Weaving is a frequent metaphor for music-making, especially when the interplay of discrete elements creates a single cohesive texture. The Winnipeg trio Civvie's overcast, mahogany-hued sonics lend themselves to such a metaphor, but their peculiar instrumentation adds another dimension to that analogy. In fact, it's no longer a metaphor in their case: percolating beneath long slow-motion swoops of cello and bassoon is the actual sound of an amplified weaving loom.
On paper, the juxtaposition might read as a misguided plunge into novelty and theatrics, but it's clear that the group—in particular loomist Kelly Ruth—have embraced the apparatus’ strange and limited palette wholeheartedly, and mostly for aural reasons. The loom's primary sonic function in the group’s music is the provision of a granular patina of spindly creaks and dry, laboured breaths. While Natanielle Felicitas and Alex Eastley—on cello and bassoon respectively—do occasionally venture into melodic territory, they often lean more toward thick smears of colour whose spectra shift and bloom in a slightly volatile manner. The cavernous quality of the production works to further diffuse these small gestures. Similarly, although the group works from a mostly acoustic basis, they use processing to great effect—notably delicate shades of distortion as a means of blending and highlighting certain features of a given sonority.
One encounters the kind of sonic concoction heard on Inheritance relatively frequently in the electronic domain, with a number of post-glitch acts operating under a vaguely similar premise. Yet, hearing this sort of shadowy, agitated ambience in an improvised instrumental setting imbues it with an altogether different life.