Causal Chain : Bringing bass music and magic to Montreal

Nela Paki, a young Montreal DJ and producer who goes by the name Laced, has recently launched Causal Chain, an online platform for original emerging talent of our city’s underground electronic music scene.
Causal Chain is also Paki’s first own label. On April 24, one month after the first social distancing measures were enforced in Montreal, they released their first album online titled CC001. CC001 is a compilation of six young local artists: Delian League, Sainte Nitouche, Laced, Crack Dance, Xozgk, and Quasistate. The album plays as an eclectic yet coherent, fresh and invigorating proposition. Something to help us endure these strange times of isolation, reinforcing a sense of community in the Montreal music scene, at a time when it seems we most need it.

Paki says that her initial decision to put together Causal Chain came from her desire to hear even more bass music and dubstep in Montreal. After gathering music for the first compilation, she realized that she wanted to showcase Montreal's already vibrant experimental music scene, and "give its artists a platform they can release on and have fun creating dance music." As a DJ and producer who is increasingly involved in the local underground, she says that in recent years, as she attended more parties and live sets, she felt like the music was getting repetitive and standardized. Causal Chain certainly acts as a remedy to that, indeed putting forward bass music, Paki’s main interest, but also many other original leftfield genres, styles or approaches.
“Coming from a techno-punk background, I was interested in bass music, but we’re also expanding to other genres which aren’t being put forward enough in the city,” says Paki. Therefore, all the artists featured in Paki’s CC001 are “making unique music and have their own styles. We blend many genres and basically make magic together.”
Among the artists featured in Causal Chain’s first album, is CJLO’s very own Holden Carroll— electronic music director at the station and up-and-coming DJ, under the name Quasistate. His track “Kyoto Protocol”, which closes  the album, is his first official release.
“Holden can do everything,” said Paki. “His track on the album, less punk-like than most of his other music, mostly relates to IDM. It feels like light cloudy dance music, and it’s a great way to finish the album.”
Paki was excited to announce that alongside LCL Stream, or Bruno Lauzon Tanzi, Paki’s partner, Quasistate is also set to release his first EP, under the Causal Chain umbrella, most probably later this year.
If LCL Stream doesn’t appear in Causal Chain’s first album, he still worked on the album cover (seen above) using various techniques. Paki says that they imagined it with the ongoing health crisis in mind. She claims it represents, among other things, a dreamy tic-tac-toe game, a popular  game, “arriving as a remedy to our boredom in this very strange situation.”
Hence CC001 is undoubtedly, as its cover suggests, anything but simple and boring. While Quasistate’s “Kyoto Protocol” closes the compilation in a much lighter way, the first two tracks, “Opal Trance” by Delian League, and “Traditional Comet Music” by Sainte Nitouche, respectively delve into techno and rhythmic noise, probably closer to Causal Chain’s and Paki’s techno-punk roots. Then, Laced (Paki herself) offers “Slither”, an interesting polyrhythmic track, a good transition for Crack Dance’s lighter yet enticing, “No one’s gonna drag you up to get into the light where you belong”, followed by Xozgk’s mesmerizing, intense and noisy “ithjj”.
If the current situation makes things difficult for our nightlife opportunities and for our DJs’ livelihoods, luckily, initiatives like Causal Chain still allow us to get a glimpse at some of the most original music that’s being made here.
Paki even says that social distancing won’t stop her from creating and releasing more EPs under her label. She also says she will keep working with Saudade, her more established dark ambient dub project with musician Marilou Lyonnais-Archambault.


Olivier Du Ruisseau is the host of the Friday Franco Show.


*Editied on May 26 for more clarity