While I love ambient electronic, I am not an expert nor even an amateur enthusiast of ambient guitar drone. That being said, I was excited to unravel Bitter Fictions’s self-titled sixth album.
While local journalist mogul and Shaking Box Music label head Devin Friesen might be better recognized for his work with Fast Forward Weekly, Tiny Mix Tapes, CJSW and Sloth Records, his solo-guitar improvisational act Bitter Fictions is by far his most personal and intimate project. The eight-track album takes listeners on an experimental and psychedelic journey into the depths of drone and pedal-focused guitar music. While some may find it impossible to imagine nearly an hour of music without drums or accompanying instruments, the Bitter Fictions LP paces itself well through the distinct bouquets of sound each song brings to the table. The tracks are cleverly organized to keep you interested while the tempo of the album rises and falls through valleys of crystal clear hooks and past clouds of endless reverbs and delays.
Overall, this album is a great listen and perfect music to accompany long introspective nights or headphone journeys while walking through the city.
Bitter Fictions may not be for everyone — droning guitar music is a particular niche — but skeptics of the genre should definitely check this album out.
Bitter Fictions is available digitally through Bandcamp and on vinyl at Sloth Records. Having listened to both, the mastering on the vinyl is warmer and brings out so many of the nuances in an album centred around binaural shadows.