Monday, December 6, 2021

Monday Roundup #47

In the absence of concert listings, my regular Monday dispatches have fallen off. After bringing some life to the blog with the "bumping into" series, I figure I should get back in the groove. I'm guessing that this will be a bit like what used to get shoved into the end of the post when I was doing listings — some bandcamp suggestions, nods to a few livestreams, and sundry community notes (email me if you have anything that needs broadcast in the latter category!). Plus maybe a look back through the MFS archives.


Livestream nation:

  • Apologies as this veers well into the self-promotional this week. First off, Track Could Bend returns this week — for the next while, expect pre-recorded sets to appear on youtube on the series' traditional first Tuesday of the month. There's a certain amount of figuring shit out that needed to be done, so I figured I'd make like a B-movie scientist and experiment on myself, convening the trio Our Way to Fall (where I'm joined by Liz Lima and Del Stephen) to play a "soundcheck" of sorts as I work out the kinks on how I want to record and present audio and video. The good news is this sounds pretty fab. The visuals are a work in progress — I know I want something a little lo-fi and rough around the edges but still visually interesting. You can check out how close I got to the mark as the set premieres on youtube tomorrow night (December 7th) at 7 p.m.:
  • Meanwhile, I recommend the Audiopollination series in this space as a matter of course, so I can say without reservation that you wouldn't want to miss a duo set from Glen Hall and Elizabeth Lima... and you might also enjoy some things that Patrick O'Reilly and myself are cooking up. (livestreams here on Friday night. Free. Facebook event.)

Concert listings:

  • Ladyfinger [Diane Roblin (piano & keyboards) + Kayla Milmine (soprano saxophone)] / The Emmet Ray 2021-12-12 (Sunday). $10. [FB event]

Video hits:

  • Very exciting to see Vicky Mettler's Kee Avil project make the move up to Constellation Records, announced by this visually-arresting video:

It happened this week...

  • ...on December 8, 2017 at Lee's Palace (Dan Burke: 60 plus 20).

The Highest Order feat. Michelle McAdorey - Carry On Warm

  • ...on December 12, 2017 at Smiling Buddha.

Bitchin' Bajas - Circles on Circles

[Do remember that you can click on the tags below to go back and find the original posts (and often, more stuff) from these artists.]

Monday, November 29, 2021

Monday Roundup #46

In the absence of concert listings, my regular Monday dispatches have fallen off. After bringing some life to the blog with the "bumping into" series, I figure I should get back in the groove. I'm guessing that this will be a bit like what used to get shoved into the end of the post when I was doing listings — some bandcamp suggestions, nods to a few livestreams, and sundry community notes (email me if you have anything that needs broadcast in the latter category!). Plus maybe a look back through the MFS archives.


Community notes:

  • Reminder to knob-twisters and soundscapists that Musicworks' 2021 Electronic Music Composition Contest is open and awaiting your entry. It's a pretty wide-open field ("any electronic-music genre — acousmatic, electroacoustic, glitch, soundscape, intelligent dance music (IDM), turntable art, or video music etc.") and your entries will be considered by the jury on the basis of your sounds only, as all identifying information is stripped away before they are given the tracks. (Full disclosure, I am a past jurist for this competition.) There's a fee of $25 to enter, but that also gives you a one-year subscription to the magazine, so it works out as a pretty good deal. You can get all the information you need here.

Video hits:

  • Clara Engel's "Microgods of all the Subatomic Worlds" (from their 2017 EP Songs for Leonora Carrington) has been given a second go-round with a striking new video from dance troupe Odeón Círculo Escénico, filmed on-site in the Museo Leonora Carrington in San Luis Potosí, Mexico:

Bandcamp corner:

  • No surprise that the new album from the Nick Fraser Quartet (Nick Fraser/Tony Malaby/Andrew Downing/Rob Clutton) rips in all the right ways. It's also pretty sweet to see these musicians amongst some pretty heavy hitters (like, say, Don Cherry/John Coltrane/Albert Ayler/Matthew Shipp) on Ezz-Thetics' bandcamp page.

It happened this week...

  • ...on November 30, 2016, at The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge).

Cameron/Cole/Perri/Rampersaud - [first set, excerpt 2]

  • ...on December 1, 2016 at The Garrison.

New Fries - Gertrude Stein Greeting Card from Pape/Danforth

[Do remember that you can click on the tags below to go back and find the original posts (and often, more stuff) from these artists.]

Monday, November 22, 2021

Monday Roundup #45

In the absence of concert listings, my regular Monday dispatches have fallen off. After bringing some life to the blog with the "bumping into" series, I figure I should get back in the groove. I'm guessing that this will be a bit like what used to get shoved into the end of the post when I was doing listings — some bandcamp suggestions, nods to a few livestreams, and sundry community notes (email me if you have anything that needs broadcast in the latter category!). Plus maybe a look back through the MFS archives.


Livestream nation:

  • Thin Edge New Music Collective presents Premieres X, a night of new chamber pieces, on Wednesday (November 24th) with commissioned works by Kimia Koochakzadeh-Yazdi, Paolo Griffin, Homa Samiei and Matthew Ariaratnam. Free to watch, though PWYC donations are welcomed.

Concert listings:

  • Long Winter 10th anniversary kick-off: Together Apart International DIY Festival (feat. Orphx / Odonis Odonis / Bernice / Shn Shn / Lightman Jarvis Ecstatic Band / Tange / Del Stephen / Asuquomo / Karim Olen Ash / Savannah Taylor / Merival / New Chance / Besé / Ziibiwan / Sisi Superstar / Ceréna / Tica Holiday / Blackwinterwells) / St. Anne's Church 2021-11-26–2021-11-27 (Friday + Saturday). $12/$15 [ticket info]. [FB event] ("an IRL/URL cross-stream virtual party")

Track Could Bend — redivivus:

  • Track Could Bend (the cozy monthly music series curated by yours truly) is coming back! To try and ensure the safety and comfort of everyone involved, things will be in a hybrid form for the next few months. We'll be congregating at our home in the basement at Wenona Lodge with a very limited in-person crowd. I'll document the sets with audio and video and they'll make their way onto youtube on the first Tuesday of the month — which means you should make a note to keep your eye out on December 7th. To work the kinks out I did something I usually avoid and booked a group I'm part of for the "dress rehearsal". Here's a hint of what's coming up:

It happened this week...

  • ...on November 27, 2015 at The Horseshoe Tavern.

Dilly Dally - Candy Mountain

  • ...on November 28, 2015 at Toronto Public Library – Yorkville Branch (Make Some Noise).

Jennifer Castle - I Don't Care About Money

[Do remember that you can click on the tags below to go back and find the original posts (and often, more stuff) from these artists.]

Saturday, November 20, 2021

Recording: Labyrinth Ensemble with Lamia Yared

Artist: Labyrinth Ensemble with Lamia Yared

Song: Layali el wasl

Recorded at the Aga Kham Museum, November 13, 2021.

Labyrinth Ensemble with Lamia Yared - Layali el wasl

An auspicious beginning to this new phase from Labyrinth Ontario, debuting their full ensemble for the first time. This concert (and the ones slated to follow) expand on Labyrinth's mandate to foster cultural exchanges and musical education, bringing in an esteemed artist-in-residence — in this case vocalist/oudist Lamia Yared — for a period of extended rehearsals to give the musicians a chance to really dig into the material. The results were excellent across the board as the group stretched out in a series of traditional Turkish and Arabic musical styles, finding space to give each of the members a chance for their own instrument to stand out.

The full ensemble for this show was: Sadaf Amini (santur), Yang Chen (percussion/hand drums), Burak Ekmekci (baglama), Michael K. Harrist (yayli tanbur), Pedram Khavarzamini (tombak), Roa Lee (gayageum), Naomi McCarroll-Butler (saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet, sallow flute/konvovka), John McKinnon (bass), Scott Peterson (bass), Araz Salek (tar), Marta Solek (cello, Greek lyra, plock fiddle), Tev Stevig (tanbur, oud), Aysel Taghi-Zada (violin), and Amely Zhou (erhu).

If you have access to facebook you can (at this writing) still watch the excellent-sounding archived webstream.

screenshot from Aga Khan webstream.

Monday, November 15, 2021

Monday Roundup #44

In the absence of concert listings, my regular Monday dispatches have fallen off. After bringing some life to the blog with the "bumping into" series, I figure I should get back in the groove. I'm guessing that this will be a bit like what used to get shoved into the end of the post when I was doing listings — some bandcamp suggestions, nods to a few livestreams, and sundry community notes (email me if you have anything that needs broadcast in the latter category!). Plus maybe a look back through the MFS archives.


Community notes:

  • As COVID numbers start climbing again, it's difficult to get a sense of how to behave, what the dangers are, what to change, and what to keep doing. Some capacity limits are being held in place, though this doesn't seem to immediately impact concerts — but should they? Meanwhile, in Europe, where more restrictions had been relaxed (amid a "growing complacency about masks and distancing," which we should take as a cautionary warning), there's a big upswing, even in places with robust vaccination figures. It feels especially dicey for those of us who have just been making some relatively cautious steps into more social situations.

Livestream nation:

  • Understory's season of cross-Canada "exquisite corpse"-style remote collaborations continues on Thursday (November 18th) with two fantastic trios, consisting of chik white, Debashis Sinha and Laura Swankey plus Aisha Sasha John, Gurpreet Chana and Stephanie Chua. Check it out over on their youtube channel.

Video replay:

  • If you missed this set from Brazilian groover Bruno Capinan captured live at Lula Lounge that premiered this week, it may be just the thing to warm up your spirits as it gets colder outside:

Concert listings:

  • Okavango African Orchestra / Alliance Française de Toronto 2021-12-04 (Saturday). $20, advance ticket required. [FB event]
  • AWAKE (feat. Joseph Shabason / Emissive + screening of Lucy Cameron Doc) / The Music Gallery 2021-12-04 (Friday). $15 [or Pay What You Want livestream available]. [FB event]
  • Jennifer Castle: Winter Solstice / Longboat Hall 2021-12-21 (Tuesday). $20. [FB event]

It happened this week...

  • ...on November 15, 2014 at Double Double Land (DDL 5th Anniversary, Night 5).

The Space Lady - Major Tom

  • ...on November 18, 2014 at The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge).

Luxury Transcombobulation - Bongowater

[Do remember that you can click on the tags below to go back and find the original posts (and often, more stuff) from these artists.]

Monday, November 8, 2021

Monday Roundup #43

In the absence of concert listings, my regular Monday dispatches have fallen off. After bringing some life to the blog with the "bumping into" series, I figure I should get back in the groove. I'm guessing that this will be a bit like what used to get shoved into the end of the post when I was doing listings — some bandcamp suggestions, nods to a few livestreams, and sundry community notes (email me if you have anything that needs broadcast in the latter category!). Plus maybe a look back through the MFS archives.


Livestream nation:

  • Audiopollination's new season begins this week! As things (hopefully!) get safer, the series will be transitioning to livestreams and (hopefully!) live audiences, but this first outing is a prerecorded duo of Diane Roblin (keyboard) & Yvonne Ng (movement). You can catch it for free on Friday (November 12th) over at Array's youtube channel.

Concert listings:

  • Labyrinth Ensemble with Lamia Yared / Aga Khan Museum 2021-11-13 (Saturday). $40 regular ($36 Museum Friends, $30 students and seniors, $20 artists). [FB event]
  • The Ryan Driver Sextet / The Tranzac (Main Hall) 2021-12-04 (Saturday). $11.62. [Attendance cap is sixty! Buy your ticket in advance!] [FB event]

Bandcamp corner:

  • One point of comparison for Tigerbomb might be scrappy-era Guided By Voices, given a similar propensity for their frontmen to crank out piles of songs (ranging from fragments to epics). But while it seemed like Robert Pollard aspired to veer into writing his own version of, say, Quadrophenia, Duncan "Doc Pickles" MacDonell's sympathies are with The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, though any stabs at grandiosity compete with a love of playground chants and occasionally just hangin' out at the Centerpoint Mall. And while the tracks have a scrappy urgency, the thoughtful arrangements reveal this is no lo-fi toss-off. The upshot: poetic gestures in all sorts of directions, and you'll be humming the title track to yourself for days afterwards. [Bonus! keep scrolling down for some bonus Doc Pickles content!]

It happened this week...

  • ...on November 9, 2012 at The Silver Dollar Room (Psych-Pop Toronto Release Party – Night 2).

B-17 - Another Nocturnal Day

  • ...on November 10, 2013 at Handlebar (Crosswires).

The Jim Storie Juniors - Don't Take My Shortwave Away

[Do remember that you can click on the tags below to go back and find the original posts (and often, more stuff) from these artists.]

Monday, November 1, 2021

Monday Roundup #42

In the absence of concert listings, my regular Monday dispatches have fallen off. After bringing some life to the blog with the "bumping into" series, I figure I should get back in the groove. I'm guessing that this will be a bit like what used to get shoved into the end of the post when I was doing listings — some bandcamp suggestions, nods to a few livestreams, and sundry community notes (email me if you have anything that needs broadcast in the latter category!). Plus maybe a look back through the MFS archives.


Community notes:

  • Changes are coming quickly now in terms of restrictions on venues, especially with this week's news that Ontario venues can go back to holding shows at full standing capacity. This is obviously huge news for rock clubs, whose entire model is based on having full rooms. It will, however, feel like a shock for those of us still slowly feeling their way back into those old situations — for folks who were still leary about spread-out seated shows, this is a big leap back, even if things are generally looking safer in spaces with masked + vaxxed patrons. And while the rock clubs are feeling their way along trying to find sustainable and safe situations for artists and audiences, is there any chance of moving things back so shows start and end an hour or two earlier?
  • Meanwhile, in venue-specific news, the Tranzac is starting to come back to life: "We... have more work to do in getting the Southern Cross bar ready, so for now we will be hosting small capacity, seated, ticketed events in the Main Hall where there is more room to spread out and enjoy the show." Keep an eye out for news of further developments as well as for info on shows coming up (like Concrete Cabaret's OBJECTO: Toronto's Festival of Experimental Puppetry, coming up November 26th and 27th).
  • And on a more personal note, the elements are coming into place to get back to resuming Track Could Bend. Our hosts at Wenona are willing + eager to have us back. But: would you feel safe/comfortable at a TCB event in the next month or two? (Assuming requisite protocols in place incl vaxx check and being masked.) Would we want to put a hard cap on number of people in the space? Anything else that would make it feel more okay? Feel free to share your thoughts over on facebook or email me (mechanicalforestsound[at]gmail.com).

Livestream nation:

  • Drop in tonight (Monday, November 1st at 9 EDT) to hear Karen Ng in conversation with Chicago's Experimental Sound Studio’s Option Series. (and "a couple silly vids" have been promised as well!)

Bandcamp corner:

  • A T.O. classic is coming back into ready circulation with Idée Fixe's digital/vinyl reissue of Live at the Music Gallery, the debut album of Jennifer Castle (or Castlemusic, as she was known at the time).

It happened this week...

  • ...on November 1, 2011 at The Drake Underground.

A Winged Victory For The Sullen - Steep Hills of Vicodin Tears

  • ...on November 6, 2011 at Halo Halo Village (Medusa Editions Turn 2 Stone Nite Vol. 1).

Carl Didur - unknown

[Do remember that you can click on the tags below to go back and find the original posts (and often, more stuff) from these artists.]

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Recording: Anne Bourne

Artist: Anne Bourne

Song: Piano Improvisation for R.G.

Recorded at The Church of St. Andrew by-the-lake, Toronto Island ("Gathering of Rontumnal Happiness"), October 24, 2021.

Anne Bourne - Piano Improvisation for R.G.

On an unexpectedly bright and warm fall day, family and friends from many overlapping worlds gathered to celebrate the life of Ron Gaskin. Hot toddies and pumpkin pie in hand, it felt especially appropriate to gather at a place R.G. loved so well and worked to fill with music so frequently. Stories were told, poems were read, songs were sung. Word on the street is that there will be a larger celebration of the whole Rough Idea — Ron Gaskin's musical legacy — coming up in a season or two, so stay tuned.

This meditation closed out the performance part of the afternoon, a gentle energy bridge reminding all those present to keep sharing the love and affection that flowed to R.G., in his final days and in the years before that. Memories live on, and communities stay stong in celebrating their essential binding forces.

photo by Joe Sorbara.

Recording: Steve Sladkowski & Joe Sorbara

Artist: Steve Sladkowski & Joe Sorbara

Song: A Rough Idea/So Long Ron

Recorded at The Church of St. Andrew by-the-lake, Toronto Island ("Gathering of Rontumnal Happiness"), October 24, 2021.

Steve Sladkowski & Joe Sorbara - A Rough Idea/So Long Ron

On an unexpectedly bright and warm fall day, family and friends from many overlapping worlds gathered to celebrate the life of Ron Gaskin. Hot toddies and pumpkin pie in hand, it felt especially appropriate to gather at a place R.G. loved so well and worked to fill with music so frequently. Stories were told, poems were read, songs were sung. Word on the street is that there will be a larger celebration of the whole Rough Idea — Ron Gaskin's musical legacy — coming up in a season or two, so stay tuned.

Friends, musical co-conspirators, and radioactivators to R.G., Steve Sladkowski & Joe Sorbara have been playing together for a hot minute now, including the recent recording of a duo record. Each brought a piece commemorating R.G. to those sessions, and they are presented here in welded-together form.

photo by Joe Sorbara.

Recording: Rebecca Campbell

Artist: Rebecca Campbell with Tim Posgate

Song: Brand New Day

Recorded at The Church of St. Andrew by-the-lake, Toronto Island ("Gathering of Rontumnal Happiness"), October 24, 2021.

Rebecca Campbell with Tim Posgate - Brand New Day

On an unexpectedly bright and warm fall day, family and friends from many overlapping worlds gathered to celebrate the life of Ron Gaskin. Hot toddies and pumpkin pie in hand, it felt especially appropriate to gather at a place R.G. loved so well and worked to fill with music so frequently. Stories were told, poems were read, songs were sung. Word on the street is that there will be a larger celebration of the whole Rough Idea — Ron Gaskin's musical legacy — coming up in a season or two, so stay tuned.

Local treasure Rebecca Campbell, who was a key conduit in keeping Friends of Ron updated and connected, performed her usual Heroic Feats of Stage Management on this afternoon, as well as getting things started with a couple songs.

photo by Joe Sorbara.

Monday, October 25, 2021

Monday Roundup #41

In the absence of concert listings, my regular Monday dispatches have fallen off. After bringing some life to the blog with the "bumping into" series, I figure I should get back in the groove. I'm guessing that this will be a bit like what used to get shoved into the end of the post when I was doing listings — some bandcamp suggestions, nods to a few livestreams, and sundry community notes (email me if you have anything that needs broadcast in the latter category!). Plus maybe a look back through the MFS archives.


Video Hits:

  • "Sounds of Davenport", a huge undertaking co-ordinated by Aline Homzy, debuted online last week and remains on youtube where you should check it out. "Featuring 17 performances from 28 Toronto-based artists filmed at the Paradise Theatre, this concert is designed to highlight and support a diverse group of musicians contributing to the vitality of their community." Lots of familiar faces in that lineup, which includes (deep breath!) Kobéna Aquaa-Harrisson, Victor Bateman, Roslyn Black, Christine Bougie, Rich Brown, Chaveco, Spencer Cole, Michael Davidson, Rodney Diverlus, Peter Elkas, Nick Fraser, Tania Gill, Rebecca Hennessy, Michael Herring, Emma Hewson, Aline Homzy, Carlie Howell, Luanda Jones, Elena Kapeleris, Njo Kong Kie, Robert Alan Mackie, Aline Morales, Angelica Ne, Lydia Persaud, Andrea Ramolo, Beth Silver, Maryem Tollar, and Ernie Tollar. (Yow!)

Livestream nation:

  • Exit Points is back on Wednesday, and you can expect two sets of electronic/electroacoustic improvisation that will include some recombination of Kieran Maraj, Sally Lee, Gabrielle Couillard, Nicole Carroll aka N0izmkr, Scott Lepore, and Thispatcher (as well as community members patching in to jam after as usual.) The show will be streamed on Exit Points' Twitch channel — and you can always find all the information for the series here.

Bandcamp corner:

  • I don't know the members of Stenorette (although I bought some tapes from one of them at Sonic Boom's Cassette Store Day celebration back in 2013!) and they keep a pretty low profile, but the pair have just completed the release cycle of a trio of new releases in a series entitled [INV]. With a satisfyingly murky take on drone music, "[t]heir sounds are created using various tapes, vinyl, found sound, and heavily processed guitar. All work is 100% improvised and every session is recorded live to cassette."

It happened this week...

  • ...on October 28, 2010 at The Horseshoe Tavern.

Bruce Peninsula - Open Flame

[Do remember that you can click on the tags below to go back and find the original posts (and often, more stuff) from these artists.]

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Recording: Labyrinth Ensemble

Artist: Labyrinth Ensemble (II) [Araz Salek, Amely Zhou, Yang Chen]

Song: [edited excerpt]

Recorded at The Music Gallery (X Avant XVI – Night 3), October 16, 2021.

Labyrinth Ensemble (II) - [edited excerpt]

The Music Gallery's annual X Avant Festival felt like a return and a renewal in all the right ways. Although these weren't the first events presented by new-ish Artistic Director Sanjeet Takhar, they were the first ones in person, with performers and audience sharing space — a long-awaited return from all sides. Each of the nights played off the festival theme "You in Mind", looking for ways to amplify and support the overlapping communities being drawn together. Day Three ("Process") was "dedicated to the global thread of sustained tone as a healing modality" — by way of an eight-hour drone zone, letting the audience lay back on 918 Bathurst's sanctuary floor and watch projections planetarium-style on the high-arched ceiling.

The day was bookended by a pair of trios drawn from the larger Labyrinth Ensemble, joining musicians of different backgrounds together in deepening their understanding of modal traditions. This final grouping saw Labyrinth's Artistic Director Araz Salek (tar) joined by Amely Zhou (erhu) and Yang Chen (percussion). (The latter was a special delight, especially in the overlapping transition from the previous set that saw a two-note synth pattern matched by bowed vibraphone tones.) This was a quiet set to ease out the long day's droning (because of which my recording is accordingly a little lo-fi, by the way), and perhaps the most formally meticulous — exploring small incremental changes within a rigourous rhythmic framework. A reminder that "drone", so casually used as a catch-all musical category, has deep, deep roots in many musical traditions, based on centuries of joyful experimentation in how to keep humans entranced.

Recording: LordAUK & Zones

Artist: LordAUK & Zones

Song: [excerpt]

Recorded at The Music Gallery (X Avant XVI – Night 3), October 16, 2021.

LordAUK & Zones - [excerpt]

The Music Gallery's annual X Avant Festival felt like a return and a renewal in all the right ways. Although these weren't the first events presented by new-ish Artistic Director Sanjeet Takhar, they were the first ones in person, with performers and audience sharing space — a long-awaited return from all sides. Each of the nights played off the festival theme "You in Mind", looking for ways to amplify and support the overlapping communities being drawn together. Day Three ("Process") was "dedicated to the global thread of sustained tone as a healing modality" — by way of an eight-hour drone zone, letting the audience lay back on 918 Bathurst's sanctuary floor and watch projections planetarium-style on the high-arched ceiling.

This duo of ZONES' Derek McKeon and Doomsquad's Jaclyn Blumas brought out the serious synths and keybs to head straight for the heart of the planetarium – a move known in the drone game as "bringin' the Tange".

Recording: Debashis Sinha

Artist: Debashis Sinha

Song:[excerpt]

Recorded at The Music Gallery (X Avant XVI – Night 3), October 16, 2021.

Debashis Sinha - [excerpt]

The Music Gallery's annual X Avant Festival felt like a return and a renewal in all the right ways. Although these weren't the first events presented by new-ish Artistic Director Sanjeet Takhar, they were the first ones in person, with performers and audience sharing space — a long-awaited return from all sides. Each of the nights played off the festival theme "You in Mind", looking for ways to amplify and support the overlapping communities being drawn together. Day Three ("Process") was "dedicated to the global thread of sustained tone as a healing modality" — by way of an eight-hour drone zone, letting the audience lay back on 918 Bathurst's sanctuary floor and watch projections planetarium-style on the high-arched ceiling.

With an automated voice in the background listing off data like the ghost of a reference librarian (perhaps some of Sinha's "machine learning generated audio"), this set found a woozy digital equilibrium, leavened by the analog breath of a harmonium. (You can hear Sinha's own recording of his set over at his soundcloud.)

Recording: Kat Estacio

Artist: Kat Estacio

Song: Kat Estacio - [excerpt]

Recorded at The Music Gallery (X Avant XVI – Night 3), October 16, 2021.

Kat Estacio - [excerpt]

The Music Gallery's annual X Avant Festival felt like a return and a renewal in all the right ways. Although these weren't the first events presented by new-ish Artistic Director Sanjeet Takhar, they were the first ones in person, with performers and audience sharing space — a long-awaited return from all sides. Each of the nights played off the festival theme "You in Mind", looking for ways to amplify and support the overlapping communities being drawn together. Day Three ("Process") was "dedicated to the global thread of sustained tone as a healing modality" — by way of an eight-hour drone zone, letting the audience lay back on 918 Bathurst's sanctuary floor and watch projections planetarium-style on the high-arched ceiling.

Synth-drift shared space with bowls and gongs in this set — and those latter percussive elements were trance-ified into lurching mantras when loop-locked with a beat repeater. Mixed with swirling visuals overhead, this was arguably the day's trippiest set.