Giordano W. Bassi and Bryan Buss make up the local post-rock duo Jung People. Their EP Tenterhooks will be released Dec. 10.
Aly Gulamhusein/the Gauntlet

Youth isn't wasted on Jung People

Socially-conscious independent rockers bend genres, challenge indifference

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The band Jung People -- pronounced "young people" -- are making a statement: youth are forward-thinking. Their name attests to this, being an allusion to the famous psychiatrist and forward-thinker of his time, Carl Jung.

These are musicians who aim to create and inspire change. But don't expect complicated lyrics or overstated theses -- Jung People let the music speak for itself. Besides the occasional sampling of historic monologues, their music has the effect of inspiring imagination and feeling without uttering a single word.

The Calgary duo is Giordano W. Bassi (drums/organ/vocoder) and Bryan Buss (guitar/special effects). The partnership formed in 2010 after the two men returned from a semester abroad at the world-famous Musicians Institute in Hollywood, California.

This month, Jung People will be releasing their third album to date, the five-song ep Tenterhooks. Several local painters, sculptors and other artisans will also have their work featured as part of the cd release show. Appropriately enough, the event will be held at a church in Kensington -- Jung People's music is more the work of the rock composers than the garage-band sound found in dimly-lit bars around the city.

Best friends and vegetarians for over a decade, the duo have dedicated the ep to animals living in "tenterhooks," a state of constant anxiety and suspense. Genre-wise, Jung People aggressively blur the boundaries of progressive, post-rock, experimental, indie and '70s pyschedelia -- shaken, not stirred. What makes Tenterhooks and its predecessors so intriguing is the challenge that live performances present as a duo -- Bassi and Buss are required to play multiple instruments in order to reproduce their compositions, including the organ, vocoder, lap-steel, synthesizer and even a typewriter.

"We try to do minimal sampling, because we want to be able to play most of the stuff we write," explains Bassi. "We don't want to be one of those bands that create albums and then can't play [them live]. In fact, our first album was recorded completely live off the floor. It is not perfect, but it was meant to be that way -- really raw and edgy."

Though the process is difficult, Tenterhooks will be another album recorded "live off the floor," and it will be what Bassi identifies as the perfect balance between high-production perfection and the natural sounds of live music.

"It is the sound of freedom and chaos, and humanism. It all has its place . . . like a creative dissonance. That's the feeling we want people to have when listening to it, that they are in the room."

For now, the album will be released as 100 limited-edition cds that Jung People are hand-crafting out of recycled materials all made in Canada. Eventually it will be pressed into vinyl. Each of the five songs on the album will have a corresponding video, two of which will be shown at the release party.

This spring, Jung People will record a full-length studio album, but not for a record label, they explain.

"We really don't plan to be owned by a label or anything like that, considering [that] we are going to be donating all our music anyway," Bassi says.

The idea behind this is to create residual incomes for non-profit organizations with a similar philosophy to that of Jung People -- making the world a better place. Bassi and Buss will also be creating the soundtrack for Transcendence, an upcoming feature-length film by Calgarian Thomas Robert Lee to be released in late 2012.

"We once wanted to be rock stars, but we've moved beyond that," remarks Bassi. "It isn't about becoming rich and famous anymore. We are never going to quit, we are never going to stop, and that's just the way it is."