The former indie-rockers who spawned a genre-defying blog-band hysteria through their song, “Ungirthed”, are continuing their metamorphosis. Compromised of Edmonton, Alberta, natives Corin Roddick and Megan James, Purity Ring’s foundation and subsequent underground notoriety is fitting of the groups fortuitous decision to simply try something new. That new and unknown gamble was a collaboration on the aforementioned track, “Ungirthed”. What immediately transpired has emerged as one of the most enthralling and hopeful stories for those artists willing to take a risk. A heralded and cohesive eleven-track debut album (Shrines), website-crashing remixes, a 2013 Polaris Music Prize and headlining sets from Chicago’s Union Park to Sydney, Australia, are a few of the consequences of these young artists gamble on an unforeseeable collaborative venture. Constant innovators, Roddick and James are trying something new, once again.
Purity Ring has been destined for audible electronic grandeur since their inception. Yet to many, it seems odd that the underground group would embrace the unrelentingly popular DJ culture. Ever calculated and controlled, there is no coincidence that Purity Ring is just now deciding to delve into DJ-sets. They recognize an opportunity to do something new and exciting, in a genre often infected with tedious repetition. At the helm since Purity Ring materialized, Corin Roddick is once again shaping the possibilities of musical production while remaining comfortably shrouded in the shadows, for now.
It was Roddick who first asked James to provide lyrics to accompany an electronic piece of music he had produced. The result of his request was their first track, “Ungirthed”. The result of “Ungirthed” was a catapulted career and cult-like following for the former Gobble Gobble band-mates. Simply put, Roddick is the architect of Purity Ring, though he would likely dismiss such an appraisal. However, no amount of modesty can shrug off the fact that Roddick is a technical savant, as evident in his description of the self-made production for Purity Ring’s tour:
The willingness to embrace unfamiliar landscapes is what led to the formation of Purity Ring, and Roddick is consciously immersed in a new adventure once again.
Devoid of Megan James’ whimsically violent, diary-inspired lyrics, Roddick continues to shine in his own way. While James’ lyrics are deeply personal, so too are the sounds Roddick creates. Darkly ethereal yet fiercely energetic he maintains the mystery woven into Purity Ring’s style while simultaneously invigorating it. Drawing upon his roots, he clearly favors a healthy dose of percussion/drum kicks. Remixed tracks can be found completely stripped of their original instrumentals, and painstakingly replaced with instrumentals engineered by Roddick himself. Haunting basslines/synths abound and a clear hip-hop influence is palpable as Roddick’s chord progressions follow a clearly conceptualized storyline. Akin to the motionless bed-ridden child who uneasily peers at the quivering pull-down attic door, Roddick curates a constant uneasiness that the unknown or otherworldly could arise at any moment. Unlike that frightened child, revelers lucky enough to catch a Purity Ring DJ-set have remained all but motionless.
While Purity Ring continues to accumulate headlining DJ sets, it becomes clear that this is really just a natural progression. Corin Roddick has been behind the decks since he was a teenager, working at the professional studio, Riverdale Recorders. A self described pop and hip-hop enthusiast, Roddick’s DJ-sets exude his own spin on these complicated genres. Both Roddick and James are currently in the process of piecing together a new album, but they are taking it slow. Slow will not denote the speed with which Roddick garners attention for his, Purity Ring’s, newest venture. Once again, we are left with ears ringing and teeth clicking.
The Boiler Room set that eludes description. Might I suggest listen first, then watch? Two different experiences, both delightfully captivating and entertaining in their own right.