Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Recording: Kyle Brenders Big Band

Artist: Kyle Brenders Big Band

Songs: Prudent + Rivers of Gold [Bry Webb cover]

Recorded at The Tranzac's Southern Cross Lounge (416 Toronto Creative Improvisers Festival – Night 4), November 5, 2016.

Kyle Brenders Big Band - Prudent

Kyle Brenders Big Band - Rivers of Gold

This set closing out this year's edition of the 416 Festival also turned out to be a bit a chapter-closer for ensemble leader Kyle Brenders as well. On the eve of move out west to take up the position of Program Manager for Performing Arts at the Banff Centre, Brenders pulled together material from a few of his diverse projects to explore with this all-star big band.1 From ambulatory drift to sections of Brenders-esque lockgroove repetition there were a lot of tasty moments here. The meditative flow of Bry Webb's "Rivers of Gold" was previously essayed by the Massey Hall Band under Brenders' leadership and features his sax playing the main melodic line, with some lovely work on the vibes from Davison as well. I'm sure Brenders won't be a stranger to the city, but the questing curiosity of his projects will be missed.


1 So far as I could make out, the ensemble on this night consisted of the following:

  • Kyle Brenders, tenor sax
  • Jeff LaRochelle, tenor sax
  • Karen Ng, alto sax
  • Peter Lutek, baritone sax + bass clarinet
  • Heather Saumer, trombone
  • Tom Richards, trombone
  • Emily Denison, trumpet
  • Rebecca Hennessy, trumpet
  • Tara Kannangara, trumpet
  • Scott Peterson, double bass
  • Brandon Valdivia, percussion
  • Michael Davidson, vibraphone

Recording: The Trouble With Billionaires

Artist: The Trouble With Billionaires

Song: Bonhoeffer*

Recorded at The Tranzac's Southern Cross Lounge (416 Toronto Creative Improvisers Festival – Night 4), November 5, 2016.

The Trouble With Billionaires - Bonhoeffer

Under the nominal leadership of keyboardist David Story (who provided most of the compositions on this night), this jazz quintet sizzled with veteran savvy, pulling together the efforts of Glen Hall (woodwinds), Bruce Cassidy (EWI, flugelhorn), Terry Clarke (percussion) and Keiran Overs (double bass). Cassidy's work on the under-appreciated EWI was maybe my favourite thing here, especially on this track, where the it doesn't seem to be trying to approximate any existing acoustic instrument — the tonality could be described as MIDI-ish.

* This song's title was called out before it was played, so this educated phonetic guess could be incorrect? Please leave a comment if you know it for sure!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Recording: Heraclitus Akimbo

Artist: Heraclitus Akimbo

Song: Ken Aldcroft Is In The Room [2nd mvt]

Recorded at The Tranzac's Southern Cross Lounge ("416 Toronto Creative Improvisers Festival" – Night 3), November 4, 2016.

Heraclitus Akimbo - Ken Aldcroft Is In The Room [2nd mvt]

Thoughts of an absence were on my mind when I was asked to play the 416 Festival, and I decided to bring this piece incorporating some field recordings I had made of solo guitar performances by the late Ken Aldcroft — a couple of which were from sets at the Tranzac. There was a site-specific element to this, at least in my mind, as I though about all the times I had seen him playing in the Southern Cross, whether to a packed room or to a couple people. Some of the recordings were manipulated into fragmented electronic sounds, which I recorded to cassettes and mixed in live under my keyboard loops — but I also wanted to give Ken's music a little space of its own.

[The music of Ken Aldcroft will still be in the room, with his old regular Tranzac timeslot on the second Wednesday of each month now being dedicated to a new series called "Music BY & FOR Ken Aldcroft" curated by Joe Sorbara. The first instalment will be on Wednesday, December 14th with music by Paul Newman, Alaniaris and Tania Gill/Wes Neal/Joe Sorbara.]

Recording: Mirapolis

Artist: Mirapolis

Songs: Raga + Louange à l'éternité de Jésus [composer: Olivier Messiaen]

Recorded at The Tranzac's Southern Cross Lounge ("416 Toronto Creative Improvisers Festival" – Night 3), November 4, 2016.

Mirapolis - Raga

Mirapolis - Louange à l'éternité de Jésus

The last time I saw this exploratory trio (Noah Sherman, drums; Luan Phung, guit; Chris Rennie, tenor sax) wasn't in a super-great listening context, so maybe it's not surprising that I heard increased musical depths in the more refined Southern Cross environs. And it's hard to say if it was my increased familiarity or the musicians' several months down the road, but they came across as more organic, and not so much just "playing the dots". They moved from polite and in sync to sudden outbursts — the originals were more rangy, but I'm glad they're still also including their meditative slice o' Messiaen in their set.

Recording: Matt Miller

Artist: Matt Miller

Song: unknown*

Recorded at The Tranzac's Southern Cross Lounge ("416 Toronto Creative Improvisers Festival" – Night 3), November 4, 2016.

Matt Miller - unknown

A unique "re-remix" project, these sounds originally derived from field recordings collected in Morocco in the late 90's. They were later used as the seeds for a number of dance remixes, which were revisited, revised and re-versioned with live techniques for this set. (Miller has also presented a more ambient take on some of his Morocco recordings over at his bandcamp.)

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

Monday, December 5, 2016

Concert Listings Roundup #178

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:

Track Could Bend #21 (feat. No Parking / Heather Saumer / Del Stephen & The Bedroom Refuge Holiday) / Dundas Video 2016-12-06 (Tuesday – PWYC!) [FB event]

There's actually an overwhelming number of really cool shows this week, and to be honest, this one's only getting the top-listed honours as it's pretty much the only night where I'm not conflicted about which of two or three things I'll end up at. I'm also looking forward to it because there's a whole bunch of cool folks coming out to play, and (even less that usual!) I'm not really sure what anyone's gonna be doing. Unexpected music from excellent people! (And as always, making this a reasonable option for anyone who's got somewhere to be on Wednesday morning, we'll be wrapped up by eleven o'clock.)


This week's noteworthy shows:

Angela Morris [Rallidae album launch!] (Bernice) / Burdock Music Hall 2016-12-05 (Monday) [FB event]

Soundstreams: Electric Messiah ["a stripped down, surround sound electro-improv Messiah for today's Toronto"] (feat. Christine Duncan/Carla Huhtanen/Gabriel Dharmoo/Jeremy Dutcher/John Gzowski) / Drake Underground 2016-12-05–2016-12-07 (Monday–Wednesday) [FB event]

Beams (Old Salts) / The Dakota Tavern 2016-12-06 (Tuesday) [FB event]

Somewhere There Presents (feat. Ig Hennemen/Marilyn Lerner/Karen Ng/Nicole Rampersaud / Sweet Session) / Array Space 2016-12-06 (Tuesday) [FB event]

Minotaurs / Burdock Music Hall 2016-12-06 (Tuesday – no cover!) [FB event]

Troubleshooting~ v20: ElectromagneticTrumpetMutesAlpha (feat. Nicolas Buligan) / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2016-12-07 (Wednesday – early!) [FB event]

Wolf's Nacho Wednesdays (feat. Ghostlight) / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2016-12-07 (Wednesday) [FB event]

Invocation Residency Series (feat. E [new project from Come's Thalia Zedek] / Carodiaro / Knurl) / Array Space 2016-12-07 (Wednesday – all ages!) [FB event]

Frigs (HSY / Scattered Clouds / Prom Nite) / The Horseshoe Tavern 2016-12-07 (Wednesday) [FB event]

Frictional: Making Sounds With Stuff (feat. Kristina Guison / Inchoate / Xuan Ye / Jason Doell) / Electric Perfume 2016-12-07 (Wednesday) [FB event]

The Two Koreas [Altruists 10th-anniversary show!] (Bankruptcy / Blonde Elvis) / The Baby G 2016-12-08 (Thursday) [FB event]

Raw Materials presents (feat. Lice / Soap / Protruders / Kapali Carsi) / Owl's Club – basement 2016-12-08 (Thursday) [FB event]

DIANA [Familiar Touch release show!] (Mozart's Sister) / The Great Hall 2016-12-08 (Thursday) [FB event]

Dream Date (Colin Roy Gillespie / Mills) / Handlebar 2016-12-08 (Thursday) [FB event]

Homeshake (Elsa / Jaunt) / The Silver Dollar 2016-12-09 (Friday) [FB event]

Ronley Teper & The Lipliners / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2016-12-09 (Friday) [FB event]

Faster's 6th or 7th Annual Christmas Show (Yusuke Frtt/Michael Lynn/Gord Fynes / James Bailey / LittleManWithHairAllOver Quartet [Kayla Milmine/Gord Fynes/Ambrose Pottie/Bob Vespaziani] / Andy Dolgin / Silent Night Sextet) / Gerrard Art Space 2016-12-09 (Friday) [FB event]

The All Star Ritual Trio [David Murray/Kahil El'Zabar/Harrison Bankhead] / Remix Lounge 2016-12-09 (Friday) [more info]

Rheostatics / The Horseshoe Tavern 2016-12-09–2016-12-10 (Friday–Saturday) [FB event]

Sing for a Healing Friend (feat. Norman Blake, Joe Pernice, and Friends) / The Dakota Tavern 2016-12-09–2016-12-10 (Friday–Saturday – early shows!) [more info]

Audiopollination #49.1 (feat. Del Stephen/Jeff Sinibaldi/Olivia Shortt / Diane Roblin/Adriana Monti/Darlene Cuevas / Neil Wiernik/Clara Engel / Billion-Year Contract [Chris Adriaanse/Andrew Furlong/Michael Lynn]) / Array Space 2016-12-10 (Saturday) [FB event]

Secret Keeper [Mary Halvorson/Stephan Crump] (Bernice / Michael Keith) / Ratio 2016-12-10 (Saturday) [FB event]

Poster Boy (Cares / Greydini) / The Dupe Shop 2016-12-10 (Saturday) [FB event]

Ig Henneman & co. ["short sets of improvised music featuring Toronto friends"] (feat. Marilyn Lerner / Germaine Liu / Pete Johnston / Brodie West / Heather Saumer / Ryan Driver / Rob Clutton / Nick Fraser / Daniel Pencer / Lina Allemano) / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2016-12-10 (Saturday) [FB event]

Duotang (The Disraelis / Try Umphs) / The Silver Dollar Room 2016-12-10 (Saturday) [FB event]

Professor Andy Dolgin's Medicinal Show #3 (feat. Professor Andy Dolgin and The Candy Apple Jazz Band) / The Cameron House 2016-12-11 (Sunday – free! early!) [FB event]

The Luyas (The Highest Order) / The Baby G 2016-12-11 (Sunday) [FB event]

Somewhere There's Second Sunday Series: Temporary Ensembles Night (feat. Colin Fisher/Andrew Furlong/Jeff Luciani/Michael Lynn/Paul Newman/Luan Phung/Heather Saumer/Joe Sorbara/Kristen Theriault) / Array Space 2016-12-11 (Sunday) [FB event]

Lina Allemano/Ryan Marshall Driver/Germaine Liu/Brodie West / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2016-12-11 (Sunday) [FB event]

Burn Down the Capital Presents (feat. Steve Hauschildt / Memorex / Castle If) / Double Double Land 2016-12-11 (Sunday – all ages!) [FB event]


Add these to your calendar:

Reminder: This post only contains this week's updates — the full listings can always be found over on the right-hand sidebar!

Felicity Williams & Justin Haynes / The Emmet Ray 2016-12-12 (Monday – early! PWYC!) [more info]

Blessings [Thom Gill/Robin Dann/Josh Cole/Philippe Melanson] / The Emmet Ray 2016-12-12 (Monday – PWYC!) [more info]

Wavelength 716: The Pop Experiment Concert (feat. L CON / Coral King) / Imperial Pub 2016-12-15 (Thursday – free!) [FB event]

Party Hub: Interactive Networking Event / Live Show (feat. Zoo Owl / Johan Seaton / Western Plates) / The Baby G 2016-12-15 (Thursday) [FB event]

STRESSER [demo tape release!] (Shahman / Sly Why: Kid / Eliot Roby) / D-Beatstro 2016-12-16 (Friday – all ages!) [FB event]

Rare Drugs Presents (feat. Mattress / Potion / Plasmalab / Pink Acid Wash) / Handlebar 2016-12-17 (Saturday) [FB event]

Somewhere There Presents (feat. Bellwether4 [CD release!]) / The Emmet Ray 2016-12-18 (Sunday – PWYC!) [FB event]

Burdock's Holiday Show for Girls Rock Camp Toronto!(feat. Lido Pimienta / Taylor Knox / Paul Saulnier / Mara Nesrallah / Sean Conway / Aley Waterman / Steven Foster / Tafari Anthony / Charlotte Cornfield / Bella and Georgia) / Burdock Music Hall 2016-12-18 (Sunday – all ages!) [FB event]

Pins & Needles (Language Arts / Lonely Parade / Nikki Fierce) / Smiling Buddha 2016-12-20 (Tuesday – all ages!) [FB event]

Audiopollination #49.3 (feat. Rémy Bélanger de Beauport [solo] / Quintet Normand Babin / Rémy Bélanger de Beauport/Germaine Liu/Mike Lynn/Nilan Perera) / Array Space 2016-12-22 (Thursday) [FB event]

catl (Eamon McGrath) / The Dakota Tavern 2016-12-31 (Saturday) [FB event]

Phèdre (Ice Cream / Scott Hardware / Prince Ness) / The Silver Dollar Room 2016-12-31 (Saturday) [FB event]

Class Of 2017 (feat. Partner / The Seams / Lonely Parade / Veins) / The Silver Dollar Room 2017-01-06 (Friday) [FB event]

Marker Starling [I'm Willing release party!] / Burdock Music Hall 2017-01-14 (Saturday) [FB event]

SEVENTEEN: Wavelength Music Festival 17 (feat. TBA) / The Garrison 2017-02-17–2017-02-19 (Friday–Sunday) [FB event]

Lambchop / The Great Hall 2017-03-27 (Monday) [more info]


Community corner:

  • Come out and celebrate mutant Canadian Culture on Sunday afternoon at the launch of Heavy Metalloid Music, the authorized biography of Simply Saucer written by eminent local music head Jesse Locke. (Locke apparently has gotten on with the band well enough that he's now filling in on drums with them!) The event will feature a musical performance by Simply Saucer lead singer/guitarist Edgar Breau and a discussion of the book with Jesse Locke and Sam Sutherland (author of Perfect Youth: The Birth of Canadian Punk). 2 o'clock at the Monarch, no cover.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Recording: All Ears, All Thumbs

Artist: All Ears, All Thumbs

Song: [excerpt from first piece]

Recorded at The Tranzac's Southern Cross Lounge (416 Toronto Creative Improvisers Festival – Night 2), November 3, 2016.

All Ears, All Thumbs - [excerpt from first piece]

When I was asked to present a night at the 416 festival, I wanted try and bring in some guests from further afield than I might normally do, so I was pleased that bassist Raphael Foisy-Couture agreed to come down the 401 from Montréal. Given the chance to put together a 416-meets-514 ensemble, he brought along guitarist Vicky Mettler to face off with Colin Fisher (playing drums) and Karen Ng on alto. (He also brought the festival's best band name.) I had seen thee of these four (minus Ng) playing together a couple months previously, so I kinda knew that I was expecting a bit of a shredfest. And indeed there was no shortage of that, but also some nice moments of holding back between bursts of sweet tumult.

Recording: Man Made Hill & Friends

Artist: Man Made Hill & Friends

Song: [excerpt, in two parts]

Recorded at The Tranzac's Southern Cross Lounge (416 Toronto Creative Improvisers Festival – Night 2), November 3, 2016.

Man Made Hill & Friends - [excerpt, part 1]

Man Made Hill & Friends - [excerpt, part 2]

When I was asked to present a night at the 416 festival, I considered it a part of my remit to bring something that might not otherwise be considered for the festival. Randy Gagne, best known for his work as Man Made Hill, puts himself into a lot of inventive situations, but they usually fall outside the "formal" spheres of what gets called creative or improvised music. So I invited him to put himself in that headspace — and to bring along whatever sort of ensemble he wanted.

I couldn't have been more pleased with the collaborators he brought, including Zoë Alexis-Abrams (of Manticore, on keyb and vox), Becky Katz (of Hamilton's Sourpussy, on vox, percussion, clarinet and more) and Jeremy Dennis (on sax and vox). I had no idea how this was going to hash out on stage — musically, it turned out, this was somewhat "outside": sonic dank memes, if you will. Rather than focusing on the formalities of musical exchange, there was a strong sense of play, especially from Katz, who had a whole bevy of tricks on hand, including readings from the Guinness Book of World Records and an occasionally confrontational relationship to her drums, stopping and declaring, "it's not... it's not doing what it's supposed to do!" And in that might be captured the anarchic joy of the whole enterprise.

Recording: Deenzi

Artist: Deenzi

Song: [excerpt from first piece]

Recorded at The Tranzac's Southern Cross Lounge (416 Toronto Creative Improvisers Festival – Night 2), November 3, 2016.

Deenzi - [excerpt from first piece]

When I was asked to present a night at the 416 festival, I knew I wanted to present a range of different sounds. I think it was right after seeing her play an excellent modular synth solo set that I asked Heidi Chan to come perform, and when she said she wanted to do a Deenzi set with Andy Yue, and I was totally enthusiastic. There was a lot of ground covered in their set, from groovy diversions to electroacoustic drift. There's a core to the sound-word that the pair are exploring, but plenty of zones off to the edges to keep the developing picture really interesting.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Recording: Nidus

Artist: Nidus

Song: [excerpt]

Recorded at The Tranzac's Southern Cross Lounge (416 Toronto Creative Improvisers Festival – Night 1), November 2, 2016.

Nidus - [excerpt]

This night of abstracted sounds lead off a rather satisfying edition of the long-running 416 Festival. It'd been awhile since I had seen Marc Couroux, Jason Doell and Matthew Ramolo drifting together as Nidus. A last-minute cancellation on the night had the evening going forward with only two acts, but that played right into Nidus' don't-rush-us aesthetic. Preferring long stretches of sonic toffee drizzle, Couroux's keyboard vistas, Ramolo's modular blipdrones and Doell's pop culture interventions carried the trio through for about seventy-five minutes — it's best to think of every Nidus performance as a double-gatefold, triple LP set just waiting for you and your beanbag chair.

Recording: Electro-Acoustic Orchestra

Artist: Electro-Acoustic Orchestra

Song: [edited excerpt from first piece]

Recorded at The Tranzac's Southern Cross Lounge (416 Toronto Creative Improvisers Festival – Night 1), November 2, 2016.

Electro-Acoustic Orchestra - [edited excerpt from first piece]

This night of abstracted sounds lead off a rather satisfying edition of the long-running 416 Festival. Under the leadership of Doug Van Nort (conducting and mixing desk), the room-filling EAO is based out his DisPerSion Lab up at York University. It contains a mix of veteran players (such as Robert Appleton, Glen Hall, and Ted Philips) with a crew of emerging performers, mixing laptop-based electronics with a full range of acoustic instruments. Van Nort deployed a lot of gestural conducting, presumably shaping the way the performers interacted with each other, mixing a couple big swells with more subtle sonic fields. Pay attention at the end of this extract for the way the Hall's saxophone pulls itself into clearer focus from the general swirl of the ensemble. (There were a few faces here that were, as yet, strangers to me, but the ensemble was listed as: Chris Anderson-Lundy, Robert Appleton, David Bandi, Aaron Corbett, Marcello Fiorini, Glen Hall, Ian Macchiusi, Mackenzie Perrault, Liz Petzold, Ted Philips, Danny Sheahan, Fae Sirois and Lauren Wilson.)

Friday, December 2, 2016

Recording: Determinist?

Artist: Determinist?

Song: [excerpt, in two parts]

Recorded at at Dundas Video (Track Could Bend #20), November 1, 2016.

Determinist? - [excerpt, part 1]

Determinist? - [excerpt, part 2]

One suspects that this duo dig like their politics like they dig their sonic environments – defiantly radical. There are shades here of the sounds that Ian McPhedran is pursuing in Bodies That Matter and that Phil Hamilton is exploring in Beard Closet, but the extremes are being pushed further. That comes out in the intense volume (this might have been the loudest-ever TCB set), punishing feedback squeals, exaggeratedly ironic cock-rock guitar heroics and bursts of off-mic shouting. That was all paralleled by the spoken word-bursts McPhedran deployed, sampling Bob Black's The Abolition of Work and Judith Butler's Gender Trouble. Despite the uncompromising sounds, though, there was also a sense of play here, with the two performers seemingly trying to surprise or subvert each other throughout the set, as if they would leave no structure unchallenged — maybe that's why the project's name ends with a question mark.

[The next Track Could Bend will be taking place on Tuesday, December 6th with sets from No Parking (members of Protruders), Heather Saumer plus Del Stephen & The Bedroom Refuge Holiday.]

Recording: Billion-Year Contract

Artist: Billion-Year Contract

Song: [excerpt from first piece]

Recorded at at Dundas Video (Track Could Bend #20), November 1, 2016.

Billion-Year Contract - [excerpt from first piece]

I invited Andrew Furlong to bring whatever sort of project he wanted to TCB and was rather chuffed when he said he had put together a trio with two other double basses. Joined by Mike Lynn and Chris Adriaanse there was a bit of glorious impracticality in seeing the players grouped together in front of the stage. Moving from tasty pluck-twanging to triple-bow drones, there were some really fabulous textures here – sometimes utterly impractical experiments work out rather elegantly.

[Billion-Year Contract will be returning next Saturday (December 10th) as part of Audiopollination #49.1 at Array Space. The next Track Could Bend will be taking place on Tuesday, December 6th with sets from No Parking (members of Protruders), Heather Saumer, plus Del Stephen & The Bedroom Refuge Holiday.]

Recording: Bears and Children

Artist: Bears and Children

Song: [excerpt from first piece]

Recorded at at Dundas Video (Track Could Bend #20), November 1, 2016.

Bears and Children - [excerpt from first piece]

Some very interesting side-roads here from this trio whose normal stock-in-trade is a rather dense and stylized "electronic glitterdoom". For this set they were in improvisation mode, shedding any semblance of song structure. With the focus almost entirely on sonic textures rather than harmonic/melodic elements, one could sense the influence here of Doug Van Nort — the group's members also play in his Electro-Acoustic Orchestra up at York and are associated with his DisPerSion Lab. (This shift was especially apparent for Fae Sirois, who was investigating the violin's skrunk-skreetch acoustic possibilities instead of playing through an extended pedal chain.)

[The next Track Could Bend will be taking place on Tuesday, December 6th with sets from No Parking (members of Protruders), Heather Saumer, plus Del Stephen & The Bedroom Refuge Holiday.]

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Recording: HSY

Artist: HSY

Songs: Easy + More Over*

Recorded at Monarch Tavern, October 31, 2016.

HSY - Easy

HSY - More Over

It'd been a little while since I checked in with local sludge faves HSY, so it was interesting to see their development on a couple different axes. Sonically, Kris Bowering (ex-Crosss) is now in the fold, adding distorted synthwaves underneath the band's roiling noise. That leaves more room for Anna Mayberry to set down her guitar and drift among the crowd – an extension of the sort of movement work she's been doing with Open Fortress. The slo-mo kinesthetic vocabulary she's deploying here creates all sorts of interesting tensions with the sounds coming from the stage and lends as much grist for seeing the band from a different angle as the new synth parts. The upshot is that there were several times where I wasn't sure if I was hearing a new song or a mutation of an older familiar one — a rather pleasant sort of disorientation.

[HSY are playing next Wednesday (December 7th) at the 'Shoe alongside Frigs, Scattered Clouds and Prom Nite.]

* Thanks to the band for passing along the titles to these!