The Secretly Canadian Newsletter

An intentional homage to the world of horror literature and film, Night Mute is Ativin’s ten song exploration into the themes of death, hopelessness, and fear. On it, the band has created a concise and harrowing sonic vision rooted in their trademark foundation of dirge and repetition of the guitar/guitar/drums. With emphasis placed on deconstructing the music back to its barest elements, the band has pulled away from the “spacious” and cinematic side of the Summing the Approach EP (1999, Secretly Canadian) and last year’s Interiors (Secretly Canadian). Song titles and lyrical content reinforce the notion that this could be a subtle, disconnected soundtrack for terminally ill patients lying in wait behind closed doors. Guitarists and songwriters Dan Burton and Chris Carothers relish in the deconstruction of their own music. It may help to think of their dual contributions to Night Mute as a metaphor for a severed corpus callosum, as you begin to form a mental picture of the sound therein – two hemispheres of the brain are split in two, scared to death of each other, yet encased in the same brain cage and trapped for all eternity. “Night Terror”, “Drink This”, “Concentrate” and “Blood” are each meticulously honed razorblade attacks nodding to a return to the Ativin of yore – angular instrumental rockers like those on which the band waged war on Pills Vs. Planes (1996, Polyvinyl) and German Water (1998, Secretly Canadian). The addition of expert, marksmen style drumming from Mark Rice (the Impossible Shapes, John Wilkes Booze) propels Burton’s and Carothers’ spiraling, schizophrenic guitar interplay into a nightmare space where few, if any, musical acts have gone before.

Taking a look at Ativin’s sordid past, one will see that there is more to their music then the late ’90s post rock explosion from whence they came. In fact, Night Mute shows a stake in the divergent corners of the outsider canon. Echoes of Durutti Column, Unsane, Tones On Tail, Keiji Haino, and Organum can be heard throughout. Their sober take of the early Love & Rockets tune “The Game”, for instance, finds Burton front & center at the microphone, slowly reeling in on what feels like a Philip K. Dick gothic folktale.

The vinyl for this title is being released by our friends at Trece Grabaciones (Spain).


Night Terror

Saigon Sleeps



Double Back

The Game

Drink This



Sleep Well