Satellite and the Harpoonist
As the great poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow once stated, “The best thing one can do when it’s raining is to let it rain.” And so, in January 2020, as the city’s longest spell of precipitation in over five decades threatened to wash Vancouver into the Pacific, four musicians from disparate sonic territories did just that. Not that they had a say in the matter, they let it rain while gathering at Afterlife Studios to conduct an experiment as radical and historic as the weather outside.
SHAWN HALL of the acclaimed maverick blues duo The Harpoonist and The Axe Murderer was the progenitor, his notion being to assemble three talented friends with whom he had previously worked, yet that had never met each other. Then, during an intense three-day exploration of alchemic creative collaboration within a self-imposed pressure cooker environment, they would record a 6-song EP – all under the gaze of a film crew. So, as the rain smashed down on the City of Glass, SATELLITE and the HARPOONIST was birthed, with every labour pain and its exhausting entry into the world captured on celluloid.
Joining singer/harmonicist Hall in this extraordinary project – his “people that want to play in the sandbox” – are GEOFF HILLHORST (Hammond organ/piano/synthesizers) of award-winning alt. country-folk dreamers, The Deep Dark Woods; THEO VINCENT (percussion/congas/vocals) from Vancouver’s funk-soul powerhouse The Boom Booms and, on drums and Pencilina, Brooklyn’s BRADFORD REED, of out-there art-rockers, King Missile III. The Pencilina, an incredible double-necked zither-like contraption, is Reed’s own one-off invention, making Satellite and The Harpoonist the world’s only band to feature it.
Such is the diversity of the four individual musical backgrounds comprising this Canadian-US supergroup that just about anything, good or not so, could have transpired at Afterlife during those wet West Coast days, but the triumphant result is an assured, robust new rock ‘n roll for a new decade. There are no obvious influences worn on sleeves, and scant evidence present of the bands whence they came.
Satellite and The Harpoonist make their live debut at the Rivoli, Toronto, on May 8th, with the EP to be unveiled in August. Released in March and featuring a guest appearance from Royal Canoe’s MATT PETERS, if the trippy, groove-heavy, rock ‘n’ soul lead single, Ballet in a Phone Booth is any indication of what to expect, come summertime it will be accolades rather than the wet stuff raining down on this compelling new outfit.