BEFORE & APACE
BEFORE & APACE is a heavy progressive rock project of Saskatoon-based musician, Devin Martyniuk. The project draws from the same well as Tool, The Mars Volta, and Meshuggah.
Over a span of multiple years starting in the mid 2000s, while splitting time as a guitarist/multi-instrumentalist between Western Canada’s goth punk/metal misfits, The New Jacobin Club, and eclectic folk-rock band, Old Joe and the Truth Hurts, Devin began to craft the songs that would ultimately comprise THE DENISOVAN – the first full-length album release by BEFORE & APACE.
It was during this time that Devin met drummer Arlan Kopp (also of The Department Heads) as both were percussionists in the University of Saskatchewan’s Wind Orchestra. They bonded instantly over common musical interests and an amicable fondness for Heroes of Might and Magic III. After Devin shared some of his music with Arlan they began composing drum parts together, often beginning by sequencing the intricate parts using Drumkit from Hell (a set of drum samples created by the band Meshuggah).|
Bryce Holcomb, one of Devin’s closest friends and musical snob-kin since early adolescence, joined the project shortly thereafter as the vocalist and sometimes-guitarist. Bryce’s band at the time, Moksha, were just finishing their run and both Devin and Bryce were excited at the opportunity to collaborate together musically again; they had previously been part of an acoustic guitar trio called Polysorbate-80, but with BEFORE & APACE, they would be able to explore a completely different span of the musical spectrum.
Now with just a bass player needed to round out the band, Jesse Selkirk joined BEFORE & APACE. While Jesse would ultimately only stay with the project for a short time, he was integral in bringing focus to the final stages of composition. He would also bring in a few riffs that ended up being the first section of Zeno. Jesse eventually stepped away from the project as he would go on to pursue his own creations: The Depth and, more currently, Sleepwreck.
Shortly after Jesse’s departure, Kaylon Disiewich of Abscission and The Divided would step in and assume the role. In addition to his undeniably monstrous playing, Kaylon most importantly brought a sense of completeness to the band. After making the monumental task of learning the newly-finished and arduous songs, Kaylon added an unmistakable dimension to the band’s sound and would even define some of the most iconic moments (the post-intro drum-and-bass beginning of Simultanagnosia comes to mind).
With the lineup now complete and the songs finished, the band would now share the music in two ways: the stage and the recording. While BEFORE & APACE would go on to play a number of shows, nearly all in Saskatoon, their crowning achievement on the stage would be opening for Devin Townsend in Regina, Sk. During this same period, the band would begin recording in Devin’s home studio the songs that would comprise the debut album from BEFORE & APACE, THE DENISOVAN.
Orchestrating four ambitious compositions that traverse fragility to brutality, sparsity to density, primitiveness to complexity, THE DENISOVAN by BEFORE AND APACE explores a collection of themes that describe and inform the human condition: from Zeno (evoking Zeno’s paradox and meant in part to be a commentary on the trappings of parsing one’s ambitions to the point of incapacitation) to Limbics (which explores the positive/negative dichotomy of embracing anger); from Ontogeny (referencing Haeckel’s theory that “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny” and exploring the concept that humans and our interconnection to our world can be reduced to microcosmic patterns – fun fact: the main riff of the song is a microcosm of the song structure as a whole) to Simultanagnosia (a neurological disease characterized by the inability to perceive elements as components of a whole – and an allusion to virulent life imbalance).Simultanagnosia, especially, encompasses the programmatic elements of Devin’s songwriting and is intended as the album’s capstone. Drawing inspiration from his orchestral experiences (a genre that he has appreciated since childhood), Devin used a movement-based/symphonic approach to the writing.
Essentially, Simultanagnosia is a trilogy in four parts. The first three movements each explore a facet of humanness: the physical, the intellectual, and the emotional/spiritual. The fourth movement is the summation of the three and is intended to be the point where the music finally loses any feeling of disorder and becomes complete, resolved. As an example of the programmatic nature of the composition, during the second movement (the intellectual), inspiration taken from Pascal’s triangle and the Fibonacci number sequence (which was actually written pre-Lateralus, for anyone with a thought to accuse of Tool-plagiarism – fun fact #2: Devin actually studied math while at the uni and now teaches it at Saskatchewan Polytechnic) is incorporated to evoke a feeling of disjointedness. It is meant to embody the imbalance of devoting one’s life to the pursuit of only one of these facets, at the expense of the others.
1. Zeno (11:15)
2. Limbics (9:44)
3. Ontogeny (11:16)
4. Simultanagnosia (19:50)
The Denisovan was made by:
Kaylon Disiewich – bass, Taurus pedals
Bryce Holcomb – vocals, guitar
Arlan Kopp – drums, percussion
Devin Martyniuk – guitar, vocals
All music written by Before & Apace (except Zeno, written by Jesse Selkirk and Before & Apace)
All lyrics by Bryce Holcomb
Produced and engineered by Devin Martyniuk at Nascency Studio, Saskatoon, Sk
Mixed by Christian Douglas & Devin Martyniuk at Toneshift Audio, Allan, Sk
Mastered by Brett Zilahi at Carvalho Mastering, Toronto, Ont.
Additional engineering by Christian Douglas & Matt Facca | Drum consultation by Mike Murza
Cover painting by Varya Vinogradova
Graphic Design by Stephanie Kuse | CD Layout by Daxton Day