Sunday, August 23, 2020

Sunday Playlist #48

Sunday Playlist #48: In memoriam Ron Gaskin

We lost one of the good 'uns this week with the passing of Ron Gaskin, a sender of sounds and a listener of note. Under his Rough Idea banner, RG was a huge part of this city's out-music history, specializing in bringing musicians to town who were too creative or adventurous for the more conservative institutional presenters. As a storyteller and conversational improviser, RG could make strangers feel like friends and as a presenter and host, his generosity of spirit and freewheeling associational logic encouraged audiences to enter into a dialogue with musicians earnestly and wholeheartedly. His presence will be missed by so many.

These selections from my archives are from shows where my memories of my encounters with RG are as vivid and precious as the actual music. (It's certainly not meant to be comprehensive in any way!) I also did a bit of a digging to find some moments from a couple of those famous intros — and we get to hear his voice as well, in character, playing the part of William S. Burroughs in the multimedia presentation of "Rub Out The Word".

The Swyves - Arc-Eye

  • Recorded at Lee's Palace, May 18, 2011.

Matthew Shipp Trio - Psychic Counterpoint

  • Recorded at Lula Lounge, March 10, 2013.

Peggy Lee - [excerpt 1]

  • Recorded at Ratio, December 18, 2016.

Perch Hen Brock & Rain - RG intro

Perch Hen Brock & Rain - [first piece, first section]

  • Recorded at Array Space (TONE Festival – Show #4), June 20, 2017.

Cactus Truck - RG intro

Cactus Truck - [excerpt]

  • Recorded at The Tranzac's Southern Cross Lounge (TONE Festival 3.6: Peter Gough Presents), June 27, 2019.

Rub Out The Word - The Penny Arcade Peep Show

  • Recorded at Dundas Video (Track Could Bend #9), December 1, 2015.

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

Monday, July 13, 2020

Concert Listings Roundup #361

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.


Special note:

For the past six-and-a-half years, I've faithfully been cranking out these listings every Monday. Because of the unprecedented situation we now find ourselves in, this week's listings remain blank. Stay safe and sheltered.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Concert Listings Roundup #360

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.


Special note:

For the past six-and-a-half years, I've faithfully been cranking out these listings every Monday. Because of the unprecedented situation we now find ourselves in, this week's listings remain blank. Stay safe and sheltered.

Monday, June 22, 2020

Concert Listings Roundup #359

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.


Special note:

For the past six-and-a-half years, I've faithfully been cranking out these listings every Monday. Because of the unprecedented situation we now find ourselves in, this week's listings remain blank. Stay safe and sheltered.


Community corner:

  • An important initiative has seen a coalition of small music venues across the country join together to make the case for ongoing support in the current crisis. With a reminder that "we were the first to close / we will be the last to reopen," the group has launched both a website and a petition so you can add your voice in the hopes that there will still be places to gather together once it is safe again for folks to do so.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Concert Listings Roundup #358

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.


Special note:

For the past six-and-a-half years, I've faithfully been cranking out these listings every Monday. Because of the unprecedented situation we now find ourselves in, this week's listings remain blank. Stay safe and sheltered.

Monday, June 8, 2020

Concert Listings Roundup #357

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.


Special note:

For the past six-and-a-half years, I've faithfully been cranking out these listings every Monday. Because of the unprecedented situation we now find ourselves in, this week's listings remain blank. Stay safe and sheltered.


Bandcamp corner:

  • I'm always happy when my recordings are of use to the artists. For this album, Sarah Peebles has used my recording of her album release concert for Delicate Paths (playing alongside Kyle Brenders and Nilan Perera) as well as some other electroacoustic works. It's a name-your-price download, but funds raised by this go to support Second Harvest.
  • I also had a behind-the-scenes role in the preparation of this latest entry in the Music Gallery's bandcamp release series, but this 2018 recording of The Tatsuya Nakatani Gong Orchestra was captured by the skilled hands of MG sound tech Paul Hodge, and is, as such, far superior sounding to anything i could grab with my gear. Featuring an all-star lineup of local notables, who had spent the day exploring the gongs and shape of the piece under Nakatani's guidance.
  • Meanwhile, Mystery & Wonder, the boutique label founded by Sound of the Mountain's Elizabeth Millar and Craig Pedersen, has landed on bandcamp, so some exploration through their releases is most definitely recommended. (And nope, the pair of titles in this album are not entirely coincidental!)

Monday, June 1, 2020

Concert Listings Roundup #356

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.


Special note:

For the past six-and-a-half years, I've faithfully been cranking out these listings every Monday. Because of the unprecedented situation we now find ourselves in, this week's listings remain blank. Stay safe and sheltered.


Livestream nation:

  • if you will pardon the self-promotion, I should mention that I am celebrating the fifth anniversary of my drone project Heraclitus Akimbo, reflecting on and refracting the sounds that got me started. I'll be doing a livestream set on my youtube channel tonight (Monday, June 1st 2020). Steam will start shortly before 8 p.m. EDT, music will start shortly after the hour. Link will also be in the facebook event as well as the Heraclitus Akimbo FB page.
  • Several friends of MFS will be involved with the COvER COvEN Microfest, which promises cover songs from "four bands across three time zones" including Invisible Out [Xuan Ye & Jason Doell], Century Egg, Zoë Alexis-Abrams and Regina's People Tanning. It goes down next Saturday (June 6th) at 3 p.m.

Bandcamp corner:

  • Hope you've been keeping a list of all the stuff you've been meaning to buy on Bandcamp! The site is once more waiving their revenue share on Friday (June 5th) from midnight to midnight PDT, so it's an excellent way to directly support musicians.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Concert Listings Roundup #355

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.


Special note:

For the past six-and-a-half years, I've faithfully been cranking out these listings every Monday. Because of the unprecedented situation we now find ourselves in, this week's listings remain blank. Stay safe and sheltered.


Livestream nation:

  • The first online edition of Michael Palumbo's Exit Points series was both musically satisfying and well-executed from the technical end of things — no surprise seeing that Palumbo has been working with remote live sound for a while before everyone started switching to livestream mode. Wednesday night's instalment features two electroacoustic improvising ensembles, the first with Mike Hansen, MJ Wright, Bea Labikova, Kavi and Michael Palumbo and the second with Heidi Chan, Yoni Newman, Kieran Maraj, Lex Metcalfe, and Curtis Whittaker. That'll be followed by shorter mini-sets remixing the performers plus some guests.
  • The AMBiENT PiNG are taking their annual Drone Day live show online Saturday night, with a live set from dreamSTATE plus some specially-selected video works.
  • Thin Edge New Music Collective is examining the possibilities of livestreams/distanced musicians with "heard from a distance", streaming on Sunday afternoon. The show will see pianist Cheryl Duvall and cellist Amahl Arulanandam performing works "from 45 seconds to 45 minutes long" by Dai Fujikura, Anna Hostman, Jocelyn Morlock, Nick Storring and Linda Catlin Smith.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Concert Listings Roundup #354

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.


Special note:

For the past six-and-a-half years, I've faithfully been cranking out these listings every Monday. Because of the unprecedented situation we now find ourselves in, this week's listings remain blank. Stay safe and sheltered. Covid-19 hasn't gotten any less deadly just because they've opened marinas and golf courses for the moneyed classes. The things we love to do — gathering together in small spaces, talking, singing — remain near the top of the list of ways of most efficiently spreading the virus, so let our separation show our solidarity.


Bandcamp corner:

  • In case you need some delicate folk-pop on a gusty, rainy day, Kieran Smyth & Mingjia Chen offer "a collection of songs that we hope can bring comfort to you & to those made vulnerable during this strange time".

Monday, May 11, 2020

Concert Listings Roundup #353

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.


Special note:

For the past six-and-a-half years, I've faithfully been cranking out these listings every Monday. Because of the unprecedented situation we now find ourselves in, this week's listings remain blank. Stay safe and sheltered.


Livestream nation:

  • The interviews in the Music Gallery at Home series are done for now, but music continues for a couple more weeks, with the amazing Nick Dourado interpreting Xuan Ye's "Even a Blind Squirrel Finds a Nut Once in a While" and other pieces on Friday night.

Bandcamp corner:

  • Pantayo's long-awaited album is finally available from Telephone Explosion. The subtly-electronic kulintang grooves are a real joy to listen to, and quite handy for putting a spring in your step.

Monday, May 4, 2020

Concert Listings Roundup #352

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.


Special note:

For the past six-and-a-half years, I've faithfully been cranking out these listings every Monday. Because of the unprecedented situation we now find ourselves in, this week's listings remain blank. Stay safe and sheltered.


Livestream nation:

  • The Music Gallery at Home series continues tonight at 7 p.m. with history (featuring Anne Bourne in conversation with Kritty Uranowki and Jesse Locke), and on Friday with music (Slowpitchsound interpreting Xuan Ye's "Even a Blind Squirrel Finds a Nut Once in a While" and other pieces).
  • Beloved local record store Sonic Boom have been putting on a series of virtual in-stores, which continues on Thursday with a performance by Witch Prophet.

Bandcamp corner:

  • last week saw an excellent release from Eternalrealworld, the solo drone project from visual/sonic artist Ilyse Krivel. Living Water mixes field recordings (the Atlantic Ocean in Nova Scotia, a creek in northern Ontario, a sewer in Toronto) with electronic sounds that freeze and flow with meditative beauty.
  • Thought lost on the seas of time and entropy, Bruce Peninsula's No Earthly Sound has finally arrived, nearly a decade (!) after 2011's Open Flames. Although the band has never quite gone away, they were mostly in an extended slumber, emerging on a soundtrack and occasional live dates. Anyone who caught them over the past few years will have heard some of these songs and will have a better sense of how the group has been evolving. Most significantly, this album repositions Misha Bower as a co-frontperson rather than a choir leader, and the recorded versions pivot away somewhat from the band's primordial call-and-response, singer-plus-chorus foundations. I'm sure the many friends that make up the choir will be on stage whenever the band is allowed to properly celebrate this album's release, but in the meantime the album's themes of togtherness-versus-aloneness and life-seeking-versus-death-seeking register with a new force in these times we are in.
  • Although he hasn't spent much time in the spotlight in the time since Steamboat's dissolution, Matt McLaren has often been seen off to the side in many of the projects that spun out of that band's former ubiquity as backing band and rhythm section to a wide range of artists. This "solo" effort calls on many friends from those past efforts (including a laundry-list of MFS faves like Sandro Perri, Jay Anderson, Mike Smith, Blake Howard, Micheal Davidson, Christine Bougie, Ali Berkok, and Andrew Scott) for an instrumental affair that moves from shag-carpet-and-waterbed soul/funk to sophisticated yacht rock in the Tortoise/Sea and Cake vein.

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Pause and Reconsider: Jason Doell

While live music is on pause, I've asked some friends of MFS to dig through the archives and put together a playlist of some things I've posted that have registered with them in one way or another — contextualizing blurbs preferred but not required. Expect to see a variety of different takes and approaches as the playlists get posted — and hopefully we'll all be reminded of some cool things that have happened in the past. This list comes from don't-call-him-a-composer Jason Doell.


Here is a broad sampling of what I believe to be the boundless and genre defiant "Toronto Croon" (as captured by Joe). Not all of the voices heard in this playlist live here still, but all have done so in the past, and all have adopted or adapted the Toronto croon in their own special way.

S W A N H E R D S - The Turning Larch

Marker Starling - Author

L CON - Oh How Love

Eric Chenaux - Social Living

ZOË - The Rock

Bernice - Talking About Her

Thom Gill + Musica Reflecta - Consider Me Gone

The Ryan Driver Sextet - Two Sleepy People

Monday, April 27, 2020

Concert Listings Roundup #351

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.


Special note:

For the past six-and-a-half years, I've faithfully been cranking out these listings every Monday. Because of the unprecedented situation we now find ourselves in, this week's listings remain blank. Stay safe and sheltered.


Livestream nation:

  • The Music Gallery at Home series continues tonight at 7 p.m. with history (featuring Dr. Trichy Sankaran, in conversation with Suba Sankaran), and on Friday with music (Suzanne Kite interpreting Xuan Ye's "Even a Blind Squirrel Finds a Nut Once in a While" and other pieces).
  • Michael Palumbo's Exit Points electroacoustic improvisation series is heading online. Wednesday night sees two group collaborations with Gayle Young, Patrick O'Reilly, Michael Lynn and Michael Palumbo in the first and Paul Stillwell, Diane Roblin and Pouya Hamidi in the second. Details at the facebook event or on Palumbo's site.

Bandcamp corner:

  • Don't forget that Bandcamp is once more waiting their revenue share on purchases made on Friday! It'll be a great time to support the artists you dig!

Friday, April 24, 2020

Pause and Reconsider: {AN} Eel

While live music is on pause, I've asked some friends of MFS to dig through the archives and put together a playlist of some things I've posted that have registered with them in one way or another — contextualizing blurbs preferred but not required. Expect to see a variety of different takes and approaches as the playlists get posted — and hopefully we'll all be reminded of some cool things that have happened in the past.

The first playlist is from Neal D Retke, who records as {AN} Eel. He is a performer of spontaneous sound explosions — and also an inveterate community builder, bringing the tape art ethos into the digital age while bringing together musicians from across the world to commuicate together.


Well, I had to stop and catch my breath for a moment before writing these words - I had a lot to say about something else, but as the wags in the industry said - I've “ Pulled Focus “ to change subjects quite a bit -

First, some context & background. My name is Neal but I perform & create art & events under the moniker of {AN} Eel, which obviously you are clever enough to grasp the deep & profound meaning of. I've been a fan of experimental music for decades now, but in 2011 I started to perform & play music live, something I'd not done since the 1900s ( Remember them ? ) and in the time that I've been back doing this, I've gotten deeper into organizing live shows & events as both a practical matter and a way of creating or deepening a sense of community - I've been very fortunate in having been in a wide range of areas with very different views & approaches to the whole of live music ( Not just the little experimental cubby-hole that I live in ) - The apogee of this could arguably be said to have been my organizing & performing in the ECLEC-TIC -TOC festival, in July of 2017 - James Bailey was the first performer in this festival, so let's start out with him -

James Bailey - Repent, Harlequin [excerpt]

One of the weird things about arranging live music is the relationship to the audience - This becomes a lot more complicated in terms of experimental music - I feel like the audience must go over halfway in meeting the performer, as the sounds themselves are often of a challenging nature - Sometimes very quiet ( Or total silence ) - Sometimes quite abrasive. This is actually one of the things that draws me most to it - Very little junk food here, no “ Ditties “ or pre-fabricated selling points - Of course, all music has it's weaknesses and its strong points, but I feel like the active nature of listening to this stuff ( Live or recorded ) adds a little extra sauce to the affair, a bit of spice

Knurl - [excerpt]

For me, music is never self contained - It is very rare for me not to have some sort of reaction to music, positive or negative - I feel sorry for the sounds when it does happen. But I think that's because music connects deeply in me, and I feel in many of us - True, in a lot of cases, there's people who just think of music at “ Appropriate “ times, special events ( Dunno - Elevators, Supermarkets - Editorial bias here ) but with few exceptions, I think it's a big neural connector to something that can and often does transcend the mundane, the day to day -

Mkl32 - [excerpt]

Spiritual malarky aside, I also think of what a great social organizing tool it is - How many of us have a lot of our personal identity tied into whatever music / genre / band etc. we hold dear - I think the deeper one gets into this, the more this becomes true - When one crosses the bridge to performing, this becomes even more pronounced, more distinct - It becomes vital and perhaps blown out of context - But that's a very human reaction, and socializing & identity are such human constraints - Think of how many pivotal moments in your life have a song, a soundtrack - It's impact is depend when those sounds come from collaborators, or event friends - It's a profound thing.

Moth Ash - [excerpt]

And here we go. - I was going to write a bit about the changing landscape of performances, but recent current events have blown all of that out of the water. In my view, there has been a eradication of D.I.Y. culture & the type of venues that cater to these sorts of things - There has been economic pressure as well as shifts in political & social attitudes around this - A Number of years ago, the Ghost Ship fire in CA. added to a tone of these places being undesirable, an eyesore or worse public menace. I also feel like we're in an era where curiosity & acceptance have been replaced to a large extent with suspicion & paranoia - There's a lot of changes, to be sure -

Ben Grossman/cheryl o/Barry Prophet - [excerpt]

One thing, however, that I think will never change - We are social animals. We love communicating, interacting with each other - History has shown us that music ( Especially in a context of movement & socializing ) can lead to a deepening of the shared experience, how many of us wouldn't like to have entrance music ? How many of us haven't been stopped in our tracks by a sound or a song triggering a particularly emotional memory ? I'm not a scientist, but from what I've seen and from what I feel, it's hard wired into us - So let me close on this -

No One Receiving Duo - [excerpt]

I've never been in a position to think of this as “ Work “ or any sort of profit - Even the handful of professional musicians I know of ( Some of whom Are by most standards quite successful ) have passion as a primary influence. Sure, the life of a gigging musician can be monotonous & droll, but when it comes to the music, it always starts from a place of passion. Whatever pragmatic or Capital based concerns seem to fall a couple of rungs down the latter in view of such passion - It's the prime mover so to speak - The main motivator -

Valerie Kuehne - Nootropics

I want to tell you a story - To me, it's a funny one - Years ago, I was driving cross country with a friend - I'd received a horrible Xmas gift, it was a small cardinal statue which created an obnoxious 8-bit twittering whenever it moved. At the onset of the trip, we'd joked a bit about how if we were in accident the little bird would be the last left standing and chirping away in our funeral silence - You see where I'm going with this right ? Sure enough, we'd lost to a mid-western winter and ended up sliding on a median & belly up in a ditch - In the immediate aftermaths ( After a quick check list to dissipate the shock & ensure no serious injury ) sure enough the damned bird was warbling away - I can't speak for my friend but I know in my case, it was a comfort - I think I even laughed out loud -

I feel like that's where we are now - Whatever happens, no matter how bad it gets, People will keep making music. People will keep enjoying music - maybe we can't socialize around live shows - maybe we never will again ! If that happens, we'll bond over shared interests, argue about silly and trivial details concerning our music and of course, every once and a while dance like nobody's watching. Because maybe now that will be true - maybe there will be nobody to watch. I believe music has the power to heal, and without going to deep into it, I think a lot of that power comes from our interconnectedness with music - Our shared ear, so to speak.

So Rock Out, Dance on. Shake your Tail-Feather, Tickle those Ivories - We are here, I hear you & we're all in this together.

Be good to each other & stay safe.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Flexion / Reflection

So, a few days ago I posted the last recordings I had in my queue. At long last, I'm caught up!

The issue now, of course, is if and when there will be more recordings to post. It doesn't feel like it's going to be any time soon, especially as I think about the possibilities of having safe spaces (in a different sense than we usually mean) in the sort of venues I frequent. Are shows possible — never mind desirable — under the conditions that might be possible as things are eased off? How many people could you actually put in the Southern Cross or Wenona Lodge's basement if people were separated six feet in each direction? Would you actually want to go to a bar and — what — stand in a rigid grid two meters away from everyone else?

Anyway, it's all to say it's unclear how things are going to be in the months ahead. And unclear what I'll feel like doing. With a nice break to putter around in life's other avenues, maybe I won't feel the need to head out to so many shows in the future. Which isn't to say things here are going to end, but maybe they won't be as they were — I feel less like I'm at a cliff than at a height of land, looking at different terrain in front of me.

And in the meantime, without new material to post, there will be some opportunities to dip into the archives. Starting tomorrow, some friends of MFS will be sharing playlists of tracks from the blog that have mattered to them in one way or another, so at least we can remember the ways that we have been connected and affected.