Monday, August 18, 2014

Concert Listings Roundup #58

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:

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

An Optical Sounds party is always a special occasion, but this one even more with the long-awaited visit from a couple psych-allies from south of the border. The home side is represented by two fab units as well. This is very much the sort of thing you should willingly head down a darkened alley to investigate.


This week's noteworthy shows:

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

Burning Love (Coliseum / Nice Head) / The Silver Dollar Room 2014-08-19 (Tuesday) [FB event]

Harley Card Trio feat. Alex Samaras / Holy Oak Café 2014-08-21 (Thursday) [more info]

Julie Doiron & The Wooden Stars / The Horseshoe Tavern 2014-08-21 (Thursday) [more info]

Zvi + Isa Christ + Cetacea + Glass Towers + Painted Faces / Ratio 2014-08-22 (Friday) [FB event]

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

Construction Vol. 7 (feat. Moon King / Whimm / Paradise Animals) / Double Double Land 2014-08-22 (Friday) [more info]

Vague (Flowers Of Hell / The Two Koreas) / Junction City Music Hall 2014-08-22 (Friday) [FB event]

CoexisDance 65 [dance + improvised music] / Majlis Art Garden 2014-08-23 (Saturday – outside show!) [FB event]

Sacred Lamp [Ayal Senior + Doc Dunn: "duo aktion with special guests"] (Doc Dunn solo set, "celebrating '3' new interweaving tape releases on Medusa Editions") / Grasshopper Records 2014-08-24 (Sunday – afternoon in-store!) [FB event]


Add these to your calendar:

Vera Brim [formerly Buffalo MRI] (Tarpit / Father Dust / Fleshtone Aura) / Ratio 2014-08-27 (Wednesday) [FB event]

Ramonathon [20 bands playing 3 Ramones songs each! All Proceeds to Girls Rock Camp Toronto!] / The Garrison 2014-08-30 (Sunday) [FB event]

The Muted Note [Choreography: Susanna Hood / Music: Scott Thomson / Poet: P.K. Page] / The Citadel 2014-09-05–2014-09-07 (Friday–Sunday) [more info]

Wavelength 614: WL Island Show (feat. Weaves / Fresh Snow / Most People / MATROX / "secret guests") / Artscape Gibraltar Point 2014-09-07 (Sunday – free! all ages!) [FB event]

Audiopollination #22.1 (feat. Paul Newman/Aldwyn Hogg Jr./Peter Lutek / Elliott Fienberg/Aisha Sasha John / Shahriyar Jamshidi Kamanche/Raphael Weinroth-Browne / Phookie Nijjit/Nodoubt Fersure) / Array Space 2014-09-09 (Tuesday) [FB event]

Audiopollination #22.2: Montreal meets Toronto (feat. Raphael Foisy-Coulture / Evan Tighe/Nicole Rampasaud/Michael Kaler / Aaron Leaney / Raphael Foisy-Coulture/Evan Tighe/ Aaron Leaney) / Array Space 2014-09-13 (Saturday) [FB event]

5th Annual Toronto Bicycle Music Festival (feat. Willow Rutherford / Rambunctious / Charlotte Cornfield / Communism / Maylee Todd + more) / Allen Gardens/Nathan Phillips Square/Christie Pits Park + bike-bourne points between! 2014-09-14 (Sunday) [FB event]

Somewhere There presents: The Second Sunday of September (feat. Ryan Brouwer's Improv Wind Ensemble, conducted by Christine Duncan / Margarita Night [Spencer Cole/Colin Fisher/Thom Gill]) / Array Space 2014-09-14 (Sunday) [FB event]

Wavelength 619 (feat. Wrong Hole / Lee Paradise / Several Futures [tape release!] / Shrines) / Handlebar 2014-09-27 (Saturday) [FB event]

X Avant IX (feat. Laraaji with Scott Peterson, Colin Fisher and Brandon Valdivia / Diely Mori Tounkara) / The Music Gallery 2014-10-16 (Thursday) [FB event]

X Avant IX (feat. Drums and Drones / Phrase Velocity) / The Music Gallery 2014-10-17 (Friday) [FB event]

X Avant IX: Jace Clayton's Julius Eastman Memorial Dinner / The Music Gallery 2014-10-18 (Saturday) [FB event]

X Avant IX (feat. DJ Ushka / Poirier) / Mojo Lounge 2014-10-18 (Saturday) [FB event]

The Shivas (Meanwood / B-17) / Smiling Buddha 2014-10-18 (Saturday) [FB event]

X Avant IX (feat. Lido Pimienta / Ramzi) / The Music Gallery 2014-10-19 (Sunday) [FB event]

Monday, August 11, 2014

Concert Listings Roundup #57

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:

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

This weekend just gone by would have been ALL CAPS if last year's festival hadn't been the final one. While there's an island-sized hole in my heart that may some day yet be filled, it's good to see that Wavelength is still celebrating the summer with an all-day outdoor show. Promised as ALL DAY / ALL AGES / 10 BANDS / 10 BUCKS, there's a promise of "not just live music, but also live video games by the Hand Eye Society, projections and art installations, plus food, drink and vintage clothing and goods for sale." Sounds like a solid way to spend a Saturday.


This week's noteworthy shows:

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

Dragon Trio [Robert Piotrowicz/Branko Dzinovic/Tomasz Krakowiak] / Ratio 2014-08-11 (Monday – PWYC!)

Healing Power Records Presents (feat. Silent Isle / Mas Aya) / Double Double Land 2014-08-11 (Monday)

Aurochs / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2014-08-12 (Tuesday – early!) [FB event]

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

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

Alvvays / The Horseshoe Tavern 2014-08-13 + 2014-08-14 (Wednesday + Thursday) [FB event]

The Living Daylight Stringband / Holy Oak Café 2014-08-14 (Thursday – early!)

Lina Allemano/Peggy Lee/Ryan Driver/Dylan van der Schyff / The Toronto Institute for the Enjoyment of Music 2014-08-14 (Thursday)

Feast In The East 40 (feat. Fiver / Wyrd Visions / Tasseomancy / Black Walls) / Jam Factory Co. 2014-08-14 (Thursday) [FB event]

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

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

Jenny Berkel [CD release] (Lisa Bozikovic) / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2014-08-14 (Thursday)

Dust: The Quietest Big Band in the Known World / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2014-08-15 (Friday – early!) [FB event]

NAISA Sound Travels Festival: Instrumental Redo (feat. junctQín / Jean-François Laporte) / Wychwood Theatre 2014-08-15 (Friday) [more info]

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

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

NAISA Sound Travels Festival: Motion Memory and Mermaids (feat. Pauline Oliveros / Anne Bourne [with sixteen channel sound diffusion!]) / Wychwood Theatre 2014-08-16 (Saturday) [more info]

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

Bitter Fictions (Beard Closet / Datura Daydream / Iderdown) / Smiling Buddha [basement] 2014-08-16 (Saturday) [FB event]

By Divine Right (Language-Arts / Gay) / 3030 2014-08-16 (Saturday – free!) [FB event]

Healing Power Records Presents (feat. Lovecraft, Colonel Cinnamon, Bridgitte Bardon't) / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2014-08-16 (Saturday)

Girls Rock Camp Toronto Showcase Concert #2 / The Tranzac (Main Hall) 2014-08-17 (Sunday – matinée! all ages + kid-friendly!) [FB event]

Alaniaris / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2014-08-17 (Sunday – matinée @ 3 p.m.!)


Add these to your calendar:

Burning Love (Coliseum / Nice Head) / The Silver Dollar Room 2014-08-19 (Tuesday) [FB event]

Construction Vol. 7 (feat. Moon King / Whimm / Paradise Animals) / Double Double Land 2014-08-22 (Friday) [more info]

Man Finds Fire Presents (feat. Fresh Snow / Doomsquad / Petra Glynt / North America) / Geary Lane 2014-08-29 (Friday) [FB event]

Totenbaum Träger [tape release!] (Moonwood / Colin Fisher + Mike Gennaro / The Knot) / Ratio 2014-08-29 (Friday) [more info]

No Visible Means Labour Day Weekend BBQ (feat. Blonde Elvis / Elrichman [tape release!] / Sheer Agony / Milk Lines) / 8-11 2014-08-30 (Saturday – 5:30 p.m. - 10:30p.m.) [FB event]

Reel Cod Records presents One Little Lick... Is All You'll Ever Get (feat. The Pinecones / Village / Deciduous) / Handlebar 2014-08-30 (Saturday) [FB event]

Man Finds Fire Presents: Sound Seance II (feat. Sir Richard Bishop / Tashi Dorji / Clara Engel) / Geary Lane 2014-09-04 (Thursday) [FB event]

ANAMAI (Black Walls) / The Press Club 2014-09-04 (Thursday) [FB event]

Street Reiki (feat. Nick Persons / Teen Tits Wild Wives / Bile Sister) / Mây 2014-09-05 (Friday) [FB event]

Gates (Voidfolk) / S.H.I.B.G.B.'s 2014-09-05 (Friday) [FB event]

B.A. Johnston (Strange Attractor / HotKid / Ketamines) / Smiling Buddha 2014-09-06 (Saturday) [FB event]

Pregnancy Scares (TV Freaks / Pelvic Floor / The Soupcans) / S.H.I.B.G.B.'s 2014-09-07 (Sunday) [FB event]

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Recording: Moon McMullen + David Jones

Artist: Moon McMullen + David Jones

Song: [excerpt]

Recorded at Geary Lane ("Summer Sesh @ Geary Lane"), July 26, 2014.

Moon McMullen + David Jones - [excerpt]

Who says we can't have nice things? Local promotion duo Man Finds Fire launched their new venue with an afternoon party, showing off a beautiful space nestled in a warehouse-like building in the industrial strip by Dufferin and Dupont. The main floor features a large (but not imposingly cavernous) open area, with a bar and couches and tall white walls that give the whole thing the feel of a modern art gallery. There's even a comfy upstairs patio with a nice view of the railway tracks and the city beyond. Recently used for film work, the room also sounds more like an intimate hall than a reverberating cave. It's a bit off the beaten track, but well-worth heading out for. Promising to specialize in more experimental sounds (their next couple shows are already announced), let's wish MFF great success and a long tenure at Geary Lane.

Throughout the day, the announced bands alternated with "surprise pop up performances", the last of which was David Jones (who had helped lead off the day as a member of Bile Sister) and the Mysterious Moon McMullen (who happened to bear more than a passing resemblance to Man Finds Fire's Justin Adam) who combined for a spirited set of glitch/noise electronic experimentation.

Recording: A K U A

Artist: A K U A

Song: One's Company

Recorded at Geary Lane ("Summer Sesh @ Geary Lane"), July 26, 2014.

A K U A - One's Company

Who says we can't have nice things? Local promotion duo Man Finds Fire launched their new venue with an afternoon party, showing off a beautiful space nestled in a warehouse-like building in the industrial strip by Dufferin and Dupont. The main floor features a large (but not imposingly cavernous) open area, with a bar and couches and tall white walls that give the whole thing the feel of a modern art gallery. There's even a comfy upstairs patio with a nice view of the railway tracks and the city beyond. Recently used for film work, the room also sounds more like an intimate hall than a reverberating cave. It's a bit off the beaten track, but well-worth heading out for. Promising to specialize in more experimental sounds (their next couple shows are already announced), let's wish MFF great success and a long tenure at Geary Lane.

Less overtly experimental than the day's other performers, Montreal (via London ON)'s Akua Carson modern soul still served as a most pleasing contrast — just right for a summer afternoon. Joined by a percussionist, she played tracks from her EP to what might have been the largest audience of the day.

Recording: Treeotica

Artist: Treeotica

Song: [excerpt]

Recorded at Geary Lane ("Summer Sesh @ Geary Lane"), July 26, 2014.

Treeotica - [excerpt]

Who says we can't have nice things? Local promotion duo Man Finds Fire launched their new venue with an afternoon party, showing off a beautiful space nestled in a warehouse-like building in the industrial strip by Dufferin and Dupont. The main floor features a large (but not imposingly cavernous) open area, with a bar and couches and tall white walls that give the whole thing the feel of a modern art gallery. There's even a comfy upstairs patio with a nice view of the railway tracks and the city beyond. Recently used for film work, the room also sounds more like an intimate hall than a reverberating cave. It's a bit off the beaten track, but well-worth heading out for. Promising to specialize in more experimental sounds (their next couple shows are already announced), let's wish MFF great success and a long tenure at Geary Lane.

I've encountered David Shelly before as a busker, and remember wishing I had more time to linger and listen to the strange electroacoustic sounds he wrung from a tree branch rigged with a cello string and run through a distortion pedal. Shelly brought some of that outside feeling to this set, deploying both glowing toy birds and recorded birdsong as background to humming twangs that built up into some sort of avant diddley bow percussion. Intriguing stuff, and I hope to hear him again, both on stage and on street corners.

Recording: Blunt Chunks

Artist: Blunt Chunks

Song: unknown*

Recorded at Geary Lane ("Summer Sesh @ Geary Lane"), July 26, 2014.

Blunt Chunks - unknown

Who says we can't have nice things? Local promotion duo Man Finds Fire launched their new venue with an afternoon party, showing off a beautiful space nestled in a warehouse-like building in the industrial strip by Dufferin and Dupont. The main floor features a large (but not imposingly cavernous) open area, with a bar and couches and tall white walls that give the whole thing the feel of a modern art gallery. There's even a comfy upstairs patio with a nice view of the railway tracks and the city beyond. Recently used for film work, the room also sounds more like an intimate hall than a reverberating cave. It's a bit off the beaten track, but well-worth heading out for. Promising to specialize in more experimental sounds (their next couple shows are already announced), let's wish MFF great success and a long tenure at Geary Lane.

I've seen Caitlin Woelfle O'Brien on stage in a support role for a few different artists, so it was a delight to see her exploring her own creative ideas. Sitting on the carpeted floor of the loosely-delineated stage area, surrounded with a sequencer, loop pedal and toy piano, she created ambient/abstract vocal dreamscapes that were far more lovely than her project's name might suggest.

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

Recording: Bile Sister

Artist: Bile Sister

Song: Track Your Transit

Recorded at Geary Lane ("Summer Sesh @ Geary Lane"), July 26, 2014.

Bile Sister - Track Your Transit

Who says we can't have nice things? Local promotion duo Man Finds Fire launched their new venue with an afternoon party, showing off a beautiful space nestled in a warehouse-like building in the industrial strip by Dufferin and Dupont. The main floor features a large (but not imposingly cavernous) open area, with a bar and couches and tall white walls that give the whole thing the feel of a modern art gallery. There's even a comfy upstairs patio with a nice view of the railway tracks and the city beyond. Recently used for film work, the room also sounds more like an intimate hall than a reverberating cave. It's a bit off the beaten track, but well-worth heading out for. Promising to specialize in more experimental sounds (their next couple shows are already announced), let's wish MFF great success and a long tenure at Geary Lane.

The afternoon opened with Julie Reich's squelch/funk project Bile Sister in a drummer-less trio format. The ever-evolving band continues to elongate their grooves, as demonstrated by a song that's now double the length of its recorded incarnation.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Interview: Amelia Ehrhardt

For most of us, our experience of dancing is like our experience of singing: from a very young age we do them unself-consciously and seemingly instinctively. But as we become more aware of how we are persons situated amongst other persons that changes. Dancing becomes enmeshed in a maze of subtextural meanings and codified in complicated ways. That has an effect on how we encounter dance as an art form.

I tend to see my fair share of music, so it just happens that the main way I encounter creative dance is tangentially through that. It always tends to intrigue and entice to come face-to-face with a different mode of expression, and I'm generally curious to examine it further, but maybe a little too reticent to approach something outside my boundaries.

To try and expand my conceptual horizons and question my preconceptions, I've enlisted the assistance of local dance artist Amelia Ehrhardt who has thought a lot more about these things than me and is articulate and enthusiastic. In the leadup to the SummerWorks edition of her Flowchart performance series, Amelia graciously shared her time and insight for an online conversation.

Mechanical Forest Sound: Just for starters, tell me a story about how you got involved in dance.

Amelia Ehrhardt: I was fourteen and I had always wanted to take dance class. I went to a high school for the arts and was a drama major, my best friend was a dance major and lived in the same part of the city convinced me to try. We stopped talking almost immediately after that but I became obsessed with dance class!

My informal start was as Ginger Spice in a grade six Spice Girls cover dance band.

MFS: What was the impetus behind the original Flowchart series earlier this year? How did it go, and how did it lead to you being in SummerWorks?

Amelia: The impetus was: there are too many good artists here not to show! I was working on a solo I wanted to present, and there are so many resources involved in putting on a performance, and it seemed wasteful not to have other artists involved. And I couldn't just think of like, two other people to show work with, so I put on three shows of three artists each night.

And setting up a show is setting up a machine, so when one is started... it made as much sense to do three as one, to be honest.

MFS: When I went to one of the Flowchart events, I was struck by the fact that the performances included video work and a comedic monologue. If I may throw eight syllables at you all at once, how important is interdisciplinarity in what you do?

Amelia: I guess very, but in a way where framing it as such feels less interesting than thinking about what the works have in common. Of course I think about having a diverse showing of art forms in this series (though I lean most heavily towards dance) but what's more interesting is just thinking about how things will fit together, who is doing stuff I am interested in. When I started thinking about whose work I liked it was a real split of mediums, some I know really well and others less so, so it was a real challenge to then set up appropriate circumstances for all these people to work in. Like, I know what dancers need but dealing with sound equipment for the first time was a personal nightmare.

MFS: From the department-of-there-being-no-dumb questions, for those of us outside the demimonde, what's the right terminology for your art? (I come from an indie rock background where exactingly-specific genre tags are both universally applied and roundly mocked, often by the same people.) Is "contemporary dance" still a current term? (it sounds a little bit like something from the '70s, like macramé) Do we just say "dance" now? (or "movement"?)

Amelia: I kind of want to start calling what I do '70s new macramé. No, contemporary dance is still the term. Some people who come from/present in a dance context use "performance" instead, but mostly contemporary dance is this enormous bucket term that can mean a lot of things. Like, the strangeness of the fact that that my weird shit gets the same name as Mia Michaels' is not lost on me.

Dance, at a funding structure, is obsessed with genre – like, if you practice urban, flamenco, bharatanatyam, it matters a lot how you identify at a council level. I don't know a lot about why this is. But in this context I still fit into this big bucket term, "contemporary dance".

MFS: Perhaps akin to classical music, for an outsider there's sometimes a sense you need to bring something to dance performance -- some technical knowledge that you need in order to appreciate it "properly". Do you sense this from an audience (or, moreso, from people who avoid becoming your audience)? Do you feel frustrated when audiences don't just take it at a level of intuitive appreciation?

Amelia: people feel this about dance in a huge way!! It is so interesting to me because I remember before I started taking class, being enraptured at dance performances, I never had this experience of feeling like I didn't speak the language.

So I don't feel frustrated by it, but I don't totally understand. I feel like there is an (incorrect) assumption that dancers will know what the moves mean, as though like, an arm reaching up and to the right always meant the colour blue or something. This isn't it! You don't have to be able to articulate what you saw. That's it.

MFS: My theory is that people feel like they need that "higher appreciation" because dance is, at its most basic level, about bodies in space, and people can get pretty awkward about bodies.

Amelia: Truth. There are fields of scholarship about this.

MFS: Pushing that a little further, it’s a little embarrassing to ‘fess up to it, but I know there have been times where I felt like I was appreciating dance at a superficial level -- i.e. a visceral reaction to [female] bodies. Not that I'm looking to excuse the male gaze here, but how do we deal with this in forming an aesthetic reaction to dance? Perhaps restated another way: what do we do with an inherently sensuous artform in a time laden with the hypersexualization of pretty much everything?

Amelia: This is a huge topic on which I have a lot of feelings. I have gotten in arguments with people about whether or not dance is inherently sensuous. I feel strongly that it is not but that it does often gets used to communicate the sensuous, due to the mainstream popularity of the form of male-female duets to love songs.

There are sort of a few different questions to respond to within this one question that I would like to articulate: number one, the fact that dance is a sensuous form in its materials (sensation and the body) but is not inherently *about* the sensuous (so question number one is, can dance be about the non-sensuous?). Number two, that dance is sensuous in its materials and as such is often assumed to be inherently sexual as well (so, there’s your question of how do you deal with the sensual in a time of rampant hypersexalization?). Then number three, the fact that it is a form that does now and has historically involved an awful lot of male gaze issues (question there being, how do we not objectify the performers when we watch dance?).

So my sort of multiple duty response is... Do you feel that dance is inherently sensuous because it is about the body?

Going to the Doctor is also about your body but that manages not to be perceived as inherently sensuous (thank God). A lot of sport is about the body but also manages to escape this realm. I mean, the watching-sexy-bodies question is still there but people don’t assume the form is about sensuality. Other forms of performance, such as theatre or music, are not generally described as inherently sensuous, even though they employ pretty much the same tools. Dance gets a particular place in this conversation about being a site for (especially male) viewership of (especially female) bodies. There are many dance history class lessons within this that I’m not going to get into right now (but here is a google search that can lead you down one answer of that rabbit hole if you want).

With that in mind, I think that the reason dance is considered “inherently sensuous” is that the form is associated with women and is often considered a female form (and for that matter is vastly dominated by women but yet is still a field where women statistically make less than men...). Women in other forms of performance – female singers, actors – are hypersexualized as well while their male counterparts are not. Since dance is female-dominated, it is then lumped in with this category of sensuality-sexuality and presumed to be exclusively of that domain (not accusing you of doing that, just that your question points to this existing generalization).

With this in mind I personally think the best thing to do with this question is simply to interrogate why we consider it inherently sensuous. To look to dance for content within form instead of just the bodies. I think it is crucial when watching dance to remember that although it uses sensual materials, it is not exclusively about sensuality. I think dance is an important site for all of us to practice looking at other bodies without sexualizing them.

MFS: One last maybe-obvious question. Is dance taken less seriously as a cultural category because, until relatively recently, it was difficult to preserve the essence of its performance over time? (one of the few Canadian dancers I could name is Françoise Sullivan, and I mostly know of her work through its representation in another medium -- in this case, the series of photographs of her Danse dans la Neige, rather than her dance itself) Does our everyone-has-a-phone-with-a-movie-camera-now era bode well for giving dance more "presence"?

Amelia: I think certainly the issue of documentation is part of the case, although it is good to remember that in the west dance is relatively young as an art form. The realm of western stage dance has really only been around for a few centuries (dance buds reading can confirm/deny this fact) and has taken a few unfortunate turns (see above linked google search) that have led it down directions that Generally Serious Art People were not interested in. Degas is lauded as something of a hero for documenting dance, but Degas hated ballet. He painted ballerinas as a critical display of these immoral modern times. Dance occupies this weird place in western art of currently being considered one of the weirder, more obtuse, fringier fields of art, but historically being something that was a sort of popular place for the idiot general public to ogle women and maybe bone them backstage (there are multiple reasons that classical tutus are shaped the way they are). It wasn’t until the early 20th century in the west with the emergence of the Diaghilev era and the Ballet Russes that dance developed (or perhaps solidified) a voice in the dialogue of Generally Serious Art People.

So this all takes a bit of a turn to what you asked me before, but, surprise! Dance Is Taken Less Seriously because It Is of The Body and We in the West Don’t Know What To Do with That.

MFS: There's a lot to unpack there! We might have to have a follow-up conversation. But turning for now to the upcoming Flowchart, who are the dancers you're working with? What is the specific nature of your role as curator — does everyone get free rein or are you doing something to meld the parts into some sort of unified whole?

Amelia: At Flowchart I work with artists in multiple fields – in the case of the SummerWorks edition, showing work will be Amanda Acorn (dance artist), Liz Peterson (theatre performer and creator), and Bojana Stancic (artist and set designer). I am interested in how non-dance works appear when they are situated in the context of dance work – although there is usually only one dance work at a Flowchart, that I am a dancer/choreographer (and obviously very vocal about my interest in/obsession with that) colours the choices I make. The specific nature of my role is... I ask people whose work I am interested in, they make something and generally I don’t see it until the night of. I so far have only worked with artists who I know and trust, and have loved this sort of Christmas Morning experience of seeing all the works on the night of the show for the first time. I think what I do is 50% emails and 30% hustle and 20% lovely creative dreaming.

MFS: That's really fabulous. I hope you are surprised and satisfied. Thanks for your time.

[Anyone who wants in on that xmas morning feeling should come down to The Theatre Centre Incubator on Friday (August 8th) at 8:00pm]

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Preview: SummerWorks 2014

SummerWorks Performance Festival

August 7-17, 2014

Over the past few years, the Music Series at the SummerWorks Festival has truly come into its own. Instead of just offering a band on a stage, the series' specialty has become its curation of unique events, pairing musicians and artists from other disciplines to create memorable one-off events.

This year's Music Series is curated by the fine folks at Silent Shout, who have their fingers on the city's electronic pulse. It's no surprise, then, that all the Music Series shows are recommended. Here's what's coming, with some selections from my live archives to give you a hint as to what you might hear from these musicians.

  • Brendan Canning / Brendan Healy: One Night, Two Brendans
    Broken Social Scene's Brendan Canning isn't resting on his laurels; instead of just playing nostalgia festivals he's also been exploring new directions in chill. Teaming up with Buddies in Bad Times' Brendan Healy, this night promises a "psychedelic dreamscape... and spectacular video art".
    Listen! Brendan Canning - unknown
    [Friday August 8, 9:00 PM @ The Theatre Centre Main]

  • Army Girls / Cara Spooner: Failure Fest
    Anyone wondering why Army Girls haven't released more of the songs from their repertoire now has a partial answer: the band recorded a full album, but were unsatisfied with the results and ultimately scrapped it. Meditating on artistic failure (and, just perhaps, the opportunity to find gems in the trash heap) Carmen Elle and Andy Smith are going to revisit that album, with Cara Spooner creating "performative disruptions with/on/for them". Omhouse and some other will be joining in as well.
    Listen! Army Girls - unknown
    [Saturday August 9, 9:00 PM @ S--------- Studio Theatre]

  • Weaves / Allison Cummings: Weaves Through Time
    Given that Weaves' Jasmyn Burke has been transforming into one of the city's most dynamic and theatrical frontwomen, this is a nifty bit of programming. Expect somethig dramatic to happen, even if it's not on stage (the venue "will be ransformed into a multi-level space where the bands' live music will be performed with no divide between Weaves, three dancers and their audience.") Choreographer Allison Cummings and set designer Hanna Puley join forces with the band's exploration of being situated in time.
    Listen! Weaves - Know About It
    [Sunday August 10, 9:00 PM @ Lower Ossington Theatre]

  • Lido Pimienta / Natasha Greenblatt: The Secret Garden of Lido Pimienta
    Lido Pimienta delivers her electronic experimentalism with a golden voice and a no-bullshit stance that speaks truth to power. It remains to be seen if her garden (an immersive installation by Natasha Greenblatt with artwork by Gustavo Cerquera Benjumea) is a place of peaceful repose or a survivalist's den of bared fang and claw.
    Listen! Lido Pimienta - Goodbye
    [Wednesday August 13, 9:00 PM @ Lower Ossington Theatre]

  • The Bicycles / Maggie MacDonald / Amy Seigel: Young Drones: A Graphic Novel Rock Opera
    It's intriguing to think of these projects as living, growing things. Young Drones — a fantastic tale of a pair of oilpatch-guarding aerial drones that become self-aware and fall in love — made its debut at the festival last year, and after a Long Winter re-mount, it returns in a more polished form with a multi-night run. That's excellent news, as Amy Siegel's "live performance animation" is just fantastic, and the music includes some of the band's best material yet. Even better, word is that the album version of the songs will be for sale at these shows!
    Listen! The Bicycles - Requiem
    [Thursday August 14, 9:00 PM; Friday August 15,9:00 PM; Saturday August 16, 9:00 PM; Sunday August 17, 4:00 PM @ Lower Ossington Theatre]

  • Light Fires / Adam Lazarus: Do I Have To Do Everything My Fucking Self?
    Ever since showing up under mysterious circumstances, Regina The Gentlelady has been burning up local stages as the high-kicking voice of electro-pop darlings Light Fires. Now, she's sharing her wit and wisdom in a one-woman cabaret that's sure to end with the audience members feeling just a little drrrty — and maybe having learned some lessons in feeling sassy and fabulous. Not to be missed.
    Listen! Light Fires - I Like To Work
    [Thursday August 14,10:00 PM; Friday August 15,10:00 PM; Saturday August 16, 10:00 PM @ Lower Ossington Theatre Cabaret]

[Music Series shows are $15, and available through the online box office and at Soundscapes. $10 tickets for those for 25 and under will be sold, subject to availability, five minutes before doors]


The Music Series is a huge opportunity for bands to re-approach and recontextualize their art — having time, expertise and other resources at hand to do something different is a real luxury. It's also a chance for music fans to encounter new kinds of art and broaden their horizons a little. And in that vein, it's definitely worth taking the plunge into the rest of the Festival. My m.o. is simply to pick a timeslot to commit to the festival and then just go see something new! — which is feasible when performances are a reasonable $15 (or less with various package options). Go see something that'll surprise you! That said, you can also have a gander through the listings for the various offerings on-stage and off. Plus, there were a few other things that caught my eye:

  • This Is Our Last Song: A conversation featuring Jonny Dovercourt, Brendan Canning, Jasmyn Burke, Allison Cummings, Silent Shout
    A sort of adjunct to the music series, this free talk looks at the walls that separate musical and theatrical performance. (For the curious, there are also several over talks in the Conversations series.)
    [Friday, August 15, 2 PM @ Theatre Centre Café/Bar]

  • Maracatu You!
    Aline Morales played the Music series a couple years ago, scintillating with her seductive Brazilian pop. This is a different take on the culture, "the story of how an Afro-Brazilian tradition functions in our city today as a celebration of liberation in the face of oppression." Expect that celebration to be rather boisterous — "Warning: Loud Percussion," offers the program guide in what might be an additional selling point for some.

  • The Water Thief
    Amy Seigel, who's helping re-mount The Bicycles' Young Drones also has a hand in this "haunting fable set in an abandoned East Coast town", which employs "film, performance, live music, shadow puppetry and dance". The music component is under the guidance of Snowblink's Daniela Gesundheit and includes a few other noteworthy locals as well (Alex Samaras, Cheryl Okrant and Evan Cartwright).

  • Common Fate
    I'm not entirely sure what's on offer at this entry in the "Live Art" series, which promises "dance, live music and animated projections" in a "a dream-like performance round". But it's overseen by local artist Zeesy Powers and includes an all-star music crew, including Isla Craig and Brodie West under the direction of Andrew Zukerman.

  • Fathers & Sons: Kamino Family
    I've encountered dancer Benjamin Kamino as a member of Sook-Yin Lee's ensemble LLVK, and here he's attempting a marathon, dancing for six hours straight while his father and brother stage complementary art-interventions around him. A Pay-What-You-Want, drop-in/hang out/come back later event that questions time, space and family ties.

  • Flowchart
    This "series of small-scale multidisciplinary performances" continues from an earlier iteration overseen by dance artist Amelia Ehrhardt. Mixing artforms, this is a great step into the world of dance for anyone curious about the form. [I don't know much about dance myself, so I asked Amelia some questions. Keep an eye out tomorrow for our conversation.]

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Recording: I Have Eaten the City

Artist: I Have Eaten the City

Song: [second part]

Recorded at Ratio, July 25, 2014.

I Have Eaten the City - [second part]

Full review to follow. In a second story unit at College and Spadina, Ratio has the crisp, efficient feel of a new enterprise, but also a cozy livingroom vibe. Meant as a flexible space for a full range of artistic endeavours, let us wish them success and long life. Celebrating their official opening was this tape release show for a new album from IHETC, the long-running (if recently intermittent) combo of Nick Storring (cello, electronics, voice, guitar), Brandon Valdivia (percussion, flute, vocalizations) and Colin Fisher (guitar, saxophone). Over the course of an hour the trio explored a variety of terrain meshing their diverse instruments and musical points of view. Perhaps the most striking take-away here was to see the uncanny efficiency with which they were working, creating more complexity and deeper interplay with little wasted effort. I don't know if there's anything else immediately on the horizon for the group, but you will want to keep an eye out for a chance to see something at one of the city's most intriguing new spaces.

Recording: Khôra

Artist: Khôra

Song: unknown*

Recorded at Ratio, July 25, 2014.

Khôra - unknown

Full review to follow. One of the members of the collective behind the new Ratio venue, Matthew Ramolo was justly proud to be presenting his music in the comfortable new space. I'd seen him playing not too long before, so a second encounter with his new set-up (including his custom-made modular synth) served to show the musical range he can work within. As before, this involved sounds becoming untethered and filtering out into an ineffable mist as layers upon layers built up.

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

Recording: Fake Humans

Artist: Fake Humans

Song: [excerpt]

Recorded at Ratio, July 25, 2014.

Fake Humans - [excerpt]

Full review to follow. Leading off the first show at the wonderful new Ratio was this duo of Carl Didur and Colin Fisher. As usual, Didur sat on the floor over his keyboards, while Fisher played a synth that ran through the redoubtable effects chain normally used by his guitar. There were some points that didn't mesh so much as combine menacingly in a sawtooth attack pattern, but some stretches — like the one heard here — cohered in a sort of avant-horror soundtrack that had the feeling of something you'd hear when the evil scientist's lair (and unspeakable experiments) were revealed. Behold... the fake humans.... and beware!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Concert Listings Roundup #56

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:

Spencer Burton (Nick Ferrio / EONS) / Dufferin Grove Park 2014-08-06 (Wednesday) [FB event]

The week's big event is the start of SummerWorks Festival, which has so much cool stuff going on that it'll be getting its own preview in a couple days. But before that gets rolling, why not head out to a park for some music? A sort of mainland mini-Poor Pilgrim, come welcome these weary travellers home from their Sappyfest sojourn in relaxed splendour.


This week's noteworthy shows:

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

AIMToronto Series Presents (feat. Shahriyar Jamshidi/David Shelly/Diane Roblin/Bob Vespaziani) / Musideum 2014-08-05 (Tuesday) [more info]

Chain & The Gang (Ed Schrader's Music Beat) / Smiling Buddha 2014-08-05 (Tuesday) [FB event]

The Burning Hell (By Divine Right / Nick Ferrio) / The Silver Dollar Room 2014-08-07 (Thursday) [FB event]

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

Cousins (Beliefs / Hands & Teeth) / The Silver Dollar Room 2014-08-08 (Friday) [more info]

Greys [If Anything album release!] (HSY / WTCHS / Marriage) / SHIBGBs 2014-08-08 (Friday) [FB event]

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

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

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

Ketamines (Jay Arner / Jay Holy / Village) / The Cavern Bar 2014-08-09 (Saturday) [FB event]

Crosss (Big Brave / Maicamia / Big Knife Little Knife / Worst Gift) / Soybomb HQ 2014-08-09 (Saturday) [FB event]

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

Lima Allemano Four (Ellwood Epps [solo trumpet]) / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2014-08-10 (Sunday)

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


Add these to your calendar:

Feast In The East 40 (feat. Fiver / Wyrd Visions / Tasseomancy / Black Walls) / Jam Factory Co. 2014-08-14 (Thursday) [FB event]

Girls Rock Camp Toronto Showcase Concert #2 / The Tranzac (Main Hall) 2014-08-17 (Sunday – matinée! all ages + kid-friendly!) [FB event]

Zvi + Isa Christ + Cetacea + Glass Towers + Painted Faces / Ratio 2014-08-22 (Friday) [FB event]

CoexisDance 65 [dance + improvised music] / Majlis Art Garden 2014-08-23 (Saturday – outside show!) [FB event]

Castle If (Dark Tips / Jesse Laderoute) / 8-11 2014-08-26 (Tuesday — also feat. "free astrological chart readings") [FB event]

The Music Gallery's Departures series: Battle Trance (King Weather) / Array Space 2014-09-05 (Friday) [FB event]

New Music 101: Toy Piano Composers and the Bicycle Opera Project / Toronto Reference Library – Hinton Learning Theatre 2014-09-08 (Monday – free! casual!)

Teenanger [EP LP Record Release show] (Crosss / The Beverleys) / The Garison 2014-09-12 (Friday)

Wavelength 616 (feat. Animal Faces / C T Z N S H P / WHIMM / Zords) / Smiling Buddha 2014-09-13 (Saturday) [FB event]

New Music 101: Arraymusic with Martha Baillie & Music in the Barns / Toronto Reference Library – Hinton Learning Theatre 2014-10-06 (Monday – free! casual!)

New Music 101: New Adventures in Sound Art & Christina Petrowska Quilico / Toronto Reference Library – Hinton Learning Theatre 2014-11-03 (Monday – free! casual!)


Community listings:

  • If you've grown older (or plan to do so in the future) and think about how to do so gracefully and with your thirst for creative exploration intact, do not miss David Dacks' Weird Generations essay over at Weird Canada. A must-read!
  • If you want to get your hands on the tangible products of local DIY culture, make sure you hit up Zine Dream 7 Small Press Fair, which takes over The Tranzac on Sunday afternoon. There'll be plenty of zines and other print products on hand, but the event reaches far past that, with crafts and plenty of the city's best music labels tabling as well.

Bandcamp corner:

Healing Power Records has just dropped this brand-new compilation of the label's acts and associates. Given the stylistic range here, the "many moods" title is totally apt. There's a lot of amazing (and exclusive!) stuff here — and I'm not just saying that because a trio of the titles here were recorded live by yours truly. Grab the digital now, and get a tape the next time you see the HPR crew!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Recording: Clarinet Panic Deluxx

Artist: Clarinet Panic Deluxx

Song: Hard Dads, Pts. 1 + 2

Recorded at Holy Oak Café, July 23, 2014.

Clarinet Panic Deluxx - Hard Dads, Pts. 1 + 2

Full review to follow. Saxophonist Karen Ng put together this night, which was the first of a promised new series from Somewhere There, which has recently been mostly presenting shows in the more formal environs of Array Space. The opening bands' scritchy jazz-funk and improvised noise cello served as a good preparation for the headliners' controlled chamber-prog bursts. This new piece (two sections of a suite in progress) is rockin' by composer/cellist Cory Latkovich's mathematically-precise standards and as tasty as anything the band has yet done.

Recording: T.J. Borden

Artist: T.J. Borden

Song: [first part of first piece]

Recorded at Holy Oak Café, July 23, 2014.

T.J. Borden - [first part of first piece]

Full review to follow. Buffalo's T.J. Borden was the night's out-of-town guest and turned out to be a wonderful discovery. His conceptions for improvised cello included both bracing bursts of noise and quiet moments of beauty, the former of which can be heard on his new tape. Jagged and invigorating stuff.