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Meaning "they are noisy" in the Ojibwe language, OMBIIGIZI is the name of a Canadian band led by two of the nation's most acclaimed indie rock artists. Featuring Daniel Monkman of Zoon and Adam Sturgeon of Status/Non Status, OMBIIGIZI is a change of pace from the shoegaze-influenced music both artists have made their trademark. On their 2022 debut Sewn Back Together, they adopt a lighter and more melodic sound, layering vocals, guitars, and keyboards on tracks that are tuneful and atmospheric, informed by dream pop and post-rock as well as thoughtful indie rock. At the same time, their lyrics reflect the sometimes difficult circumstances of life as a First Nations person, observing struggles both past and present. Based in Hamilton, Ontario, Daniel Monkman is an Anishinaabe musician and a member of the Brokenhead Ojibway Nation. He adopted the name Zoon from "zoongide'ewin," meaning courage. Fusing elements of First Nations music with towers of guitar noise drawn from his love of My Bloody Valentine, Monkman refers to his music (with tongue in cheek) as "moccasin-gaze," and Zoon's debut album, 2020's Bleached Wavves, was shortlisted for the Polaris Music Prize, Canada's most prestigious honor in independent music. Adam Sturgeon's first major music project, WHOOP-Szo, was also in the running for the Polaris Music Prize for their 2019 release Warrior Down, and like Zoon the band's sound was based in overdriven guitar tones and the creative voices of his ancestors. In 2021, he changed the name of the project to Status/Non Status, referring to the legal classifications of Indigenous people in Canada. While working on an album of remixes of Warrior Down tracks, Sturgeon invited Monkman to participate, and he produced "Cut Your Hair (Zoon Remix)," which was issued on 2020's Warrior Remixes. Monkman and Sturgeon enjoyed the collaboration, and they made plans to record an album together. Kevin Drew of Broken Social Scene was able to stake them studio time at the Bathouse Recording Studio in Kingston, Ontario, a facility owned and operated by members of the Tragically Hip. Joined by Eric Lourenço (of Status/Non Status) and Drew McLeod (of Zoon), they set to work in the studio, and the finished product, Sewn Back Together, was released in February 2022.
© Mark Deming /TiVo
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