le vaisseau d'or

Montreal shoegaze band le vaisseau d’or launch a new EP and short film

Watch filmmaker Farid Kassouf’s sojourn through Nunavik with the band’s dreamy soundtrack.

A muted sunrise peeks out and a frost-bitten Earth slowly consumes the screen. Lush guitar melodies, soaked in reverb, make their entrance and as the first vocal line “Deeesssiiirrrreee,” slowly cascades into sonic oblivion, you feel — for the first time in awhile — that everything might be okay. 

This is the first few minutes of a collaboration between the dreamy shoegaze collective le vaisseau d’or and filmmaker Farid Kassouf (premiering at 10 a.m. today). The short film features ethereal images of Kassouf’s sojourn through Nunavik, Quebec’s Arctic territory synced to the first two tracks “Desire Forever” + “Sunshine” off of le vaisseau d’or’s latest EP, Desire Forever.   

Both songs started as unreleased and improvised during a session at Concordia’s CJLO in 2019. Le vaisseau d’or had been on a six month live hiatus and were scheduled to play a set of songs from their 2019 Born to Feel EP. Instead, Étienne Thibeault (guitars, vocals, production) and Gabriel Vallée (guitars, vocals, production) played completely new material, including an improvised jam that would become the track “Desire Forever.”

“We decided to play as a duo and only new songs, in hope of capturing that raw feeling when you’re not 100% sure of what you’re doing but just go with it,” Vallée says. “That’s usually how we work, it’s really a matter of mutual trust and feeling. And magic I guess.”

Kassouf also filmed the whole session at CJLO and thought some of the images of his past travels would fit its aesthetic and tone. The band and Kassouf bounced off ideas for the live session video until they decided that the passive travel imagery fit better than anything filmed at CJLO.

“The humans had completely disappeared from the screen and only those two static shots remained. We were all amazed at how the images and the music just matched each other,” Vallée says. 

The mixes of “Desire Forever,” “Sunshine,” and the last track, “Here it Comes Again,” were also handled by Collin Hegna, bassist of psych rock icons The Brian Jonestown Massacre, and leader of Spaghetti Western meets space rock group, Federale.

Put through Hegna’s filter, the short EP only sits at 14 minutes, but is a tranquil and lucubratory experience. Each track quietly bleeds into another, save for some static and white noise. 

“We wanted to keep that radio transmission mood,” Vallée says. “Collin’s a super talented engineer with a great studio, plus he arranges and composes a lot of music for film music. I cried when I heard the first mix of ‘Desire’ and told him he had free reign from then on. I know he had fun with it; he messed with delay pedals on our drum machines and went on hikes in between mixing sessions. He gave the record a lot of it’s personality and I’m really grateful for that.” 

Montrealers will be able to experience Kassouf’s short film and le vaisseau d’or live (as a three piece with original member Olivier Lefebvre on Farfisa and modular synthesizers) on Sept. 18 at Casa d’Italia.

“Desire Forever” & “Sunshine” by le vaisseau d’or, film by Farid Kassouf

For more about le vaisseau d’or, please visit the band’s Bandcamp page.

For more Montreal music coverage, please visit the Music section.