Sunday, August 16, 2015

Recording: Animalia

Artist: Animalia

Song: unknown*

Recorded at Pia Bouman School for Ballet and Creative Movement ("SummerWorks Music Series"), August 8, 2015

Animalia - unknown

The SummerWorks Music series, evolving since its inception in 2008, feels to have really and truly settled into its identity both as another way for SummerWorks to celebrate its growing foregrounding of interdisciplinary art and as a unique feature of the city's live music scene. After a couple years of just stuffing some bands down in the basement to provide an après-play gathering space, 2010's Hidden Cameras spectacular (featuring a "dramatic retelling" their Origin: Orphan album) pointed the way forward — but it wasn't really until 2012 that the festival started to ramp up the practice of pairing musicians with artists from other disciplines to create unique, one-off events.

It was finally in 2013 that the "mature" music series fully emerged, with stand-out events from Maylee Todd, Snowblink, and The Bicycles. Since then, collaboration has moved to the centre. Last year saw the series' first visit to the Pia Bouman School at the edge of Parkdale, which became their home this year, giving the Series its own space (and a cool pop-up venue). Adam Bradley and the returning Andrew Pulsifer have played to the series' strengths with their musical curation, and all of the works this year felt like good additions to a series whose legacy includes the future memories of these one-of-a-kind shows.

Sort of like a good-vibes new age version of Eyes Wide Shut, this show saw the audience make a circle around Jill Krasnicki's pentagram and join in a purification ritual, shooing away negative feelings. Turning the series' usual notion of a large-scale spectacle on its ear, Krasnicki and director Ruth Madoc-Jones instead created an especially-intimate vibe by splitting the night into five performances for small audiences, giving the masked attendees the feeling of being at some secret conclave in an abandoned warehouse. At first brush, Krasnicki's synth-based songs hewed a little closer to straight pop than is necessarily my sweet spot, but further investigation shows some well-crafted songs — and there's no denying her powerful voice and presence. With a bit of a lower profile than some of the other bands in the Music Series, it was nonetheless encouraging to see the curators choose to work with a talent they could stand behind and wanted to present to new audiences.

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

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