Windsor, ON-based multi-instrumentalist Martin Schiller takes a musical idea for an internet sketch comedy series and turns it into a psychedelic jam session, transporting listeners to a time of carpeted walls and smoke-filled rooms with the bodacious new single, “Future Prints.”
The song sees Schiller whisk listeners on a sonic journey through space and time as part of his groovy new LP, Dreams vol. 1 (2022). An instrumental post-jazz-rock opus with equal parts Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Ali Shaheed Muhammed, and something entirely new, the eight-song album also features cover art designed and created by his wife, artist Amanda Brierty.
The textured sounds of “Future Prints” is best described by Schiller himself as “somewhere between Chicago Post-Rock (Tortoise), Ethiopian Jazz (Mulatu Astatke), and 1970s Japanese surf-rock (Takeshi Terauchi).” Across the song, Schiller’s visceral percussion and guitar work are seamlessly interwoven with heart-pumping saxophone riffs provided by the only guest instrumentalist on the album, collaborator Theodore Hogan.
As Schiller says, the thematic nature of “Future Prints” was initially conceived to serve another purpose.
“Back in 2019, I contributed some musical ideas to an internet sketch comedy series my brother Eric was working on, and this idea was used as the theme music,” he shares.
With the world still reeling from the Covid-19, Dreams Vol. 1 is meant to act as a soundtrack to Schiller’s emotional experiences during the first year and a half of the pandemic — also, incidentally, when Brierty first inked the cover art concept.
“It begins with a foreboding sound with doom and worry, then a feeling of urgency, giving way to a feeling of appreciation of some positivity, eventually being able to live in the moment,” says Schiller of the release.
The recording process initially started with a series of drum sessions that would provide the rhythmic foundation for the album. With the exception of the sensational saxophone track on “Future Prints,” the entirety of the album was recorded in Schiller’s basement and bedroom studio.
Dreams Vol. 1 was also mixed by Schiller, who employed sound engineer Matt Rideout to master the album and elevate the production.
Hey there, I’m Martin Schiller!
I started learning music by playing the electric bass at a young age and writing experimental music in high school.
I joined the post-rock band What Seas, What Shores in the latter half of the 2000s. and we played a lot of shows in Windsor and around Ontario. We eventually made some recordings and played more shows venturing to both coasts of Canada and a string of shows in Taiwan and Japan in 2015.
I experimented with recording at home on no budget, avoiding formal mentorship. So I bumped around in the dark for a long time, but I returned to study music at the University of Windsor, where Dr. Brent Lee took me under his wing and showed me many things I wish I had known sooner.
I feel like I’m always learning about music, and it’s my desire to deepen that connection and understanding because I think it suits my personality, and it’s been the most energizing thing in my life to write, record, and perform music.
I’m mainly attracted to instrumental music. Movie soundtracks have had a big impact on me, and I think I’ve always approached music making a little bit with the idea of trying to create an auditory version of a 3 or 4-dimensional movie-in-your-head.
In my experience, there has been a small but vibrant arts community, including the artists, venues, and patrons that facilitate support for original, creative works of art.
Windsor is a very diverse place, and I think people can benefit from exposure to a mix of cultures, ideas, and experiences.
Its proximity to Detroit is definitely a way to experience big city things without having to travel too far, and there’s a lot of cool musical history between Windsor and Detroit.
And the University of Windsor’s Campus radio station (CJAM 99.1 FM) is a great source of exposure to arts and culture outside the mainstream…
And of course, Windsor pizza is very good.
I find her to be a very inspiring human. She has a natural talent for visual arts among other things, and during the first few months of the 2020 lock-downs, she made several different illustrations.
She was making these drawings around the same time that I was trying to keep busy creatively, and I felt that her art resonated with what was happening at that time. Abstractly, it felt similar to the energy that was coming through in the music I was working on.
I like how the figures in the drawing remind me of antennae, floating in a space together yet isolated from each other.
That particular piece feels like it allows the viewer to draw their own connections without being too specific, and I appreciate art that has that kind of quality in it.
So because of all that, I asked her if she wouldn’t mind letting me use it for the cover art, and she was okay with it.
The first guitarist that comes to mind is Jimmy Page.
I’m the youngest in my family, and there was a lot of Led Zeppelin on the radio when I was growing up. My older brothers were buying the tapes and CDs. The Song Remains the Same VHS tape was watched on a regular basis for some time, and so Jimmy was likely the first guitarist that really made an impact on my perception as a child.
It’s one thing to hear the sound of a guitar through the speakers, but the visual of them playing a concert and seeing how he’s doing it definitely made an impact on me. Plus, in that show, he’s also playing his guitar with a violin bow, he’s playing a double-necked guitar, he’s playing the theremin, doing all of this whacked-out-sounding stuff… yeah, Jimmy Page was like some kind of wizard to my childhood brain.
The first thing that came to mind was Songs of Leonard Cohen. It’s not a record that I can listen to very often. It’s just too good.
The song “Suzanne” is worth the price of admission. “The Stranger” is another one that haunts me.
I’m Jenna, and I am the founder and editor of Canadian Beats. I have had a strong love for Canadian music, which started many years ago. I have a passion for promoting these talented Canadian bands and artists, and that’s how Canadian Beats came to be. I am so proud of what it has become over the last few years, with many talented music lovers and writers coming together to spread the word of Canada’s music.