

The band’s knack for playing strange venues is also reflected in their music, which is a similarly "out there" mix of ambient, post-rock and punk influences. Last spring, the quintet released their debut record, No Hope But Mount Hope, a collection of moody and atmospheric instrumentals that’s become the band’s calling card. They’ve also developed a reputation as burgeoning political activists.

So let me get this straight, Fractal Pattern. Your band plays esoteric, instrumental post-rock music in small theatres and art galleries. You’re all staunchly vegan and politically-minded. You disseminate "literature" at your gigs. Your website even has a links section entitled "knowledge." You have a French horn player. With all this in mind, are you ever afraid of being labeled pretentious? Looking unfazed, Faulds offers a response. "I think we all act too stupid in public to be seen as pretentious," she says glancing at her band, (which is rounded out by drummer Dallas Thompson, guitarist Nathan Setterland and the absent bassist Hank Vanderbyl). "These guys just sort of spazz out onstage, and if anyone thinks I’m pretentious....' "Then they’re probably right," interjects Lozowy, before everybody erupts into laughter. "Jordan’s not pretentious," chuckles drummer Dallas Thompson. "She’s actually working on a way to spew fire out of the horn onstage." Fractal Pattern With Division and Wellesley and Blueroom • Stanley Milner Library Theatre • Thu, July 29 (7pm)
- Vue Weekly


"Fractal Pattern Seek Home Underground"

After being spurned as performers for the Dawson City Music Festival, two Whitehorse musicians now living in Edmonton decided to take their band to a bigger, better place for alternative, indie rock. Dallas Thompson and Hank Vanderbyl are heading to the great mecca of the underground, San Francisco. The drummer and bass player with Fractal Pattern weren't surprised to find out the Yukon isn't quite ready for their brand of orchestral rock 'n' roll, they said by phone from Edmonton. The band's unusual sound is a fusion of punk and math rock, according to Thompson who, along with Vanderbyl once had a punk band in Whitehorse called SOL. Rather than repeating melodies and refrains, Fractal produces linear epics with digressions into heavy metal, classical and new age.

In Edmonton, Thompson, Vanderbyl and the rest of the band are part of a scene that feeds off itself and encourages music that does the same. "These days the songs are eight or ten minutes long," said Thompson. Godspeed You! Black Emperor - the most popular band Fractal can compare itself to, though it is still independant and underground - has a song lasting 21 minutes. Emperor of Montreal is also fully instrumental with "philosophical bleakness to it," as one internet fan put it.

Fractal Pattern formed last year when the two Yukon boys met Andriko Lozoway, a guitar and bow player with similar musical tendencies; guitar player Nathan Sutterland, who also plays trombone and harmonica, and Jordan Faulds, a recent graduate of music from McGill University in Monreal, where she studied classical trends on French Horn (sic). They recently released their second album, No Hope But Mt. Hope, and are working on their third. "None of the guys can read music at all," said Faulds, the only female member of the band. "We communicate a lot in images."

While there are no lyrics, the music still has a way of telling stories. The challenge for the band while writing them is to get everyone to conjure the same movie scene, to hear the same "chug, chugs" or to imagine themselves walking through the same haunted house, said Faulds. "But once you get the image in your head, it's hard to get out." Thompson said that while performing the song So It Goes, But Not So Much, he imagines filming - with a Hi-8 camcorder - someone as they walk through life "from conception to death."

That four-fifths of a band can't read music is nothing new in rock and roll, but in the case of Fractal Pattern, memorizing every note is a remarkable feat. Not only are their songs longer than normal, but the music isn't simple either. It's "amazing" to watch Thompson and Vanderbyl produce, out of thin air, complex time signatures and chord structures that take some people years to learn in school, said Faulds. But their obliviousness likely allows them to continue experimenting without boundaries, she said. "If they knew theory, they probably wouldn't be as original as they are. We don't sound like anything that we've ever heard.

Fractal Pattern is now touring the west coast, including San Francisco, where the underground math-rock scene will surely reinforce the band's developing identity. When they get back, they plan to record their third album, the first to feature words. Fractal Pattern plans to collaborate with Declan De Berra, the front man for Australia's Clann Zu, who often sings in Gaelic (sic). The album will be made into 10-inch vinyl records, mainly for a retro appeal. "A couple of us are vinyl junkies," said Thompson. "People who are really into music still buy vinyl."

It's those types of details, not to mention Fractal's commitment to originality and art, that threaten to relegate them to the underground forever. The band wants to get on a bigger label for the sake of financial security, the musicians said. It would allow them to quit their jobs at bars and record stores and finally turn their expensive hobby into a living. But if a big label isn't far off, it could be far away. "I think our only market would probably be in Europe," said Thompson. "I don't think music is as commercialized over there. Over here, unless you're Sum 41 or Nickelback, you're out of luck. You'll never hear Fractal Pattern on the radio or see their video on MuchMusic, he said. But if you hear it, you'll "rock out to it. That's kind of what we're going for."

Thompson and the band was dissapointed not to make the cut for the Dawson City Music Festival, which happens this weekend. He fondly recalled the great music scene in Whitehorse and how its residents were traditionally receptive to local bar bands like Donkeysmell and Undertow. "People were just so into it; it was just so inspiring," he said. But Thompson and Vanderbyl left the north because they were essentially alone here musically. "I guess I left Whitehorse because I wanted this," said Thompson. "I was seeking this kind of music community. "Whitehorse was really good for blues and bluegrass. But (we) had a hard time finding venues.
- Yukon News


"Disk Review by Sandra Sperounes, Edmonton Journal"

DISK REVIEW by Sandra Sperounes, Edmonton Journal
CD: No Hope But Mt. Hope
Artist: Fractal Pattern
Label: Method:Records
Rating: 3.5/4
Review: Fractal Pattern offers hope for junior-high band students who think they're nerds because they're stuck playing the french horn instead of a trumpet or saxaphone. The Edmonton orchestral-rock combo wouldn't be the same without its french horn player, Jordan Faulds. Her warbles act like vocals and offer a mornful yet uplifting quality to the crescendo of math-rock guitar riffs on Fractal Pattern's seven song EP, No Hope But Mt. Hope. Dreamy, gorgeous and definitely not nerdy.
- The Edmonton Journal


"Fractal Rock"

Fractal rock
Fractal Pattern • With This Civil Twilight and Five O’Clock Charlie • Sidetrack Café • Thu, Jan 15
A lot of bands start in garages and basements. Others start through a mutual appreciation of marijuana and cheap booze. However, local post-rock outfit Fractal Pattern began as a two-man band in the middle of nowhere. Confused? Wait it gets better.
Like an Arctic version of Steely Dan, Fractal Pattern began as the pet project of Dallas Thompson and Hank Vanderbyl, two friends from the Yukon. Legend has it that the pair, thirsty for music and hungry for like-minded folk, made a break for the city and started performing in Edmonton as a duo. The pair released an EP, Signs of Life, on Method:Records, and soon began adding new members. "I joined about a year ago," says FP guitar-slinger Andriko Lozowy. "I originally joined as a violinist, but I started using the bow with the guitar, à la Jimmy Page."
According to Lozowy, the band’s sound has changed drastically, with each new member bringing a fresh perspective on the band’s complex sound. For example, when Por Nada singer Matthew Skopyk joined up for a brief stint to create some atmospheric noise last year, Lozowy says that he left a lasting impression on the band’s sound. "I think Matthew is responsible for the ambience that we have now," says Lozowy.
Equally, with the addition of Jordan Faulds on French horn, Lozowy says Fractal Pattern can now described as "post-rock-classical." "I think that’s the most interesting part about it," he says, "and that’s why it’s so fun to be in this band. Since we’ve been subcategorized as punk/alternative, it’s so much fun to go play those shows, because kids are caught so off-guard. When we set up, everyone’s baffled there’s a horn. They’re like, ‘What’s this horn doing there?’ Then we play and the comments after the show are usually something like, ‘Wow, this is the first time I’ve seen you play. You totally knocked my socks off.' If we were playing a scene more akin to what we’re doing, people probably wouldn’t be so impressed. Because we’re an extension of the scene we grew up in, it’s fun to be there doing something different and, I guess, opening people’s eyes."
The band crossed Canada in 2003, and despite the fact that several of the band members are pursuing full-time post-secondary studies, they’re already planning their next steps. "Right now we’re currently planning a reading week tour of Alberta and Saskatchewan," Lozowy says, "because we have to work around school schedules."
Watch for the band to release a full-length they’ve recorded with the Floor’s Graham Lessard, entitled No Hope But Mount Hope, later this year.
(JS/PD)
- Vue Weekly


Discography

Signs of Life (EP, 2002 Method:Records)
No Hope But Mt. Hope (2004 Method:Records)

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Fractal Pattern began in Spring 2000 when Hank relocated from the Yukon
to join long-time bandmate Dallas in Edmonton. The two remained a duo for
years pushing the envelope on their utilitarian drum and bass setup writing
short and precise songs of the math-rock variety while performing on a regular
basis in Edmonton.

After a year, the duo joined forces with Edmonton label Method:Records
to release a live EP entitled "Signs of Life" in the spring of 2003.
Shortly thereafter, new members began emerging from within the burgeoning
Edmonton scene to fill out the lineup. The first addition was Andriko on guitar
who was followed by Jordan on French Horn. The most recent addition has been
Nathan on second guitar. These new members have infused the Fractal Pattern sound
with experimental and ambient elements while retaining its post-punk
roots.

2004 saw the release of Fractal Pattern's locally anticipated
full-length, "No Hope
But Mt. Hope", 45 minutes recorded hot off their 2003 Canadian Tour. On No Hope, the band can be heard drawing on a wide range of influences with
bass riffs and drum work reminecsent of Isis and Tool, to the Dirty
Three-esque horn lines and technical quitar work inspired by countless prog and
metal bands. While the members of the band maintain dayjobs and persue
degrees, they have worked hard the past year, playing over 50 shows throughout Canada
and the United States. Besides as much touring as possible, summer 2004 also saw
No Hope But Mt. Hope enter its second pressing as well as find
distribution through Scratch and Sonic Unyon.

Fractal Pattern strives for artistic honesty and integrity both in live performance and in the recording studio. The band has played with groups
from all over the musical spectrum from indie-supergroup The Weakerthans
to technical metalcore band The End and the ecclectic Aussies Clann Zu. The
band is highly devoted to
their local music scene as well and has worked with Black Dot Productions to
put together the Gigs in Weird Places series, a series of shows showcasing
local talent
in unconventional venues such as the Edmonton Public Library and the
Catalyst Theatre. In addition, the band is involved with various political causes
and remains devoted to the dissemination of information regarding such
causes as animal and
human rights.

Email: band@fractalpattern.com
Booking: The Rosewater Agency