Thursday, June 2, 2016

Recording: Jherek Bischoff

Artist: Jherek Bischoff

Song: The Sea's Son

Recorded at Koerner Hall (Wavelength 701 @ 21C Festival), May 28, 2016.

Jherek Bischoff - The Sea's Son

The 21C Festival is one of those things that I should probably take more of an interest in, but have never felt too strongly about. It does seems to make more of an effort to connect to the local "New Music" community than, say, the TSO's New Creations Festival — Continuum co-presented the Japan: NEXT concert, for example. But it also seems to treat its "world class" visiting headliners as something from a different world. This night was technically a co-presentation with Wavelength, but it definitely had a WINO (Wavelength in name only) vibe, with no-one from the festival making any effort to help the audience connect with a forward-thinking music presenter that's working around town year-round. That said, my understanding is that Wavelength had a hand in the evening's curation and this was an ambitious gig that they wouldn't have been able to pull off on their own.

Jherek Bischoff's past work has seen him operate in a pop/classic hybrid vein, such as his Composed project, which saw his pieces augmented with vocal turns from the likes of David Byrne, Caetano Veloso, and Carla Bozulich. There was some of that at play here, including covers of Konono Nº1 and David Bowie, and a few pieces that saw Bischoff cranking away on electric bass. But the heart of his set and most compelling material came from his forthcoming Cistern album, "inspired by time Bischoff spent improvising in an empty, two-million-gallon, underground water tank, with a 45-second reverb decay." Those pieces had more of a gracefully-swooning ambient approach, including this piece which brings to mind ambient/classical fellow-travellers such as A Winged Victory For The Sullen. All of the work was interpreted by an ace ensemble of mostly-younger performers, including several who I saw performing recently as members of the GGS New Music Ensemble.

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