Saturday, January 31, 2015

Recording: Slim Twig

Artist: Slim Twig

Songs: new song* + Widow, Were You Younger + Slim Twig - Black Country Rock [David Bowie cover]/unknown*

Recorded at The Silver Dollar Room, January 23, 2015.

Slim Twig - new song

Slim Twig - Widow, Were You Younger

Slim Twig - Black Country Rock/unknown

A big homecoming for Max Turnbull, ending a tour with his first "name" hometown show in a year to a nice, full house at the Silver Dollar. And with some validation in his back pocket, to boot, with NYC's DFA Records re-issuing 2012's A Hound at the Hem to a wider audience than it had previously enjoyed. Turnbull could have been embittered by the whole experience and local indifference but instead stayed positive, praising local indie Pleasence (who had helped get the album out originally) and reminding the crowd how much great music there is to be had in these parts.

As to what he was going to do to reproduce his most ornate album on stage, the answer turned out to be "not very much". Instead, fronting a new, heavy rock-action version of the Slim Twig band (including Simone T-B on drums, Meg Remy on keybs and Michael Rault on bass) he offered a set filled with mostly new material. The fact that two-thirds of that backing line-up overlap with his collaborative group Darlene Shrugg make it no surprise that they share some of the same impulses towards heavy-chugging psych-flavoured excursions. To get a taste of what was on offer, here's something new (and one, Turnbull declared, that wasn't even good enough to make the cut on the band's forthcoming album!), the one Hound cut that was essayed, and something from the set-ending cover segment.

* Does anyone know the titles to these? Please leave a comment!

Recording: Michael Rault

Artist: Michael Rault

Song: Too All My Friends

Recorded at The Silver Dollar Room, January 23, 2015.

Michael Rault - Too All My Friends

T.O.-via-Edmonton's Michael Rault (currently playing live at the front of a four-pice band) might have a hearty taste of that Burger Records sound when he rocks out, but some of the most satisfying moments in this set came when things slowed down. This slice of bellbottom soul (title sic) casts Rault as sonic kin to locals The Pinecones a bit more than to the snarling garage band of your choice.

[Rault will be playing a tour kick-off gig alongside Blonde Elvis, Sam Coffey & The Iron Lungs and BART at Johnny Jackson on Monday, March 2nd.]

Recording: Tasseomancy

Artist: Tasseomancy

Song: Blue Crystal Fire [Robbie Basho cover]

Recorded at The Silver Dollar Room, January 23, 2015.

Tasseomancy - Blue Crystal Fire

Playing as a trio sans keyboards, Tasseomancy kept their night-opening set at the shorter end, but still managed to conjure up the right mood as the mystical yin to the evening's glamrock yang. This Robbie Basho tune has been in their setlists for a little while now, and feels right at home next to their own material.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Recording: Nidus

Artist: Nidus

Song: [excerpt from an improvisation]

Recorded at Ratio, January 22, 2015.

Nidus - [excerpt from an improvisation]

A quick search online helpfully informs that a nidus is a "point or place at which something originates, accumulates, or develops," which sound intriguing, even if the remainder of the definition ("such as the center around which a tumour forms") is a bit darker. But it's fitting enough as this is a new partnership between Matthew Ramolo, Jason Doell, and Marc Couroux seems based on accumulating sounds and seeing what develops around them. The sonic tools do bring Ramolo's Khôra project to mind, but untethered from its rigourous internal architecture — in fact, the project is based more on improvisation than one might expect from a group with some ordered, compositional minds and relies heavily on creating a spacialized sound-field. In that regard, I'm unusually pleased with how this capture came out, with some nice, wide stereo separation, so I heartily recommend headphones for this one.

Recording: DUST

Artist: DUST

Song: [excerpt from an improvisation]

Recorded at Ratio, January 22, 2015.

DUST - [excerpt from an improvisation]

Ten members deep this night out, there was once again some of the intriguing quiet rustles that I had heard before from this wilfully-quiet improvisational big band. But this wonderful little atmospheric segment here managed to explore something a little different from what I'd heard them do before.

Recording: Tomasz Krawowiak & Holger Schoorl

Artist: Tomasz Krawowiak & Holger Schoorl

Song: [excerpt from an improvisation]

Recorded at Ratio, January 22, 2015.

Tomasz Krawowiak & Holger Schoorl - [excerpt from an improvisation]

In the lead-up to this duo set with percussionist Tomasz Krawowiak, Holger Schoorl wrote a twitter essay that'd probably capture the mood of the thing better than I could, so let's just quote his words: "It should be said to those who haven't hear[d] before him or myself or him and myself together that things can be pretty quiet. [...] In fact Tomasz hangs out perhaps too often in those practically inaudible areas of with fingertip drum rubbing. [...] It is true I play the guitar quietly. I was for some time and perhaps still am fond of Morton Feldman's music (and some other things) [...] Which lead me to enjoy listening to and making sounds that are hard to hear. This is actually quite nice: That listening to music would be a little harder, would require a little more cooperation from the audience, that one would be asked to do [...] More than merely show up. [...] That the music projects itself only so far into the space. [...] Forcing listeners to listen a little harder to make up for the lack of volume. An increased level of attention is therefore required."

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Recording: Weyes Blood

Artist: Weyes Blood

Song: Ashes

Recorded at Smiling Buddha, January 19, 2015.

Weyes Blood - Ashes

I was drawn to this show on the basis of the stellar contingent of local support acts, so I was surprised to find a packed house on a Monday night. Evidently NYC's Natalie Mering, who has just released her second album as Weyes Blood, has some buzz. I'd heard that she had a rep as a bracingly-spare, dark-edged folk minstrel, but here she led a backing trio that put her tunes in a bit more of a poppy light — mid-70's folk-rock AM gold, to be precise. Or, perhaps, in more current terms, something like Cate le Bon with the weirdness filtered out. Mering had the pipes (and the tunes) to pull it off without sounding merely pleasantly generic, and I was especially taken by this one, which flipped the dial over to the FM and let the groove take over a bit more.

Recording: Schønsee

Artist: Schønsee

Songs: [excerpt from an improvisation, in three parts]

Recorded at Smiling Buddha, January 19, 2015.

Schønsee - [excerpt, part 1]

Schønsee - [excerpt, part 2]

Schønsee - [excerpt, part 3]

I'd only caught bits'n'pieces of this collaboration between Ami Spears (ex-Ostrich Tuning) and Scarlett Rose, but perhaps the most telling was when they backed Surinam's Matt Mason to perform as Suicide at the Death to T.O. Hallowe'en show. Droney, dirty keyboard sounds are the main element here, used in the service of long-unfurling improvisations. Elegantly performed, with a confidence to not rush things, it's worth reproducing a good chunk of their set here. Not much (or anything?) in the way of a web presence yet, so you'll have to keep your eyes peeled for further gigs.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Recording: Meandering Streams of Consciousness

Artist: Meandering Streams of Consciousness

Song: [excerpt from first set]

Recorded at Array Space, January 16, 2015.

Meandering Streams of Consciousness - [excerpt from first set]

An intriguing night of sounds from this large ensemble, even if it didn't quite juggle all the elements it had attempted. The visual element, as well as the presence of convening pianist Avesta Nakhaei, were missed but what remained was still quite formidable. A contingent of Persian instruments (oud, tar, tombak) created opportunities for different sounds to inspire each other even if, as I overheard one audience member say, it was often more of a "polite conversation" than a rambunctious encounter. That mostly took the form of the oud and tar introducing a theme, which would slowly be picked up and elaborated by the rest of the players, before easing down for another round. It was a genuine treat to get a chance to see top-notch musicians from a different "scene" — hopefully there will be another chance for this whole thing to happen again. [The full ensemble on this night was: Manuel A. Morales (piano), Peter Lutek (basoon), Anoush Taba'i (clarinet), Chris Weatherstone (sax), Bea Labikova (sax), Reza Assasi (Azeri tar), Arsalan Alizadeh (oud), Kousha Nakhaei (violin), Rob Clutton (double bass), Alinima Madani (tombak and hand percussion)]

Recording: Michael Kaler and friends

Artist: Michael Kaler/Chris Wallace/Jamie Thompson / Michael Kaler/Jamie Thompson/Arnd Jurgensen / Michael Kaler/Enuma Flux/Aki Takahashi/Heidi Chan / Michael Kaler/Arnd Jurgensen/Enuma Flux/Aka Takahashi/Jamie Thompson/Heidi Chan

Songs: [excerpts from four improvised sets]

Recorded at Array Space ("Audiopollination #26"), January 13, 2015.

Michael Kaler, Chris Wallace, Jamie Thompson - [excerpt from first piece]

Michael Kaler, Jamie Thompson, Arnd Jurgensen - [second piece]

Michael Kaler, Enuma Flux, Aki Takahashi, Heidi Chan - [last section]

M. Kaler, A. Jurgensen, E. Flux, A. Takahashi, J. Thompson, H. Chan - [ending]

This night of "folky ethno-drone", saw four sets with a rotating series of musicians surrounding Michael Kaler, who played bouzouki and banjole. The guests included Chris Wallace (percussion) and Jamie Thompson (flute); Thompson and Arnd Jurgensen (marimachi); and Enuma Flux (percussion), Aki Takahashi (shamisen) and Heidi Chan (Chinese flutes) before bringing most of the above together for a big group finale. An interesting mix of sounds, mostly hewing towards gentle instrumental interplay and a particularly pleasing night overall.

[As always, you can revisit the whole of the night with the recordings over at Audiopollination's bandcamp page. The next Audiopollination night will be on Tuesday, February 10th and will feature the Element Choir.]

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Recording: Mark Segger Sextet

Artist: Mark Segger Sextet

Song: P.F.D.

Recorded at Array Space, January 12, 2015.

Mark Segger Sextet - P.F.D.

Before heading out west for a tour with the Kyle Brenders Quartet, Mark Segger took a few days to gather many of his T.O.-based projects together for a series of shows. I could only make this one, an hour-long set of compositions for his sextet, on which he drums and is joined by Rob Clutton (bass), Tania Gill (piano), Jim Lewis (trumpet), Peter Lutek (woodwinds) and Heather Segger (trombone). There was a bunch of newer material here, much of which (including "Wallpaper Music II" and "Only One Note") felt more "game"-based, executing a series of rules more than focusing on a tune (I could glimpse the score for the latter, and it looked like a page from someone's geometry homework). This one cuts the difference a little, going back and forth with darting little stabs (some of which came from Lutek alternating blats on clarinet and sax) before opening up a little toward the end.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Recording: Shahriyar Jamshidi + Raphael Weinroth-Browne

Artist: Shahriyar Jamshidi + Raphael Weinroth-Browne

Songs: [second piece, in three parts]

Recorded at Array Space ("Somewhere There Presents: The Second Sunday of January"), January 11, 2015.

Shahriyar Jamshidi + Raphael Weinroth-Browne - [second piece, part 1]

Shahriyar Jamshidi + Raphael Weinroth-Browne - [second piece, part 2]

Shahriyar Jamshidi + Raphael Weinroth-Browne - [second piece, part 3]

The initial pairing between Jamshidi and Weinroth-Browne on kamanche (Iranian bowed spike fiddle) and cello was one of my favourite musical moments of least year, so I was quite happy to see Somewhere There repeat the experiment. Unabashedly and unmodestly romantic, this was as emotive as it was technically satisfying. Working within the common ground they've found on their respective instruments, there seems to see a lot of space to explore. This second of two long improvisations they played is thus worth reproducing at length, though I broke it into sections for easier navigation.

Recording: Paul Newman

Artist: Paul Newman

Song: Oak*

Recorded at Array Space ("Somewhere There Presents: The Second Sunday of January"), January 11, 2015.

Paul Newman - Oak

A lovely set of continuous solo music from saxophonist Paul Newman. This section — with the long pauses between that five-note riff that slowly shrink as the melody mutates — seems to me like nothing less than the sound of a yearning heart.

* Thanks to Paul for passing along the title to this one.

Concert Listings Roundup #81

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.

Gigs of the week:

The Cluttertones [Ordinary Joy release party!] (Isla Craig / Brodie West) / Double Double Land 2015-01-31 (Saturday) [FB event]

The Cluttertones' Ordinary Joy is my first favourite album of 2015. Presenting "otherworldly chamber music" under the guidance of composer/bassist Rob Clutton, you're just not going to hear music like this anywhere else. Ryan Driver's analogue synth and Lina Allemano's trumpet work in a soundscape-evoking way you might also hear in the latter's Titanium Riot, but alongside Tim Posgate's banjo and guitar they're shaped into evocative miniatures, very much in the well-known spirit of wortlosegutesgefühlauseinemfensteraneinemkaltentag — that wordless feeling of warmth evoked by looking out a window on a cold day. Kudos for Healing Power for issuing this — it's at a bit of a right angle to their core "sound", but they're willing to make the effort for an album that I know they, too, are really excited about. (As a bonus, this release gig features opening solo sets from Isla Craig and Brodie West.)

Cluttertones - Webbed

#WL15/Pop-Up Show Series – Mechanical Forest Sound Presents: Ghostlight's The Winter Womb (Fifteen Wavelengths: An Ambient Suite) / Wavelength Pop Up Gallery @ Huntclub 2015-02-01 (Sunday) [more info]

Also on tap this week is a gig that — full disclosure — I had a hand in putting together. This night will see some experimental sounds take over Wavelength's pop-up galley at Huntclub Studios, with Ghostlight (the abstract/improvisational offspring of Mean Red Spiders) offering "a multimedia performance evoking the darkness of Arctic hysteria evolving into the midnight sun". The first half, meanwhile, will see a specially-chosen complement of top-notch players interpret "Fifteen Wavelengths: An Ambient Suite", a surround-sound piece created in honour of Wavelength's 15th anniversary. The music will be spontaneously composed by musicians responding to a series of fifteen synthesizer tones by Jonathan Adjemian. The goal of the slowly-unfolding improvisation is to create a musical Möbius strip, comforting and enveloping.

This week's noteworthy shows:

Dorian's Birthday Elvis Monday (feat. Triple Gangers / The Gordon Brothers / April Snow / "surprise guest") / The Drake Underground 2015-01-26 (Monday) [FB event]

Bedroom [analog synth/laptop/vibraphone grooves feat. Matthew Pencer/Josh Cole/Michael Davidson] with Phil Melanson / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2015-01-27 (Tuesday) [FB event]

Howl Canyon (Johnny Ferguson / The Super Darling) / Holy Oak Café 2015-01-28 (Wednesday) [FB event]

Kelly McMichael January Residency #4 (feat. Kelly McMichael & The Gloss / Terra Lightfoot / Dr Ew with Kelsey McNulty) / The Dakota Tavern 2015-01-28 (Wednesday) [FB event]

HPR TZAC Monthly (feat. Beard Closet / Hexzuul) / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2015-01-28 (Wednesday) [FB event]

#WL15/Pop-Up Show Series: Blevin Blechdom (Naw) / Wavelength Pop Up Gallery @ Huntclub 2015-01-29 (Thursday) [FB event]

Alex G (Teen Suicide / Deliluh) / Smiling Buddha 2015-01-29 (Thursday) [FB event]

Surrender heads [new project from Paul Linklater and Doug Friesen, featuring members of Ohmhouse and Badbadnotgood – first gig!] (Charlotte Cornfield / Brent Randall and the Turtledoves) / The Piston 2015-01-29 (Thursday) [FB event]

Beams [7" release party!] (Loon Choir / José Contreras) / The Horseshoe Tavern 2015-01-29 (Thursday) [FB event]

Keep It Local: A Night With Pleasence Records (feat. Man Made Hill) / Johnny Jackson 2015-01-29 (Thursday) [FB event]

The Ryan Driver Sextet / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2015-01-30 (Friday)

Emergents II (feat. Dan Fortin / Robin Dann + Claire Harvie) / The Music Gallery 2015-01-30 (Friday) [more info]

#WL15/Pop-Up Show Series: Ravetapez feat. boyBITCH (Allegories) / Wavelength Pop Up Gallery @ Huntclub 2015-01-30 (Friday) [FB event]

Absolutely Free [belated album release!] (U.S. Girls) / Geary Lane 2015-01-30 (Friday) [FB event]

The Class of 2015/#7 (feat. Pet Sun / NOBRO / Champion Lover / Several Futures / CANYUN) / The Silver Dollar Room 2015-01-30 (Friday) [FB event]

Pink Wine [7" Release Party!] (NASA Valley / Army Girls / Pony / Germaphobes [ex-Gay]) / Johnny Jackson 2015-01-30 (Friday) [FB event]

Gemini Twelve (Datura Daydream / Village / Watershed Hour) / Cameron House 2015-01-30 (Friday) [FB event]

TWM/iM (feat. Christian Hansen / Dream Jefferson / BamBoo) / Gladstone Hotel 2015-01-30 (Friday) [FB event]

Owen Pallett (Foxes in Fiction) / Lee's Palace 2015-01-31 (Saturday — matinée! all ages!) [more info]

IMBOLC: A Celebration of the Midpoint (feat. New Chance / Andrea Gerhardt / Blunt Chunks / Zoë Alexis Abrams / Tanya Golden / Doomsquad / Wende Bartley) / Algonquin Island 2015-01-31 (Saturday) [more info]

Blunt Chunks / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2015-01-31 (Saturday)

Viet Cong (Crosss) / The Garrison 2015-01-31 (Saturday) [FB event]

Wavelength 638 & The 8 Fest: "A New Place to Dwell" (feat. Fresh Snow / Mimico) / SPK Polish Combatants Hall 2015-01-31 (Saturday) [FB event]

catl (Invasions / Bella Clava / The Cool Hands) / The Horseshoe Tavern 2015-01-31 (Saturday) [FB event]

No Angels Dancing / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2015-02-01 (Sunday – matinée! 1 to 3 p.m.!)

#WL15/Wavelength Talk Series: General Chaos Visuals Workshop / Wavelength Pop Up Gallery @ Huntclub 2015-02-01 (Sunday – 3 p.m., free!) [more info]

Eucalyptus Sundays (feat. Eucalyptus) / Hirut Restaurant 2015-02-01 (Sunday – 7 to 9 p.m. Tasty Ethiopian cuisine available, but you're not obliged) [FB event]

Lisa Bozikovic (LUKA / Strands [Jasmyn from Weaves]) / Holy Oak Café 2015-02-01 (Sunday) [more info]

Nite Comfort 18 (feat. Dirty Inputs / HRRR) / Handlebar 2015-02-01 (Sunday) [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!

Spectrum Music: Starry Night [with kick-ass ensemble feat. Lina Allemano/Jim Lewis/Heather Segger/Tom Richards/Aline Homzy/Matthew Roberts] / Alliance Française de Toronto 2015-02-07 (Friday) [FB event]

Eucalyptus Sundays (feat. Eucalyptus) / Hirut Restaurant 2015-02-08 (Sunday – 7 to 9 p.m. Tasty Ethiopian cuisine available, but you're not obliged) [FB event]

Wavelength 646: Wavelength 15 Festival Pre-party (feat. Speedy Ortiz / HSY / WISH) / The Garrison 2015-02-12 (Thursday) [FB event]

Long Winter – Year Three, Volume Four: Long Winter Fair (feat. Bruce Peninsula / Choir! Choir! Choir! / L I D S / Sea Oleena / HUSH PUP / STACEY / The Cybertronic Spree / Crosss / Tio / Darlene Shrugg / Programm / Lobby / the beverleys / DEAD TIRED / Mekele / Spots / Eucalyptus / Gingy & Peach & Ryan Pierre + dance/performance/Outdoor Street Fair) / The Great Hall + 99 Sudbury + The Theatre Centre 2015-02-13 (Friday) [FB event]

Spiritual Songs of Africa (feat. Blandine Mbiya / Jeli Katenen 'Cheka' Dioubate / Ruth Mathiang / Evelyn Mukwedeya / Memory Makuri / Netsanet Mellesse / Frederica Ackah + an all-star band!) / Alliance Française de Toronto 2015-02-14 (Saturday) [FB event]

Toronto Homicide Squad [Birthday Bash and final show!] (Stüka) / June Records 2015-02-15 (Sunday – 5:30 p.m.! free!) [more info]

Eucalyptus Sundays (feat. Eucalyptus) / Hirut Restaurant 2015-02-15 (Sunday – 7 to 9 p.m. Tasty Ethiopian cuisine available, but you're not obliged) [FB event]

Pow Wows [LP Release!] (Towers / King Creep / Wave Of Terror) / The Silver Dollar Room 2015-02-20 (Saturday) [more info]

Eucalyptus Sundays (feat. Eucalyptus) / Hirut Restaurant 2015-02-22 (Sunday – 7 to 9 p.m. Tasty Ethiopian cuisine available, but you're not obliged) [FB event]

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Recording: VOTIIV

Artist: VOTIIV

Song: All to Take

Recorded at The Great Hall's Conversation Room ("Long Winter: Year Three, Volume Three"), January 9, 2015.

VOTIIV - All to Take

This new-ish duo sees vocalist Kat Duma joined by Cam Findlay, who turns up his pretty hate machines for some new late-night sounds. This doesn't have the same sense of menace that Findlay's Kontravoid project asserted in its best moments, but there is a dark, goth-y identity emerging here — some hints of the mood being evoked can be gleaned from their projections, which looked at times like concept art from a Clive Barker adaptation.