Canadian minimalist techno group Suuns (pronounced ‘soons’ – like Sassoon) took their unique post-rock performance deep into the basement of Glasgow’s Stereo on Monday, October 24. Waves of bass engulf the audience, resonating with our gelatinous viscera; at first an uncomfortable sensation but one which soon serves to bind the crowd to an almost spiritual, ever-present drone oscillating constantly at the lowest of sub-frequencies. It is an intense and utterly immersive experience.
Suuns were supported by an ambient electronica-wielding synth programmer – looping less than frantically in front of the projection of a vaguely Neolithic-looking artefact on the screen behind him. From standing outside the venue before the main set began, it appeared that this branch of gently mumbling of comingled sine waves was best comprehended through a fair few feet of concrete.
The set was broad in scope, ranging from the pulsating ambient drone, to truly danceable grooves; from the jagged edge of abrasive guitar to saturated soundscapes of pure, impenetrable noise. Audience interaction is few and far between. Lyrics are mostly lost in the overpowering cacophony, but this does not seem to matter as the vocals are just one layer in this polyrhythmic tapestry.
Chords are almost entirely absent. Progressive rhythm and textures are the dominant features of an ever-evolving sound. They have a unique approach to guitar, which involves employing slides to create the gradually rising pitch build-ups more commonly found in EDM. Screeching interjections emulate the chirps and glitches that abound in modern electronic music.
Speaking to the drummer, Liam O’Neill after the set, he praised the Montreal music scene from which the band sprung, citing the particularly supportive artistic community. The city has given birth to acts such as Arcade Fire, Grimes and Godspeed You! Black Emperor – recent performers at the Fringe.
Suuns have something new to offer. A twisted, confrontational sound that forcibly enraptures the beholder. Gothic techno that will entice the indie connoisseur, the hardcore enthusiast and the bashful beats-browser alike. Is this the future, or just some cult niche of bizarre genius? Only time and the fickle winds of market forces will tell.