Called an “an unclassifiable blast of fresh air” by the Montreal Mirror, with their album Hold True (Accroche-toi) chosen as one of the top ten offerings in 2010, the music of the Vertical Squirrels is group-improvised, live in the moment, and draws on a potent mixture of free jazz and post rock sensibilities with nods to Indian ragas, jazz-inflected minimalism, Zappa-esque bouts of sonic anarchy, and German rock music from the 1970s. Like the music they play, the Vertical Squirrels came together through a mixture of chance and perseverance. Long-time collaborators Daniel Fischlin, Ajay Heble, and Lewis Melville started playing together as a group upon the arrival in Guelph of multi-talented drummer/percussionist Rob Wallace, in 2008, later adding acclaimed drummer Ted Warren to the mix in 2011.
Time of the Sign comes after two critically acclaimed albums, Hold True (Accroche-toi) with Montréal’s magnificent label Ambiances Magnétiques and Winter’s Gate (BarCode Free). Recent performances at the Sound Symposium in Newfoundland and Ottawa’s Sound Changes saw the band playing to its strengths creating organic soundscapes and incendiary, energy-driven improvisations that consistently defy genre, as well as maintaining a constant interest in the role of music in community building and social change.
Time of the Sign marks the band’s commitment to collaborations with other improvising musicians (Jeff Bird, Jane Bunnett, Dave Clark, Gary Diggins, Ben Grossman, Dong-Won Kim, Scott Merritt, etc.) as part of its desire to expand musical possibilities and immerse itself in new harmonic textures, rhythmic compunctions, melodic diversions, and spatial orientations. A unique voice on the Canadian instrumental scene with constantly mutating sonic risk-taking at the core of their musical practice, the Vertical Squirrels’ Time of the Sign shows the group instant-composing richly textured melodies and harmonies and deploying the orchestral possibilities of the singular guest voices featured on the album.
Guelph (Ontario, Canada)