Monday, February 19, 2018

Concert Listings Roundup #238

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:

Somewhere There Creative Music Festival (feat. John Oswald [talk] / Divergence Trio [Emily Denison/Susanna Hood/Scott Thomson] / So Long Seven) / The Tranzac (Main Hall) 2018-02-23 (Friday) [more info]

Somewhere There Creative Music Festival: Composing for Improvisors [works by: Brian Abbott, Bea Labikova, Zach Clark] (feat. Brian Abbott/Zach Clark/Bea Labikova/Kayla Milmine/Cheryl O/Heather Saumer/Joe Sorbara/Kristen Theriault/Laura Swankey) / The Tranzac (Main Hall) 2018-02-24 (Saturday – matinée!) [more info]

Somewhere There Creative Music Festival: Circuits Bending Frames ["an evening of film and video by Laurie Kwasnik"] (feat. Jonathan Adjemian/Ryan Driver/Christine Duncan/Paul Dutton/Tiina Kiik/Laurie Kwasnik/Mani Mazinani/Wes Neal/John Oswald/SlowPitchSound/Laura Swankey) / The Tranzac (Main Hall) 2018-02-24 (Saturday) [more info]

Somewhere There Creative Music Festival [open rehearsal + performance!] (feat. Trombone Quartet [Tom Richards/Heather Saumer/Doug Tielli/Nebyu Yohannes]) / The Tranzac (Main Hall) 2018-02-25 (Sunday – matinée!) [more info]

Somewhere There Creative Music Festival (feat. Luan Phung Quintet [Luan Phung/Julian Anderson-Bowes/Matthew Chalmers/James Hill/Chris Rennie] / Heraclitus Akimbo / Holger Schoorl Ensemble [Holger Schoorl/Jonnie Bakan/Chantal Cornu/Emily Denison/Bea Labikiova/Paul Newman/Patrick O'Reilly/Heather Saumer) / The Tranzac (Main Hall) 2018-02-25 (Sunday) [more info]

Now in its sixth year, the Somewhere There Creative Music Festival remains a one of my favourite events of the year, a jam-packed weekend of music and community filling up The Tranzac from Friday to Sunday. As interested in musical process as "results", regular performances are given equal billing to talks, discussions and open rehearsals. (The latter are at the centre of two afternoon events on Saturday and Sunday.) The whole thing leads off with a talk (or an "observational improvisation") from John Oswald on Friday, and from there, there's a full-on rush of good music. Absolutely recommended for anyone who wants to dip a toe into the fertile overlapping local creative music scenes.


This week's noteworthy shows:

Giant Hand (Blunt Chunks / Nick Ferrio) / Burdock Music Hall 2018-02-20 (Tuesday) [FB event]

Notes from Home [works by Jason Doell, Monica Pearce, Cecilia Livingston] (feat. TorQ Percussion Quartet) / The Tranzac (Main Hall) 2018-02-20 (Tuesday) [FB event]

Phil Melanson/Allison Cameron/Christopher Willes / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2018-02-17 (Wednesday – early!) [FB event]

Josh Cole Quintet / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2018-02-17 (Wednesday) [FB event]

The Jessica Stuart Few [new monthly music series!] (Delta Will's Chamber Folk Experience) / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2018-02-22 (Thursday – extra early timeslot, 5 to 7 p.m.!) [FB event]

Stereoscope / Canadian Music Centre 2018-02-22 (Thursday – early show @ 5:30 p.m.!) [FB event]

Uxvae (New Tendencies / Johan Seaton / Bachalard) / The Baby G 2018-02-22 (Thursday) [FB event]

S L V G (OBUXUM / CY.) / Handlebar 2018-02-22 (Thursday – PWYC!) [FB event]

The Music Gallery presents: Voice Pieces (feat. The Element Choir / Lillian Allen / AMALIA) / Gardiner Museum 2018-02-23 (Friday) [FB event]

Beams [LP release!] (catl. / L CON) / Smiling Buddha 2018-02-23 (Friday) [FB event]

Audiopollination presents Spirit of the Inner Child 2 (feat. Allison Cameron / Bea Labikova / Del Stephen / Jeff Sinibaldi / Julian / Mira Martin-Gray / Simone Baron / Tomasz Krakowiak) / Array Space 2018-02-23 (Friday) [FB event]

Ronley Teper's Lipliners [last Saturday of the month residency + album release celebration!] / The Baby G 2018-02-24 (Saturday) [FB event]

North Atlantic Drift (Clara Engel / Snake Church) / The Dupe Shop 2018-02-24N.B. re-rescheduled to March 23rd! [FB event]

ZOO OWL [single release!] (Bad Passion / Cherry Blaster) / Handlebar 2018-02-24 (Saturday) [FB event]

Long Winter 6.4 (feat. Brenda / KYLO / Ziibiwan / Casey MQ / Dre Ngozi / NOYFB / Macbeth II) / Workman Arts 2018-02-24 (Saturday – all ages! PWYC!) [FB event]

Batuki Music Society presents: Black History Month (feat. Kaia Kater / Waleed Kush African Jazz Ensemble with special guest Ruth Mathiang) / Aga Khan Museum 2018-02-24 (Saturday) [FB event]

Bloodshot Bill (The Hiccups) / Monarch Tavern 2018-02-24 (Saturday) [FB event]

Toronto Improvisors Orchestra celebrates Sam Newsome (feat. Sam Newsome/Karen Ng/Rod Campbell/Bill McBurnie/Laura Swankey/Brian Abbott/Ryan Kinney/Michael Lynn/Rob Clutton/Arnd Jurgensen/Hooley McLaughlin/Bill Gilliam/Matt Ozzy/Ambrose Pottie/Raphael Roter/David Story/James Bailey) / Array Space 2018-02-25 (Sunday) [FB event]

Not The Wind, Not The Flag with Nilan Perera / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2018-02-25 (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!

Riverrun / The Emmet Ray 2018-02-26 (Monday) [FB event]

Better Person (LUKA) / The Baby G 2018-02-28 (Wednesday) [FB event]

Bellwether4 / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2018-02-28 (Wednesday) [FB event]

Crystal Hibernations #4 (feat. Clara Engel / Uxvae / As Above|So Below) / The Tranzac (Tiki Room) 2018-03-01 (Thursday) [FB event]

Helena Deland (Yi / Baby Cages / Falcon Jane) / Smiling Buddha 2018-03-03 (Saturday) [FB event]

Art of the Uncarved Block [winter compilation release!] (feat. Triples / Low Sun / Chris / Stresser) / The Dupe Shop 2018-03-03 (Saturday) [FB event]

Nite Comfort 54 (feat. Chanteclair / Hymns57) / Handlebar 2018-03-04 (Sunday – PWYC!) [FB event]

The Mike Smith Company / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2018-03-06 (Tuesday – early!) [FB event]

Track Could Bend #36 (feat. Horseman, Pass By / Kee Avila / Kayla Milmine / Brian Ruryk & Justin Haynes) / Belljar Café 2018-03-06 (Tuesday – PWYC!) [FB event]

SlowPitchSound (Myst Milano / Charise Aragoza) / Handlebar 2018-03-08 (Thursday) [FB event]

B-17 (Day Trip / Portland TV / Bad Buzz / Nikki Fierce) / The Horseshoe Tavern 2018-03-16 (Friday) [FB event]

Rat-drifting 5 [afternoon workshop + evening concert!] (feat. iNSIDEaMIND) / Array Space 2018-03-17 (Saturday) [FB event]

Wavelength 750 (feat. Pick A Piper / joasihno / Ben Oginz) / Gladstone Hotel (Melody Bar) 2018-03-18 (Sunday) [FB event]

HEX [Miss Pristine album release!] / Monarch Tavern 2018-03-23 (Friday – all ages!) [FB event]

Prom Nite (Pucumber Sasssquash Family Band / Retired) / Faith/Void 2018-03-29 (Thursday) [FB event]

The Music Gallery presents Emergents III:The Music of Ken Aldcroft (feat. Daniel Kruger / Karen Ng / Emily Denison / Andrew Furlong / Mark Zurawinski) / 918 Bathurst 2018-04-06 (Friday) [FB event]

PONY (Boat Culture / Rapport) / Smiling Buddha 2018-04-06 (Friday) [FB event]


Bandcamp corner:

The indefatigable Neal D. Retke, who preforms as {AN} Eel, is a frequent connector of artists and audiences in virtual space through his various compilation projects which carry on the spirit of the pre-internet underground cassette music community. Two of his collections, each with an eclectic mix of sounds, emerged this past week, and both are worth checking out:

  • Two Halves Volume Three is part of "a series of duets that were 'assigned' by {AN} Eel, after which participants detailed their own working methods... The collaborators have, for the most part, not worked directly with each other before & were chosen & paired by {AN} EeL."
  • Meanwhile, CanNed DaDa: Vol. 1 is an overview of Retke's adopted homeland as he sees it, with all new CanCon tracks as well as solicited "duet or larger group ensemble pieces" reconstructed by him from "stems" or fragments sent in by artists.

[full disclosure: in my Heraclitus Akimbo guise, I am involved as an artist in both of these compilations.]

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Recording: Mike Gennaro & Jay Hay

Artist: Mike Gennaro & Jay Hay

Song: [excerpt from long piece, in two parts]

Recorded at The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), January 24, 2018.

Mike Gennaro & Jay Hay - [excerpt from long piece, part 1]

Mike Gennaro & Jay Hay - [excerpt from long piece, part 2]

Ah — a good, clean blast of volume of clear out the engine valves is sometimes just the thing. As always, Mike Gennaro was ready to gallop, barely pausing to re-collect straying bits of the drumkit, while Jay Hay provided power-blasts on his variety of reeds, including bass clarinet and tenor and baritone saxophones. (It's the latter that's heard in this extract.)

Friday, February 16, 2018

Recording: Octopus Curls

Artist: Octopus Curls

Songs: [two pieces]

Recorded at The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), January 24, 2018.

Octopus Curls - [1st set, 2nd piece]

Octopus Curls - [2nd set, 1st piece (excerpt)]

Several tentacles of Allison Cameron's undersea empire are entangled here with these five musicians representing an amalgamation of c_RL, No Octopus Dances, Octopus, and Quadruped. That allowed for quick sonic shifts in moods pulled from the overlapping musical vocabularies of Mark Zurawinski (quiet shaking), Allison Cameron (siren oscillating), Stephen Parkinson (skritchy scratching), Nicole Rampersaud (bumblebee feedback) and Germaine Liu (drumstick skiffle).

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Recording: Michael Bridge

Artist: Michael Bridge

Song: Mosafer [composer: Nastaran Pouladzadeh]

Recorded at the Canadian Music Centre, January 24, 2018.

Michael Bridge - Mosafer

This intriguing collaboration saw local accordionist Michael Bridge tackle a series of new pieces pulled together from a worldwide call for scores made by the Iranian-Canadian Composers of Toronto. Besides pieces from Spain, Cyprus, Brazil and Mexico, a couple local composers were also represented, including a revised solo version of a piece for accordion and string quartet by Pouya Hamidi plus this electroacoustic work (based on a poem by Sohrab Sepehri) by Nastaran Pouladzadeh. Bridge is earning a reputation as a virtuoso on his instrument, and these works, filled with extended techniques, gave him a chance to show that off.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Recording: Meeks/Liu/Krakowiak

Artist: D. Alex Meeks/Germaine Liu/Tomasz Krakowiak

Songs: [three excerpts]

Recorded at Array Space (Audiopollination 58), January 21, 2018.

D. Alex Meeks/Germaine Liu/Tomasz Krakowiak - [excerpt 1 from first piece]

D. Alex Meeks/Germaine Liu/Tomasz Krakowiak - [excerpt 2 from first piece]

D. Alex Meeks/Germaine Liu/Tomasz Krakowiak - [excerpt from second piece]

The night finished with this spectacular set, in part a celebration of the recent return of drummer D. Alex Meeks to the city's creative music circles. A percussion trio that was as much about tiny gestures as forceful thwacks, this worked up from a quiet rustling to something else entirely, with Tomasz Krakowiak hunched over his single large snare, Germaine Liu bowing and tapping at her vibes and D. Alex Meeks working out some algorithms behind a full kit. What a treat it is to hear these three musicians in action!

Michael Lynn captured this whole night in black and white, so you can view the full set over on youtube:

[Audiopollination returns with the second Del Stephen-curated "Spirit of the Inner Child" show on Friday, February 23rd with spontaneous recombinative sets from Allison Cameron, Bea Labikova, Del Stephen, Jeff Sinibaldi, Julian, Mira Martin-Gray, Simone Baron and Tomasz Krakowiak. The next "self-curated" Audiopollination will be on Saturday, March 10th.]

Recording: Heraclitus Akimbo/Alex Fournier/Del Stephen

Artist: Heraclitus Akimbo/Alex Fournier/Del Stephen

Song: [last section]

Recorded at Array Space (Audiopollination 58), January 21, 2018.

Heraclitus Akimbo/Alex Fournier/Del Stephen - [last section]

This was my first time, in my alter ego of Heraclitus Akimbo, taking my old farmer's accordion out in public. It was generally used in the same way I deploy my keyboards, as a sound source to loop and drone — but with the added bonus that I could then tear off my contact mics and stroll around a little while playing. Hopefully all of that didn't distract too much from Del Stephen's pitch-shifted poetics and percussive potpourri and Alex Fournier holding down the centre on double bass.

Michael Lynn captured this whole night in black and white, so you can view the full set over on youtube:

[Audiopollination returns with the second Del Stephen-curated "Spirit of the Inner Child" show on Friday, February 23rd with spontaneous recombinative sets from Allison Cameron, Bea Labikova, Del Stephen, Jeff Sinibaldi, Julian, Mira Martin-Gray, Simone Baron and Tomasz Krakowiak. The next "self-curated" Audiopollination will be on Saturday, March 10th. Del Stephen will also be exploring some experimental pop "New Moon Sounds" tomorrow night (February 15th) alongside Barbarosa and Moonfox at the Junction City Music Hall. Heraclitus Akimbo will be performing a solo set at the Somewhere There Festival on February 25th, in the Sunday evening show.]

Recording: Lane Halley & Alex Whyte

Artist: Lane Halley & Alex Whyte

Song: [excerpt]

Recorded at Array Space (Audiopollination 58), January 21, 2018.

Lane Halley & Alex Whyte - [excerpt]

There were some different faces, including a couple rock'n'roll ringers at this edition of Audiopollination's "self-curated" series. Guitarist Lane Halley is most often seen with the likes of Hooded Fang and Bart, but has recently been pushing in some newer directions. There was heaps of room to explore in this duo set with trombonist Alex White, with plenty restrained swells and muted lamentations.

Michael Lynn captured this whole night in black and white, so you can view the full set over on youtube:

[Audiopollination returns with the second Del Stephen-curated "Spirit of the Inner Child" show on Friday, February 23rd with spontaneous recombinative sets from Allison Cameron, Bea Labikova, Del Stephen, Jeff Sinibaldi, Julian, Mira Martin-Gray, Simone Baron and Tomasz Krakowiak. The next "self-curated" Audiopollination will be on Saturday, March 10th.]

Recording: Laderoute/Urquhart/Story

Artist: Jesse Laderoute/Ashley Urquhart/David Story

Song: [last section]

Recorded at Array Space (Audiopollination 58), January 21, 2018.

Jesse Laderoute/Ashley Urquhart/David Story - [last section]

There were some different faces, including a couple rock'n'roll ringers at this edition of Audiopollination's "self-curated" series. Though best known for his work with Blonde Elvis (and assorted other projects) Jesse Laderoute is no stranger to improvisation. That said, he helped to start this night off with some volume, shredding away and opening a space for Ashley Urquhart and David Story to get loud in their own ways — the former leaning into the piano to hammer at the strings while the latter eased into a ferocious triangle solo (!). Things then settled into this section of coiled tension, unresolved like the middle part of a Necks piece.

Michael Lynn captured this whole night in black and white, so you can view the full set over on youtube:

[Audiopollination returns with the second Del Stephen-curated "Spirit of the Inner Child" show on Friday, February 23rd with spontaneous recombinative sets from Allison Cameron, Bea Labikova, Del Stephen, Jeff Sinibaldi, Julian, Mira Martin-Gray, Simone Baron and Tomasz Krakowiak. The next "self-curated" Audiopollination will be on Saturday, March 10th.]

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Recording: Andre Ethier

Artist: Andre Ethier

Songs: Banana Grove + Parallel Highways

Recorded at The Baby G, January 19, 2018.

Andre Ethier - Banana Grove

Andre Ethier - Parallel Highways

After nearly a decade without a new album from Andre Ethier, there was a lot of anticipation for the release of Under Grape Leaves (put out by Telephone Explosion) and a full room for this release celebration. Holding the room's attention in a set that hewed to the quieter side, the focused selection featured a lot of the new tracks as well as a few of his older mellow groovers. Ethier was backed by Paul Mortimer on guit and and Nick Kervin on drums throughout with Joseph Shabason's flute and sax touches as the only guest appearance. Visual art has been Ethier's main focus for the past while (and this album corresponded with a show of new paintings) so it remains to be seen if there'll be a quicker musical follow-up this time 'round.

Recording: Joseph Shabason

Artist: Joseph Shabason

Song: Long Swim

Recorded at The Baby G, January 19, 2018.

Joseph Shabason - Long Swim

Joseph Shabason, who'd also show up later this night in Andre Ethier's headlining set, opened the evening with a few of the deliciously-textured tunes from his Aytche album. There was a more streamlined band this time out with just Phil Melanson (drums), Thom Gill (synth) and Bram Gielen (bass) on hand — and this opening piece actually sees Shabason in near-solo mode, with just a few accents from Melanson emerging on stage near its end.

[Promising a "6 piece band and a bunch of new chunes", Joseph Shabason plays the Wavelength Winter Festival at The Garrison on Sunday February 18th, alongside Buke and Gase, Omhouse, Fusilier and You'll Never Get to Heaven.]

Monday, February 12, 2018

Concert Listings Roundup #237

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:

Wavelength Winter Festival 18 (feat. MI Blue / Bossie / OBUXUM / Plazas) / The Garrison 2018-02-16 (Friday) [FB event]

Wavelength Winter Festival 18 (feat. Odonis Odonis / Freak Heat Waves / Tough Age / Kurt Marble / Luge) / The Garrison 2018-02-17 (Saturday) [FB event]

Wavelength Winter Festival 18 (feat. Buke and Gase / Omhouse / Fusilier / You'll Never Get to Heaven / Joseph Shabason) / The Garrison 2018-02-18 (Sunday) [FB event]

Wavelength's annual family day weekend celebration returns to celebrate the series' 18th anniversary. The programming is a bit more focused this time 'round, with three nights at The Garrison and no scheduled daytime activities. There's some bunching together to make almost-theme nights, such as Friday's focus on electro-grooves and a proper Saturday Night rock vibe, but there's a good mix of stuff throughout the weekend — and as always, for a certain segment of T.O.'s show-going population, it'll be a bit like a class reunion, with old friends a-plenty to catch up with.


This week's noteworthy shows:

Ornate Ornette (feat. Andrew Furlong/Alexei Orechin/Germaine Liu/Nelson Moneo) / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2018-02-13 (Tuesday – early!) [FB event]

Operator Music Band (Miles Francis / Rapport / Camp Girls) / The Baby G 2018-02-13 (Tuesday) [FB event]

Wingtips (Sahara / p0st3rb0y) / Nocturne 2018-02-14 (Wednesday) [FB event]

Music By & For Ken Aldcroft XIV (feat. Dave Clark [solo] / Dave Clark/Tania Gill/Karen Ng/Tom Richards) / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2018-02-14 (Wednesday) [FB event]

Delusions of Grandeur (Sea Beau Band) / Burdock Music Hall 2018-02-15 (Thursday) [FB event]

The Ethnic Heritage Ensemble [Kahil El'Zabar/Corey Wilkes/Alex Harding] [45th Anniversary Tour!] / Remix 2018-02-16 (Friday) [more info]

John Kameel Farah / Redwood Theatre 2018-02-16 (Friday) [FB event]

Lido Pimienta / The Drake Underground 2018-02-16–2018-02-17 (Friday–Saturday) [FB event]

Momentary: solo music for Kamanche (feat. Shahriyar Jamshidi) / Canadian Music Centre 2018-02-17 (Saturday – early show @ 5 p.m.!) [FB event]

Bile Sister (wearenotwhoweare / Mazola / Slurry / Walls Are Blonde) / Owl's Club 2018-02-17 (Saturday) [FB event]

Rat-drifting 4 (feat. Marla Hlady / Christof Migone) / Array Space 2018-02-17 (Saturday) [FB event]

Solo sets (feat. Matthew Daher / Karen Ng / Andrew Furlong / Laura Swankey) / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2018-02-17 (Saturday) [FB event]

Somewhere There Presents (feat. Astrosurf) / The Emmet Ray 2018-02-18 (Saturday) [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!

The Jessica Stuart Few [new monthly music series!] (Delta Will's Chamber Folk Experience) / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2018-02-22 (Thursday – extra early timeslot, 5 to 7 p.m.!) [FB event]

Audiopollination presents Spirit of the Inner Child 2 (feat. Allison Cameron / Bea Labikova / Del Stephen / Jeff Sinibaldi / Julian / Mira Martin-Gray / Simone Baron / Tomasz Krakowiak) / Array Space 2018-02-23 (Friday) [FB event]

Batuki Music Society presents: Black History Month (feat. Kaia Kater / Waleed Kush African Jazz Ensemble with special guest Ruth Mathiang) / Aga Khan Museum 2018-02-24 (Saturday) [FB event]

Bloodshot Bill (The Hiccups) / Monarch Tavern 2018-02-24 (Saturday) [FB event]

Not The Wind, Not The Flag with Nilan Perera / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2018-02-25 (Sunday) [FB event]

Man Made Hill [Fingertip Pleasence Records release show!] (Corpusse / New Chance / ZOË) / The Baby G 2018-03-03 (Saturday) [FB event]

A Celebration of the Music of Ken Aldcroft (feat. Two Hours Early, Ten Minutes Late [Jason Robinson & Eric Hofbauer] / Mars People [Emily Denison/Daniel Kruger/Joe Sorbara]) / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2018-03-10 (Saturday) [FB event]

Burn Down the Capital presents (feat. Nick Millevoi's Desertion / Mimico / The Litch / Colin Fisher & Victor Cirone) / The Baby G 2018-03-17 (Saturday) [FB event]

Quiet Bedrooms: QB7 (feat. Forest Management / Philippe Vandal / Brigitte Bardon't + Hexzuul / Dame Cook) / D D L 2018-03-24 (Saturday) [FB event]

Bernice (Erica Eso / Tryal) / The Baby G 2018-03-27 (Tuesday) [FB event]

Dany Laj and the Looks / The Dakota Tavern 2018-04-25 (Wednesday — early show, 7 to 9 p.m.!) [FB event]

Anagram [special reunion show!] / Owl's Club 2018-05-25 (Friday) [FB event]


Community corner:

Thursday night sees not one but two very compelling panel discussions on tap, both of which promise to be provocative and entertaining.

  • As a prelude to the #WL18 Festival starting the next night, Wavelength is presenting "Beyond the Core" at the Gladstone Hotel's ballroom, looking at the opportunity side of the current crisis that's rendering the downtown increasingly unaffordable for culture-makers — and possibly drawing them closer to the incredibly diverse but under-the-radar culture production that's already taking place in the inner suburbs. It's at 7 p.m., free to all and features a pre-panel live performance by Just John.
  • Meanwhile, the Music Gallery's History Series continues with "Creative Music on Campus Radio", looking at the entangled relationship of local community/university radio stations and the local creative music scenes. The panellists are all radio heads with the gift of the gab, so expect some compelling stories to be unspun. Free + open to all, starts at six o'olock in the Hart House map Room at U of T.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Recording: Kamancello

Artist: Kamancello

Song: [set 2, 2nd piece]

Recorded at Burdock Music Hall, January 17, 2018.

Kamancello - [set 2, 2nd piece, part 1]

Kamancello - [set 2, 2nd piece, part 2]

Having been following this duo from before they had a name, it's been rather pleasing to see the partnership of Shahriyar Jamshidi and Raphael Weinroth-Browne flourish, now with an album to their credit. Mixing Jamshidi's kamanche (an Iranian bowed spike fiddle) with Weinroth-Browne's cello, there's a tangible chemistry here, leaving audience members shocked that all of this music was spontaneously composed, with Jamshidi finding plenty of nooks and crannies to explore while Weinroth-Browne moves from heavy metal shredding to lush romanticism.

[Shahriyar Jamshidi will be playing a set of solo kamanche at the Canadian Music Centre on Saturday, February 17th — an early show starting at 5 o'clock!]

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Recording: U of T Chainsaw Ensemble

Artist: University of Toronto Chainsaw Ensemble

Composition: Poème symphonique [excerpt] [composer: György Ligeti]

Recorded at the U of T Faculty of Music (Lobby), January 17, 2018.

University of Toronto Chainsaw Ensemble - Poème symphonique [excerpt]

Unlike its percussion and saxophone counterparts, so far as I know this student ensemble does not wield any actual chainsaws. (Prove me wrong, kids. Prove me wrong.) But under the guidance of Greg Oh they are exploring "Experimental Contemporary Techno-rhythms", including this notorious Ligeti piece written under the influence of (or possibly as a satire of) the fluxus movement. It directs the ensemble to set up no less than one hundred mechanical metronomes, start them up as close to simultaneously as possible, and then wait for the whole thing to wind down.

Like any live performance, this execution was subject to variation and the inspiring possibility of error, so this took a turn for the amusing/transcendent in the endgame when, after ninety-nine metronomes had wound down, the final one kept on tickin', forestalling the end of the piece until its twenty-plus minute solo had ended. (Closer examination after the fact seemed to point to that metronome being double-wound.) The quietly-percussive textures were similar to the sound of a rock tumbler or microwave popcorn, becoming strangely-compelling as that last wand kept ticking and ticking, drawing in some of the more committed witnesses and earning bemused reactions from passers-by — and revealing a playful, social layer underlying the piece's musical conception. This excerpt (trailing off on the approach to that long finish) is very much a field recording, meaning there's plenty of background conversational murmurations and other general to-ing and fro-ing in the cavernous music building lobby.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Recording: Marker Starling

Artist: Marker Starling - I'll Be Around

Songs: I'll Be Around [The Spinners cover] + Shadows and Counterparts

Recorded at The Tranzac (Main Hall), January 13, 2018.

Marker Starling - I'll Be Around

Marker Starling - Shadows and Counterparts

Chris Cummings' artistic ascendance continues with the release of his new Anchors & Ampersands album. Like its predecessor, a lot of the achievement here is in the selection of materials and the arrangements, but whereas I'm Willing fits into the classic "covers album" mould, its new companion is something more akin to a self-reappraisal, with several reduxed versions of older songs, now presented in all their widescreen glory with lusher arrangements and more confident vocals.

As in the past, Cummings returned to The Tranzac's Main Hall to use the floor to accommodate an extra-large ensemble — there were no fewer than sixteen musicians throughout the night (if I was able to keep track correctly!) with up to fourteen of them on stage at once. That meant augmenting the core unit (of Jay Anderson, Matt McLaren and Andrew Scott) with lush backing vocals (from Robin Dann, Ben Gunning and Alex Samaras, as well as special guests Ryan Driver and album producer Zack G) and a horn section (Jay Hay, Jeremy Strachan, Lina Allemano). And then to complete the spectacle, the members of opening band Bunny joined in for the set's last songs. All told, a worthy celebration of one of the city's best songwriters — and now with his back pages thoroughly re-examined, it's exciting to anticipate what's going to come next.

Recording: Bunny

Artist: Bunny

Songs: One Less Heart + Fat City (feat. Marker Starling)

Recorded at The Tranzac (Main Hall), January 13, 2018.

Bunny - One Less Heart

Bunny feat. Marker Starling - Fat City

I'd missed the release party for Bunny's superb self-titled album, so I was glad to see them reprising their role as openers at another Marker Starling release. There was a slightly-reshuffled lineup behind Drew Smith and the anchoring rhythm section of Jay Anderson and Andrew Scott with Lane Halley (Hooded Fang, Bart) sitting in on guitar as well as a now-rare Dan Werb sighting behind the keybs (although he did, indeed, play a lot of the keybs on the album). There was a tasty selection of material from the new album, and to close things out, Chris Cummings (another of the album's guest performers) came out to sing this new one to which he'd provided lyrics inspired, I'm given to understand, by the John Huston film.