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Montréal, Quebec, Canada | SELF

Montréal, Quebec, Canada | SELF
Band Rock Avant-garde


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This band has not uploaded any videos



This is all you really need to enjoy the airless pleasures of IDM-infused soundscapes, shining a light on everyone from Philip Glass and Zero 7 to Radiohead and Boards Of Canada. Originally the solo project and creative vehicle of Matthew Daher, this Montreal five-piece delivered a miasmatic collage of pure ambience, hypnotic synth chimes and rhythm-driven bliss while skirting the edges of post-rock and shoegaze. A musically complex journey that glows with underground flair. - Lonely Vagabond- Exclaim!

Ismism EP

Ismism is the odd brainchild of Montreal drummer and songwriter Matthew Daher, a five-piece band performing exclusively instrumental pieces on a debut album that can only be classified as fusion. Proudly weaving the influence of Philip Glass and Boards Of Canada into this tapestry of live instrumentation is an accomplishment in itself. Crafting a unique sonic indentity with your first independently produced and recorded album is indeed precious. Shoegaze and ambient vibes rear their fuzzy heads alongside whispers of Talk Talk and Brian Eno, eerie timing and odd chord changes expertly engineered to maximize blissful hypnotic reverie. Daher's so tight on the drums that he sounds like a machine. A machine that can emote.

4 Stars (Out of 5)

- Steve Lalla
- The Hour

By Greg Bouchard

There are few things more gratifying for a music lover than watching a new band progress over time. This has especially been the case with Ismism - a group that has become more impressive each time I've checked in on them over the past couple years. Ismism was originally one guy named Matthew Daher, a drum performance major at McGill, who used it as a monicker for his lush ambient jazz experiments. For live performances, he added guitar, synth, bass, and vibraphone, and bam! - he had one of Montreal's best new instrumental outfits. After playing around Montreal for a while (and appearing on our podcast thrice), the band have finally completed an EP, which they will release at O Patro Vys on Saturday. I've been listening to it all week, and I gotta say, Ismism is worth your time and money. Their songs combine melodic and ambient qualities in a way that recalls KC Accidental (the late-90s band that became Broken Social Scene), Medeski Martin & Wood, and Bell Orchestre.

- Midnight Poutine

What does electro-acoustic post-rock even mean? Probably nothing. That's because arguably made-up genre classifications often fall short of the sounds they try to envelop in a few short words. It can be tough to admit, but sometimes academic (and, if I may, audiophilic) catch-alls aren't the best way to describe sounds that seem a bit out of the ordinary, or even a bit out of the Top 40.

To play a little name comparison game, Ismism can at times sound like what Boards of Canada would record after listening to & Yet & Yet and OK Computer on repeat. And repetition, it so happens, plays a large role in the earnest melodic developments that make the band's debut e.p. so inviting. This is not texture for texture's sake, aimless improvisation, or self-indulgent experimentation. The Ismism e.p. covers plenty of new iterative, slow-building ground without delving into an uninteresting abyss that can sometimes make instrumental rock a turn-off.

The disc's peak-and-valley structure mimics that of individual songs, making it easy to conceptualize the self-titled output a unified package, rather than a collection of stand-alone tracks. Fitting, then, that the five-piece's release show contained two extended halves, with songs flowing into one another through appropriately-timed lulls. Band members routinely dipped down to control samples through their floor-bound mixer, swapped or teamed up on instruments (vibraphone!), and exchanged numerous smiles and head-bobs, adding to the group effort that successfully put the music and the mood above any individual attention. (One unintentional exception may be bassist Alex LeBlanc's habit of walking on the spot to the beat – but that probably just means he's really into it.)

This collective, all-for-one feeling also helps to set the band apart from acts who focus solely one member, or that one unique aspect of their sound. Another largely unimportant peculiarity is the the fact that "the drummer" (also known as multi-instrumentalist, composer, and all-round nice guy Matt Daher) writes all the music. And after watching these songs build over the past year, I'm really looking forward to new works from Daher and friends. And did I mention they lug a fucking vibraphone to every gig?
- Get Off the Internet.

By Nate Malinowski

Post-rock anyone? How about jazzy electroacoustic post-rock? What about ambient acousto-eclectic post-rock? What about Canada? (Sam? I know you read this!) What do you think about Canada? What about Ismism?

Ismism is a Canadian ambient post-rock outfit. Originally the instrumental recording project of Matthew Daher, Ismism has grown into an 5-piece who churn out gracefully repetitive, slowly ascendant tunes that are honest in their presentation, melodically accessible, and academically pop-divergent in their structure. Where other conceptually innovative music often fails, Ismism’s shimmering ambient sound-scapes, dissolving discord, erratic rhythms and hectic break downs refuse to slip away into the background. Instead, it postures, demanding of our attention as brilliant music for the music-mind.

Ismism released their eponymous EP in February 2010[cover art found at the right]. It was self-produced and self-released and its five tracks are streaming here. Take a listen to the album in its entirety — maybe even buy it for $5. It really is quite good. Some part of Ismism will be town for SXSW. No word yet if they are playing any dates. If they are, we will update here.
- Tape Bombs


-Self-Titled EP (Released February 2010)

-Dwelling Demos (Ambient Demos Recorded 2008, Released April 2010)

Ismism released its eponymous EP in February 2010. Self-produced and self-released, the EP’s five tracks are propelled by driving, often irregular rhythms in the tightly woven bass and drums, as lyrical melodies and layered patterns float above in the vibraphone, synthesizer, and guitar. Blissful sojourns into radiant textures unite the ethereal with the tangible elements of the EP’s sound.



Ismism is an ambient experimental rock group based in Montreal. The brainchild of drummer Matthew Daher, the compositions are the product of his experimentation with the synthesis of found sounds, samples, and acoustic instruments both traditional and obscure. The group has been active since winter 2008, when Daher recruited a diverse gang of musicians—Nicolas Godmaire (Guitar), Harry Knazan (Vibraphone), Alex LeBlanc (Bass) and Maude Locat (Synth)— to perform and invigorate his compositions.

While maintaining the aesthetic of his original recordings, Ismism’s live shows have transformed the songs into semi-improvisatory electro-acoustic performance pieces that traverse territory from whispery, ambient soundscapes to grimy, chaotic noise breakdowns—carrying the listener through an equally expansive emotional landscape. After enchanting Montreal audiences for nearly 2 years and the release of their self-titled, debut EP in February, Ismism embarked on their first tour in late Summer 2010, performing with musicians and visual artists from areas as diverse as Baltimore, MD, Austin, TX and Kingston, Ontario.