“‘Présence’ is the portrait of a well-presented table. This piece is a reminder of the effort that evaporates into pleasure. Was it worth it? It’s a chalkboard to remind us that hunger is always lurking”.
TDA is the solo project of multi-instrumentalist Samuel Gougoux, known and esteemed for his drumming amongst montreal-based artists such as Corridor, N NAO, Jonathan Personne & Victime. Following solo performances where he uses drums, triggers and treated vocals, TDA reveals a first self-titled EP in August of 2019. This quick-witted collection of explorations showcases traits of industrial, experimental and no wave music, as Gougoux meshes styles in a syncopated, abrasive, yet contained fashion.
Tour dates with Corridor in North America and Europe during the back half of 2019 and beginning of 2020 wake in the artist, a desire to have the many musical sounds that resonate from within himself, travel as well. During long stretches in the van, he starts conceptualizing a first album: a solo work in its crafting that would be performed as a full lineup live. Simon Provencher (VICTIME) and Mathieu Arsenault (Seulement, Technical Kidman) are first to join, with violinist, Élise Paradis, following suit shortly after. TDA is now composed of four beings. Gougoux, resolved to achieve his vision, then travels to his hometown of Bas-St-Laurent in Quebec, where he undertakes audio and visual documentation of these familiar, yet estranged settings as he isolates himself in the nearby woodlands.
Trying to shed normative fears, he challenges himself to walk the forest at night, and questions this state of stupor, stemming from his childhood. Eventually, he can contemplate yet again the architectural, but also percussive, aspect of trees. When not walking the woods, nor composing, he spends time looking at turn of the twentieth century images taken in rural areas, especially American photographer Russell Lee’s work.
He reflects on his upbringing, growing up in the modern countryside, but also, on the footprints left as part of his heritage, all of which facilitated his personal coming of age. Often anchoring the creation of his music within visual elements, the place – in this case, the countryside – becomes increasingly important to his creative process. As he finds more and more photographs depicting similar scenery to the one he is beholding, he is given a new perspective on his surroundings.
Emerges from this retreat, Ascète, an album that weds tampered synesthesia with palpable elements from this calm and natural environment, and where rough and meticulous are permeable. To these notions, Gougoux binds a primitive touch akin to industrial music, using cords of wood as percussions (which no one could have ever guessed), but also embraces his inherent propension to comb every detail, ultimately creating floating sonic masses, both scabrous in their foreground, traversed by a dimmed light in their depth.