Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Recording: LAL

Artist: LAL

Song: Tiny Mirrors

Recorded at Pia Bouman School for Ballet and Creative Movement (SummerWorks Music Series: all you can hold), August 12, 2015.

LAL - Tiny Mirrors

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.

Like some of the other Music Series shows, longstanding electronic duo LAL incorporated hints of ritual and a sense of celebration into their spectacular presentation, creating a joyful conscious dance party. Working with director Ange Loft (who is also known in music circles for her work with Yamantaka//Sonic Titan), the group moved beyond traditional staging, instead putting a catwalk down the length of the floor and sound technician Nicholas Murray at a table in the audience. Vocalist Rosina Kazi moved freely between those as models danced and strutted on the catwalk, reflecting and amplifying the music's themes of self-discovery, resilience and political action. The duo performed a whole new set of songs which I understand basically corresponds to their new album due at the start of next year. Bands that have been around for a while sometimes get short shrift for lacking the tang of the new, but this show weighty with ideas, energy and upliftment — a reminder that this city needs to celebrate groups like this who are working to push things forward.

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