Meet Dreems, your new headphone trip

The Australian ambient chillout artist, and cofounder of the half-local Multi Culti record label, is releasing an LP and throwing a party in Montreal this week.

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The half-local record label Multi Culti, founded in April by Thomas Von Party and his Australian cohort Angus Gruzman, is about to launch its first full-length album. Dreems is Gruzman’s solo project, and In Dreems is his ambitious, continuous piece of ambient music, presented on four sides of vinyl, and digitally in four parts with accompanying visuals by Hans Lo, who’s worked with Simian Mobile Disco and Jaguar Ma.

“It creates a visual narrative, so when we post the music, you can watch these mini psychedelic  trips while you listen,” says Gruzman, who’s mentally preparing himself for a full year of touring from his native Australia to Europe to South America and back to Montreal, along with intermittent studio work.

“I don’ think it fits comfortably in any genre,” says Von Party, taking on the question of Dreems’ musical style. “There are beats and parts that swell, and it’s possible to dance to certain sections, but I feel like it’s an ambient chillout album, more of a headphone trip. It’s the kind of record you could listen to late at night or when you’re hungover and are really in need of an hour of relaxing music to take care of you.”

For Friday’s launch party at Von Party’s Mile End nightclub, Datcha, he and Gruzman are countering the winter weather and ubiquitous Christmas décor by filling the space with plants, while preparing DJ sets to add to the room’s humidity. The sets will showcase other Multi Culti artists, music that influenced Dreems and sounds that reflect the label’s ethos.

“There’ll be elements of trippy, reflective, ambient music and elements of world music,” says Von Party, agreeing with my negative assessment of what used to be called “world beat” — pretty much the opposite of what Multi Culti is doing. “There was a lot of cringe-worthy, overtly jazzy tribal house [in the ’90s], and we’re not into that sound, or the idea of musical exoticism.

“The technology that people use to make music has gone from enabling sampling and making it doable to making it something that’s incredibly easy and prevalent and arguably the easiest way to make music.

“And then the crest of that wave is a lot of really talented artists like Four Tet who’ve done a really good job of sampling African rhythms and vocals.

“It’s been a really inspiring time for music that knows no borders. We’re not just making some cheap commitment to putting an Afro sample on every track we put out, we’re putting a stamp on something that we felt was resonating out there in the ether. I feel like, on a pretty deep level, there’s a lot of good ideas out there in the world, and I think it’s worthwhile to try and draw inspiration from far afield.”

Multi Culti aims to bring their mandate to life with big plans for 2015. Along with producing new merchandise (clothing in particular), they’ll be releasing a new track and an hour-long mix by a different artist every 15 days, leading up to the release of two 12-track compilations to coincide (roughly) with the equinoxes.

“The idea is that each mix is inspired by a particular place, so we’ll end up with 24 hours that will take you around the world,” Von Party explains. “It’s been really nice reaching out to people about this so far because everyone has said yes. We’re just checking off all these people who are on our wish list.” ■
The Dreems album launch, with DJs Dreems, Von Party and a special guest, is happening at Datcha (98 Laurier W.) on Friday, Dec. 12, 10 p.m.