Membership: J. LaPointe, Jon Hutt, Daniel MacDonald
Location: Halifax, Canada
Previous Affiliations: North of America, The MOTES, Recyclone
Keywords: ROCK, MATH, ELECTRONIC, EXPERIMENTAL, ATONAL
bio: Seemingly unaffected by the traditional record/release/tour/repeat routine that defines the world of independent music, the three members of INSTRUMENTS are content to let their career unfold at a pace that requires absolutely no compromises.
J. LaPointe, Jon Hutt, and Daniel MacDonald began playing together as early as 1991, formally establishing themselves as The MOTES (along with Craig Thibault) in 1994. Isolated in small town pre-internet Nova Scotia, the foursome released six albums of genuinely odd atonal rock that were, by all accounts, way ahead of their time. Achieving minor cult status fame in Canada and beyond, they included among their fans such luminaries as Sixtoo (Anticon / Ninja Tune), Eric’s Trip, Patti Schmidt of Canada’s legendary late night radio show Brave New Waves, and Brian Borcherdt (Holy Fuck), who named his solo act after The MOTES The Remains of False Starts album, and would later spearhead the re-release of critical MOTES material on the Dependent Music label.
The MOTES disbanded in 1998, and LaPointe spent the next three years in seminal math rock outfit North of America, touring Canada, the USA, and Europe extensively with the likes of Blonde Redhead, Trumans Water, Storm and Stress, and Fugazi, and releasing four albums to considerable critical acclaim. Hutt spent that time developing his Recyclone project, releasing three albums and collaborating with Sixtoo, Graematter (Buck 65), and LaPointe once again on the well received Numbers full-length.
LaPointe, Hutt, and MacDonald reconvened as INSTRUMENTS in 2001. Intent on realizing their longstanding goal of total self-sufficiency the trio set about building a makeshift studio in a small house just outside of Halifax, NS, Canada, and began developing new material. Circumstance and opportunity would cause this cycle to repeat three more times, culminating in late 2004 with the completion of studio number four, at The Archive, in Mineville, NS, Canada. With its environment stabilized, INSTRUMENTS was quick to complete work on its debut recording, Nominal. Juxtaposing LaPointe’s inimitable guitar and Hutt’s machine-like drums with an unsettling ambiance, Nominal’s four pieces strengthened the band’s growing mythology, drawing comparisons as diverse as Pink Floyd and Shellac. Their live debut in the fall of 2006 was met with unanimous raves, but the band quickly retreated back to the studio, spending 2006-2007 completing the score for Hutt’s short film Chimera, and collaborating with Montreal based experimental hiphop label Endemik Music. Their track on Bleubird’s rip usa 2LP was hailed as the standout among an allstar cast including Anticon’s Sole and Alias, and their remix of Skyrider’s “Hello Loneliness” extended their reach into Japan on the Granma Music label.
Shuttle to late 2008, and INSTRUMENTS is set to release its second album, National Laboratory. Building on the foundation established on Nominal, National Laboratory’s eight songs delve further into musique concrete and electroacoustic territory, adding a dark tension to a sound already bordering at times on the psychedelic, and yet still finding its anchor in the post-atonal guitar/bass/drums of their past work. Heavier, but by way of contrast and composition, not merely presentation.
Equally dark and uplifting, the seven songs on “The End of Light By Heat”, released in 2014, play as an expertly crafted narrative that transcends genres and expectations, making it clear that INSTRUMENTS follow no path but their own.