Querkus
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Querkus

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada | SELF

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada | SELF
Band Alternative Pop

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"Zaphod Beeblebrox"

I’m terribly ill so the write-up will be brief. Here’s a song by off a new album that has been in the making since 2005. It’s finished and set to be released this month sometime. Querkus, a guy-gal duo from Winnipeg, play dark-alternative jazz-infused music that sounds a bit like Portishead. Her voice is beautiful, haunting and as chilly as a snowman’s willy. You definitely won’t be hearing this slow jazz-rock creeper jam on mainstream radio anytime soon. It’s too good for that.
- The Steely Stylus


""Music to Dream of the future""

Everybody asks Karen Dunham the same question. "How to you classify your music?" It's not an easy answer, for either her or Edgar Ozolins, her partner in the Winnipeg-based duo Querkus. "It's hard to come up with something really good (to describe the music)," Dunham said from Winnipeg recently. "Something we have kind of stuggled with is describing our sound."
But they've thought about it - a lot - and they offer this: a combination of Tori Amos, Portishead and Nine Inch Nails. In the band's bio material, the music is called art-pop, gothic trip-hop, and classical electronic. But for simplicity's sake, Dunham tones it all down: "You could say it's electronic pop music, to sum it up really quickly, " she said.
Whatever it is, it's Ozolins on guitar, accompanying Dunham's hounting vocals and her keyboard and the thousands of different sounds it can produce (she plays Celtic Harp, too).
And Dunham assures those who've heard the bands six-song debut album that there'll be a lot of new music pouring off the Apollo stage tonight. "Pretty much everything we'll be playing will be new material that's not on the CD," she said. "We'll play some tracks from the CD, which is still pretty representative to how we sound."
"But we've done quite a bit more now with our music," she said, adding it has more of a "down-tempo trip-hop feel now."
"Querkus is great music to dream of the future to."
The duo is on their first-ever tour, a six-stop trip eastward that ends in Quebec City. "We've had quit a bit of success on college radio, so that was our main reason to want to tour out east," Dunham said.
"We play what we play, mostly because we enjoy it," she said. "It so happens that we started playing and we put out the CD, and a ,lot of people really liked it too, which is really lucky for us." Tickets cost $4, and are available at the door.
- Kurt Ketonen, Chronicle-Journal


""Music to Dream of the future""

Everybody asks Karen Dunham the same question. "How to you classify your music?" It's not an easy answer, for either her or Edgar Ozolins, her partner in the Winnipeg-based duo Querkus. "It's hard to come up with something really good (to describe the music)," Dunham said from Winnipeg recently. "Something we have kind of stuggled with is describing our sound."
But they've thought about it - a lot - and they offer this: a combination of Tori Amos, Portishead and Nine Inch Nails. In the band's bio material, the music is called art-pop, gothic trip-hop, and classical electronic. But for simplicity's sake, Dunham tones it all down: "You could say it's electronic pop music, to sum it up really quickly, " she said.
Whatever it is, it's Ozolins on guitar, accompanying Dunham's hounting vocals and her keyboard and the thousands of different sounds it can produce (she plays Celtic Harp, too).
And Dunham assures those who've heard the bands six-song debut album that there'll be a lot of new music pouring off the Apollo stage tonight. "Pretty much everything we'll be playing will be new material that's not on the CD," she said. "We'll play some tracks from the CD, which is still pretty representative to how we sound."
"But we've done quite a bit more now with our music," she said, adding it has more of a "down-tempo trip-hop feel now."
"Querkus is great music to dream of the future to."
The duo is on their first-ever tour, a six-stop trip eastward that ends in Quebec City. "We've had quit a bit of success on college radio, so that was our main reason to want to tour out east," Dunham said.
"We play what we play, mostly because we enjoy it," she said. "It so happens that we started playing and we put out the CD, and a ,lot of people really liked it too, which is really lucky for us." Tickets cost $4, and are available at the door.
- Kurt Ketonen, Chronicle-Journal


"Bee Stung - Saturday, 10 pm, The Orbit Room"

It can dangerous going outside.
Sunburns, out-of-control rollerbladers and mosquito bites are a few ways people get hurt when they venture out in spring.
To help people avoid these risks, avant-garde popsters Querkus have organized Bee Stung: An Evening of Demented Burlesque, a multi-media eventin the safety of an indoor environment.
"One of the dangers of spring I've noticed is the pollen in the air because the elm trees are having sex, and it gets in our eyes," says Kaern Dunham, one half of the duo. "I have a degree in biology, so I notice these things."
The evening features drag queen Casandra Crossing, classically trained vocalist Sonya Olivera and the claymation fillmd of Victoria Prince. Olivera will sing traditional Portugese and Spanish songs, backed by a guitarist and bongo player, while Cassandra will tap dance, recreate moments Mommy Dearest and belt out show tunes. For their part, Querkus uses traditional pop music as a base, augmented by flourishes of jazz, industrial and trip-hop.
"The music of Querkus doesn't really lend itself to that many other muisical acts in the city, so we figured let's just do something really different," says Dunham
Admission is $8
- Rob Williams, Winnipeg Sun


"Bee Stung - Saturday, 10 pm, The Orbit Room"

It can dangerous going outside.
Sunburns, out-of-control rollerbladers and mosquito bites are a few ways people get hurt when they venture out in spring.
To help people avoid these risks, avant-garde popsters Querkus have organized Bee Stung: An Evening of Demented Burlesque, a multi-media eventin the safety of an indoor environment.
"One of the dangers of spring I've noticed is the pollen in the air because the elm trees are having sex, and it gets in our eyes," says Kaern Dunham, one half of the duo. "I have a degree in biology, so I notice these things."
The evening features drag queen Casandra Crossing, classically trained vocalist Sonya Olivera and the claymation fillmd of Victoria Prince. Olivera will sing traditional Portugese and Spanish songs, backed by a guitarist and bongo player, while Cassandra will tap dance, recreate moments Mommy Dearest and belt out show tunes. For their part, Querkus uses traditional pop music as a base, augmented by flourishes of jazz, industrial and trip-hop.
"The music of Querkus doesn't really lend itself to that many other muisical acts in the city, so we figured let's just do something really different," says Dunham
Admission is $8
- Rob Williams, Winnipeg Sun


"Querkus’s No Direction heads in the right direction"

Querkus is a Winnipeg duo made up of Karen Dunham doing the vocals and keyboards, and Edgar Ozolins playing guitar. Getting their name from the latin word meaning “oak”, their music can be described just like the tree - big, surrounding, sheltering music that is both haunting and yet dreamy at the same time. Although they’ve been compared often to Tori Amos and Portishead, they definitely have their own sound.

No Direction is their first six-song EP, which they debuted this past January at Ms. Purdy’s, and it’s an impressive start. A lot of production went into this over the past year, and it shows, as the mixing of all the instruments together is flawless. Admittedly, their sound does feel like a harder-edged surreal Tori Amos at times, but Dunham has her own distinct atmosphere to her voice that cannot be compared to anyone else. Ozolins’ guitar playing adds an extra eeriness over the hypnotizing piano and synths. One of the EP’s highlights is “Stick it to the Man, a kind of sequel to Tori Amos’s “Me and a Gun,” where Dunham chants repeatedly “it’s the last time” before the track slides into a very cool echoed flute (the Dunham has not played since junior high), taking you to a new level. In “The Skeleton Song”, she sings about a lot of hang-ups that you have to deal with, while a happy player piano backs her up.

The whole album is satisfying. It sends you intoa swirling, dark existence that seems scary, but at the same time you don’t want to leave, craving more. I hope there will be more, because just when I started to enjoy walking down the road they put me on, it’s back to reality, and the hypnotism has worn off.
- Reviewed by Derek Penhale, Swerve Magazine


"Querkus’s No Direction heads in the right direction"

Querkus is a Winnipeg duo made up of Karen Dunham doing the vocals and keyboards, and Edgar Ozolins playing guitar. Getting their name from the latin word meaning “oak”, their music can be described just like the tree - big, surrounding, sheltering music that is both haunting and yet dreamy at the same time. Although they’ve been compared often to Tori Amos and Portishead, they definitely have their own sound.

No Direction is their first six-song EP, which they debuted this past January at Ms. Purdy’s, and it’s an impressive start. A lot of production went into this over the past year, and it shows, as the mixing of all the instruments together is flawless. Admittedly, their sound does feel like a harder-edged surreal Tori Amos at times, but Dunham has her own distinct atmosphere to her voice that cannot be compared to anyone else. Ozolins’ guitar playing adds an extra eeriness over the hypnotizing piano and synths. One of the EP’s highlights is “Stick it to the Man, a kind of sequel to Tori Amos’s “Me and a Gun,” where Dunham chants repeatedly “it’s the last time” before the track slides into a very cool echoed flute (the Dunham has not played since junior high), taking you to a new level. In “The Skeleton Song”, she sings about a lot of hang-ups that you have to deal with, while a happy player piano backs her up.

The whole album is satisfying. It sends you intoa swirling, dark existence that seems scary, but at the same time you don’t want to leave, craving more. I hope there will be more, because just when I started to enjoy walking down the road they put me on, it’s back to reality, and the hypnotism has worn off.
- Reviewed by Derek Penhale, Swerve Magazine


"Querkus: No Direction EP"

The debut release of this Winnipeg duo, No Direction is a five song (+1 remix!) EP that displays dissonant piano and vocal melodies over stark industrial drum programming. Songwriter Karen Dunham’s unusual voice defines Querkus’s sound - kinda creepy like an old oak-paneled house. Edgar Ozolins’ ghostly synth-guitar sounds blend in an out to provide texture and depth. Somehow orchestral, rich with effects, and highly dramatic, this music explores the dark and the beautiful.
- Tom, Stylus Magazine


"Querkus: No Direction EP"

The debut release of this Winnipeg duo, No Direction is a five song (+1 remix!) EP that displays dissonant piano and vocal melodies over stark industrial drum programming. Songwriter Karen Dunham’s unusual voice defines Querkus’s sound - kinda creepy like an old oak-paneled house. Edgar Ozolins’ ghostly synth-guitar sounds blend in an out to provide texture and depth. Somehow orchestral, rich with effects, and highly dramatic, this music explores the dark and the beautiful.
- Tom, Stylus Magazine


"Querkus: No Direction EP"

On its first recording, local duo Querkus is aiming to creat e a spooky soundscape. The CD’s liner notes describe the project as “gothic trip-hop” or “classical electronica”, but a closer approximation would be the sound of Enya and Tori Amos dropping LSD and getting right paranoid, a sort of Celtic mish-mash of keyboard arpeggios, gloomy beats and edgy, high pitched vocal acrobatics from singer Karen Dunham. Keyboards are granted pretty melodies, which could have been beautiful if a real piano had been used instead of the colorless, padded sound of the keyboard. That harpsichord-shallow approach works best on “Skeleton Song”, a carnivale-noir escapade that lets Dunham streach her voice to its slurring, trilling finest. The slower songs, however, lack direction (perhaps that’s where the title originated), and the duo doesn’t incorporate a wide enough range of programmed sounds to lend the material distinction.
- Melissa Martin, Uptown Magazine


"Querkus: No Direction EP"

On its first recording, local duo Querkus is aiming to creat e a spooky soundscape. The CD’s liner notes describe the project as “gothic trip-hop” or “classical electronica”, but a closer approximation would be the sound of Enya and Tori Amos dropping LSD and getting right paranoid, a sort of Celtic mish-mash of keyboard arpeggios, gloomy beats and edgy, high pitched vocal acrobatics from singer Karen Dunham. Keyboards are granted pretty melodies, which could have been beautiful if a real piano had been used instead of the colorless, padded sound of the keyboard. That harpsichord-shallow approach works best on “Skeleton Song”, a carnivale-noir escapade that lets Dunham streach her voice to its slurring, trilling finest. The slower songs, however, lack direction (perhaps that’s where the title originated), and the duo doesn’t incorporate a wide enough range of programmed sounds to lend the material distinction.
- Melissa Martin, Uptown Magazine


"Querkus - Music for the open minded"

Slowly, and quietly, a buzz has been building around a relatively unknown band from Winnipeg called Querkus. If you’re one of the many that hasn’t heard Querkus yet, you’re in for a surprise. In order to really introduce you to the band, I should tell you what they sound like, but unfortunately, that is not easy to do. When I first heard Querkus I really didn’t know what to think. Like many children of the 70’s and 80’s, I was raised on a steady diet of pop music. Pop music is safe and familiar to me. Querkus is neither of those things. It seems that today, our world is becoming even more overcome by disposable pop bands, but every once in a while something comes along that is so differently honest and mysterious that it can’t help but turn a few heads. The sounds contained on Querkus’ debut EP, “No Direction”, do not sound like any pop music I’ve ever heard. Querkus’ music is so intricate and unusual that is could not possibly have been thrown together by someone wanting to appeal to a certain
demographic; it had to have come from the heart.

Querkus is made up of keyboardist/vocalist/programmer/songwriter, Karen Dunham, and guitarist Edgar Ozolins. In their own words, “Querkus remain happily elusively unclassifiable. Rooted in the unlikely combination of punk and classical music, wedded to a love for lush melodies and raw, sexy grooves. With their dreamy, musical meanderings, Querkus is Querkus.” You could come up with a million general words to describe the sound, but no phrase could be descriptive enough to really encapsulate the experience. Querkus’ music has to be heard to be understood, and even then it takes time.

The band, onstage, in intense and focused. The sounds emanating from the duo present a strange dissonance of influences. There are recognizable bits of modern day influences, but what sticks out the most is the way the music is created much in the mold of classical music. These are not simply written three chord pop tunes; these songs are meticulously crafted and layered until they reach the desired wall of invigorated noise. The sound seems to come from all directions, the layers of programmed sounds mix with the subtle piano, the powerful guitar sound, and Dunham’s lilting vocals to form a sound that is purely Querkus. The fact that the two musicians share an appreciation for intricate classical music is not surprising, but where does the other worldly mix of classical and modern electronica with hints of punk come from ?

Even the band doesn’y seem to know exactly how the sound originated. Dunham says, “We’re not out to make a statement. We just play what we like because we enjoy it. We write it and we tweak it and do whatever it is we do until it’s right, and then we keep it.” Ozolins ideology is similar, “When I play music, I don’t gieva shit sbout what people think, I just play exactly what I feel like playing.” This desire to make music simply for their own enjoyment is what makes Querkus’ sound so sincere. Ozolins says, “Most people are quite fed up with pigeon holed music… Maybe I’m wrong, but I’m hoping people are becoming more open and accepting of music from all genres, rather than fad monsters.” This music requires a bit more effort than the majority of the public are willing to invest in a band. Querkus is truly music fo rthe open minded.

Asked if he was concerned that masses may never accept Querkus’ unique blend, Ozolins says, “I’m perfectly happy doing what I’m doing, I couldn’t care les how many people are there. Ultimately we’d like to be able to do this for a living instead of whatever it is we do now, but that doen’t mean that we’re ever going to change what we are doing for anyone else”.

With the recent completion of their debut EP, the band has received some local press coverage, as well as a new attention by university radio staions. Already “No Direction” EP has landed at number one on the chart at UMFM. As time pases public awareness of the band is increasing, but the road to widespread success may be a bit of a long one. Luckily, the band members have the kind of determination and love for their craft that will no doubt propel them to whatever heights they wish to reach. One important tool that the band plans to utilize in the internet. They’ve already established an informative website at www.querkus.f2s.com and are marketing themselves to a more global audience via www.mp3.com. This seems to be an important tool for the band. “in order to really succeed with our kind of music, I think we’re going to have to go to Europe,” says Ozolins, “I don’t even know if we’d make it in Britain, probably Germany and places like that would be most receptive.” According to Dunham, “I’ve
already had emails from all over the world from people who like Querkus”.

The pair hopes to tour Canada in September, but for now are focusing primarily on promoting the CD locally by playing live shows as often as they can get them. Those appearances along with substantial p - The Uniter, by Jeff Robson


"Querkus: No Direction EP"

In choosing a title for their debut release, Winnipeg musicians Karen Dunham and Edgar Ozolins have anticipated the most likely criticism to be levelled at this six-song outing. However, given the duo's consistently meandering approach to its keyboard, guitar and programming routine, the seeming lack of direction is evidently part of the unit's crafty stylistic oeuvre. Both Dunham's keyboard playing and Ozolins' six-string work are classically inspired, yet are dark, original and innovative, in a new age cabaret sort of way. Dunham's dreamy, Beth Gibbons-like vocals rarely let up, providing a consistent thread throughout the CD, and imparting an additional avant-garde quality to the endeavour. Though often an awkward fit on live bills at local rock clubs, Querkus's studio efforts come off as comparatively bold and confident. Providing the disc finds its way into broader art-pop circles, the band ought to have no problem making a few fast fans. The disc represents the first production/recording credit for former Grand Theft Canoe guitarist Angus Kirkpatrick (outside of his own solo and GTC material, that is), while veteran Winnipeg sound artist Ken Gregory handled the mix.
- Exclaim! Magazine, by Chuck Molgat


"Querkus - Music for the open minded"

Slowly, and quietly, a buzz has been building around a relatively unknown band from Winnipeg called Querkus. If you’re one of the many that hasn’t heard Querkus yet, you’re in for a surprise. In order to really introduce you to the band, I should tell you what they sound like, but unfortunately, that is not easy to do. When I first heard Querkus I really didn’t know what to think. Like many children of the 70’s and 80’s, I was raised on a steady diet of pop music. Pop music is safe and familiar to me. Querkus is neither of those things. It seems that today, our world is becoming even more overcome by disposable pop bands, but every once in a while something comes along that is so differently honest and mysterious that it can’t help but turn a few heads. The sounds contained on Querkus’ debut EP, “No Direction”, do not sound like any pop music I’ve ever heard. Querkus’ music is so intricate and unusual that is could not possibly have been thrown together by someone wanting to appeal to a certain
demographic; it had to have come from the heart.

Querkus is made up of keyboardist/vocalist/programmer/songwriter, Karen Dunham, and guitarist Edgar Ozolins. In their own words, “Querkus remain happily elusively unclassifiable. Rooted in the unlikely combination of punk and classical music, wedded to a love for lush melodies and raw, sexy grooves. With their dreamy, musical meanderings, Querkus is Querkus.” You could come up with a million general words to describe the sound, but no phrase could be descriptive enough to really encapsulate the experience. Querkus’ music has to be heard to be understood, and even then it takes time.

The band, onstage, in intense and focused. The sounds emanating from the duo present a strange dissonance of influences. There are recognizable bits of modern day influences, but what sticks out the most is the way the music is created much in the mold of classical music. These are not simply written three chord pop tunes; these songs are meticulously crafted and layered until they reach the desired wall of invigorated noise. The sound seems to come from all directions, the layers of programmed sounds mix with the subtle piano, the powerful guitar sound, and Dunham’s lilting vocals to form a sound that is purely Querkus. The fact that the two musicians share an appreciation for intricate classical music is not surprising, but where does the other worldly mix of classical and modern electronica with hints of punk come from ?

Even the band doesn’y seem to know exactly how the sound originated. Dunham says, “We’re not out to make a statement. We just play what we like because we enjoy it. We write it and we tweak it and do whatever it is we do until it’s right, and then we keep it.” Ozolins ideology is similar, “When I play music, I don’t gieva shit sbout what people think, I just play exactly what I feel like playing.” This desire to make music simply for their own enjoyment is what makes Querkus’ sound so sincere. Ozolins says, “Most people are quite fed up with pigeon holed music… Maybe I’m wrong, but I’m hoping people are becoming more open and accepting of music from all genres, rather than fad monsters.” This music requires a bit more effort than the majority of the public are willing to invest in a band. Querkus is truly music fo rthe open minded.

Asked if he was concerned that masses may never accept Querkus’ unique blend, Ozolins says, “I’m perfectly happy doing what I’m doing, I couldn’t care les how many people are there. Ultimately we’d like to be able to do this for a living instead of whatever it is we do now, but that doen’t mean that we’re ever going to change what we are doing for anyone else”.

With the recent completion of their debut EP, the band has received some local press coverage, as well as a new attention by university radio staions. Already “No Direction” EP has landed at number one on the chart at UMFM. As time pases public awareness of the band is increasing, but the road to widespread success may be a bit of a long one. Luckily, the band members have the kind of determination and love for their craft that will no doubt propel them to whatever heights they wish to reach. One important tool that the band plans to utilize in the internet. They’ve already established an informative website at www.querkus.f2s.com and are marketing themselves to a more global audience via www.mp3.com. This seems to be an important tool for the band. “in order to really succeed with our kind of music, I think we’re going to have to go to Europe,” says Ozolins, “I don’t even know if we’d make it in Britain, probably Germany and places like that would be most receptive.” According to Dunham, “I’ve
already had emails from all over the world from people who like Querkus”.

The pair hopes to tour Canada in September, but for now are focusing primarily on promoting the CD locally by playing live shows as often as they can get them. Those appearances along with substantial p - The Uniter, by Jeff Robson


"Querkus - No Direction"

Nobody could accuse Winnipeg's Querkus of sounding like all the other bands at the moment; they have a unique piano-driven sound that combines operatic elements along with a theatrical delivery that makes every note sound dramatic. Even with only five songs on their debut EP, the duo manages to cram a lot of variety into a short period of time. Karen Dunham tries to maximise the Tori Amos-esque aspect of her voice, which might not be the best idea, because when she really lets go and moves towards Diamanda Galás territory it gets a lot more intriguing. But it is the music that is the EP's real strong point, because of its individuality. Dunham's piano work hogs the spotlight at every opportunity, although Edgar Ozolins does add a wealth of atmosphere on guitar. The only weak spot is a remix of "No Direction‚" which flounders around with absolutely no direction of its own. However, the band's personality is strong enough to guide the music without letting someone else change the path. (Independent)
- Michael Edwards


"Querkus - No Direction"

Nobody could accuse Winnipeg's Querkus of sounding like all the other bands at the moment; they have a unique piano-driven sound that combines operatic elements along with a theatrical delivery that makes every note sound dramatic. Even with only five songs on their debut EP, the duo manages to cram a lot of variety into a short period of time. Karen Dunham tries to maximise the Tori Amos-esque aspect of her voice, which might not be the best idea, because when she really lets go and moves towards Diamanda Galás territory it gets a lot more intriguing. But it is the music that is the EP's real strong point, because of its individuality. Dunham's piano work hogs the spotlight at every opportunity, although Edgar Ozolins does add a wealth of atmosphere on guitar. The only weak spot is a remix of "No Direction‚" which flounders around with absolutely no direction of its own. However, the band's personality is strong enough to guide the music without letting someone else change the path. (Independent)
- Michael Edwards


"Querkus - The Fire Behind Us (Independent)"

We know what you're thinking: If only, somewhere in this city, there existed a co-ed musical duo that played avant-garde electronic pop and sounded like a cross between Kate Bush, Trent Reznor and a Renaissance Fayre. Well, your dreams have come true. Meet Querkus, the intriguingly unique pairing of singer-keyboardist Karen Dunham and guitarist-programmer Edgar Ozolins. Equipped with both their formidable abilities and banks of gear to compensate for actual bandmates, they create ethereal, textured soundscapes that are heavy with electronics but not dependent upon them. Strip away all the skittering drum machines, the lush loops and samples, and the layers of effects and you'll find that Querkus's songs are ultimately built upon the most traditional songwriting elements - strong melodies, organic instruments and Dunham's melancholy, dulcet vocals. Evan more impressive, most of their new hour-long album 'The Fire Behind Us' is recorded live, meaning they know how to make all those machines do their bidding when it counts. Oh, but we know what you're thinking: There's only one thing that could make this better - Johnny Cash. Well, track 9 revamps The Man in Black's 'Folsom Prison Blues' into a tenebrous, menacing electrodirge. Looks like it's your lucky day, bub. *** out of ***** - Uptown Magazine


"Trip hop meets prog rock? Local experimental rock act Querkus likes to mix it up"

Don Beat - November 12 2009

"To sum it up really fast - it's like Portishead meets Jefferson Airplane. We have influence from trip hop in the '90s to the psychedelic prog rock of the '60s. We mix it up, and make our own sound," says Querkus vocalist/keyboardist/composer/lyricist/Celtic harp player Karen Asmundson about the unique post-everything quintet's distinct and challenging atmospheric experimental rock sound.

After a year off from performing live Querkus is back to tickle your ears with new epic material such as Don't Stop the Rain, Six Legs, Sandpaper and There Will Always Be. U sound-savvy street beaters can salivate severely when Querkus play these new trax - plus more - live at the Winnipeg Art Rock Explosion on Nov. 12 at The Academy with The Absent Sound, Filbatross, and Patrick McDowall and The Melodramatic Pop Orchestra. Doors R at 9:30 pm. Hit academyfdm.ca for more info.

"Our average song length is about six minutes," says Asmundson after telling me the working title for Querkus' latest recording project is Spaces Between the Leaves Make Way For the Stars. Asmundson says the album should see release in February 2010, and she says Querkus is seriously planning to release it on both CD and vinyl. For now, U can preview some of the album at myspace.com/querkus .

"It's modern day prog rock mixed in with a little bit of trip hop, and a little bit of metal mixed in with some Kate Bush-esque vocals," adds guitarist/vocalist Edgar Ozolins.

"It's very composed. We provide a lot of instruction. We know exactly what we want other people in Querkus to do. Myself and Edgar are the chief songwriters. I've written most of the lyrics. We were both in a band before Querkus called Celine's Real Killer in 1997," says Asmundson, relating both the direction and the origin of Querkus.

"We were trying to attract her anti-fans. We were quite young. I was playing keyboards. We had a different singer. It was pretty crazy. It was multilingual meets industrial. Edgar joined after a different guitarist left.

"Querkus was an idea that I had while I was in Celine's Real Killer," continues Asmundson (ex-New Music Collective, aka Jamoeba). "Querkus started in 1999. I announced that I was leaving because I wanted to do this other thing, and Edgar decided to leave with me."

The current lineup of Querkus consists of Asmundson with Ozolins and genius drummer Carlos Copaban (ex-Psychotic Gardening), guitarist Keith Dyck, and bassist Tim Connell (The Fantastic).

"When it comes down to it we put our blood and guts into it," says Ozolins. "A lot of what I do is very minimalist and very simplified. I add textures and colour, and augment the music. The thing that is the most exciting for me is that we have a fleshed out band right now. It's been Karen and I for the last 10 years."

Asmundson says Querkus recently scored and performed its own soundtrack to a screening of the 1925 version of The Phantom of the Opera at Cinematheque this past summer.

"It was commissioned by Cinematheque. We wrote it and performed it live in July," says Asmundson. "We do a lot of scoring for local film, and we are planning to take it on the road. We also plan to tour out east to Toronto in March following the release of our CD."
- Uptown Magazine


"Trip hop meets prog rock? Local experimental rock act Querkus likes to mix it up"

Don Beat - November 12 2009

"To sum it up really fast - it's like Portishead meets Jefferson Airplane. We have influence from trip hop in the '90s to the psychedelic prog rock of the '60s. We mix it up, and make our own sound," says Querkus vocalist/keyboardist/composer/lyricist/Celtic harp player Karen Asmundson about the unique post-everything quintet's distinct and challenging atmospheric experimental rock sound.

After a year off from performing live Querkus is back to tickle your ears with new epic material such as Don't Stop the Rain, Six Legs, Sandpaper and There Will Always Be. U sound-savvy street beaters can salivate severely when Querkus play these new trax - plus more - live at the Winnipeg Art Rock Explosion on Nov. 12 at The Academy with The Absent Sound, Filbatross, and Patrick McDowall and The Melodramatic Pop Orchestra. Doors R at 9:30 pm. Hit academyfdm.ca for more info.

"Our average song length is about six minutes," says Asmundson after telling me the working title for Querkus' latest recording project is Spaces Between the Leaves Make Way For the Stars. Asmundson says the album should see release in February 2010, and she says Querkus is seriously planning to release it on both CD and vinyl. For now, U can preview some of the album at myspace.com/querkus .

"It's modern day prog rock mixed in with a little bit of trip hop, and a little bit of metal mixed in with some Kate Bush-esque vocals," adds guitarist/vocalist Edgar Ozolins.

"It's very composed. We provide a lot of instruction. We know exactly what we want other people in Querkus to do. Myself and Edgar are the chief songwriters. I've written most of the lyrics. We were both in a band before Querkus called Celine's Real Killer in 1997," says Asmundson, relating both the direction and the origin of Querkus.

"We were trying to attract her anti-fans. We were quite young. I was playing keyboards. We had a different singer. It was pretty crazy. It was multilingual meets industrial. Edgar joined after a different guitarist left.

"Querkus was an idea that I had while I was in Celine's Real Killer," continues Asmundson (ex-New Music Collective, aka Jamoeba). "Querkus started in 1999. I announced that I was leaving because I wanted to do this other thing, and Edgar decided to leave with me."

The current lineup of Querkus consists of Asmundson with Ozolins and genius drummer Carlos Copaban (ex-Psychotic Gardening), guitarist Keith Dyck, and bassist Tim Connell (The Fantastic).

"When it comes down to it we put our blood and guts into it," says Ozolins. "A lot of what I do is very minimalist and very simplified. I add textures and colour, and augment the music. The thing that is the most exciting for me is that we have a fleshed out band right now. It's been Karen and I for the last 10 years."

Asmundson says Querkus recently scored and performed its own soundtrack to a screening of the 1925 version of The Phantom of the Opera at Cinematheque this past summer.

"It was commissioned by Cinematheque. We wrote it and performed it live in July," says Asmundson. "We do a lot of scoring for local film, and we are planning to take it on the road. We also plan to tour out east to Toronto in March following the release of our CD."
- Uptown Magazine


Discography

EP - No Direction (2001)
LP - The Fire Behind Us Live (2003)
**LP - Spaces Between the Leaves Make Way for the Stars (2010/11)**

Photos

Bio

The otherworldly sound of Querkus is difficult to put to words. Synth arpeggios and string arrangement spiral like nebulas. Piano and guitar play with light and dark to create an expansive horizon over a mysterious, unknown landscape. Lyrics often reverent to nature are borne on melodies that maintain an adamant hope that world is still a beautiful place. It may break your heart or make you smile.

This music is for the mind as well as the spirit. Complex rhythms intertwine in dizzying syncopation. A clear influence from classical music can be heard. This is music to focus on and replay until its layers unfold. The complexity is part of its integral nature. Those who are up for the challenges of this music are taken up in its swirling, polyphonic sound on a psycadellic trip. Querkus is to be savoured.

Querkus is centered around the duo of lead vocalist and pianist Karen Asmundson and guitarist/producer Edgar Ozolins. The duo contrast and compliment each other just as elements in the music. Fascination with these elements has kept Karen and Edgar exploring music together for the past 10 years. They are also deeply rooted in the work necessary to create the music that they want – both have been studying classical technique for years. The idea of roots can also be taken to another esoteric place that the duo reveres – they both love trees to the point that the band was named in latin for the Oak.

Querkus is at home in the world of visual art, often performing at grandiose arts events where cocktail gloves are essentials and a kaliedescope of martinis flow late into the night. This connection with art and film comes from a close involvement in music and audio production for local film productions. In 2006, Querkus took this film connection one step further by throwing a Winnipeg-based celebration of the 60th birthday of director David Lynch. Lynch himself endorsed the event. Shortly after, a Querkus track titled ”Rubbing My Eyes” was added to a compilation CD that was given to Lynch by his own Foundation as a birthday gift.

Querkus released their first recording, an EP titled “No Direction” in 2002 to a sold-out audience. The EP charted on college radio stations across Canada, which inspired Querkus to tour Ontario and Quebec later that year. A performance in Toronto was recorded and later released in 2003 as “The Fire Behind Us” – a limited-print live album that also featured 2 studio tracks and a remix of No Direction track “October 16” by DJ/Producer Joe Silva.

Since the last release, Querkus has undergone a metamorphosis. The duo’s music has evolved from being largely electronic to a true electro-acoustic hybrid. In fall of 2006 Querkus began recording a full length album. It has been a labour of love – they have taken their time to ensure it turns out as they envisioned it. Many of Winnipeg’s finest appear on this recording including the Animata String Quartet, Steve Martens (drumkit) and Joshua Stanton (tabla). The duo handle the rest of the instruments and vocals heard on the recording. After over 2 years of careful work, the release of this new album is in sight and an estimated release date has been set for January 2011.