Adrift amidst the information age’s content overload and relentless overhype, Doldrums’ pop-clad, schizophrenic freak-outs scream rebellion. The audio/video project is brainchild of Toronto native Airick Woodhead, who treads the precarious line between a certain childish naivety and volatile, infringing chaos – his androgynous, disembodied voice floating over a tapestry of sampledelic semi-glitch and rambling electro polyrhythms. Tunes like “I’m Homesick Sitting Up Here In My Satellite” and “Lost In My Head” illuminate that the world of Doldrums is one brimming with sentiments of alienation and pre-Internet nostalgia. You get the sense that at any moment it could all come undone, that senseless techno-malfunction will reign at the expense of anything recognizably human. But it always ends up coming back around, anchored by a definitive and relieving thread of melodic pop sweetness. Not so unlike the general state of contemporary collective consciousness, right?
Woodhead’s creative endeavors took initial shape as spliced VHS mixed tapes and miscellaneous web content under a series of various pseudonyms, but crystallized as ‘Doldrums’ when his explosive live act gained notoriety in Montreal’s legendary DIY scene. Alongside Grimes and Blue Hawaii, he was one of the first to join the Arbutus Records family in 2010, since then busting out a series of 7″s and found-footage vid collages – one of which, his rendition of Portishead’s “Chase the Tear,” landed him a b-side of their XL release of the song.
His lyrics and images are partly a manifestation of an elaborate sci-fi mythology that Woodhead has devised as Doldrums, in which a new mandatory drug is administered that puts people into the same dream realm, a dream realm where their most illicit fantasies are realized – from huge orgies to sadistic fields of killing. “It’s about the feeling of losing yourself and being forced to participate in a community,” he told Pitchfork. Sound weird? Listen to some tracks, watch some vids, get lost in the head of Woodhead – sneak a glance into the mind’s eye of a lost generation on the brink…
Doldrums is set to release his first full length, Lesser Evil, in February 2013. You can pre-order the vinyl/CD pack now from Arbutus!