Saturday, August 15, 2015

Recording: JOOJ

Artist: JOOJ

Song: Ghost of Love

Recorded at Pia Bouman School for Ballet and Creative Movement ("SummerWorks Music Series"), August 7, 2015

JOOJ - Ghost of Love

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.

Entitled What Happens to JOOJ in 24 Hours: According to Bojana & Alex, the series opener's stated methodology was "a concept that formally unbounds the notion of performance through a practice of duration" — artspeak for locking the performers in the theatre overnight, forcing them to stay awake and see what happens. Faced with a crowd and having to give a performance after twenty-three hours of tasks set by directors Bojana Stancic and Alex Wolfson, the most interesting effects upon Sook-Yin Lee and Adam Litovitz weren't so much musical (they pulled off their performances of the tunes from the debut album in fine style) as in their body language and reactions to what was going on around them. Not surprisingly, Lee bounced between punchy-tired and second-wind-manic as she spoke between songs, or prowled into the crowd with her wireless mic during them. After a few songs the fourth wall was broken altogether as Lee invited the crowd down from their seats to wander through the theatre as they pleased — people circulated and looked at the project's self-documentation that was taped on the walls while some of the band's friends settled into into their stage-side sleeping bags and nibbled on their snacks.

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