Nam Shub
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Nam Shub


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"Review - Cascadia - Nam Shub"

There is something inherently mystical about Nam Shub, a B.C.-area band who have just released their debut album. “Nam shub” in mythology refers to a Sumerian god, and it could not be a more fitting name for this band.

Though Cascadia is only six songs long, this is not an EP. In total, the album is over forty minutes long, so some very long songs can be heard here. Post-rock as a genre always seems to lend itself to extended tracks, and Nam Shub are no exception.

The first two tracks, aka the first sixteen minutes of the album, provide basically an introduction. “Original Wizards” starts the album off with guitar alongside a background of static. Soon some beeps can be heard intermittently, and the at-first-slow guitar becomes a little faster. Some highly-reverbed vocals can be heard here, though they’re mainly indistinguishable, acting more like another instrument, and it works.

The next song “Perfect Toque Weather” (which proves undoubtedly that the band has some Canadian pride despite the other-worldly influences) kicks things up a little. The percussion sounds are a lot more interesting this time around, and the guitar is a little more steady. The intermittent beeps of electronics give the song overall a very spacey atmosphere.

Things really begin to pick up from the third song onward. “Marble Cardigan” comes next, kicking it up several notches with a much faster tempo, showing that the band isn’t limited to a calm atmosphere at all. “Geo-stationary Eye” is another fairly long song, but it stands out due to the great atmosphere generated by the percussion.

At four minutes, “Orbit” is the shortest song on the album and also one of the best. This isn’t to say that the band necessarily needs to make shorter songs to sound better; the makeup of the song is what makes the song so good. The electronic sounds are much prettier-sounding (for lack of a better word), and the song also uses a variety of samples, such as a clip of someone describing radio as a medium, as well as samples of dogs barking.

Finally there’s “Larping” which brings the album to a fairly triumphant close. It’s a slower-paced and more melodic piece which features vocals more heavily this time around. While previously the vocals were hard to understand, here they are much clearer and serve to make the energy of the song even more intense. Toward the end the phrase “Yeah, we’ll bring it down” is repeated several times to bring the album to an end on a high note.

Talking about Cascadia is sort of difficult due to the complexity of the music, but it’s certainly an album that needs to be heard in its entirety. Just listening to one song won’t help you understand what the band is doing. But I can say that if they continue making music like the last two thirds of the album, they’ve got an interesting future ahead of them.

Cascadia is now available through Bandcamp.

Top Tracks: “Geo-Stationary Eye”; “Orbit”

Rating: Strong Hoot (Good) - Grey Owl Point

"Nam Shub - Cascadia by Brent Mattson"

Can somebody say it’s about time? Recorded live over two days in November, 2010 and mixed over nearly the next two years, the six tunes from Nam Shub’s debut, Cascadia, are finally available on vinyl in record stores. The long fermentation process can be forgiven, because instead of sounding stale, the music has been given a chance to age to perfection in their rock ‘n’ roll cellar. Even with eight-bit video game sound-flourishes courtesy of synthesist Scotty Boe, the whole album sounds immediate and completely of this moment in time.

“Original Wizards” starts the album off with a slow burn of old-school video game synth and moody bass and guitar lines before Matty Harris’ drums bring Caton Diab’s sweet basslines to life, and Bill Young’s guitar leads scream like the Edge going over the edge. Toss in Young’s processed ghost-in-the-machine howling, and you’ve got a Bauhaus-meets-jam-band groove that lasts for 11 minutes, but never gets tiring and, thankfully, never sounds like an actual jam band.
The moody and wordless “Perfect Toque Weather” sounds like a badass soundtrack from Double Dragon II, while the more uncomfortable clothing-themed, “Marble Cardigan,” is a ‘90s alt-rock riff explosion with a shimmering futuristic coating.
Nam Shub have made an album that is less of a collection of songs than it is an atmospheric songscape, where a track twists and turns and then goes into the next one without pause or warning – think Dark Side of the Moon with indie credibility and no singles.
Despite its title, “Orbit” is the most down-to-earth track in the set. Boe shines the brightest on this track, working the synthetic ivories over a funky beat to make a lullaby for hipster parents sick of glockenspiels. The only song nearly as mellow is “Geostationary Eye-Amber,” a subdued high on Young’s melodic vocals and guitar and a soothing rhythm, with the addition of Boe’s ubiquitous synthskwonk.
The album closes with “Larping,” a nine-minute ode to downers, where the vowels are stretched longer than the guitar bends, and the rhythm section limps to the finish line — in a good way. It’s a subdued, tranquil note, leaving the listener hoping Nam Shub doesn’t sit on their next batch of songs for so long. - Discorder

"Nam Shub by Fraser Dobbs"

I’m sitting with Nam Shub — Bill Young (guitar/vocals), Scotty Boe (synths), Caton Diab (bass), and Matty Harris (drums) — in the alley outside Diab’s house, drinking beer and learning Cantonese from tiny bottle collectors. Between squirrel sightings and chemtrail conspiracies, the band chronicles their three-year history leading up to last month’s release of their first album, Cascadia. “We went through a lot of different sounds early on,” Young explains, “and many of the songs on the record came together over that time [two years ago]. We recorded them in November of that year, so we’ve been sitting on them for a while now.”
One listen to Cascadia’s dynamic opener “Original Wizards” gives a pretty clear idea of what Young means by “different sounds.” A chaotic blend of glitchy synths, sharp bass lines and shoegazey, vibrating guitar leads come together in a psychedelic mash that, at 11 minutes, is a spacey medley that borders on jam-session. One might think that the long wait for Nam Shub’s debut is partly thanks to the vast complexity of sound on each of its six tracks, but according to the group, the reality was a lot more logistical.
“We recorded the songs over two days, live, in 2010. Once every two months we’d try to have a mixing session,” recants Diab, “but some of it was a financial issue.” The album’s saving grace came in the form of Chris Cantrell, of File Under: Music, a local independent group that develops and supports Vancouver artists. “He kicked our asses into gear. He was starting his own label at the time, and he wanted to use us as his guinea pig.”
Fast-forward the release process, and Nam Shub are excited to have something physical out in the world. The group was adamant about putting Cascadia onto vinyl, and it’s easy to tell that the band is excited about seeing it in the stacks at local record stores. But the boys are equally excited to pave ahead as a constantly evolving psychotic music machine.
“I visualize creativity as a room in a house, and each creative project or album that I’ve started working on is a new thing in that room, a new piece of furniture. It’s not until you finish that thing that you have the space to start working on [something new],” Young says.
“It’s like having a yard-sale,” Diab pitches in. “Nam Shub is a yard-sale.”
Despite the songs on Cascadia being two years old, the band insists that it’s two years fresh. “There’s a whole bunch of potential trajectories for our sound,” Young muses.
“We could drop a seven-inch of the most abrasive noise ever, and then an album of straight-up kraut[rock],” adds Harris, “and it would still work in the context of the band.”
Wind the clock back a few days before our alley meeting, and I’m standing in Zoo Zhop having my mind melted by the quartet’s sonic-bending skills. If you took a little bit of My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless, added a healthy dose of Toronto’s Holy Fuck, and then threw it into a woodchipper and smoked the result, you might have something similar to what was taking place in the tiny venue. Boe cues up found sound, field recordings and synthesized speeches between and during songs (despite his insistence that he’s, “Just here to turn knobs, man.”) and the crowd can’t quite figure out whether they should close their eyes and meditate or dance spastically next to one another. On the trippy, beautiful “Orbit,” it’s easy to understand why it might be hard to choose, and according to Young, that’s exactly the way the band wants it.
“Tapping into people’s minds, in a subliminal sense, musically I find really interesting. Music is this beautiful space where you can communicate with people, potentially, on a deeper, non-conceptual level. It’s not rooted in the filters of language, so you can really affect people in different and new ways.”
Improvisation plays a big part in Nam Shub’s constantly-shifting soundscape, even if the crowd doesn’t always realize it. “It’s actually a point of contention within the band,” Diab adds, “how long we get to jam [at shows] and how long we have to play actual songs.” For most of the band’s gigs, it seems like the mix is 50/50.
For Music Waste in June, Nam Shub helped celebrate the opening of the Nines, the new multi-function gallery, for its inaugural aural experience. Despite a heavy parking ticket, the band enjoyed the new experience, particularly since the musicians are all heavily involved in the Red Gate Collective’s ongoing attempts to establish a new location.
“Any new venue is a good venue,” says Harris, but Boe seems to echo the sentiments of the group when he says, “It was a funny venue for us to be booked in. Three of the walls are glass, and we’re a loud band.”
“The bands that played before us were about a thousand decibel levels [quieter],” Diab adds. “And the organizer tells us before our set, ‘That was really nice. It was good what those bands did, and we’re looking forward to you guys. Just keep it around the same level, okay?’ It’s a big problem because we’re loud as shit. We’re constantly turning up volume to match each other, so by the end of [that] show we had the whole place vibrating. We had each frequency meeting in the middle to create some sort of drone, the almighty ‘ohm’.” It’s a happy byproduct that the “ohm” is usually dance-friendly, too. - Discorder


William Young, Scotty Boe, Caton Diab and Matthew Bryan Harris are Nam Shub who, along with visuals by Jim Carrico, provided an incantation from Sumer. Did this one dematerialize language? As euphoric ambiance was divined from bowed guitar, laptop and distorted vocals, we saw the invisible dark matter of the universe made into light. A perspective on time, flocks of birds and the industrial trance all emerged from a pounding drum kit lifting into a celestial psychedelia. - Discorder


Cascadia (2012)

Full Length LP: Recorded at Otic Sound, East Vancouver, by Josh Stevenson and Nam Shub, from fall 2010 - spring 2012.

“The whole album sounds immediate and completely
of this moment in time… think ‘Dark Side of the Moon’
with indie credibility and no singles.”
- Brent Mattson (Discorder)

“There is something inherently mystical about Nam
Shub... [they create a] great atmosphere...
they’ve got an interesting future ahead of them.”
-Michael Thomas (Grey Owl Point)



Bill Young- 778-868-7280 Matty- 604-360-5177

Nam Shub is an experimental rock four-piece, from Vancouver, BC that plays original songs and improvised music. Our current sound is influenced heavily by psychedelia (Deerhunter), post-rock (Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Do Make Say Think, Sigur Ros, Earth) and kraut-rock (Can, Neu!).
Nam Shub began in 2009 out of collaboration between William Young and Matty Harris of improvised noise, drums and drones. After performing a few times we realized another person would make the experience richer. The addition of Scotty Boe and his synths added deeper layers of texture and freed us to play other instruments and explore new styles. By 2010 we had moved into the Red Gate building, which allowed us free reign and space to fully experiment as a three piece. As we started to write "songs" we felt compelled to add a bass player. Enter Caton Diab, an accomplished solo performer in his own right. We handed him a bass and fully realized what the band was capable of.
We began the long process of writing songs collaboratively through long nights of jamming in our basement jam space. These songs are on our debut album “Cascadia,” six songs influenced by life on the West Coast of Canada, living and working in the City of Vancouver and excursions to the forest and oceanside.
Nam Shub are currently in the pre-production stages of their sophmore album. Nam Shub did an islands tour on the west coast of BC in December 2012. The band is currently setting up a new underground venue in East Vancouver with their arts collective, Red Gate. They are also in the planning stages of the second annual “The Field” festival in Winlaw mid-August 2013. Caton Diab (C.Diab) released his solo debut LP “Interludes” in January 2013. William Young’s other band Riddley Walker released an EP called “Solar Flares and Splitting Atoms” in February 2013, with an LP due in the spring. Matty Harris DJs as Mattyfromlife, one half of Vancouver-based crew Big Feelings. Scotty Boe’s dark ambient project records and performs under the name The Match Wave. All members also perform in Vancouver noise/ drone/ experimental “supergroup” The Volunteer Ecstatic Orchestra.

“As euphoric ambiance was divined from bowed guitar,
laptop and distorted vocals, we saw the invisible dark
matter of the universe made into light. A perspective
on time, flocks of birds and the industrial trance all
emerged from a pounding drum kit lifting into a
celestial psychedelia.”
-Anthony Meza (Discorder)

“[I had] my mind melted by the quartet’s sonic-bending
skills. If you took a little bit of My Bloody Valentine’s
‘Loveless’, added a healthy dose of Toronto’s ‘Holy Fuck,’
and then threw it into a woodchipper and smoked
the result, you might have something similar
[to Nam Shub].”
- Fraser Dobbs (Discorder)