I had all these songs I kept coming back to that weren't going to be Les Jupes songs. I didn't want them to fall off the earth.
—Michael P Falk, musician
Think of an album. Any album. Maybe your favourite album. It probably has 10 or 12 songs on it, and it probably clocks in at a nice, palatable 40 minutes.
Now, think about all the songs that didn't make the cut. Songs left in notebooks. Songs abandoned, half-recorded. Songs saved for future recordings. Songs you haven't heard yet.
Occasionally those forgotten tracks merit new life, and it's that idea that inspired Oshima, the solo project of Les Jupes frontman/Head In The Sand Records founder Michael P Falk.
"I had all these songs I kept coming back to that weren't going to be Les Jupes songs," Falk explains. "I didn't want them to fall off the earth."
It's those songs that make up Oshima's stunning six-song EP, The Age of Shapes, available for free via Head In The Sand's website. Some tracks have been lingering around for nearly a decade, including "Stick It Out". "That one, ironically, is my wife's favourite," he deadpans.
Dave Quanbury of Oshima (Joel Calvin)
Falk teamed up with an old friend, Twilight Hotel's Dave Quanbury, to make The Age of Shapes
a reality. Quanbury is an old tour buddy and the pair have made records before so they have an easy, comfortable shorthand in the studio.
"I don't know if I have a closer musical companion than Dave. It's hard to find someone like that. It's almost like finding a romantic partner for yourself. It's such an intimate, sensitive thing. I have lots of friends who love music, but not everyone gets it at that molecular level."
Falk and Quanbury went into the studio with no agenda. They collaborated on arrangements and several live-off-the-floor takes from their initial sessions made it on the the finished version of the EP. The Age of Shapes
is in contrast to Les Jupes' most recent outing, 2011's Modern Myths
, and its dense, ambitious arrangements. These new (well, new to us) songs are unadorned, and see Falk in his quieter moments.
"I like that it's the polar opposite," Falk says.
He's not exactly going solo, however. Les Jupes have a new EP out on Sept. 20 (recorded with Imaginary Cities' Rusty Matyas and Cam Loeppky), with a full-length to follow sometime in 2014. Falk says the EP is poppier and the full-length is also a step in a new direction.
"My goal is to make music that doesn't sound like anything else," he says. "Not an absence of influence, of course, but music that charts a new course. I feel like this album does that."