Thursday, July 31, 2014

Recording: Khôra

Artist: Khôra

Song: unknown*

Recorded at 8-11, July 18, 2014.

Khôra - unknown

Full review to follow. Matthew Ramolo (who performs music as Khôra) has upgraded his gear, now employing a suitcase modular synthesizer that serves as a tool to shape sounds. What started as gentle guitar notes return in rising and receding waves that make the origins of any particular sonic element difficult to pinpoint, as timeless and formless as his project name would indicate.

* Does anyone know the title to this one? Please leave a comment!

Recording: Dirty Inputs

Artist: Dirty Inputs

Song: unknown*

Recorded at 8-11, July 18, 2014.

Dirty Inputs - unknown

Full review to follow. You might walk down the streets every day, but there's a lot of hidden oases in the city, like a courtyard behind a row of Chinatown shops with a spreading mature tree providing a soft ceiling to let the fading sunlight trickle through. As Aaron Dawson (remembered for his work in Off The International Radar) sang this little paean to downtown discovery, a raccoon was beginning her evening rounds on the rooftops above, using those tree's branches as a bridge from one building to the next.

* Does anyone know the title to this one? Please leave a comment!

Recording: Thom Huhtala

Artist: Thom Huhtala

Song: unknown*

Recorded at 8-11, July 18, 2014.


Full review to follow. Leading off a night of relaxing abstract musical haze in the pleasant hidden courtyard behind new Chinatown gallery 8-11, Thom Huhtala offered a couple lengthy excursions that could best be filed under "psychedelic drift".

* Does anyone know the title to this one? Please leave a comment!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Concert Listings Roundup #55

You can read more about why I'm doing listings here. Long story short: This curated and decidedly non-comprehensive list contains nothin' but shows that I am going to/would go to if I had more time.

Gig of the week:

The Saffron Sect (Brent Randall And His Rainbow Twangers / Red Plastic Buddah / Annie & The Honks) / The Silver Dollar Room 2014-08-02 (Saturday) [FB event]

Psychedelic explorers The Saffron Sect reconvened after a hiatus last October, and have been sporadically active with occasional one-off gigs since. Given that this is a fairly rare opportunity, I'd advise you to come check them out while you still can. Powerful stuff.

The Saffron Sect - Phosphorous Flash

This week's noteworthy shows:

Nick Fraser/Rob Clutton/Kyle Brenders / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2014-07-29 (Tuesday)

Thom Gill/Justin Haynes/Germaine Liu/Brodie West (Organballoon [Justin Haynes/Ryan Driver] / Felicity Williams) / Holy Oak Café 2014-07-29 (Tuesday) [more info]

Carol Gimbel and Pemi Paull / The Toronto Heliconian Club 2014-08-01 (Friday – PWYC! early show, starts @ 5 p.m.!) [FB event]

Oneida (U.S. Girls) / Lee's Palace 2014-08-01 (Friday) [more info]

DAS RAD (Cellphone / BattleWülf) / Imperial Pub 2014-08-02 (Saturday) [FB event]

Moon King (San Marina / Jaunt) / Smiling Buddha 2014-08-02 (Saturday) [FB event]

No Angels Dancing (feat. D. Alex Meeks and Stephen Parkinson) / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2014-08-03 (Sunday – matinée! 1 to 3 p.m.!)

Add these to your calendar:

Mike Smith August Residency: Simcoe is Lord (with guests D. Alex Meeks & Karen Ng) / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2014-08-04 (Monday – early!) [FB event]

Mike Smith August Residency: Transcombobulation (with guest Jonathan Adjemian) / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2014-08-11 (Monday – early!) [FB event]

Mike Smith August Residency: Mellow Motel (with guests Michael Davidson + Matt Newton) / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2014-08-18 (Monday – early!) [FB event]

Mike Smith August Residency: Battleship! (with guest Shaw-Han Liem) / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2014-08-25 (Monday – early!) [FB event]

Salt Lick Kids (Pow Wows / The Green Rays) / Junction City Music Hall 2014-08-08 (Friday) [more info]

Rocket Parade (We Sell Drugs / Several Futures / Connoisseurs of Porn) / Izakaya Sushi House 2014-08-09 (Saturday) [FB event]

DIΛNETICS - OT LVL 3 (feat. Mystic Triangle / Fog Spirits / Hexzuul / Lone Human/ Blunt Chunks) / Mây 2014-08-15 (Friday) [FB event]

Zakary Slax And His Teenage Mutant Superstarz (The Taste / Village / Pet Sun) / Magpie Taproom 2014-08-15 (Friday) [FB event]

Frustrations (Jay Holy / Josh Korody with Trev) / Milk Glass Co. 2014-08-16 (Saturday) [FB event]

Wavelength 611: Endless Summer Mini-Festival (feat. Comet Control / Mexican Slang / Steve Shiffman & The Land Of No / JFM / New Horizzzons / Alpha Strategy / Hiawatha / Delta Will) / Vintage & Flea Outdoor Market 2014-08-16 (Saturday) [FB event]

Hellshovel (Dirty Frigs / Wicked Witches / No Aloha) / The Silver Dollar Room 2014-08-22 (Friday) [FB event]

Optical Sounds Presents: U.S. INVASION! (feat. The Veldt / Magic Shoppe / The Highest Order / B-17) / CineCycle 2014-08-23 (Saturday) [FB event]

EMA / The Drake Underground 2014-09-30 (Tuesday) [more info]

Wavelength 623 (feat. Ben Frost) / The Garrison 2014-10-24 (Friday) [FB event]

Bandcamp corner:

Being able to get recordings back to musicians is one of the treats of this gig, and when someone likes the recording enough to release it, it's a real thrill. A few sonic fragments that I've passed along to Moonwood are part of the mix in this new live tape they just put out:

Having moved from a duo to a full band over the past year, this is a document of a transitional phase not yet captured in a proper album, so it serves an intriguing in-betweener. Perhaps it's befitting, then, that it's sonically at something of an in-between point, too, consisting mostly of semi-improvised mid-tempo jams that often link the more rambunctious material in the band's sets. More of a bean-bag excursion than a skull melter, this might point where the band is heading after finding the off-ramp from the trans-anywhere express. Also: the tape comes in a very awesome shade of purple.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Recording: Zoo Owl

Artist: Zoo Owl

Song: Break Out

Recorded at Canton Chilli ("Silent Shout: The Heat and the Pulse, Day 1"), July 17, 2014.

Zoo Owl - Break Out

Full review to follow. Enlisting the assistance of the Silent Shout crew, Bryan Sutherland launched the first album from his Zoo Owl project from the floor of a Chinatown restaurant. That meant not only was there a buffet dinner available for the crowd, but also the chance to incorporate a live crab from the restaurant's tank into his always-innovative visual presentation. That was enough of a coup that a couple minor glitches (like a balky fog machine) didn't matter at all in making this a unique night.

Recording: Sexy Merlin

Artist: Sexy Merlin

Song: unknown*

Recorded at Canton Chilli ("Silent Shout: The Heat and the Pulse, Day 1"), July 17, 2014.

Sexy Merlin - unknown

Full review to follow. Even playing with a stripped-down setup in an unconventional setting (the floor of a Chinatown restaurant with a buffet available to early-arriving patrons), Sean Dunal still managed to (ahem) set the table for Zoo Owl's album release celebration.

* Does anyone know the title to this one? Please leave a comment!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Recording: Man Forever & So Percussion

Artist: Man Forever & So Percussion

Song: Ryonen [Part II]

Recorded at Jam Factory, July 13, 2014.

Man Forever & So Percussion - Ryonen [Part II]

Full review to follow. So, this is the sort of thing I like: a concert that mixes weird electronics, composed "new music" and an avant-garde percussion group. This is stuff that too often gets siloed off and dished out to different crowds, so kudos to Burn Down the Capital's Tad Michalak for putting this one together. The headlining set combined the forces of NYC quartet So Percussion with Man Forever, the percussion project of John Colpitts aka Kid Millions. (And if that weren't enough drummers, locals Brandon Valvidia and Colin Fisher also pitched in as well.)

They performed both pieces off their recent collaborative album, with the title track (excerpted here) giving echos of Steve Reich while "The Clear Realization" was rooted a bit more in rockband dynamics. They weren't too far apart for all that, and both pulsed with vibrant, reinvigorating energy. Quite wonderful.

[Kid Millions will be back in town in his capacity as drummer for Oneida, playing Lee's Palace on August 1st with U.S. Girls opening. Mark your calendars!]

Recording: Music in the Barns

Artist: Music in the Barns

Song: Schoolhouse Étude [from Hitchcock Études – composer Nicole Lizée]

Recorded at Jam Factory, July 13, 2014.

Music in the Barns - Schoolhouse Étude

Full review to follow. If there were a "star system" for composers in this country, Nicole Lizée would probably be a household name by how. Combining compositional chops, a forward-thinking approach to new ways of making music and a pop-culture referencing ability to tap into the zeitgeist, her works are "serious music" that are still easily accessible outside the cloisters of the "new music" community.

Her Hitchcock Études were originally composed for "piano, glitch and film", and are here essayed by the Music in the Barns ensemble, in a string quartet plus vibes formation. The music feeds off the manipulations of the source material, enfolding little lurches and hiccups in a tribute to the composer's memories of rewatching Hitchcock movies on slowly-wearing-out videotapes. [The original piano version is embedded below for comparison, and should serve to show how the visual element works here. You can check out a couple more clips on her videos page.]

Recording: Gordon Monahan

Artist: Gordon Monahan

Song: Sauerkraut Synthesizer [excerpt]

Recorded at Jam Factory, July 13, 2014.

Gordon Monahan - Sauerkraut Synthesizer [excerpt]

Full review to follow. The title here is purely descriptive, for the music was generated through Monahan's custom synth setup, with various fruits, vegetable and a jar of sauerkraut acting as voltage gates to control various sound elements. Although it is, at one level, a bit of a gimmick, the music was, ahem, rather tasty. Plus there was a cool visual element, as well, with Monahan providing both a live close-up video feed of his hands-on manipulations, but also a live readout showing which items were contributing to the soundscape.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Recording: Zacht Automaat

Artist: Zacht Automaat

Song: Zacht Automaat - [two unknown songs]* ("Carl's card trick") + A Whiter Shade of Pale [Procol Harum cover]

Recorded at Double Double Land, July 11, 2014.

Zacht Automaat - Carl's card trick

Zacht Automaat - A Whiter Shade of Pale

Full review to follow. To some extent, ZA keyboardist Carl Didur cultivates the image of a slightly-distant mad-scientist, more concerned with twiddling knobs than pandering to a crowd. But there's also evidence of a wry sense of humour and a bit of showmanship, too — if the sequined cape didn't tip you off to that, then the way he pulled off a mid-song card trick just might.

* Does anyone know the title to this one? Please leave a comment!

Recording: Prince Nifty

Artist: Prince Nifty

Song: Body Irony

Recorded at Double Double Land, July 11, 2014.

Prince Nifty - Body Irony

Full review to follow. Matt Smith's dancefloor-oriented work does a, um, nifty job of subverting the too-obvious tropes the genre can fall into, sometimes bursting out of the gate before you can catch up to it, and sometimes — as in the case of a brand new piece debuted at the end of the set — surging suggestively without dropping into the straighahead 4/4 zone you're expecting. But you don't have to get uptight about it. "I'll spare you all the details of what I'm thinking today," Smith told the crowd as he got started, "and just ask that you guys can dance. If you can't dance, just flail." I did my best.

[You can catch Nifty in a different sort of environment at Sunday's highly-anticipated Backyard Afternoon at Tibet Kitchen.]

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Recording: Rob's Collision

Artist: Rob's Collision

Song: unknown*

Recorded at The Imperial Pub, July 10, 2014.

Rob's Collision - unknown

Full review to follow. This group, convened by flautist Rob Piilonen to explore his compositions, is quite well named, given how he would, at some points, point out pairs of musicians to play duos before moving back into the more structured portions of the pieces. But even more striking were the different musical textures rubbing up against each other, with the gentler tones of flute, Mitchell Yolevsky's clarinet and Cheryl Ockrant's cello rubbing up against Andy Yue's analog synth and clattering percussion from Germaine Liu and Mark Zurawinski. And the real secret weapon was Matthew Miller, manipulating all of the above in realtime on his laptop. It all adds up to a sort of avant-smooth with occasional chunky digressions.

* Does anyone know the title to this one? Please leave a comment!

Recording: Ken Aldcroft + Mike Gennaro

Artist: Ken Aldcroft + Mike Gennaro

Song: [excerpt from first piece]

Recorded at The Imperial Pub, July 10, 2014.

Ken Aldcroft + Mike Gennaro - [excerpt from first piece]

Full review to follow. Drummer Mike Gennaro has been running a series of low-key gigs in the Imperial's back room for several months now, spurring a series of duo and trio partners into an improvising frenzy with his entertainingly committed percussion style. His foil on this night was Ken Aldcroft, as always one of the craftiest guitar players in town, building up from some nimbly-picked licks up to more abstract string-stretching noises.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Concert Listings Roundup #54

You can read more about why I'm doing listings here. Long story short: This curated and decidedly non-comprehensive list contains nothin' but shows that I am going to/would go to if I had more time.

Gig of the week:

Backyard Afternoon (feat. HVYWTR / Heather Segger & Doug Tielli / Isla Craig / Prince Nifty) / Tibet Kitchen 2014-07-27 (Sunday – Matineé! PWYC!) [FB event]

The gorgeous back patio vibes at Parkdale's Tibet Kitchen were a delightful surprise at Healing Power's first afternoon show there last summer. Sheltered under mature trees and colourful banners, the space radiates tranquility. Add in some cool music and this is a can't-miss proposition. PWYC and all ages.

This week's noteworthy shows:

Ken Aldcroft/Scott Thomson / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2014-07-22 (Tuesday)

Tequila House Band (TJ Borden / Clarinet Panic) / Holy Oak Café 2014-07-23 (Wednesday) [FB event]

Secretary City (Keratoid / Spoils / Fitness) / Handlebar 2014-07-24 (Thursday) [FB event]

Simeon Abbott/Rob Clutton/Jeremy Strachan/Scott Thomson / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2014-07-24 (Thursday)

Wavelength 607 (feat. Nat Baldwin / Black Walls / Kira May) / Monarch Tavern 2014-07-24 (Thursday) [FB event]

Field Trip Discovery Series III (feat. Grounders / Fresh Snow / Programm / Dirty Frigs) / The Garrison 2014-07-24 (Thursday – free with RSVP!) [FB event]

The Ryan Driver Sextet / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2014-07-25 (Friday)

Paul Dutton/John Kamevaar (Simeon Abbott/Mike Gennaro) / Musideum 2014-07-25 (Friday) [more info]

I Have Eaten The City [tape release! First official show at Ratio!] (Khôra / Fake Humans [Carl Didur/ Colin Fisher]) / Ratio 2014-07-25 (Friday) [FB event]

Ought (Freelove Fenner) / The Silver Dollar Room 2014-07-25 (Friday) [FB event]

Advance Base [formerly Casiotone For The Painfully Alone] (Omhouse / Our Founders) / Rancho Relaxo 2014-07-25 (Friday) [FB event]

Jay Arner (Brave Radar / Jeans / Ketamines) / Milk Glass Co. 2014-07-25 (Friday) [FB event]

Construction Vol 6 (feat. Beliefs / Elsa / You'll Never Get To Heaven) / Double Double Land 2014-07-25 (Friday – all ages!) [FB event]

Man Finds Fire Presents: Summer Sesh @ Geary Lane (feat. Bile Sister / Mimico / A K U A + art installations + "surprise pop up performances") / Geary Lane 2014-07-26 (Saturday – afternoon event!) [FB event]

Quartet Best [Jay Hay/Nicole Rampersaud/Simeon Abbott/Mike Gennaro] / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2014-07-26 (Saturday)

HIT IT (feat. Doldrums / Tonstartssbandht / Cellphone / Steve Jr) / The Comfort Zone 2014-07-26 (Saturday) [FB event]

B-17 (Twist / Seraphic Lights) / Junction City Music Hall 2014-07-26 (Saturday) [FB event]

Crocodiles (Jaill / Pow Wows) / The Garrison 2014-07-27 (Sunday) [FB event]

Add these to your calendar:

Thom Gill/Justin Haynes/Germaine Liu/Brodie West (Organballoon [Justin Haynes/Ryan Driver] / Felicity Williams) / Holy Oak Café 2014-07-29 (Tuesday) [more info]

Moon King (San Marina) / Smiling Buddha 2014-08-02 (Saturday) [FB event]

Swing Low (feat. Old Haunt / Hazy Montagne Mystique & YlangYlang / Babel / Zones [ambient set!]) / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2014-08-08 (Friday – early!) [FB event]

SummerWorks: One Night, Two Brendans (feat. Brendan Canning) / The Theatre Centre Mainspace 2014-08-08 (Friday) [FB event]

SummerWorks: Failure Fest (feat. Army Girls) / Pia Bouman School for Ballet and Creative Movement 2014-08-09 (Saturday) [FB event]

SummerWorks: Weaves Through Time (feat. Weaves) / Lower Ossington Theatre 2014-08-10 (Sunday) [FB event]

Audiopollination #21 (feat. Neil Wienrik/Michael Lynn / Dominque Banoun/Eel/Ben Bennet / Aisha Sasha John/Michael Kaler/David Grollman / Chris Adriaanse/Michael Foster / Ben Bennet/David Grollman/Michael Foster) / Array Space 2014-08-12 (Tuesday) [FB event]

SummerWorks: The Secret Garden of Lido Pimienta (feat. Lido Pimienta) / Lower Ossington Theatre Mainspace 2014-08-13 (Wednesday) [FB event]

SummerWorks: Do I Have To Do Everything My Fucking Self (feat. Light Fires) / Lower Ossington Theatre Cabaret 2014-08-14–16 (Thursday–Saturday) [FB event]

SummerWorks: Young Drones (feat. The Bicycles) / Lower Ossington Theatre Mainspace 2014-08-14‐17 (Thursday–Sunday) [FB event]

Shonen Knife (Habibi / Mexican Slang / BB Guns) / The Silver Dollar Room 2014-09-20 (Saturday) [FB event]

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Recording: Aurochs

Artist: Aurochs

Song: Dwindling Doors

Recorded at The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), July 8, 2014.

Aurochs - Dwindling Doors

Full review to follow. A slightly unusual night for this instalment of Aurochs' monthly residency. With bassist Pete Johnston out out town, Mike Smith was drafted to sit in alongside Ali Berkok (piano) and Jake Oelrichs (percussion). Given that all three have played with each other in various other projects, it was no surprise that there was an easy, free-flowing familiarity here. Just as in their regular lineup, Aurochs is very much a three-headed beast (as opposed to, say, a "piano trio"), where anyone is liable to take hold of a piece and shift things in a new direction. The band can be found playing an early show on the second Tuesday of every month at The Tranzac, and their Rational Animals album is recommended.

Bonus! You can find the band's recording of this full show on soundcloud.

Extra bonus! So, Mr. New Phone over here realized that he can capture moving pictures with the thing. Are some short clips a useful addition to the audio recordings? The sound isn't going to be great, but it adds something else, maybe. Thoughts?