The Mysterious Vinyl Album

As we were going through the Toronto French School’s archival holdings at the end of the project in order to locate non-textual and photographic materials, we came across an old vinyl album by Heik and the Shakes entitled Citizen Kane Whiteout Dub. The musicians involved in the album were Heiki Sillaste (vocals), J.C. Cutz (machines) and Mark Harrington on guitar.It was released in 1988 by the record company Shadow Canada, which was situated on Admiral Road in Toronto.The first question that came to mind was whether the band members were former students of the TFS or if the record was retained because students at the time enjoyed the music performed by this band and it just remained in the school since then. If they were alumni the record would be worth retaining as part of the TFS Archives. Hence,  some research was required to unravel this mystery and determine if it possesses archival value as part of the TFS fonds or not.

The first step was to check the Internet to see what details could be discovered about the band. The first hit located was on YouTube where one of the songs on this album was made available. Here is the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lv8ilKZ9jGk. The band was formed around the time that this album came out and the music they performed, which was extremely popular at the time, was electro-industrial pop. Heiki Sillaste was in fact the founder of the Shadow Record label that produced this LP.

The next step was to consult with the Toronto French School Alumni Relations staff to see if any of these musicians attended TFS. I was informed right away that two of the band members — Heiki and Jean-Claude — graduated from the TFS in 1887. They therefore put out their first album and formed the record company at the young ages of around 19. Photos of the two lads were located in the school yearbook, Reflections, for that year.

All three musicians went on to lead successful careers. Mark left Heiki and the Shakes in 1989 and began performing on his own. He co-founded the record label Toronto Experimental Artists. Heiki (alias Mouth 392) and Jean-Claude (Pupka Frey) continued to collaborate and were both part of Toronto’s Digital Poodle. Jean-Claude later performed with Rational Youth, Kinder Aton and DIN during his career.

Rational Youth

Heiki produced around 45 albums. He co-founded Nice and Smooth Ultramedia, an independent electronic music label, in 1995. He took part in other groups like Kinder Atom and has worked with major Canadian artists such as Snow, Leahy and reggae stars Michael Rose and Musical Sniper. He has also produced music for TV shows such as CSI Miami as well as commercials. His last release entitled Sauna Porch Recordings was composed and recorded in 2009 at his father’s sauna cabin located in the Georgian Bay area. Here is a link to a few of the songs: http://heiki.bandcamp.com/album/sauna-porch-recordings-co-e-p-1.

Heiki Sillaste, 2009

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