Sunday, April 20, 2014

Recording: Continuum, Array and Guests

Artist: Continuum's Ensemble with The Array Ensemble and Guests

Song: Babbitt [excerpt] (Composer: Michael Oesterle)

Recorded at The Music Gallery ("Gaudeamus: Reconstructed"), April 4, 2014.

Continuum, Array and Guests - Babbitt [excerpt]

Full review to follow. The second night of the mini-festival in celebration of The Netherlands' Gaudeamus Muziekweek contrasted the previous night's improvisations by presenting works by a few composers — Dutch and Canadian — who have been associated with Gaudeamus in the past. To realize this vision, Continuum's ensemble was joined by The Array Ensemble as well as guests Michiel van Dijk, Koen Kaptijn, Nora Mulder, Rob MacDonald and Bas Wiegers. This piece from Michael Oesterle, as well as those from Louis Andriessen, Yannis Kyriakides and eldritch priest brought out a satisfying variety of textures.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Recording: Gaudeamus Deconstructed Ensemble

Artist: Gaudeamus Deconstructed Ensemble

Song: All The Pieces That Ever Won Prizes at Gaudeamus in the Past 25 Years (Part I)

Recorded at The Music Gallery, April 3, 2014.

Gaudeamus Deconstructed Ensemble - All The Pieces That Ever Won Prizes at Gaudeamus in the Past 25 Years (Part I)

Full review to follow. Celebrating The Netherlands' famed Gaudeamus Muziekweek, several local new music groups worked together to curate this mini-festival, which brought two nights of concerts plus some spin-off daytime activities to the Music Gallery. The first night was a Dutch/Canadian improvisation summit, featuring visitors Michiel van Dijk, Koen Kaptijn and Nora Mulder alongside locals Nicole Rampersaud, Josh Cole, Rick Sacks and Allison Cameron. This structured "comprovisation" was contributed (and cheekily titled) by Cameron.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Recording: The Living Daylight Stringband

Artist: The Living Daylight Stringband

Songs: I Fall On My Knees [Old Crow Medicine Show cover] + Johnson Gals

Recorded at Holy Oak Café, March 30, 2013.

The Living Daylight Stringband - I Fall On My Knees

The Living Daylight Stringband - Johnson Gals

Full review to follow. Try as I might, there's lots of music in this city that I just don't see that much of. I know there's a rich community of roots/old-timey music, and though I dig it it's just not something I get out to see very much. Good luck then to have this quartet on the bill alongside Simone Schmidt's new Flood & Pass project, giving me a chance to experience that simple magic of four voices gathered around a single microphone. It sounds timeless, but the band is working up a healthy songbook of their own material — and you can find them at the Holy Oak on the second Thursday of every month.

Recording: Flood & Pass

Artist: Flood & Pass

Songs: Turing's Farewell + You Were Good (I Was Good For a While)

Recorded at Holy Oak Café, March 30, 2013.

Flood & Pass - Turing's Farewell

Flood & Pass - You Were Good (I Was Good For a While)

Full review to follow. Although Simone Schmidt's idiom is somewhere in the vast terrain that includes "country" and "singer-songwriter", her m.o. and approach to collaboration is akin to improvisers and experimentalists, nimbly shifting from project to project to reflect the different dynamics that come with different musical partners. So here, then, we have one to add to the pile, with Schmidt trying out some new material alongside Phillips, whose solo project is called Stripmall Ballads. There's some obvious affinities here, including a lyrical worldview that gets inside the stories of the disenfranchised — Phillips presented one song called "Woman With A Black Eye". In town to record an album together, the pair also shared the stage at the Holy Oak, tossing back and forth the new collaborative songs as well as a few of their own tunes. Schmidt brought this requiem for Alan Turing, whose code-breaking heroics were swept aside in the condemnation of his queerness, while Philips' "You Were Good" was dedicated to Confederacy of Dunces author John Kennedy Toole.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Recording: Toronto Homicide Squad

Artist: Toronto Homicide Squad

Song: Inflammation is the Enemy

Recorded at Bike Pirates ("Wavelength 592"), March 29, 2014.

Toronto Homicide Squad - Inflammation is the Enemy

Full review to follow. The friendly anarchy of DIY cycle repair space Bike Pirates was an entirely welcome space to host this Wavelength show, and the smell of oil lingering in the air and bike parts hanging from the walls (and tucked away in filing cabinets!) felt like a good match for the varying shades of musical brutalism deployed by the three noise duos on the bill. THS got things started with some harsh prog-bursts that set the tone for the night. [Mark May 20 down in your calendars and join them at Smiling Buddha for their Record Release/Tour Kick-Off show.]

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Recording: Surinam

Artist: Surinam

Song: unknown*

Recorded at The Silver Dollar Room, March 28, 2014.

Surinam - unknown

Full review to follow. Plenty of simmering menace in this tune, which is delivered with the musical equivalent of a slow, pained lurch.

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

Recording: Dilly Dally

Artist: Dilly Dally

Song: unknown*

Recorded at The Silver Dollar Room, March 28, 2014.

Dilly Dally - unknown

Full review to follow. Even though they're still playing rather short sets, as Dilly Dally gets more comfortable with their sound the songs are slowing down a bit and growing more distinct — but maybe the fact that the band is really on to something can be seen in the way that the Dollar suddenly went from empty-ish to full just before they took the stage.

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

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Recording: EAR-CAM

Artist: EAR-CAM

Song: [excerpt from first set]

Recorded at The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), March 28, 2014.

EAR-CAM - [excerpt from first set]

Full review to follow. Regrouping after a ten-year hiatus, I was familiar with the individual members of this group, but not sure of what to expect from them as an ensemble. Composed of Christine Duncan and Nobuo Kubota (voices), John Oswald (alto sax), Tomasz Krakowiak (percussion) and Glen Hall (laptop, electronics, bass clarinet), this is by design a full-on free-form experience, with electronic textures giving a framework for the chatter of voices and saxophone to bubble (or babble?) along.

I don't know how long this ensemble is sticking together for this time around, but I see that they will be performing again on Thursday (April 17th) at Musideum.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Concert Listings Roundup #40

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:

Too many good shows this week! I had a real problem settling on just one to highlight (and kinda wanted to do three or four) but here's a couple shows that deserve your attention.

Spectrum: Early Expressions / The Annex Theatre 2014-04-17 (Thursday) [more info]

Not only are this night's new compositions musing upon and responding to the works of our artistic ancestors at Chauvet Cave and elsewhere, but there's a pre-concert from an actual archaeologist to push us past our preconceptions on ancient art. The performers include the Ton Beau Quartet, and there's bonus points for Spectrum's unfussy, casual presentation and the haunted-mansion vibes at The Annex Theatre. Tickets only $12 if you buy in advance online! ($15 at the door)

Ken Vandermark's Made to Break Quartet / The Drake Underground 2014-04-19 (Saturday)

I'm not entirely sure what to expect from this new unit from the always-innovating Ken Vandermark, but the promo copy promises that it "combin[es] elements of his interest and experience with the music of Ethiopia and the Ex alongside the New Music ideas of John Cage and Morton Feldman" which sounds very promising.


This week's noteworthy shows:

The Good Family [April residency! Early show every Monday in April!] / The Dakota Tavern 2014-04-14 (Monday) [more info]

Body Help [Colin Fisher/Josh Cole/Kieran Adams, plus special guest Ryan Driver] / The Emmet Ray 2014-04-14 (Monday) [FB event]

Ken Aldcroft/Chris Banks/Jake Oelrichs / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2014-04-15 (Tuesday – early!)

Julianna Barwick (Vasillus / Christine Duncan / Castle If) / Double Double Land 2014-04-16 (Wednesday) [FB event]

CCMC (Colin Fisher + Mike Gennaro) / Musideum 2014-04-16 (Wednesday) [FB event]

BRIDGES #4 (feat. Lido Pimienta with special guest Tanya Tagaq) / Lula Lounge 2014-04-17 (Thursday) [FB event]

Man Forever [Kid Millions Of Oneida] (Mimico / Not The Wind, Not The Flag) / Double Double Land 2014-04-17 (Thursday) [FB event]

Mind Over Mirrors (Koen Holtkamp [from Mountains] / Manticore) / 360 Geary Ave. 2014-04-17 (Thursday) [FB event]

Dust [The Quietest Big Band in the Known World] / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2014-04-18 (Friday – early!) [more info]

The New Mendicants / The Dakota Tavern 2014-04-18 + 2014-04-19 (Friday + Saturday – early shows!) [more info]

Teen Tits Wild Wives [Street Hawks EP Release!] (Sexy Merlin / Rotzig) / Milk Glass Co. 2014-04-18 (Friday) [FB event]

Patti Cake (San Marina / The Meerkats / Labstract) / The Silver Dollar Room 2014-04-18 (Friday) [FB event]

Record Store Day (feat. Unfinished Business / DIANA / Greys / The Bicycles / HSY / PS I Love You) / Sonic Boom 2014-04-19 (Saturday – Sets all afternoon long on the hour! Free + all-ages) [FB event]

Wavelength 595 (feat. Cellphone / Connoisseurs of Porn / Look Vibrant / Mystics) / Smiling Buddha 2014-04-19 (Saturday) [FB event]

Healing Power Residency #3 [Synth'd Out Edition] (feat. Toblerone Boys / PWM) / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2013-04-19 (Saturday) [FB event]

Absolutely Free (DOOMSQUAD / Kira May) / 3030 2014-04-19 (Saturday) [FB event]

Construction Vol. 1 ["A summer all-ages music series" from the Long Winter crew] (feat. Tasseomancy / Wish / RLDML) / Double Double Land 2014-04-19 (Saturday) [FB event]

Alaniaris / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2014-04-20 (Sunday – matinée! 3 to 5 p.m.)

Téléphone Maison [Arachnidiscs Cassette Release!] (A Sacred Cloud / Zoo Owl) / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2014-04-20 (Sunday) [FB event]

Mount Eerie (Wyrd Visions) [Half–Eaten Guitar Reissue celebration!] / Soybomb 2014-04-20 (Sunday) [FB event]

Sontag Shogun (Blevin Blectum / Khôra) / Gerrard Art Space 2014-04-20 (Sunday) [FB event]


Add these to your calendar:

"A Night of Old Songs" ["Martha Farquhar-McDonnell, Isla Craig, Sean Donald and Tyler Hnatuk sing and play traditional music from Ireland and Scotland"] / The Common 2014-04-23 (Wednesday) [FB event]

Holly Golightly (Dany Laj and the Looks / Freeman Dre & The Soup Kitchen) / The Horseshoe Tavern 2014-04-23 (Wednesday) [FB event]

Clarinet Panic Deluxx [EP Release!] (Keir Neuringer / CCMC) / Oz Studios 2014-04-27 (Sunday) [FB event]

Somewhere There Presents (feat. Lottery Tickets / Sorbara/Liu/Tielli/Segger) / Array Space 2014-04-27 (Sunday)

Alex Bleeker and the Freaks (The Auras / Tess Parks and the Good People) / The Silver Dollar Room 2014-04-29 (Tuesday) [FB event]

CCLA 50th Anniversary Concert Celebration (feat. Jason Collett / Arraymusic Ensemble [playing an original piece by Owen Pallett] / Kobo Town / Axé Capoeira Toronto / Clay and Paper Theatre / Lido Pimienta / Damian Rogers / "TBA" University of Toronto A Cappella Choir) / Trinity St-Paul's Centre 2014-05-03 (Saturday) [FB event]

Somewhere There presents "There is No Magic" (feat. Birth of Troubling Forms / Alexandra Spence, Bea Labikova and No Magic / Odradek) / Array Space 2014-05-04 (Sunday) [FB event]

Audiopollination #18.1: Focus on Voice (feat. Diane Roblin and Cory Sobol / Tena Palmer and Paul Newman / John Creson and Adam Rosen / Rob Piilonen and Zoë Alexis-Abrams) / Array Space 2014-05-13 (Tuesday) [FB event]

Toronto Homicide Squad (Whoop-Zso / Lice / The Kettle Black) / Smiling Buddha 2014-05-20 (Tuesday) [FB event]


Bonus on-screen options!

Besides this week's most excellent concert selection, you should be aware that the Images Festival is running all week as well. If you like a bit of an experimental edge to your music, you might very well enjoy it at the movies as well. "Experimental" doesn't mean "dull and incomprehensible", though you might have to bring a bit more active appreciation to these works than your normal narrative fare. But if you pick any of the programmes of shorts, you'll get a chance to see a variety of approaches without (hopefully) testing your patience too much. Just picking something when you have a free night and experiencing it is highly recommended! Screenings run every night at the cozy Jackman Hall at the AGO.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Recording: Josh Cole's Standards Quartet

Artist: Josh Cole's Standards Quartet

Song: Pithecanthropus Erectus [composer: Charles Mingus]

Recorded at The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), March 26, 2014.

Josh Cole's Standards Quartet - Pithecanthropus Erectus

Full review to follow. If you weren't watching the band looking over the charts between numbers and tossing hushed inquiries back and forth, you might not have realized that this ad hoc ensemble was tackling some songs from their fakebooks without advance preparation, including the likes of "Lover Man", "Gentle Rain" and "You Don't Know What Love Is" (plus tunes by Ellington, Wayne Shorter and more). This was a chance for Cole — joined by Ryan Driver, Nick Fraser and Nicole Rampersaud — to kick the tires a little before taking these songs for a ride.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Recording: Hurricanes of Love

Artist: Hurricanes of Love

Songs: [story] + Quintorian Blues/Eternal Friend*

Recorded at June Records, March 24, 2014.

Hurricanes of Love - [story]

Hurricanes of Love - Quintorian Blues/Eternal Friend

Full review to follow. A sort of ramblin' Fahey-esque balladeer for the OxyContin age, Frank Hurricane's "spiritual mountain psych gangsta folk" was delivered with the utmost tension between his free-wheeling monologues and his songs — with open-hearted, delicate fingerpicking giving way to spiritual howls. Together, it made for an altogether striking live presentation.

* Thanks to Frank for passing along the titles!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Concert Listings Roundup #39

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 593 (feat. Picastro Record Release!] / (Magali Meagher [early show] / Paul Schedlich [late show]) / CineCycle 2014-04-09 (Wednesday) [FB event]

Wavelength has a flurry of shows coming up, but this week's is one of the ones I'm most looking forward to, with long-time sleep-rock/drone-pop unit Picastro launching new album You. You have your choice of early or late shows, and the edge here goes to the early show with Magali Meagher, fondly remembered for her work in The Phonemes, making her long-awaited return to live action. [Update! It looks like early + late shows have been merged into one single show, which means that you'll be able to see Meagher and Paul Schedlich without having to pick! Doors at 7:30, show at 8:30!]


This week's noteworthy shows:

The Good Family [April residency! Early show every Monday in April!] / The Dakota Tavern 2014-04-07 (Monday) [more info]

Aurochs / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2014-04-08 (Tuesday – early!)

Audiopollination #17.1 (feat. Bill Gilliam (piano) performing improvised duets and trios with Cassie Norton / Thistle Strum + Callum Mackenzie / David Shelly / Rod Campbell) / Array Space 2014-04-08 (Tuesday) [FB event]

Carl Wilson & Sean Michaels Tandem Book Launch ["readings plus performances by Snowblink and special guest thereminists and other surprises TBA"] / Monarch Tavern 2014-04-08 (Tuesday) [FB event]

Cosmonauts (B-17 / Mean Tikes) / Sneaky Dee's 2014-04-08 (Tuesday) [FB event]

Ido Govrin [curating a live experimental music concert, featuring Rob Cruickshank/Christine Duncan and The Knot (Tilman Lewis and Nick Storing)] / UTAC University of Toronto Art Centre 2014-04-08 (Tuesday – free!)

HellShovel (Mexican Slang) / The Garrison 2014-04-09 (Wednesday) [FB event]

Lab Coast (Prince Ness / The Holy Gasp) / Smiling Buddha 2014-04-09 (Wednesday) [FB event]

The Glenn Gould School New Music Ensemble: Nicole Lizée's Behind the Sound of Music [world premiere!] / Conservatory Theatre 2014-04-10 (Thursday – free!) [more info]

Reel Cod Records presents Cod Bless Fest (feat. Mimico / Sexy Merlin / Moonwood) / Comfort Zone 2014-04-10 (Thursday) [FB event]

Flowchart [a performance series featuring artists working in different media – music + dance + more] (feat. Jonathan Adjemian / Meryem Alaoui / Barbara Lindenberg) / Artscape Youngplace 2014-04-10 (Thursday) [FB event]

Mike Gennaro/Colin Fisher [duo set, plus second set with Jay Hay & Simeon Abbott] / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2014-04-10 (Thursday) [FB event]

Henry Grimes (Aurochs) / The Music Gallery 2014-04-11 (Friday) [more info]

Audiopollination #17.2: Value Village Special ["sets of groups/ensembles using items bought from Value Village"] (feat. Value Village Idiots [Michael Lynn, Michaelangelo Iaffaldano, Arnd Jurgensen, Tim Cuff, Brenda Joy Lem, Dominque Banoun, James Bailey] / Rob Piilonen/Germaine Liu/Mark Zurawinski / Joe Sorbara and group) / Array Space 2014-04-11 (Friday) [FB event]

Steam Whistle Unsigned #29 (feat. Jane's Party / Young Guv / Blonde Elvis) / Steam Whistle Brewing 2014-04-11 (Friday) [FB event]

The Toy Piano Composers: Tension/Resolution [new works for harp + ensemble] / Heliconian Hall 2014-04-12 (Saturday) [FB event]

Noam Bierstone, and Bryan Holt: fulltreffer / The Music Gallery 2014-04-12 (Saturday) [more info]

Persian Rugs (Fires of Cheektowaga / floppsy b & the sugarstarkidd [debut performance!] / Holy Oak Café 2014-04-12 (Saturday) [FB event]

ZONES (Bile Sister / Nick Persons / Doom Tickler / Fleshtone Aura) / Mây 2014-04-12 (Saturday) [FB event]

Prince Enoki's Insect Orchestra (Kosher Dill Spears) / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2014-04-12 (Saturday) [FB event]

Bruce Peninsula Trio / Campbell House Museum 2014-04-13 (Sunday) [FB event]

See Through Four (Famous Wildlife Movies) / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2014-04-13 (Sunday) [FB event]

A Grayowl Point Crosswires (feat. Christian Hansen / Blimp Rock / Elrichman) / Handlebar 2014-04-13 (Sunday) [FB event]


Add these to your calendar:

The Good Family [April residency! Early show every Monday in April!] / The Dakota Tavern 2014-04-14 (Monday) [more info]

Body Help [Colin Fisher/Josh Cole/Kieran Adams, plus special guest Ryan Driver] / The Emmet Ray 2014-04-14 (Monday) [FB event]

CCMC (Colin Fisher + Mike Gennaro) / Musideum 2014-04-16 (Wednesday)

BRIDGES #4 (feat. Lido Pimienta with special guest Tanya Tagaq) / Lula Lounge 2014-04-17 (Thursday) [FB event]

Absolutely Free (DOOMSQUAD / Kira May) / 3030 2014-04-19 (Saturday) [FB event]

Construction Vol. 1 ["A summer all-ages music series" from the Long Winter crew] (feat. Tasseomancy / Wish / RLDML) / Double Double Land 2014-04-19 (Saturday) [FB event]

The Good Family [April residency! Early show every Monday in April!] / The Dakota Tavern 2014-04-21 (Monday) [more info]

Wavelength 596: NICE [co-presented with Dalton Higgins] (feat. Complaints Dept / Most People / pHoenix Pagliacci / Ought) / Tattoo 2014-04-24 (Thursday) [FB event]

Zones (Mystic Triangle / Beard Closet) / Holy Oak Café 2014-04-25 (Saturday) [FB event]

The Good Family [April residency! Early show every Monday in April!] / The Dakota Tavern 2014-04-28 (Monday) [more info]

Teenanger (TV Freaks / DAS RAD) / Izakaya Sushi House 2014-05-17 (Saturday) [FB event]

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Recording: Ryan Driver + Musica Reflecta

Artist: Ryan Driver + Musica Reflecta

Song: Once

Recorded at The Tranzac (Main Hall) – "Continuous Events (clapping optional)", March 22, 2014.

Ryan Driver + Musica Reflecta - Once

Full review to follow. This lovely evening was a joint effort by chamber ensemble Musica Reflecta and Thom Gill and Colin Fisher's Love Nation. Mixing compositions, improvisations, orchestrated pop tunes, readings and more, the night was presented as a non-stop suite.

Having a chance to hear Ryan Driver with full-on orch-pop backing was one of the night's big treats — hopefully this will be more than a one-off.

Recording: Thom Gill + Musica Reflecta

Artist: Thom Gill + Musica Reflecta

Song: Consider Me Gone [Reba McEntire cover]

Recorded at The Tranzac (Main Hall) – "Continuous Events (clapping optional)", March 22, 2014.

Thom Gill + Musica Reflecta - Consider Me Gone

Full review to follow. This lovely evening was a joint effort by chamber ensemble Musica Reflecta and Thom Gill and Colin Fisher's Love Nation. Mixing compositions, improvisations, orchestrated pop tunes, readings and more, the night was presented as a non-stop suite.

With strings and winds behind him, Thom Gill went countrypolitan, bringing tunes by Alan Jackson and Reba McEntire, pulling the night's juxtapositions of styles in a completely unexpected direction.

Recording: Musica Reflecta

Artist: Musica Reflecta

Song: Arbitrage II [fragment recombination edit] (Composer: Jason Doell)

Recorded at The Tranzac (Main Hall) – "Continuous Events (clapping optional)", March 22, 2014.

Musica Reflecta - Arbitrage II [fragment recombination edit]

Full review to follow. This lovely evening was a joint effort by chamber ensemble Musica Reflecta and Thom Gill and Colin Fisher's Love Nation. Mixing compositions, improvisations, orchestrated pop tunes, readings and more, the night was presented as a non-stop suite.

After leading off the evening with some of his music box pieces, this new piece by Jason Doell (the recent winner of the Toronto Emerging Composer Award) was performed by Musica Reflecta's ensemble. This carried its momentum with distributed string-plucks and a series of quietly imposing textures. [Do note that because of the limitations of my recording gear, I couldn't really capture the quiet bits in proper fidelity, so consider this a "condensed books" version of the piece, stitching together some of the segments.]