Apt Twenty One
Citrus EP

by Jim Di Gioia

August 25, 2016


“Introducing” is the first song you’ll hear on Apt Twenty One’s Bandcamp page, though it’s listed as fourth on their five-song Citrus EP. Number four in the running order, but number one in our hearts.

It’s a brilliant, vibrant, varied introduction to a project whose sole musical output is a tart, surprisingly taut recording of freeform instrumental rock that hums with classical influences, surf rock bravado, and bold, brave tagging: donotlisten, literalgarbage, youcanheartheclicktrack might not be convincing enough descriptors to encourage click-through, but there’s something compelling in their self-effacing self-promotion.

Is that a Canadian thing? Apologetic and critical of oneself before others can subject their subjectivity on us? Or is it, as I’d be more likely to guess, because Curtis MacNevin, the composer/recorder/performer/mastermind behind Apt Twenty One never set out to make an EP’s worth of music while studying audio engineering in Halifax. MacNevin spent any free time he had experimenting with equipment and new techniques, in a very organic, “what happens when I do this?” process. There was no conscious music making happening. Which is precisely when some of the most interesting music gets made.

Apt Twenty One’s Citrus EP is a raw recording, fresh and not overly processed or planned out, and a little tender and prone to bruising. It’s not ‘perfect’ music, but it perfectly captures the spirit of its creation. In earlier times, MacNevin’s studio noodling would have been taped over, trashed, or trapped in the bottom of a closet with other forgotten reels. In 2016, it gets uploaded to Bandcamp with some catchy cover artwork, where an intrepid music blogger searching for new music by location comes across it, making one man’s musical trash another’s treasure.

Jim Di Gioia

Jim founded the music blog Quick Before It Melts in 2006 and was its principal writer until 2016, when its decade-long run ended 10 years to the day it started. DOMINIONATED is its spiritual successor. Jim currently serves as a Polaris Music Prize jurist and Prism Prize jurist.
Jim Di Gioia

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