Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Recording: Sandro Perri

Artist: Sandro Perri

Song: Maybe Life Will Be Worth Living [Doug Randle cover]

Recorded at Holy Oak Café ("Toronto Does Toronto II"), October 27, 2013.

Sandro Perri - Maybe Life Will Be Worth Living

Full review to follow. The basic idea here — having Toronto musicians pay tribute to the songs of other Toronto musicians — is something I can get behind as a musical locavore, so I was sad to have missed the first night in this series back in summertime. Fortunately that went over well enough to bring about a second instalment — and word on the street is that we can expect another come January.

Closing out the night on an upbeat note, Sandro Perri (joined by Mike Smith and Blake Howard) let loose some low-key grooves on one of Doug Randle's Songs For The New Industrial State.

Recording: Alex Lukashevsky

Artist: Alex Lukashevsky

Song: Back to the River [Anna Siddall cover]

Recorded at Holy Oak Café ("Toronto Does Toronto II"), October 27, 2013.

Alex Lukashevsky - Back to the River

Full review to follow. The basic idea here — having Toronto musicians pay tribute to the songs of other Toronto musicians — is something I can get behind as a musical locavore, so I was sad to have missed the first night in this series back in summertime. Fortunately that went over well enough to bring about a second instalment — and word on the street is that we can expect another come January.

Anna Siddall's The Day has been one of my autumn faves, finely-honed pop that doesn't flaunt its slightly-bent sophistication. It's the sort of thing that would have slipped under my radar were it not being raved about by a lot of musicians (some of whom played on it), so perhaps it's befitting that it gets surveyed here by another of the city's most prominent "musician's musicians".

Recording: Chuck Erlichman & Doug Paisley

Artist: Chuck Erlichman & Doug Paisley

Song: This Dream [Great Speckled Bird cover]

Recorded at Holy Oak Café ("Toronto Does Toronto II"), October 27, 2013.

Chuck Erlichman & Doug Paisley - This Dream

Full review to follow. The basic idea here — having Toronto musicians pay tribute to the songs of other Toronto musicians — is something I can get behind as a musical locavore, so I was sad to have missed the first night in this series back in summertime. Fortunately that went over well enough to bring about a second instalment — and word on the street is that we can expect another come January.

Playing in a duo with troubadour Doug Paisley, Chuck Erlichman took the lead on this one by Great Speckled Bird, a Yorkville-scene band that included Ian & Sylvia Tyson, and would become their backing band as the pair gained prominence. Erlichman is another musician you should seek out at the Holy Oak — he'll be there playing along with Ian Russell (ex-$100) on November 8th.

Recording: Nifty

Artist: Nifty

Song: This'll Never Last [Tradition cover]

Recorded at Holy Oak Café ("Toronto Does Toronto II"), October 27, 2013.

Nifty - This'll Never Last

Full review to follow. The basic idea here — having Toronto musicians pay tribute to the songs of other Toronto musicians — is something I can get behind as a musical locavore, so I was sad to have missed the first night in this series back in summertime. Fortunately that went over well enough to bring about a second instalment — and word on the street is that we can expect another come January.

Leading off the night with a couple "miserable" tunes, Matt Smith gave high praise to a Blocks Recording Club compatriot (and a musician that he has previously been on a split single with). James Klassen, who records under the moniker Tradition has been on the scene for awhile now, but his low-key presence and slow-simmering songwriting style are perhaps a bit out of step with out short-attention-span times. Klassen put out a new album this summer and will be taking to the same stage at the Holy Oak next week (on November 5th).

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Recording: Disappears

Artist: Disappears

Song: Power

Recorded at The Garrison, October 25, 2013.

Disappears - Power

Full review to follow. At their one-a-year pace, Disappears have dispatched fourth album Era with the same sort of machinelike efficiency found in their music. And with the new album in hand, it was nice to see the band back in town, presenting the new songs wrapped in an incredible wall of volume at The Garrison. As soon as the guitars kicked in at the set's beginning, the row of people in front of me all stepped back at once, as if they had been physically pushed. That overwhelmingness made the first twenty minutes or so of the set the most mind-blowing, but this pretty impressive all the way through, thanks in no small point to drummer Noah Leger, who is doing an admirable job replacing Steve Shelly in providing precision minimal rhythmbursts.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Concert Listings Roundup #16

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:

Death to T.O. 3: A Halloween Covers Show ["15 Toronto bands dress up and perform a full set of their band of choice."] (feat. The Highest Order / Teenanger / Ell V Gore / Soupcans + Cellphone / Digits / Young Mother / S.H.I.T. / Michael Rault / Biblical / Dilly Dally / Mexican Slang / Wish / Sissy Boy / Tess Parks) / The Silver Dollar Room + Comfort Zone 2013-10-31 (Thursday) [FB event]


This week's noteworthy shows:

Twistin' Tuesday (feat. Omhouse / People Of Canada) / Holy Oak Café 2013-10-29 (Tuesday) [FB event]

Devil's Night Madness (feat. JFM / Barbara / Body Butter [Chris Evans & Neil Rankin dance weirdness debut!]) / Handlebar 2013-10-30 (Wednesday)

Wavelength 579 (feat. Tails (from the Crypt) / Light Fires / Himalayan Bear / Adverteyes) / Monarch Tavern 2013-10-31 (Thursday) [FB event]

AroarA (Isla Craig and Soul Sisters, feat. Daniela Gesundheit and Tamara Lindeman) / The Dakota Tavern 2013-11-01 (Friday – early show!) [FB event]

The Last Pogo Jumps Again [comprehensive documentary on the first wave of T.O.'s punk/new wave scenes] / Big Picture Cinema 2013-11-01–2011-11-06 (multiple screenings) [FB event]

Phèdre [Golden Age release + Warehouse Party] (Petra Glynt / Datu / Ken Park) / 35 Strachan 2013-11-02 (Saturday) [FB event]

Carnivores (Gay / Beverleys) / The White House 2013-11-02 (Saturday) [FB event]


Add these to your calendar:

Evening Hymns (Andy Shauff) / The Drake Underground 2013-11-14 (Thursday) [more info]

Mammoth Cave Anniversary Bash (feat. B.A. Johnston / Ketamines / Voicemail [ex-White Wires]) / The Silver Dollar Room 2013-11-15 (Friday) [FB event]

John Gzowski & Michael Greyeyes (David Sait) / The Music Gallery 2013-11-17 (Sunday) [FB event]

Weird Canada + Wavelength + Silent Shout + Pleasence Records + Feast In The East co-present All Toronto's Parties (feat. Lido Pimienta / Young Guv / Actual Water / Gay / Holiday Rambler / Still Boys) / The Garrison 2013-11-22 (Friday) [FB event]

Frank Bretschneider's Kippschwingungen [North American premiere] (Michael Trommer/Nokami) / The Music Gallery 2013-11-29 (Friday) [FB event]

Jason Collett presents The Basement Revue / The Dakota Tavern 2013-12-05 (Thursday)

Jason Collett presents The Basement Revue / The Dakota Tavern 2013-12-12 (Thursday)

Jason Collett presents The Basement Revue / The Great Hall 2013-12-19 (Thursday)

Jason Collett presents The Basement Revue / The Dakota Tavern 2013-12-26 (Thursday)

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Recording: Thin Edge New Music Collective

Artist: Thin Edge New Music Collective

Works: Stagger and Sway [excerpt] (composer: Kyle Brenders) / 4 Postcards [Movement 4] (composer: Allison Cameron)

Recorded at Gallery 345, October 25, 2013.

Thin Edge New Music Collective - Stagger and Sway [excerpt]

Thin Edge New Music Collective - 4 Postcards [Movement 4]

Full review to follow. Part of the nouvelle vague of the local New Music scene, Thin Edge was founded by Cheryl Duvall and Ilana Waniuk to give them an avenue to perform exciting new music and create a space for their peers' compositions to be heard. Entitled "6 Degrees of Separation", this season-launching show teased out connection between a variety of composers, with pieces here from Peter Hatch, Louis Andreissen and John Zorn.

Here we have a couple quick glimpses from the local composers, including a new piece from Kyle Brenders. True to its title, the opening, more percussive part had some of the staggering that often appears when you see Brenders playing, but this stretch shows that unwinding into a calmer swaying sensation. Meanwhile, I'm more used to encountering Allison Cameron's work as an improviser, where her "small amplified objects" tend to buzz and resonate in unexpected ways — making the elegant miniatures of her concise set of musical postcards (interspersed between the other pieces throughout the night) a delightful surprise. This final one even received some dramatic staging from the performers, with the musicians flanked by a pair of readers, who begun the piece by lighting candles and picking up their books to read — then marking its conclusion by blowing out their candles when they had finished their page.

Like most of the younger New Music groups, Thin Edge is fairly web-savvy, so I'm sure these field recordings will soon be supplanted by some more polished videos that will make their way to their site. Their next gig, entitled "Unusual Spectrum III", will be at the lovely Array Space on November 21 and promises "an eclectic evening of contemporary chamber music". Sounds well-suited for anyone who wants to engage with composed music in a casual, intimate and affordable setting.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Recording: Marine Dreams

Artist: Marine Dreams

Song: I Won't Be Abandoned

Recorded at Izakaya Sushi House, October 24, 2013.

Marine Dreams - I Won't Be Abandoned

Full review to follow. New album Corner Of The Eye came out a month ago and the mix of sophisticated grooves and Ian Kehoe's articulate longings has now had a proper local release.

Recording: Alvvays

Artist: Alvvays

Song: Dives

Recorded at Izakaya Sushi House, October 24, 2013.

Alvvays - Dives

Full review to follow. Alvvays first crossed paths with Marine Dreams back at the Mattyfest BBQ, and there was enough mutual admiration that they got asked back to help celebrate Marine Dreams' album release. Alvvays brought a full house and gave what I'm pretty sure was the best-sounding set I've yet heard in this back room.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Recording: The Mike Smith Company

Artist: The Mike Smith Company

Song: Famous Wildlife Movies 1

Recorded at The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), October 23, 2013.

The Mike Smith Company - Famous Wildlife Movies 1 [Part I]

The Mike Smith Company - Famous Wildlife Movies 1 [Part II]

Full review to follow. It's been just over a year since Mike Smith dissolved his "prog-Americana" group Muskox. As always, though, he's been busy — touring distant lands, playing some keybs, playing some bass, and working on some new compositions. He mustered a large group, nine members deep, to try a few of them out (for the record: Ali Berkok, piano; Jake Oelrichs, drums; Jamie Drake, percussion; D. Alex Meeks, percussion; Pete Johnston, electric bass; Jay Hay, bari sax + flute; Tom Richards, trombone; Jeremy Strachan, guit + flute) and there was plenty cool stuff over two sets. This long piece, suitable to soundtrack the nature clips of your choice, starts off like a lion resting in the shade before springing into action but ends like that time Shaft wrestled that crocodile.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Recording: Jacco Gardner

Artist: Jacco Gardner

Song: Where Will You Go

Recorded at The Garrison, October 22, 2013.

Jacco Gardner - Where Will You Go

Full review to follow. I didn't really know much about Jacco Gardner, making his first trip over from The Netherlands to these parts, but there was enough excitement amongst some folks I know to make it worth taking a flyer on. Hyped for his psychedelic sounds, what struck me most was how he was fusing that with the bright sheen of contemporary Scandinavian pop — the strongest impression that the songs left was one of, say, Radio Dept. covering "See Emily Play".

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Recording: THREADS (Quintet)

Artist: THREADS (Quintet)

Song: Threads I [excerpt]

Recorded at The Emmett Ray, October 21, 2013.

THREADS (Quintet) - Threads I [excerpt]

Full review to follow. Guitarist Ken Aldcroft is an educator and composer, but also one of the busier figures in the city's creative music scene. Often playing several gigs a week in varying combos, I happened to see him on back-to-back nights, tearing off some Balkan/surf guitar solos as part of Alaniaris on Sunday night, and leading this Henry Threadgill-inspired quintet on Monday. Backed by a crew of handy improvisers (Karen Ng, alto sax; Jonathan Adjemian, analog synth; Josh Cole, electric bass; Germaine Liu, drums), the musical frameworks here were designed to be stretched out, with each of the three pieces coming somewhere around the twenty-minute mark — threads to be knotted together, untangled and reassembled anew.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Recording: Is/Is

Artist: Is/Is

Song: unknown*

Recorded at The Piston, October 20, 2013.

Is/Is - unknown

Full review to follow. Beliefs' homecoming show could have been a bit of a bummer, what with the band having had some gear ripped off in the UK. Putting merch on sale to raise some funds and getting a room of friends together made it feel more celebratory, and with borrowed and patched-together equipment and some warping projected visuals they showed off their road-quickened arrangements.

But the real surprise of the night, sounding great is The Piston's back room, came from Minneapolis trio Is/Is, who I knew nothing about coming in. Their dreamy/woozy grunge proved to be right down my alley. Vocalist Sarah Rose brought a walloping wall of crunchy guitar, but bassist Sarah Nienaber's melodic lines were what really sealed the deal.

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

Monday, October 21, 2013

Recording: Gurpreet Chana

Artist: Gurpreet Chana

Song: unknown*

Recorded at The Music Gallery ("X Avant VIII"), October 20, 2013.

Gurpreet Chana - unknown

Full review to follow. Closing out this year's X Avant Festival was a cross-cultural mix of new sounds and new technologies. Gurpreet Chana's new-fangled TABLIX system is a tabla-controlled MIDI interface, employing the rhythm and melodies of tabla without its natural acoustic sound. That opened up a lot of terrain to explore some new grooves from an ancient instrument.

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

Concert Listings Roundup #15

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:

Toronto Does Toronto II (feat. Mary Margaret O'Hara / Sandro Perri / David Como / Tamara Lindeman / Chuck Er & Doug Paisley / Alex Lukashevsky / Matt Smith) / Holy Oak Café 2013-10-27 (Sunday) [FB event]

Toronto musicians of the now pay tribute to Toronto musicians of the past!


This week's noteworthy shows:

Ken Aldcroft's Threads Quintet (Ken Aldcroft solo) / The Emmet Ray 2013-10-21 (Monday) [FB event]

Jacco Gardner (Slim Twig / Other Colors / The Taste) / The Garrison 2013-10-22 (Tuesday) [FB event]

See Through Trio / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2013-10-22 (Tuesday) [more info]

The Mike Smith Company / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2013-10-23 (Wednesday) [FB event]

Child Abuse (Thighs / Bbigpigg / Staer / Lea Bertucci & C. Lavender) / The Boat 2013-10-23 (Wednesday) [FB event]

Esprit Orchestra: New Era Launch / Koerner Hall 2013-10-24 (Thursday) [FB event]

Marine Dreams [Record Release Party!] (Alvvays / Baby Eagle) / Izakaya Sushi House 2013-10-24 (Thursday) [FB event]

Kid Congo Powers & The Pink Monkey Birds (catl / Meanwood) / The Horseshoe Tavern 2013-10-24 (Thursday) [FB event]

Disappears (Weekend / Aim Low) / The Garrison 2013-10-25 (Friday)

Static Zine Issue #8 Launch Party: Static Scream! (feat. Fresh Snow / Most People / Programm) / Encore Rehearsal Studios 2013-10-25 (Friday) [FB event]

The Thin Edge New Music Collective: 6 Degrees of Separation / Gallery 345 2013-10-25 (Friday) [more info]

Seraphic Lights [CD Release Party!] (B-17 / The Folk / Broken Bricks) / The Silver Dollar Room 2013-10-25 (Friday) [FB event]

Double Double Land 4th Anniversary – Night 2 (feat. Prince Nifty / Dundasa 80 / Sing Leaf) / Double Double Land 2013-10-26 (Saturday) [FB event]

Ghost Hole V ("Halloween Haunted Artshow" feat. music Petra Glynt / Vierance / Nebular Crush / Cell Memory) / Artscape Gibraltar Point 2013-10-26 (Saturday) [FB event]

Scott Thomson and Susanna Hood [album launch party!] (Randi Helmers and Rob Clutton) / Gerrard Art Space 2013-10-27 (Sunday) – afternoon show @ 4 p.m.!

King Weather / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2013-10-27 (Sunday) [FB event]

Somewhere There Presents (feat. Pete Johnston / Rob Clutton / Lina Allemano / Marilyn Lerner) / Array Space 2013-10-27 (Sunday)


Add these to your calendar:

Long Winter: Year 2, Volume 1 (feat. King Cobb Steelie / Bidiniband / Ell V Gore / Ketamines / Doom Squad / Lido Pimienta / Esther Grey / Cellphone / Wake Island) / The Great Hall 2013-11-08 (Friday) [FB event]

Light Fires / Toronto Public Library (Sanderson Branch) 2013-11-15 (Friday) [FB event]

Elsa (Smartboys / Wish) / The Piston 2013-11-21 (Thursday) [FB event]

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Recording: Chang-A-Lang

Artist: Chang-A-Lang

Songs: Sickness and Boredom / Scorn Your Youth / Drum and Bass

Recorded at The Magpie Taproom, October 19, 2013.

Chang-A-Lang - Sickness and Boredom

Chang-A-Lang - Scorn Your Youth

Chang-A-Lang - Drum and Bass

Full review to follow. Some bands end without really saying anything about it. After a while, you realize they aren't playing gigs any more; sometimes you see members in new bands, and you think to yourself, "well, I guess that's it." Given that, it was nice to see the three members of Chang-a-Lang re-assemble to give the band a proper sendoff, even with the air of finality. As much a spirited party as a frills-free rock'n'roll band, Chang-a-Lang shows always guaranteed a fist-pumpin'good time and this time was no exception as the band played nearly an hour, giving one less airing to pretty much all their material. All the best to Brian, Jake and Jeanette — they were Chang-a-Lang.

Recording: Terror Lake

Artist: Terror Lake

Song: Runaway*

Recorded at The Magpie Taproom, October 19, 2013.

Terror Lake - Runaway

Full review to follow. Like an old friend that lives on the far side of town, Terror Lake can slip out of sight and out of mind for awhile, but it's always an endearing occasion to run across 'em. With some long-awaited recordings finally surfacing on their bandcamp this week, perhaps the band will be back in circulation a little more. Perhaps not wanting to upstage the occasion of Chang-a-Lang's final show they didn't even mention the new album while on stage, but here's hoping there's a proper release celebration coming up.

* Thanks to a commenter for confirming the title to this one.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Recording: Ensemble SuperMusique

Artist: Ensemble SuperMusique

Song: Positions d'amour

Recorded at The Music Gallery ("X Avant VIII"), October 18, 2013.

Ensemble SuperMusique - Positions d'amour

Full review to follow. Montréal's ESM is home to some of the founders of musique actuelle, the specifically Québecois "cohabitation des différentes tendances musicales", melding "rock déstructuré, jazz fragmenté, chansons éclatées, folklore réinventé, ambiances bruitistes, improvisations, nouvelles musiques d’ensemble, métissages des lutheries acoustiques et électroacoustiques". Sometimes playing from non-traditional graphical scores, sometimes literally rolling the dice to decide on the musical division of labour, there's a mix of rigour and playfulness to the group's music, whose inspiration is rooted in such everyday places as a laundromat's buzzing fluorescent lights or this piece's bedroom antics.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Recording: Not The Wind, Not The Flag + William Parker

Artist: Not The Wind, Not The Flag + William Parker

Song: [coda]

Recorded at The Music Gallery ("X Avant VIII"), October 17, 2013.

Not The Wind, Not The Flag + William Parker - [coda]

Full review to follow. Seeing Brandon Valdivia and Colin Fisher performing together as Not The Wind, Not the Flag is always a treat and hopefully something I'll never start taking for granted. This set was easy to check off as a special occasion, however, with NYC free-improv legend William Parker coming out to join them. Acting more as tugboat than ball-hog, Parker largely kept in a sympathetic support role but the rising tide he provided lifted everyone a little higher. Colin Fisher moved from gong to flute to sax to guit, and after his guitar structures ranged from abstract to noisy to shimmery I thought the set was winding down. Then, after watching Parker's bowing work pulling Valdivia's drums along for a few moments, he picked up his sax again, knelt down to adjust his guitar pedals to keep churning out a quiet undercurrent, and flowed with this closing segment that sounded like a serenade to a Moon River somewhere out Saturn way. This is our music.

Recording: Eucalyptus

Artist: Eucalyptus

Song: Water Features Suite [Part 3]*

Recorded at The Music Gallery ("X Avant VIII"), October 17, 2013.

Eucalyptus - Water Features Suite [Part 3]

Full review to follow. With a second 10" album and a tour both on the near-horizon, the Eucalyptus crew gathered at the Music Gallery's celebration of "abstract urban music". Having seen the band in no few dives and docks, it was exciting to hear everything in real live hi-fi, from Ryan Driver's delicate piano to Alex Lukashevsky's genteel wah-wah guitar work. Bookended by a couple older songs, the new material took centre stage here, with this three-part suite, and the wonderful "Windmill Will", whose clockwork heart has gotten even lovelier than when it was first unveiled.

* There was some discussion on stage as to what the various parts of this triptych were named, but at the moment the final answers still seem to be, um, fluid.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Recording: bAgg*fisH

Artist: bAgg*fisH

Song: [excerpt from an improvization]*

Recorded at Array Space ("Audiopollination 11.2"), October 17, 2013.

bAgg*fisH - excerpt from an improvization

Full review to follow. Somewhere There offshoot Audiopollination is a monthly improvising series bringing together musicians to play and inspire each other. I'd been meaning to check one of the nights out for a while now, and it was a fully-pleasing experience. Situated in the comfy Array Space (quickly becoming one of my favourite places to see a gig yet weirdly missing from all those "best venues in T.O." lists), the music is enhanced by the live-processed visual effects of SOAR (Adam Rosen and John Creson). This is another one of those series that could well use a few more bodies in the audience, and is recommended for a good night's boundary-pushing entertainment. (If you want to explore some more, the shows are generally recorded and shared on the website and the series' bandcamp page.)

The second half of a two-night stretch of playing host to visiting musicians, this night was organized to welcome bAgg*fisH, a duo of Austria's Michael Fischer (feedback saxophone) and Marcos Baggiani (percussion). They started off the night with some cultural exchanges, playing in a series of duos and trios with local improvisers Joe Sorbara, Ken Aldcroft, Rob Piilonen and Kyle Brenders. Then came this very tasty duo set, with Fischer playing his sax (mic stuffed down the opening and fed through some pedals) more like a guitar, tapping the sides and moving in relation to his amp to modulate the feedback squalls.

* I am presuming that this is an untitled improvization — please leave a comment and correct me if I'm wrong!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Recording: Charlemagne Palestine

Artist: Charlemagne Palestine

Song: Strumming Music [excerpt]*

Recorded at The Music Gallery ("X Avant VIII"), October 13, 2013.

Charlemagne Palestine - Strumming Music [excerpt]

Full review to follow. If one saw the word "legend" used to describe Charlemagne Palestine, it might well have the word "cult" stuck before it. And a description of his formidable presence might well be joined by the word "eccentric". Both of those have a mildly pejorative taste to them, but I don't think that would matter too much to an artist who seems to be well along a journey upon his own artistic terrain. So that the heart of the set, as heard here, was surrounded by somewhat goofier elements (a long video consisting of a POV shot as Palestine dashed through ther rooms of an abandoned building, singing to himself as well as a closing serenade by musical stuffed animals) all seemed to be points on one unconventional continuum.

* I don't know the material very well here, so I'm not sure if this is an iteration of this classic piece or a related composition. Please leave a comment if you have a strong opinion on the proper title here.

Recording: Rose Bolton

Artist: Rose Bolton

Song: unknown [edit]*

Recorded at The Music Gallery ("X Avant VIII"), October 13, 2013.

Rose Bolton - unknown [edit]

Full review to follow. Rose Bolton brought some pieces for solo violin (which she played) and laptop/electronics. Good stuff that stayed in the foreground without getting too busy. That might flow from the fact she's done no small amount of scoring work for films and documentaries — and also the fact that the music went down well with Marc de Guerre's projections, mostly dreamy, slowed-down repurposed found footage. [For the sake of brevity, this piece is presented without its building introductory section, putting you right in the action from the outset.]

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

Monday, October 14, 2013

Recording: Flux Quartet

Artist: Flux Quartet

Songs: selections from Morton Feldman's "String Quartet No. 2"

Recorded at The Music Gallery ("X Avant VIII"), October 12, 2013.

Full review to follow. How does one recap a performance of a six-hour composition? The very act of abridgement or summary seems to go against the whole point. Can you adequately describe the ocean by making reference to a glass of water? Time moves in two ways, both a steady, undifferentiated Parmenidean flow and a series of discrete Heraclitean moments. Although the "truth" of this piece probably lies in the former, for now I'll merely provide a series of snapshots-in-time from throughout the night. [You can see a few more photos from throughout the night over at the MFS facebook page.]


Flux Quartet - Morton Feldman's String Quartet No. 2 [excerpt 1]

As the performance began, evening's light glowed through the windows. Playing in the round, the Quartet were suffused in a warm glow, inches-thick scores on their stands in front of them. At the outset, the piece was a bit like listening to a speech in a language I could barely understand — I could pick up sentences here and there, but I couldn't really figure out how they cohered into paragraphs. The first hour was the longest, and it took about forty minutes to get acclimatized. And then slowly I felt a vast sorta-sadness overtake me, like how a ghost might feel on looking over the terrain he once physically inhabited. Perhaps not sadness so much as shock at the apprehension of the infinite — accompanied by a sort of placid reserve. Settle in.

Flux Quartet - Morton Feldman's String Quartet No. 2 [excerpt 2]

Slumping forward in my pew, I spotted a single bit of glitter caught in the crack between two floorboards as a glint caught my eye. The sort of thing you only really notice when you've been staring at the floor for awhile. There was a blanket fort set up on the pulpit. I moved over there and found a carpeted spot of floor beside it to lie on my back for a spell, watching the warm multicoloured haze of lights around the rafters.

Flux Quartet - Morton Feldman's String Quartet No. 2 [excerpt 3]

As the piece passes into its third hour, I'm outside, sitting with my back to the door of the old church tower at the far end of the courtyard. Taking advantage of the concert's simulcast on CIUT, radios have been placed around the grounds, including one beside me here. The music seemed to seep into every crack of the world around me. Little downward trills running in time to the cascading white light of the Canada Life Building's weather beacon; a ladybug ambling up my pantleg as a theme that sounded like a fragment from "Inchworm" played; spiderwebs tickling my nose, and as I turn my head to see a spider bungee down past me, a helicopter soars overhead, weaving its own invisible web over the city. For a moment I thought the door behind me would open suddenly, sending me tumbling down to Wonderland.

Flux Quartet - Morton Feldman's String Quartet No. 2 [excerpt 4]

Over in the OCAD Student Gallery, open-ended experimental videogames are being projected against the walls in the front room, but I duck to the back, where the floor is scattered with cushions and the Quartet are cranked up on the radio. (It was only after I returned to the sanctuary that I realized how quietly they were actually playing!) Three screens are being used to project animated GIFs made as student artworks. I settle in — being in a rush is not on my agenda — and watch through until the images repeat themselves. That takes about twenty minutes.

Flux Quartet - Morton Feldman's String Quartet No. 2 [excerpt 5]

I'm feeling a little drowsy, beer on my knee as I rest on the comfy couch in the Fellowship Room. By this point the piece feels less like a concert that's going on and more like a fundamental element of my existential condition. I'm intrigued by the fact that I understand its language so much more now, smiling at little motifs that re-emerge and slowly mutate.

Flux Quartet - Morton Feldman's String Quartet No. 2 [excerpt 6]

Interestingly, the first time Flux played Quartet No. 2, the performance lasted six hours and fifteen minutes; this performance was closer to five-and-a-half, so the pace was somewhat less glacial than it might have been. But as they flipped the page to the sheet of the score, I felt a weird tension come over me — wait, is this going to end already? Except for the single spotlight overhead, the room was dark now, everything hushed, gathered in. And the music played, played, played... and then it stopped.

Concert Listings Roundup #14

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:

X Avant VIII (Not The Wind, Not The Flag & William Parker / Eucalyptus) / The Music Gallery 2013-10-17 (Thursday) [FB event]


This week's noteworthy shows:

Shad / Sonic Boom 2013-10-15 (Tuesday) [FB event]

Audiopollination 11.1 (feat. Géraldine Eguiluz/Stéphane Diamantakiou with Paul Newman / Ambrose Pottie / Alexandra Spence / Odradeck) / Array Space 2013-10-15 (Tuesday) [FB event]

Audiopollination 11.2 (feat. bAgg*fiscH [from Austria] performing improvised trios and duos with Joe Sorbara / Ken Aldcroft / Rob Pillonen / Kyle Brenders) / Array Space 2013-10-16 (Wednesday) [more info]

X Avant VIII (Ensemble Supermusique) / The Music Gallery 2013-10-18 (Friday) [FB event]

Chang-A-Lang [Final Show!] (Terror Lake / Cheap Speakers / Motor Goat) / Magpie Taproom 2013-10-19 (Saturday) [FB event]

Prince Enoki's Insect Orchestra (Prince Nifty) / Mây 2013-10-19 (Saturday) [FB event]

Tashynafest (feat. Man Made Hill / Soupcans / Cellphone / Wolfcow) / 961A College St. 2013-10-19 (Saturday) [FB event]

FRUITS showcase #1 (feat. Bile Sister / Petra Glynt / New Chance / Deciduous) / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2013-10-19 (Saturday) [FB event]

Thee Fall ["...a one off experimental dance, synth and visuals partee celebrating dead leaves and colder weather."] (feat. Kontravoid / Beta Frontiers / Doom Squad / Prince Innocence / Tarantula X / Sexy Merlin / Nyssa / Cell Memory) / The Silver Dollar Room 2013-10-19 (Saturday) [FB event]

X Avant VIII (Gurpreet Chana / Alaniaris feat. Scott Good) / The Music Gallery 2013-10-20 (Sunday) [FB event]


Add these to your calendar:

Jacco Gardner (Slim Twig / Other Colors / The Taste) / The Garrison 2013-10-22 (Tuesday) [FB event]

The Mike Smith Company / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2013-10-23 (Wednesday) [FB event]

Esprit Orchestra: New Era Launch / Koerner Hall 2013-10-24 (Thursday) [FB event]

Kid Congo Powers & The Pink Monkey Birds (catl / Meanwood) / The Horseshoe Tavern 2013-10-24 (Thursday) [FB event]

Static Zine Issue #8 Launch Party: Static Scream! (feat. Fresh Snow / Most People / Programm) / Encore Rehearsal Studios 2013-10-25 (Friday) [FB event]

Double Double Land 4th Anniversary – Night 2 (feat. Prince Nifty / Dundasa 80 / Sing Leaf) / Double Double Land 2013-10-26 (Saturday) [FB event]

Toronto Does Toronto II (feat. Mary Margaret O'Hara / Sandro Perri / David Como / Tamara Lindeman / Chuck Er & Doug Paisley / Alex Lukashevsky / Matt Smif) / Holy Oak Café 2013-10-27 (Sunday) [more info]

AroarA / The Dakota Tavern 2013-11-01 (Friday – early show!) [more info]

416 Toronto Creative Improvisers Festival (feat. Pierre Mongeon’s eVoid Collective / Queen Victrola / Bejeezus) / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2013-11-06 (Wednesday) [more info]

Toronto Homicide Squad [Nein Bullets cassette release!] (WTCHS / Mimico) / 961A College St. 2013-11-07 (Thursday) [FB event]

416 Toronto Creative Improvisers Festival (feat. Tom Richards Trio / Paul Cram Trio / Alexandra Spence [Australia] & Group) / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2013-11-07 (Thursday) [more info]

416 Toronto Creative Improvisers Festival (feat. CCMC / Mia Zabelka [Austria] / Germaine Liu/Karen Ng/Bea Labikova) / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2013-11-08 (Friday) [more info]

Wavelength 580 (feat. Surinam / Wolfcow / DAS RAD / Trog) / The White House 2013-11-09 (Saturday) [FB event]

416 Toronto Creative Improvisers Festival (feat. Diane Roblin and HAPPENING / Ted Phillips/Nilan Perara / Toronto Improvisers Orchestra) / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2013-11-09 (Saturday) [more info]

Fucked Up (Beliefs / Doom Squad / Kiz And Legin / Fiction Issue / Dead Mouth) / Rockpile East 2013-11-09 (Saturday) [FB event]

Esprit Orchestra: O Gamelan / Koerner Hall 2013-11-17 (Sunday) [more info]

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Sunday Playlist #41

Sunday Playlist #41: Milk The Milkers

At the start of this week, all my feeds practically blew up with the release of Milkin' It, a tribute to Nirvana's In Utero put together by Hand Drawn Dracula. The tracklisting elicited a cheer from me 'cause these are bands that I love to go see all the time. In fact, it occurred to me once I did some poking around that I have live recordings from everyone involved in the project. So in case you wanted to hear what these bands sound like on stage doing their own material, here's a track-for-track answer playlist.

Breeze - unknown

Recorded at The Drake Underground ("What's in the Box" – Night 5), December 30, 2012.

Greys - Rennie + Carjack

Recorded at 159 Manning ("Don't Trust Anyone Under 30 – Manning BBQ 2013"), June 14, 2013.

Beliefs - Catch My Breath

Recorded at Sonic Boom ("Record Store Day 2013"), April 20, 2013.

Ostrich Tuning - Keep You Through the Night

Recorded at The Silver Dollar Room ("MINOR Fundraiser"), October 4, 2013.

Fresh Snow - Nautical Smoke

Recorded at The Shop under Parts & Labour ("Wavelength THIRTEEN – Night 1"), February 14, 2013.

Julie Fader - 723

Recorded at The Dakota Tavern ("Jason Collett's Basement Revue"), December 7, 2010.

Great Bloomers - Dark Horse

Recorded at Artscape Gibraltar Point (ALL CAPS! Island Show), October 17, 2009.

Teenanger - Psychic Sonya

Recorded at Parts + Labour ("Mattyfest Summerslam BBQ 2013"), August 18, 2013.

Absolutely Free - Clothed Woman Sitting

Recorded at Artscape Gibraltar Point (ALL CAPS! Festival), August 12, 2012.

The Weather Station - unknown

Recorded at Holy Oak Café, August 20, 2013.

Odonis Odonis - Wipeout Beat

Recorded at Polyhaus ("Feast in the East 20"), December 14, 2012.

Hooded Fang - Ode To Subterrania

Recorded at Lula Lounge, April 4, 2013.

The Wooden Sky - Baby It's No Secret

Recorded BLK BOX ("The Wooden Sky Travelling Adventure Show"), August 16, 2013.

Doom Squad - Born from the Marriage of the Moon and a Crocodile + Eternal Return

Recorded at The Music Gallery ("Exclaim! Magazine Destination Out Showcase"), November 17, 2012.

Milk Lines - unknown

Recorded at The Horseshoe Tavern, May 4, 2013.

Hussy [now known as HSY] - Ladies Nite

Recorded at Steam Whistle Brewery ("Steam Whistle UNSIGNED"), May 24, 2013.

Tess Parks - Life Is But A Dream

Recorded at Izakaya Sushi House, August 2, 2013.


Sunday Playlist is a semi-regular feature that brings back some of this blog's previously-posted original live recordings for an encore. You can always click the tags below to see what I originally wrote about the shows these songs came from.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Recording: Quartetski

Artist: Quartetski

Song: The Rite of Spring [Part II - excerpt]* (composer: Igor Stravinsky; arranged by Quartetski)

Recorded at The Music Gallery ("X Avant VIII"), October 11, 2013.

Quartetski - The Rite of Spring [Part II - excerpt]

Full review to follow. Montréal's Quartetski (which is actually a five-piece) "rethinks and reinterprets the works of great composers in an improvised setting". With this small ensemble, the tumultuous clamour of the piece's pagan rituals translate well to the storm-and-silence of the post-rock vocabulary, especially when Bernard Falaise's guitar kicks in.

* I'm no expert in this piece, and I chose this extract to please my musical sensibility rather than Stravinsky's original divisions, but I reckon this pulls from the "Evocation of the Ancestors" and "Ritual Action of the Ancestors" sections.

Recording: Gordon Grdina Trio

Artist: Gordon Grdina Trio

Song: unknown*

Recorded at The Music Gallery ("X Avant VIII"), October 11, 2013.

Gordon Grdina Trio - unknown

Full review to follow. Vancouver's multi-faceted Gord Grdina brought his trio (but, sadly, not his luggage) to town to lead off X Avant's exploration of urban abstract sounds. Backed by the rhythm section of Kenton Loewen and Tommy Babin (here in a hard-edges funky mode), Gardina showed off some flashy moves on his oud.

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

Friday, October 11, 2013

Recording: Picastro

Artist: Picastro

Song: Vampires

Recorded at Gerrard Art Space ("Feast in the East 30"), October 10, 2013.

Picastro - Vampires

Full review to follow. Getting ready for a European tour, Picastro showed off some new songs (from their forthcoming You album) and an expanded lineup. Former member Evan Clarke is back in the fold, and Matthew Ramolo (whose Khôra project will be touring with the band) was sitting in as well. That gave the band a more aggressive edge than they've sometimes played with, with this new song sounding positively punk rock by their standards.

Recording: Jason Doell

Artist: Jason Doell

Song: ii

Recorded at Gerrard Art Space ("Feast in the East 30"), October 10, 2013.

Jason Doell - ii

Full review to follow. Playing a tiny music box, composer Jason Doell hand-cranked strips of paper with punched holes to create tinkling melodies. This is digital music at its most analogue, with the indeterminacies of hand-cranked pops and crackles adding to the experience. Sounding something like a Jacquard Loom hooked up to a kalimba, this was delicate and lovely stuff.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Recording: Crystal Stilts

Artist: Crystal Stilts

Song: Future Folklore

Recorded at The Horseshoe Tavern, October 8, 2013.

Crystal Stilts - Future Folklore

Full review to follow. Although the new Nature Noir demonstrates that Crystal Stilts are less enamoured with reverb-laden howls than in the past and there are a signs of more sophisticated songcraft and/or mellowing out, they're still able to toss off a Velvet-y nugget when they set their mind to it.

Recording: The Auras

Artist: The Auras

Song: Hot Shot

Recorded at The Horseshoe Tavern, October 8, 2013.

The Auras - Hot Shot

Full review to follow. Looks like The Auras caught someone's attention last time they were at The 'Shoe, as they were tabbed as openers for a touring band. Dead early on a Tuesday doesn't get you quite the same crowd electricity as the heart of a Saturday night, but the band still did their duty by adding a fair bit of energy to the room.

Do note that The Deep Space Cowboys and Sounds Around, a couple more units in the overlapping Auras collective, will be hosting a shindig tonight at Clinton's. MFS faves The Disraelis will also be on hand to close out the evening.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Recording: Viet Cong

Artist: Viet Cong

Song: Oxygen Feed

Recorded at Izakaya Sushi House, October 7, 2013.

Viet Cong - Oxygen Feed

Full review to follow. Although Ketamines were nominally the night's headliners, it was this Calgary unit (with former members of Women and Chad VanGaalen's band) that packed the room full on a Monday night. Leading off like Mission of Burma covering "Lady Godiva's Operation" and settling into a groove like a Wire-y Psychedelic Furs, this had some pretty potent moments.

Recording: Freak Heat Waves

Artist: Freak Heat Waves

Song: unknown*

Recorded at Izakaya Sushi House, October 7, 2013.

Freak Heat Waves - unknown

Full review to follow. It's perhaps too easy to make fun of Victoria's Freak Heat Waves, what with their "black is what we wear cuz black is how we feel" sartorial choices, and for disappearing (more, as far as I can tell, than on their recordings) down the Ian Curtis gloom-vortex — one song even started with vocalist Steve Lind intoning "DES-PER-AYYY-SHUN". This runs the risk of shooting past being stoically mopey and right into self-parody. On the other hand, the rhythm section of Thomas Di Ninno and James Twiddy are so locked in against Lind's guitar that the music usually managed to trump the signifiers.

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

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Recording: Matt McLaren / Mike Smith / Chris Cummings

Artist: Matt McLaren + Mike Smith + Chris Cummings

Song: The Bridge [excerpt]

Recorded at TIFF Lightbox Cinema 3 (Nuit Blanche), October 5, 2013.

Matt McLaren + Mike Smith + Chris Cummings - The Bridge [excerpt]

A field recording from my Nuit Blanche wanderings. With patches of rain starting to dampen the streets outside, I ducked into the Lightbox and managed to catch "City Symphonies", an entire programme of silent films with musical accompaniment by these three familiar faces. Rather than traditional piano associated with silent film, this was a more of smooth'n'slinky ride. With Chris Cummings' Wurlitzer front and centre, this sometimes sounded like extended, abstracted riffs on the material you would hear on a Marker Starling album, but Matt McLaren and Mike Smith each added their own ideas, pushing and pulling the music from soulful to sci-fi. This extract is about the first two-thirds of their soundtrack to The Bridge (dir. Joris Ivens, 1928) so you can get a feel for the vibe if you watch it on youtube while you listen.

Recording: The Chime

Artist: The Chime

Song: At Nuit Blanche at 3 a.m.

Recorded at Central Hall, OCADU (Nuit Blanche), October 5, 2013.

The Chime - At Nuit Blanche at 3 a.m.

A field recording from my Nuit Blanche wanderings. Marc De Pape has been involved with several interesting projects — perhaps most notably to music fans he was a member of Reverie Sound Revue. His OCAD thesis project is The Chime, "a collection of 18 sensors measuring 27 parameters assembled to poetically translate the impulses and flows of the everyday city into sound". How various physical environments translate into different sonic textures can be seen on the project's bandcamp page (which, it should be noted, works on its own as a rather lovely ambient album). For Nuit Blanche, the indoor environment was perhaps more static than some of the outside terrains on the album, but the constant flow of people in the room caused more than enough environmental variation (displayed on a screen overhead) for a satisfying musical experience.

Recording: Relay Studio

Artist: Relay Studio

Song: Stoke [late nuit excursion]

Recorded at The Great Hall, OCADU (Nuit Blanche), October 5, 2013.

Relay Studio - Stoke [late nuit excursion]

A field recording from my Nuit Blanche wanderings. I went out of my way to make sure I hit OCAD to check out The Chime, but stopped in to hang out with this for a good while first. Filling the expansive Great Hall with warm whirring white noise from speakers spread around the room's perimeter, there were no clear instructions on how to trigger changes in the sound, but the audience intuitively took to the platform in the middle of the room that vibrated with pulsating rumbles while colours danced on the strips of screen above them. I sat against a wall and just listened for a spell, and fifteen minutes very quickly went by.