“A bold talent, his grasp of sonics is interlinked with a desire to express something, to challenge both himself and those around him.”
“Aucoin, a characteristically ambitious artist”
“’The Middle’ is an extremely earnest, charming-as-hell reflection on the self at the midpoint of life and death.”
“This is an anthemic collection of head nodding and foot tapping electro-pop”
“Easily one of the most mesmerizing tracks we’ve heard so far this year.”
CBC Music (2018)
Canadian Indie Electronic musician, Rich Aucoin, has finally released his album entitled Release on the 17th of May via Haven Sounds. Produced by Rich Aucoin and drummer Joel Waddell, his music has seen acclaim across the board with previous releases (We’re All Dying To Live and Ephemeral) long-listed for the Polaris Music Prize (2012/2015). Release was inspired by a wide range of music such as David Bowie, Holly Herndon, Fatboy Slim, Björk, John Lennon, Future Islands, Caribou and Chic just to name a few. These influences are evident in his music, as his diverse sound could be compared to a mix of MGMT, Beck, Arcade Fire, Spoon, and M83 all the while still maintaining his own unique blend of organic and synthetic instrumentation. His third album, Release, sees Aucoin grapple with the concept of mortality by using Alice in Wonderland (1951) as a metaphor for the journey. Again, the album can be played as alternate soundtrack along to the film.
As part of a list of Rich Aucoin’s accomplishments, the music video for ‘Brian Wilson is A.L.I.V.E.’ won the Prism Prize (2013), which he’s also been shortlisted for this year. Nominated for ten East Coast Music Awards including Album, Song and Fan Choice Entertainer of the Year, with more than 2 million streams, Rich Aucoin has built a reputation for his energetic live shows performing his music written in sync to old movies in the same manner as Pink Floyd‘s Dark Side of The Moon with The Wizard of Oz. Using projections to these films, he has brought his interactive performance to stages at Osheaga, The Great Escape, Les Eurockéennes, Les Vielles Charrues, Berlin Music Festival, Montreal International Jazz Festival, Hangout Music Festival, Art Basel Miami, Luminato Art Festival, Iceland Airwaves, SXSW, Pop Montreal and more. Several esteemed publications have also praised Rich Aucoin’s music as he’s been featured by Noisey, Les Inrockuptibles, SPIN Magazine, PopMatters, CBC Music, The Globe and Mail, Paste Magazine, Under The Radar, Exclaim!, Baeble Music and many more.
Born, raised and currently based in Halifax, Canada, Rich Aucoin has been fully immersed in music ever since he can remember, learning how to play almost any instrument he could get his hands on while also teaching himself production and home-recording. A philanthropist at heart, Aucoin has raised money for several charities with his music. He has cycled coast to coast twice for both Childhood Cancer Canada and The Canadian Mental Health Association/Mental Health America; cycling to each show. He has also crossed Canada for the Canadian Heart & Stroke Foundation running a series of half-marathons.
Starting at ‘The Base’, the album kicks off with a drum powered intro delivering a philosophical message about living in the now and sets the perfect tone for what you know is going to be a catalogue of reflection on the personal, social, political and spiritual. The second track, entitled ‘The Dream’ is really just that – a musical representation of what a dream would sound like with soaring synth, jazzy brass and piano stylings to accompany Aucoin’s delicate vocals. There’s a strong reflection on society for ‘The Other’ to the inspirational anthem that is ‘The Change’ and then into the faster-paced dance tracks like ‘The Self’ and ‘The Past’ focused on the things that haunt us as human beings, which is the perfect set up for a song called ‘The Fear’ featuring a dance between cheeky bass lines, strong piano keys and drums rolls that punch you right in the chest – In a song that feels more like overcoming fear rather than running from it. ‘The Mind’ sees Rich Aucoin channel his electronic music production skills in full force as this pulsating instrumental track manages to create an emotional flow of sounds that is sure to provoke a roaring response from any listener. The album ends on the back of ‘The Time’ which acts as a letting go track, freeing in preparation for ‘Release’ or death, as it were.
When speaking about the album, Rich Aucoin explained, “This is an album about death and about the foundations of our beliefs on the universe and how they help us cope with the knowledge of our mortality. The record is an alternate soundtrack to Alice In Wonderland (1951) and follows Alice as she descends into those beliefs never to leave her wonderland in the same way our beliefs give us the comfort to release our fighting of the inevitable. It was originally to be called Death Release and is largely based around the work of psychologist Ernest Becker’s Denial of Death and his students’ follow-up The Worm At The Core and terror management theory. It was recorded in 16 studios across Canada, US and UK with 51 musicians on it and houses church organs, analogue synths, theremins, string and horn sections and strong guest vocalists.”