Songs: Lacunae + Woven Into Parchments [chamber mix]
Recorded at Yonge-Dundas Square (Intersection Festival – Day 2), September 3, 2016.
A lovely day, warm in the sun with a cool breeze, the Intersection Festival once again filled Dundas Square with music of all kinds, offering a counterpoint to business at usual in the ad-basked concrete canyon. With Tad Michalak (of Burn Down the Capital/Feast in the East) again taking a leading role in curating the day, the music had nods to the festival's more chamber music-intensive past while upping the noise and weirdness reverberating off the surrounding walls. That had a sort of push-pull effect on the passers-by, sometimes drawing them in, sometimes causing evident confusion and moving along.
Experimental metallists Gates have fluctuated in size in the past, but this festival appearance gave the none-more-black crew a chance to double its size from its currently-customary quartet, seeing core members Bryan W. Bray (guitar), Joel Beauchamp (percussion & synth), Lucas Gadke (bass) and Laura C. Bates (violin) augmented with Raphael Weinroth-Browne (cello), James Beardmore (synth & electronics) Karen Ng (tenor sax & clarinet) & Nick Buligan (trumpet). That gave the crew a chance to present some of the pieces from their forthcoming Vas album in a sort of musical widescreen, embroidering the underlying doom drones with rich ambient builds and freeform freakouts. Like a batsignal shining in the sky, the first rumbling notes sent out some sort of metal alarm, and suddenly a small horde of jean-jacketed, fist-pumping enthusiasts materialized in front of the stage. As "composerly" as anything you might have ever seen at Intersection, this comes from somewhere entirely different than New Music orthodoxy, but it's heading to the same destination. (Via Hell, of course.) [Do note that my recording here, with the guitar and bass not present in the soundboard feed, is gonna have a whole bunch less menacing rumble than what's going to eventually emerge — let's call this alternative consideration of these pieces a "chamber mix" in honour of all those extra elements that really get to stand out here.]