Opaque Pop Melancholy

You’ll Never Get to Heaven Showcase Ethereal Melodies

Graphic Flora Hammond

It comes to you as if in a dream, the faint glimmer of manipulated piano brushing past as you sink deeper into the blackness. You’ll Never Get to Heaven emits ambient melancholy, remnants of pop vocals embedding themselves in murky haze and crackle.

You’ll Never Get to Heaven is anything but conventional. The duo, originally from the East Coast but now based in London, Ontario, have a penchant for the hiss and pops of vinyl, as well as deconstructing turn-of-the-century classical music.

For Chuck Blazevic, the instrumental half of the band, it’s a matter of constantly being challenged among a myriad of samples and plug-ins.

He’s been putting out ambient music since 2008 under the moniker Dreamsploitation, a project he describes as “learning how to work with pre-recorded material that does not just rely on the integrity of a single loop.”

The band’s self-titled record, released last year, is an exercise in this experimentation, with isolated moments from classical records and dub blending with electric bass lines and Alice Hansen’s far-away vocals. Each song slips in through another, its buried pop form slowly emerging with each listen.

You’ll Never Get to Heaven’s minimalist soundtracks are steadily becoming more polished, as the two begin to rely less on samples and more on their own melodies. They have a cassette’s worth of material they’ll be putting out in the next few months.

“We do everything at home, and that probably will never change because we have everything we need here,” said Hansen. The two have been partners for years and live together, their music emerging as a natural product of their joint interests.

Blazevic takes isolated kicks or snare hits from the dub records, then builds his own beat with recorded bass lines. Pulling melodicism and atmosphere from classical composers such as Debussy, Ravel and Poulenc is no arbitrary choice, either.

“A lot of that music has rich harmonies that we enjoy on a composition level, but the timbral aspects are achieved through sampling older vinyl,” said Blazevic. “All the pops and hisses and crackles give it an anachronistic sheen that we’re also fans of.

“If we need a chord off a particular classical record, we’ll isolate it. You get all these other aspects,” he continued.

“When you digitally process those harmonic overtones, you can get really nice ambient textures.”

It’s a process of using new tools and building new ambience. Now that they’ve found their sonic centre, it’s anyone’s guess how it will expand.

You’ll Never Get to Heaven // Sept. 26 // Brasserie Beaubien (73 Beaubien St. E.) // 9 p.m. // $10