photo by Sam Tudor
Blocktreat is a slow burn of electronic, acoustic, and natural textures. Live, Brandon Hoffman plays effects-drenched mandolin and a suitcase of electronics, while Brent Morton plays drums (and sometimes electronics too).
Since the fall of 2014, Brandon Hoffman has been living in a cabin on the outskirts of Williams Lake, BC, Canada. He spends much of the daytime jumping between offices with his arts administrator hat on, and much of the nighttime holed up working on instrumental music under the name Blocktreat.
Blocktreat began as an experiment; Hoffman would take home recordings of he and his friends jamming out bluegrass traditionals in their back yards and living rooms, and chop them up until they sounded completely unlike bluegrass. Since then he has become less strict about where his source material comes from. He is still very much drawn to natural acoustic sounds, though knows they won't stay that way for long. His current live set meshes sampled percussion with live mandolin looping and effects processing to make a relaxing mosaic of sound.
Hoffman has done remixes for Chancha Via Circuito, Tremor, Jess Hill, and others. Blocktreat has three releases on the Jellyfish Recordings label, and can be heard regularly on CBC's The Signal with Laurie Brown.
As a solo act, and with accompaniment by percussionist Brent Morton (Drum and Bell Tower), Blocktreat has played Vancouver Jazz Festival, Arts Wells Festival of All Things Art, Arts on the Fly Festival, Tiny Lights Festival, and more. With the addition of drummer Brent, Blocktreat shifts into a more bombastic territory.
Early in 2014 Hoffman's distinctive style earned him an invite to the University of Colorado as a guest lecturer and performer. It was this opportunity that spurred Blocktreat on as more than just a studio project.
"Vancouver producer Blocktreat may not be a household name yet, but if his new single "Hinterland Steez" is anything to go off, he definitely will be soon." - Vice Noisey
"Clearly the Vancouver-based artist deserves some props, as his upcoming album Exciting New Ventures In Fucking Up is shaping up to be pretty much the opposite of a fuck up…I could listen to this shit all day." - Indie Shuffle
"...[T]his is the most unique and interesting album I've heard all year. That it also happens to be one of the funkiest just makes it that much sweeter. Blocktreat has set a new standard for field recorded beats, kids. Trust me on this one."
- Passion of the Weiss
"It's music that speaks of man in touch with nature, life in the sun, the cold winter, the warmth of spring, the passage of time in an eternal expands [sic] mental journey, marked by small and quiet games. These tracks tell stories that happen away from the speed of the cities, and very close to the heart."
- Cassette Blog