by Jim Di Gioia

June 1, 2017


Richmond Lam

Montreal band Hoan are looking for ways to love and live in a technologically driven world, where connecting with others takes place in an increasingly virtual reality, rather than a physical one. It’s the great dialectic challenge of our modern age: what value is there in moving forward with modernization if the environment, civil liberties, and general human decency are the cost we pay for light bulbs that illuminate from a tap on a cell phone screen?

Hoan’s Modern Phase is the second album in recent months that uses the word ‘modern’ in its title, and it is influenced by the dilemmas of living in an online, hyper-connected world. Where other records may harken back to more modest, less technically influenced times, Hoan is already envisioning a future that’s crossed a proverbial tipping point. “Technocrats” imagines a possible world where scientists and technology take over, imposing the laws of nature and science as the rules of the land and government. Though it opens with a sense of foreboding and impending doom, “Technocrats” hums and throbs with an unstoppable military precision. The path has been chosen. The decision is made. The ballots are all counted. No turning back now.

“Technocrats” makes me wonder about when civilization officially crossed that point of no return. Was it when the Wright Brothers started flying? Did people get their backs up at the time, worrying about clogging up the airways with traffic, transferring diseases and viruses, like cargo, across continents? At what point in our modern world did we collectively begin to realize, “Shit, maybe this isn’t such a good idea after all”?

Then again, perhaps we haven’t reached that point yet.

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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