Memoryhouse formed some five years ago in the depths of Southern Ontario, Canada, in a mid-size town called Guelph as a collaborative project meant to serve as an artistic outlet for composer Evan Abeele and photographer Denise Nouvion. Evan, a dedicated student of classical music and a pop-music encyclopedist, intended Memoryhouse to be a multimedia art project, pairing his instrumental compositions with Denise’s photographs and short films. Testing ways to blur the boundaries between genres, to weave a synthesis of music and photography, they experimented with themes, lyrics and multiple layers of instrumentation. Nouvion’s soft, ethereal voice anchored the frozen textures of Abeeleâ€™s compositions with frank sentimentality—a unique approach towards humanizing the electro-pop compositions they were creating. The results, at once timeless and new, were impressive and in September 2011 we at Sub Pop released a fully re-recorded, remixed and re-mastered version of the band’s 2010 self-released, digital-only EP, The Years.
The new album is called The Slideshow Effect and its title speaks to what hasn’t changed for Memoryhouse: their continuing interest in the synthesis of the aural and the visual. It refers to the photographic/cinematic technique of zooming and panning to animate still images, often used in documentary film making to give movement to archival photographs. The 10-track album, produced by Abeele, with assistance from friend, collaborator, and occasional Memoryhouse bassist Barzin Hassani Rad, finds Memoryhouse heading toward a new clarity in composition as well as sound; a more organic direction for artists who are, in their own words, transitioning from a “bedroom recording project” into a fully realized band. Nouvion’s voice has never been more present than on the new album, which finds her stepping away from Memoryhouse’s past reverbed sound in favor of a more upfront, and intimate vocal approach. They half-seriously refer to their new sound as “Taylor Swift with Built to Spill as her backing band.” However The Slideshow Effect might be described, we fully-seriously love it.