There is nothing predictable about Proper Concern’s Proper Concern. Its strength comes from its uncertainty.
In the time of COVID, the band that is not a band, is king. Long distance music makers Proper Concern, the long-running collaborative project by Fredericton-based musician Nathaniel Moore and Montreal musician Warren Auld, have remained largely unaffected by the current state of the world, at least as far as their music making is concerned. What is time when it has no real impact on your work?
Moore and Auld have been experimenting with sound and music for nearly twenty years. They started in 2003 and have been collaborating on and off when time allows, ever since.
“We appeared on CBC’s ZeD TV in 2004 as a new Montreal act, but beyond that, have never really played live. It’s a hard band to convert to the stage,” said Moore.
Releasing an album this year was never really part of the plan. But perhaps there’s an advantage to having few goals and expectations beyond personal enjoyment. This month, seventeen years after they began making music, Proper Concern released their self-titled album, an eight track collection of fragmented melodies and scattered lyrical ideas driven by the duo’s Free-Pop approach to music making.
“We didn’t set out to record an album this spring,” said Moore. “I had an idea for a podcast and had asked Warren if he could come up with something. I think then, if I recall correctly, Warren sent me some tracks he was working on and I started with vocals.”
The album’s eight tracks prove Moore and Auld to be ideal creative partners, approaching the music they make from very unconventional angles. They’re not chasing pop hits, club bangers or head nodding rock riffs. Moore isn’t writing love songs and Auld isn’t concerned with form or structural familiarity of any kind. There is nothing predictable about Proper Concern’s Proper Concern. Its strength comes from its uncertainty.
“Over the years I’ve heard from friends who were hosting parties and a Proper Concern song will come on and folks start talking about the strange music,” said Moore. “It’s almost better than a radio appearance, because the person who is hosting the party inevitably know us and can say something to the effect of, ‘my friends Warren and Nathaniel, you know…. Proper Concern’. ‘Proper Concern?’.”
“That’s how I’ve always imagined it. Warren and I meet up every couple of years and try to jam, put something together, but we are mostly separate,” he said. “Hopefully however, with the release of our first proper album in a while, and the healing of the planet, we’ll be able to connect in physical reality again.”