Do Make Say Think + Hood

Wed 24th April 2002
Eastside Projects

Do Make say Think

Do Make Say Think formed in 1995-96 in Toronto, Canada. Founded by two pairs of musicians with backgrounds as various as punk, jazz and industrial metal, the group has included a number of additional musicians over the years contributing to both live shows and recordings. Core members Charles Spearin (bass, keyboards, trumpet) and Ohad Benchetrit (guitar, saxophone) first played together in high school and birthed the Toronto punk band Dead Lemmings in the late 80’s; both have gone on to work in sound production and engineering in Toronto. The other founding pair, Justin Small (guitar) and James Payment (drums), are seasoned downtown rock players who’ve done time in a long list of bands, among them the post-industrial rock group Malhavoc. During the summer of 1995, these players came together to score the music for a Canadian youth dramatic production, sequestering themselves in an empty school room for rehearsals.

The four basic verbs ‘Do’, ‘Make’, ‘Say’, ‘Think’ adorned the walls of said classroom, and these elementary-level educational placards were adopted as a project name for the nascent group. Over the course of the following year, Do Make Say Think confined themselves to a rehearsal room in the basement of University of Toronto radio station CIUT, joined by now-departed member Jason MacKenzie (drums, keyboards, electronics) and occasional contributor Robert Brasz (synths, treatments, effects). Equipped with an 8-track recorder, the station facilities allowed them to track various pieces as they evolved; combined with home tape experimentation, the band began to knit together scintillating instrumental soundscapes that combined rock riffing with dub and psych elements. Using the CIUT studios, as well as the studios of a local art college, their eponymous first album was completed in 1997, with all members participating in the splicing and mixing of final tracks. Far from compromising the process, this collective approach to composition-production yielded a stunning debut record that teems with exuberant sonic texture and a brilliant blend of highly-structured and improvisational parts. Each song is finely-honed, while the record as a whole is an undeniably unified effort. The band self-released the album on CD in a run of 500; Constellation co-owners Ian & Don heard the record in early 1998, were duly blown away, and offered to re-release it as their first non-Montral-based recording. The album came out on Constellation in the summer of that year to international acclaim.

Having enlisted additional horn players (pulled from the ranks of Toronto jazz experimentalists Guh) for their live performances this year, Do Make Say Think are moving towards the increasing employment of a brass section in their new material; the live results have thus far promised a new compositional maturity and a truly genre-defying approach to instrumental rock.

Hood are an integral part of Domino’s geographic series of UK music, beautifully reflecting in picture and sound their West Yorkshire roots. Although their music has a natural homespun quality that aligned them with the early nineties lo-fi movement, they are now in a much less easily categorised area; blending an almost neo-acoustic folkiness with harder-edged electronics. But Hood remain instinctive, trying to make something beautiful from what is close at hand. If you haven’t heard them in a while you ought to, and this outsider recommends you start their new album, Cold House.