Saturday, December 7, 2019

Recording: Tatsuya Nakatani & Dreamed Meat

Artist: Tatsuya Nakatani & Dreamed Meat

Songs: [full set, in two parts]

Recorded at Wenona Lodge (Furniture Music), October 22, 2019.

Tatsuya Nakatani & Dreamed Meat - [part 1]

Tatsuya Nakatani & Dreamed Meat - [part 2]

This night closed with a short meeting between all the night's performers. Cory Harper-Latkovich seemed to be less interventionist here, reducing the intensity of his processing and letting Rob Grieve's organic guitar sounds share the space with Tatsuya Nakatani's percussion, but overall this was a quite satisfying encounter.

[Adjusting for holiday downtime, Furniture Music will be holding a special co-presentation with JAOIM on the second Tuesday this month — that's Tuesday, December 10th — with a couple unsanctioned rounds of the improvisational game Cobra conducted by Joe Sorbara. Scheduled participants include Mingjia Jessica Chen, Bea Labikova, Naomi McCarroll-Butler, Rob Grieve, Ashley Urquhart, Andrew Furlong, Raphael Roter, and Alex Fournier.]

Recording: Tatsuya Nakatani

Artist: Tatsuya Nakatani

Song: [excerpt]

Recorded at Wenona Lodge (Furniture Music), October 22, 2019.

Tatsuya Nakatani - [excerpt]

It's always a treat when master percussionist Tatsuya Nakatani visits town, and even moreso to hear him bowing and clanging in such an intimate space. Down in Wenona's basement zone, there was some intense spacialization going down, with phantom drums bouncing back from the walls. A very tasty zone to close one's eyes and zone out.

[Adjusting for holiday downtime, Furniture Music will be holding a special co-presentation with JAOIM on the second Tuesday this month — that's Tuesday, December 10th — with a couple unsanctioned rounds of the improvisational game Cobra conducted by Joe Sorbara. Scheduled participants include Mingjia Jessica Chen, Bea Labikova, Naomi McCarroll-Butler, Rob Grieve, Ashley Urquhart, Andrew Furlong, Raphael Roter, and Alex Fournier.]

Recording: Dreamed Meat

Artist: Dreamed Meat

Song: [excerpt from second piece]

Recorded at Wenona Lodge (Furniture Music), October 22, 2019.

Dreamed Meat - [excerpt from second piece]

Reactivating this duo from Cory Harper-Latkovich and Rob Grieve puts it into that category of side-excursions that have outlasted the project they were spun off from, though this time out Harper-Latkovich's manipulations of Grieve's fingertapped guitar (processed via laptop and ipad) involved some less-noisy textures, working mostly along the shimmer/sputter continuum.

[Adjusting for holiday downtime, Furniture Music will be holding a special co-presentation with JAOIM on the second Tuesday this month — that's Tuesday, December 10th — with a couple unsanctioned rounds of the improvisational game Cobra conducted by Joe Sorbara. Scheduled participants include Mingjia Jessica Chen, Bea Labikova, Naomi McCarroll-Butler, Rob Grieve, Ashley Urquhart, Andrew Furlong, Raphael Roter, and Alex Fournier.]

Friday, December 6, 2019

Recording: Sarah Hennies

Artist: Sarah Hennies

Song: The Reinvention of Romance [excerpt]

Recorded at The Music Gallery (X AVANT XIV: Forward – Night 4), October 20, 2019.

Sarah Hennies - The Reinvention of Romance [excerpt]

A frequent visitor to the city and frequent inspiration for local musicians, percussionist Sarah Hennies returned to town with this recent large scale/small scale work, where she was joined by cellist Nick Storring. "The Reinvention of Romance" is expansive in the durational sense (running about ninety minutes) but minimal in the musical sense, being based around repeated series of small gestures. Hennies explained that the content was inspired by the intimacy of mundane repetition, the title hence hinting not at the dramatic newness of falling in love but rather the constancy of being in love.

Recording: Sound Of The Mountain with Toshimaru Nakamura and Tetuzi Akiyama

Artist: Sound Of The Mountain with Toshimaru Nakamura and Tetuzi Akiyama

Song: [excerpt]

Recorded at The Music Gallery (X AVANT XIV: Forward – Night 4), October 20, 2019.

Sound Of The Mountain with Toshimaru Nakamura and Tetuzi Akiyama - [excerpt]

Having toured to Japan and back a few times now, it was exciting to see Sound of the Mountain's Elizabeth Millar and Craig Pedersen getting an opportunity to play host to some of the kindred spirits they'd encountered there. Corresponding with a new recording, Toshimaru Nakamura (no-input mixing board) and Tetuzi Akiyama (guitar) joined Pedersen and Craig to expand the SOTM template with some new clonks and whirs — that left more space for them to just play trumpet and clarinet instead of the motors, fans and other electroacoustic interventions that have joined their aresenals. That said, instruments were still disassembled mid-set and contact mics were dragged across their surfaces as the quartet created an enchanting soundfield, pushing the audience to lean in closer to try and figure out just from which musician some of those sounds were emerging.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Recording: Willi Williams and New Chance

Artist: Willi Williams and New Chance

Song: Home

Recorded at The Music Gallery (X AVANT XIV: Forward – Night 3), October 19, 2019.

Willi Williams and New Chance - Home

One of the main subtexts of this year's X Avant was the awareness that it would be the last programmed by the Music Gallery's Artistic Director David Dacks, who had recently announced his stepping-down from the position in a thoughtfully-choreographed transition. The Festival's theme of "Forward", considering what's coming next, was thus personal as well — and it gave the broader community a chance to consider the work Dacks has done in his tenure at the Gallery.

This show, for example, could be considered a signature Dacks move, bringing together several of his consistent interests: giving a larger platform to artists like Victoria Cheong, whose emergence has been facilitated by the MG in several ways; putting together an intergenerational soundclash, bringing different communities to the same show; and foregrounding the work of Black musicians in Toronto in the MG's context of "creative music" — all while taking the gamble that two artists who had never met before could click on a personal level to create a festival-headlining collaboration.

The whole thing paid off quite wonderfully, creating a platform for Williams' voice that did more than just pour Cheong's productions into a reggae template (although, to be sure, this is a terrain where she has already done some extensive mapping). The collaboration went both ways, so not only were there some rearrangements of Williams' older songs (and even a delightfully-unexpected cover of "This Magic Moment") but a tune called "Father" that matched the New Chance atmospheric/dancefloor "sound" with Williams' soulful vocals. In a perfect world, that would be the lead single on a collaborative album from Soul Jazz or some other label for curious heads — there were murmurings that this collaboration could continue beyond this show, so hopefully there's more to be heard from this pairing.

Recording: Holy Hum

Artist: Holy Hum

Song: unknown*

Recorded at The Music Gallery (X AVANT XIV: Forward – Night 3), October 19, 2019.

Holy Hum - unknown

NYC-via-Vancouver's Andrew Lee started off this night at the festival, contrasting the headline set's reggae grooves with some soothing Eno-esque ambient sounds. Sampled strings, operatic voices and some watery themes created a relaxed environment — a moment of repose before the crowd got ready for some serious grooving.

* Does anyone know the title to this one? Please leave a comment!

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Recording: Lido Pimienta

Artist: Lido Pimienta

Song: No Pude

Recorded at The Music Gallery (X AVANT XIV: Forward – Night 2), October 18, 2019.

Lido Pimienta - No Pude

A full-on Big Night at the X Avant Festival saw returning headliner Lido Pimienta (now an international recording star instead of a local phenom) previewing the songs from her forthcoming Miss Colombia album — but with a special twist. With arrangements by longtime collaborator Robert Drisdelle, the songs were reconfigured for an eight-piece wind ensemble, pulling back the electronics and beats to get to the songs' street-party hearts. (You can hear the electricity of the album arrangement in the just-released video for this tune.)

As a show this was full of energy and imbued with Pimienta's boundless confidence. But in a hometown show it also allowed her to express her vulnerability as well, and stretch things out with banter and stories that might get contained in a touring environment. These songs are going to be bangers with whatever production they're released with, but it felt pretty special to hear them this way, especially the set-closing resistance anthem that turned into a full-on marching band tune.

Recording: OKAN

Artist: OKAN

Song: unknown*

Recorded at The Music Gallery (X AVANT XIV: Forward – Night 2), October 18, 2019.

OKAN - unknown

Starting off the night with some Cuban grooves, co-leaders Elizabeth Rodriguez and Magdelys Savigne fronted a quartet that got the crowd swaying and dancing. Like a particularly favourful meal where you don't notice the spicy heat until your forehead breaks out in a sweat, songs like this one can take you by surprise, starting off slow and soulful before the simmering groove takes over.

* The title to this one was called out at the start. I think it was "Águila", but given my lack of Spanish fluency, this is very much subject to confirmation.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Recording: Germaine Liu & co.

Artist: Germaine Liu & co.

Song: Still Life [two edited excerpts]

Recorded at The Music Gallery (X AVANT XIV: Forward – Night 1), October 17, 2019.

Germaine Liu & co. - Still Life [edited excerpt #2]

Germaine Liu & co. - Still Life [edited excerpt]

Taking a well-deserved step into the spotlight to headline the first night of this year's X Avant Festival, Germaine Liu assembled a performance that was as much a choreographed "dance" as a musical endeavour. Joined by Susanna Hood, Julia Lassonde, Heather MacPhail, and Sahara Morimoto, the ensemble moved through a series of small encounters on the venue's floor, surrounded on three sides by the audience. As is often the case in Liu's work, found items became instruments and shifted functions, like lengths of metal pipe that could be rolled across the floor and then used as ersatz panpipes. Other tools included bells attached to chopsticks, bowed styrofoam blocks, marbles in metal bowls, keys, balloons, boxes, bottles, cans, packing peanuts and bamboo sticks. Items were sometimes flung about with joy and verve (suggesting a sort of Care Bears version of a Brian Ruryk performance) and the performers managed to penetrate the audience's serious gaze to co-opt them into laughing along at the playfulness of it all. Sonically, this is a bit spare on its own without the visual element, but it will hopefully give a sense of what was going on here.

Recording: Hennessy/Labikova/Ng/Saumer

Artist: Rebecca Hennessy/Bea Labikova/Karen Ng/Heather Saumer

Songs: [two excerpts]

Recorded at The Music Gallery (X AVANT XIV: Forward – Night 1), October 17, 2019.

Rebecca Hennessy/Bea Labikova/Karen Ng/Heather Saumer - [excerpt 1]

Rebecca Hennessy/Bea Labikova/Karen Ng/Heather Saumer - [excerpt 2]

Germaine Liu knows what she's doing. When asked to suggest an opener for her headlining performance at the first night of this year's X Avant Festival, she concocted this horn ensemble. The resulting performance brought together several strands — the Pauline Oliveros collective listening meditations that sometimes take place in this same space, the spinning parts of a wind-tossed mobile, and, of course, the percussive bricabrac of a Germaine Liu percussion game. Surrounded by the audience on three sides and slipping through the space's elegant shadows, there was a sense of graceful playfulness as Rebecca Hennessy, Bea Labikova, Karen Ng and Heather Saumer recombined in pairs and trios before all finding their voices together.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Concert Listings Roundup #330

You can read more about why I'm doing listings here. Long story short: This curated and decidedly non-comprehensive list contains nothin' but shows that I am going to/would go to if I had more time.


Gig of the week:

Track Could Bend #57 (feat. Daniel Pencer / No Angels Dancing / Patrick O'Reilly) / Wenona Lodge 2019-12-03 (Tuesday – PWYC!) [FB event]

Things are starting to hit that December slowdown, but there's still plenty of interesting doings afoot — lots of cool sounds at the Tranzac on Sunday and maybe the week's out-est show in the basement of comix shop The Beguiling on Friday. But I'll overcome my humility and dislike of self-promotion to suggest that this edition of Track Could Bend might be very worth your time. A reunion of the original No Angels Dancing duo of Allison Cameron and D. Alex Meeks, plus steps into the mystery zone from Dan Pencer and Patrick O'Reilly — it all sounds like a sure path to enlightening entertainment.


This week's noteworthy shows:

Nick Fraser/Kris Davis/Tony Malaby [Zoning Astral Spirits album release!] (Rob Clutton/Tony Malaby [Offering Astral Spirits album release!]) / The Rex 2019-12-02 (Monday) [FB event]

Eugene Martynec/Paul Newman / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2019-12-03 (Tuesday – extra-early set @ 5:00 p.m.!)

Peripheral Vision (Lina Allemano Four) / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2019-12-03 (Tuesday) [FB event]

Memories of Time (feat. Ghostlight / Dark Bird) / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2019-12-04 (Wednesday) [FB event]

Ducks Unlimited (Quaker Parents / PAX) / The Baby G 2019-12-05 (Thursday) [FB event]

Tang [release show!] (Steven Lambke / Holiday Pictures) / Handlebar 2019-12-05 (Thursday) [FB event]

In Between Sounds #105 (feat. Lorde Awesome) / The Only Café 2019-12-05 (Thursday) [FB event]

Not the Wind, Not the Flag (Ryan A. Miller / Christine Duncan) / The Beguiling 2019-12-06 (Friday – PWYC!) [FB event]

Rheostatics / The Danforth Music Hall 2019-12-06 (Friday) [FB event]

Melancholiac: The Music Of Scott Walker / The Music Gallery 2019-12-06–2019-12-07 (Friday–Saturday) [FB event]

Suit World (ZOË) / Houndstooth 2019-12-07 (Saturday) [FB event]

Ayal Senior presents (feat. Ayal Senior / Kurt Newman / Aaron Knight / Nick Flanagan) / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2019-12-08 (Sunday – afternoon show, 3 to 5 p.m.!) [FB event]

SynapticCircusSundays (feat. Mira Martin-Gray and Kieran Maraj / Craig Dunsmuir's Dun-Dun Band) / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2019-12-08 (Sunday – early!) [FB event]

Tania Gill Quartet [Tania Gill/Lina Allemano/Rob Clutton/Nico Dann] / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2019-12-08 (Sunday) [FB event]

Epic Holiday Party [Harbour solo album release featuring works of Anna Hostman] (feat. Cheryl Duvall) / The Tranzac (Main Hall) 2019-12-08 (Sunday) [FB event]

Somewhere There presents Temporary Ensembles (feat. Reknee Harrett/Bea Labikova/Alex Fournier/Dan Friedman/Jonathan Luke/Paul Newman/Edwin Sheard/Patrick Smith/Ashley Urquhart) / Array Space 2019-12-08 (Sunday) [FB event]


Add these to your calendar:

Reminder: This post only contains this week's updates — the full listings can always be found over on the right-hand sidebar!

Long Winter 8.2: Festival of Cool/The Arctic Night] (feat. Anamai / Joanne Pollock / Casey MQ / Boy Pussy / Group Hug / Dalia Dargazli / Allysin Chaynes / Alexandher Brandy / Tago Mago / Frosty Valentine / Memory Pearl / Small Time Giants / Elle Márjá / Digawolf) / Harbourfront Centre 2019-12-13 (Friday – all ages! PWYC!) [FB event]

Dustiny / Gladstone Melody Bar 2019-12-13 (Friday) [FB event]

2001: A Space Odyssey [with Original Live Score] (feat. RØISEN) / Paradise Theatre 2019-12-13 (Friday) [FB event]

Underorder (Lake Versions / Cetacea) / Handlebar 2019-12-15 (Sunday) [FB event]

Holiday Wassail (feat. Kith&Kin) / Glad Day Bookshop 2019-12-19 (Thursday) [FB event]

Bidiniband (Woodchoppers' Orchestra) / The Dakota Tavern 2019-12-20 (Friday – early!) [FB event]

Kurt Newman Yuletide Music Party (feat. Mark Zurawinski Out to Lunch band / Helicopter Money) / Array Space 2019-12-20 (Friday) [FB event]

Cosmic Homeostasis XIII [album recording fundraiser!] / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2019-12-29 (Sunday – afternoon show, 3 to 5 p.m.! PWYC!) [FB event]

Venus Fest presents (feat. Han Han [album release!] / Charise Aragoza) / Lula Lounge 2020-01-30 (Thursday) [FB event]

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Recording: Laura Swankey & Heraclitus Akimbo

Artist: Laura Swankey & Heraclitus Akimbo

Song: [edited excerpt]

Recorded at The Tranzac's Southern Cross Lounge (Ayal Senior Presents), October 13, 2019.

Laura Swankey & Heraclitus Akimbo - [edited excerpt]

Once more, I guest-curated Ayal Senior's Sunday afternoon Southern Cross timeslot and was thrilled to set up a co-operative set of sounds with vocalist Laura Swankey. It always requires a bit of trust to let someone else manipulate one's voice, but hopefully it was done here in a sympathetic spirit, smearing out long tones (and adding the voice of Miku as a duet partner) and otherwise abstracting the sound-bursts.

[Laura Swankey will be back in the Southern Cross to improvise with Bea Labikova, Kathryn Merriam and Germaine Liu in an extra-early early set on Saturday (November 30th). Heraclitus Akimbo will be performing alongside Rory Hoy and Lapis Lion at Audiopollination on Sunday, December 14th. Ayal Senior will be back presenting some music in the Southern Cross on the afternoon of Sunday, December 8th.]

Recording: Coin Operated Duo

Artist: Coin Operated Duo

Songs: [two pieces]

Recorded at The Tranzac's Southern Cross Lounge (Ayal Senior Presents), October 13, 2019.

Coin Operated Duo - [third piece]

Coin Operated Duo - [fourth piece]

Once more, I guest-curated Ayal Senior's Sunday afternoon Southern Cross timeslot and was well-pleased to invite out this pairing of Mike Lynn (double bass) and Ryan Kinney (guitar). This duo has been occasionally playing together for awhile now, but a recent uptick has corresponded with Music for Farmers vol. I, the pair's first recording together. That recording does a nice job of leaning in and capturing the small gestures that the duo often make — my recording, by contrast, is much more "environmental", adding snippets of back-of-room conversations and even a few musical snatches from over in the Tiki Room. Fortunately, they also build up to a percussive clatter from time to time as well, and that sounds a bit more present here.

[The Coin Operated Duo will be performing at Audiopollination on Sunday, December 14th. Ayal Senior will be back presenting some music in the Southern Cross on the afternoon of Sunday, December 8th.]

Photo by Liz Lima.

Friday, November 29, 2019

Recording: Pernice Brothers

Artist: Pernice Brothers

Songs: Bum Leg [Joe Pernice solo] + Monkey Suit + Skinny Jeanne + I Came Back + The Weakest Shade of Blue

Recorded at The Dakota Tavern, October 10, 2019.

Joe Pernice - Bum Leg

Pernice Brothers - Monkey Suit

Pernice Brothers - Skinny Jeanne

Pernice Brothers - I Came Back

Pernice Brothers - The Weakest Shade of Blue

Supporting the first Pernice Brothers' album in nine years, Joe Pernice brought together brother Bob and the whole band for a short tour. No surprise that it started with a couple nights at The Dakota, seemingly his fave local venue with the dual virtues of being close to his home and encouraging an early-curfew show so everyone can get home and to bed. (This was a particular benefit to Pernice's audience, who could be largely stereotyped as "high school English teachers who aspire to maintain their younger days' hipness".)

Pernice lead off with a short solo set, and his songs of tribute and remembrance (including a run through Silver Jews' "Trains Across the Sea") were given accidental poignancy when one audience member crumpled to the floor, necessitating an unscheduled break while the paramedics were summoned. (Fortunately, it turned out to be nothing too serious and the affected patron was able to leave under his own power.) Quickly switching over to the full band, the new album was given pride of place, but there was time enough to range through the discography all the way back to the group's first single.