Monday, May 25, 2020

Concert Listings Roundup #355

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.


Special note:

For the past six-and-a-half years, I've faithfully been cranking out these listings every Monday. Because of the unprecedented situation we now find ourselves in, this week's listings remain blank. Stay safe and sheltered.


Livestream nation:

  • The first online edition of Michael Palumbo's Exit Points series was both musically satisfying and well-executed from the technical end of things — no surprise seeing that Palumbo has been working with remote live sound for a while before everyone started switching to livestream mode. Wednesday night's instalment features two electroacoustic improvising ensembles, the first with Mike Hansen, MJ Wright, Bea Labikova, Kavi and Michael Palumbo and the second with Heidi Chan, Yoni Newman, Kieran Maraj, Lex Metcalfe, and Curtis Whittaker. That'll be followed by shorter mini-sets remixing the performers plus some guests.
  • The AMBiENT PiNG are taking their annual Drone Day live show online Saturday night, with a live set from dreamSTATE plus some specially-selected video works.
  • Thin Edge New Music Collective is examining the possibilities of livestreams/distanced musicians with "heard from a distance", streaming on Sunday afternoon. The show will see pianist Cheryl Duvall and cellist Amahl Arulanandam performing works "from 45 seconds to 45 minutes long" by Dai Fujikura, Anna Hostman, Jocelyn Morlock, Nick Storring and Linda Catlin Smith.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Concert Listings Roundup #354

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.


Special note:

For the past six-and-a-half years, I've faithfully been cranking out these listings every Monday. Because of the unprecedented situation we now find ourselves in, this week's listings remain blank. Stay safe and sheltered. Covid-19 hasn't gotten any less deadly just because they've opened marinas and golf courses for the moneyed classes. The things we love to do — gathering together in small spaces, talking, singing — remain near the top of the list of ways of most efficiently spreading the virus, so let our separation show our solidarity.


Bandcamp corner:

  • In case you need some delicate folk-pop on a gusty, rainy day, Kieran Smyth & Mingjia Chen offer "a collection of songs that we hope can bring comfort to you & to those made vulnerable during this strange time".

Monday, May 11, 2020

Concert Listings Roundup #353

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.


Special note:

For the past six-and-a-half years, I've faithfully been cranking out these listings every Monday. Because of the unprecedented situation we now find ourselves in, this week's listings remain blank. Stay safe and sheltered.


Livestream nation:

  • The interviews in the Music Gallery at Home series are done for now, but music continues for a couple more weeks, with the amazing Nick Dourado interpreting Xuan Ye's "Even a Blind Squirrel Finds a Nut Once in a While" and other pieces on Friday night.

Bandcamp corner:

  • Pantayo's long-awaited album is finally available from Telephone Explosion. The subtly-electronic kulintang grooves are a real joy to listen to, and quite handy for putting a spring in your step.

Monday, May 4, 2020

Concert Listings Roundup #352

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.


Special note:

For the past six-and-a-half years, I've faithfully been cranking out these listings every Monday. Because of the unprecedented situation we now find ourselves in, this week's listings remain blank. Stay safe and sheltered.


Livestream nation:

  • The Music Gallery at Home series continues tonight at 7 p.m. with history (featuring Anne Bourne in conversation with Kritty Uranowki and Jesse Locke), and on Friday with music (Slowpitchsound interpreting Xuan Ye's "Even a Blind Squirrel Finds a Nut Once in a While" and other pieces).
  • Beloved local record store Sonic Boom have been putting on a series of virtual in-stores, which continues on Thursday with a performance by Witch Prophet.

Bandcamp corner:

  • last week saw an excellent release from Eternalrealworld, the solo drone project from visual/sonic artist Ilyse Krivel. Living Water mixes field recordings (the Atlantic Ocean in Nova Scotia, a creek in northern Ontario, a sewer in Toronto) with electronic sounds that freeze and flow with meditative beauty.
  • Thought lost on the seas of time and entropy, Bruce Peninsula's No Earthly Sound has finally arrived, nearly a decade (!) after 2011's Open Flames. Although the band has never quite gone away, they were mostly in an extended slumber, emerging on a soundtrack and occasional live dates. Anyone who caught them over the past few years will have heard some of these songs and will have a better sense of how the group has been evolving. Most significantly, this album repositions Misha Bower as a co-frontperson rather than a choir leader, and the recorded versions pivot away somewhat from the band's primordial call-and-response, singer-plus-chorus foundations. I'm sure the many friends that make up the choir will be on stage whenever the band is allowed to properly celebrate this album's release, but in the meantime the album's themes of togtherness-versus-aloneness and life-seeking-versus-death-seeking register with a new force in these times we are in.
  • Although he hasn't spent much time in the spotlight in the time since Steamboat's dissolution, Matt McLaren has often been seen off to the side in many of the projects that spun out of that band's former ubiquity as backing band and rhythm section to a wide range of artists. This "solo" effort calls on many friends from those past efforts (including a laundry-list of MFS faves like Sandro Perri, Jay Anderson, Mike Smith, Blake Howard, Micheal Davidson, Christine Bougie, Ali Berkok, and Andrew Scott) for an instrumental affair that moves from shag-carpet-and-waterbed soul/funk to sophisticated yacht rock in the Tortoise/Sea and Cake vein.

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Pause and Reconsider: Jason Doell

While live music is on pause, I've asked some friends of MFS to dig through the archives and put together a playlist of some things I've posted that have registered with them in one way or another — contextualizing blurbs preferred but not required. Expect to see a variety of different takes and approaches as the playlists get posted — and hopefully we'll all be reminded of some cool things that have happened in the past. This list comes from don't-call-him-a-composer Jason Doell.


Here is a broad sampling of what I believe to be the boundless and genre defiant "Toronto Croon" (as captured by Joe). Not all of the voices heard in this playlist live here still, but all have done so in the past, and all have adopted or adapted the Toronto croon in their own special way.

S W A N H E R D S - The Turning Larch

Marker Starling - Author

L CON - Oh How Love

Eric Chenaux - Social Living

ZOË - The Rock

Bernice - Talking About Her

Thom Gill + Musica Reflecta - Consider Me Gone

The Ryan Driver Sextet - Two Sleepy People

Monday, April 27, 2020

Concert Listings Roundup #351

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.


Special note:

For the past six-and-a-half years, I've faithfully been cranking out these listings every Monday. Because of the unprecedented situation we now find ourselves in, this week's listings remain blank. Stay safe and sheltered.


Livestream nation:

  • The Music Gallery at Home series continues tonight at 7 p.m. with history (featuring Dr. Trichy Sankaran, in conversation with Suba Sankaran), and on Friday with music (Suzanne Kite interpreting Xuan Ye's "Even a Blind Squirrel Finds a Nut Once in a While" and other pieces).
  • Michael Palumbo's Exit Points electroacoustic improvisation series is heading online. Wednesday night sees two group collaborations with Gayle Young, Patrick O'Reilly, Michael Lynn and Michael Palumbo in the first and Paul Stillwell, Diane Roblin and Pouya Hamidi in the second. Details at the facebook event or on Palumbo's site.

Bandcamp corner:

  • Don't forget that Bandcamp is once more waiting their revenue share on purchases made on Friday! It'll be a great time to support the artists you dig!

Friday, April 24, 2020

Pause and Reconsider: {AN} Eel

While live music is on pause, I've asked some friends of MFS to dig through the archives and put together a playlist of some things I've posted that have registered with them in one way or another — contextualizing blurbs preferred but not required. Expect to see a variety of different takes and approaches as the playlists get posted — and hopefully we'll all be reminded of some cool things that have happened in the past.

The first playlist is from Neal D Retke, who records as {AN} Eel. He is a performer of spontaneous sound explosions — and also an inveterate community builder, bringing the tape art ethos into the digital age while bringing together musicians from across the world to commuicate together.


Well, I had to stop and catch my breath for a moment before writing these words - I had a lot to say about something else, but as the wags in the industry said - I've “ Pulled Focus “ to change subjects quite a bit -

First, some context & background. My name is Neal but I perform & create art & events under the moniker of {AN} Eel, which obviously you are clever enough to grasp the deep & profound meaning of. I've been a fan of experimental music for decades now, but in 2011 I started to perform & play music live, something I'd not done since the 1900s ( Remember them ? ) and in the time that I've been back doing this, I've gotten deeper into organizing live shows & events as both a practical matter and a way of creating or deepening a sense of community - I've been very fortunate in having been in a wide range of areas with very different views & approaches to the whole of live music ( Not just the little experimental cubby-hole that I live in ) - The apogee of this could arguably be said to have been my organizing & performing in the ECLEC-TIC -TOC festival, in July of 2017 - James Bailey was the first performer in this festival, so let's start out with him -

James Bailey - Repent, Harlequin [excerpt]

One of the weird things about arranging live music is the relationship to the audience - This becomes a lot more complicated in terms of experimental music - I feel like the audience must go over halfway in meeting the performer, as the sounds themselves are often of a challenging nature - Sometimes very quiet ( Or total silence ) - Sometimes quite abrasive. This is actually one of the things that draws me most to it - Very little junk food here, no “ Ditties “ or pre-fabricated selling points - Of course, all music has it's weaknesses and its strong points, but I feel like the active nature of listening to this stuff ( Live or recorded ) adds a little extra sauce to the affair, a bit of spice

Knurl - [excerpt]

For me, music is never self contained - It is very rare for me not to have some sort of reaction to music, positive or negative - I feel sorry for the sounds when it does happen. But I think that's because music connects deeply in me, and I feel in many of us - True, in a lot of cases, there's people who just think of music at “ Appropriate “ times, special events ( Dunno - Elevators, Supermarkets - Editorial bias here ) but with few exceptions, I think it's a big neural connector to something that can and often does transcend the mundane, the day to day -

Mkl32 - [excerpt]

Spiritual malarky aside, I also think of what a great social organizing tool it is - How many of us have a lot of our personal identity tied into whatever music / genre / band etc. we hold dear - I think the deeper one gets into this, the more this becomes true - When one crosses the bridge to performing, this becomes even more pronounced, more distinct - It becomes vital and perhaps blown out of context - But that's a very human reaction, and socializing & identity are such human constraints - Think of how many pivotal moments in your life have a song, a soundtrack - It's impact is depend when those sounds come from collaborators, or event friends - It's a profound thing.

Moth Ash - [excerpt]

And here we go. - I was going to write a bit about the changing landscape of performances, but recent current events have blown all of that out of the water. In my view, there has been a eradication of D.I.Y. culture & the type of venues that cater to these sorts of things - There has been economic pressure as well as shifts in political & social attitudes around this - A Number of years ago, the Ghost Ship fire in CA. added to a tone of these places being undesirable, an eyesore or worse public menace. I also feel like we're in an era where curiosity & acceptance have been replaced to a large extent with suspicion & paranoia - There's a lot of changes, to be sure -

Ben Grossman/cheryl o/Barry Prophet - [excerpt]

One thing, however, that I think will never change - We are social animals. We love communicating, interacting with each other - History has shown us that music ( Especially in a context of movement & socializing ) can lead to a deepening of the shared experience, how many of us wouldn't like to have entrance music ? How many of us haven't been stopped in our tracks by a sound or a song triggering a particularly emotional memory ? I'm not a scientist, but from what I've seen and from what I feel, it's hard wired into us - So let me close on this -

No One Receiving Duo - [excerpt]

I've never been in a position to think of this as “ Work “ or any sort of profit - Even the handful of professional musicians I know of ( Some of whom Are by most standards quite successful ) have passion as a primary influence. Sure, the life of a gigging musician can be monotonous & droll, but when it comes to the music, it always starts from a place of passion. Whatever pragmatic or Capital based concerns seem to fall a couple of rungs down the latter in view of such passion - It's the prime mover so to speak - The main motivator -

Valerie Kuehne - Nootropics

I want to tell you a story - To me, it's a funny one - Years ago, I was driving cross country with a friend - I'd received a horrible Xmas gift, it was a small cardinal statue which created an obnoxious 8-bit twittering whenever it moved. At the onset of the trip, we'd joked a bit about how if we were in accident the little bird would be the last left standing and chirping away in our funeral silence - You see where I'm going with this right ? Sure enough, we'd lost to a mid-western winter and ended up sliding on a median & belly up in a ditch - In the immediate aftermaths ( After a quick check list to dissipate the shock & ensure no serious injury ) sure enough the damned bird was warbling away - I can't speak for my friend but I know in my case, it was a comfort - I think I even laughed out loud -

I feel like that's where we are now - Whatever happens, no matter how bad it gets, People will keep making music. People will keep enjoying music - maybe we can't socialize around live shows - maybe we never will again ! If that happens, we'll bond over shared interests, argue about silly and trivial details concerning our music and of course, every once and a while dance like nobody's watching. Because maybe now that will be true - maybe there will be nobody to watch. I believe music has the power to heal, and without going to deep into it, I think a lot of that power comes from our interconnectedness with music - Our shared ear, so to speak.

So Rock Out, Dance on. Shake your Tail-Feather, Tickle those Ivories - We are here, I hear you & we're all in this together.

Be good to each other & stay safe.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Flexion / Reflection

So, a few days ago I posted the last recordings I had in my queue. At long last, I'm caught up!

The issue now, of course, is if and when there will be more recordings to post. It doesn't feel like it's going to be any time soon, especially as I think about the possibilities of having safe spaces (in a different sense than we usually mean) in the sort of venues I frequent. Are shows possible — never mind desirable — under the conditions that might be possible as things are eased off? How many people could you actually put in the Southern Cross or Wenona Lodge's basement if people were separated six feet in each direction? Would you actually want to go to a bar and — what — stand in a rigid grid two meters away from everyone else?

Anyway, it's all to say it's unclear how things are going to be in the months ahead. And unclear what I'll feel like doing. With a nice break to putter around in life's other avenues, maybe I won't feel the need to head out to so many shows in the future. Which isn't to say things here are going to end, but maybe they won't be as they were — I feel less like I'm at a cliff than at a height of land, looking at different terrain in front of me.

And in the meantime, without new material to post, there will be some opportunities to dip into the archives. Starting tomorrow, some friends of MFS will be sharing playlists of tracks from the blog that have mattered to them in one way or another, so at least we can remember the ways that we have been connected and affected.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Concert Listings Roundup #350

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.


Special note:

For the past six-and-a-half years, I've faithfully been cranking out these listings every Monday. Because of the unprecedented situation we now find ourselves in, this week's listings remain blank. Stay safe and sheltered.


Livestream nation:

  • The Music Gallery at Home series continues tonight at 7 p.m. with history (featuring Juliet Palmer in conversation with Laura Stanley), and on Friday with music (Naomi McCarroll-Butler interpreting Xuan Ye's "Even a Blind Squirrel Finds a Nut Once in a While" and other pieces).
  • On Sunday (April 26th) Cheryl Duvall will be live-streaming an hour of water-inspired piano solos by Emilie LeBel, Kotoka Suzuki and Anna Hostman as part of the #CanadaPerforms concert series. (It'll be going down on the National Arts Centre's page.)

Bandcamp corner:

  • Guelph's hurdy-gurdy master Ben Grossman is soundtracking our strange times with an album of Isolation Etudes, a "series of improvisations hastily recorded, un-edited, one take, trying to capture some of the various states during the spring of 2020".
  • Jeff Sinibaldi (most often seen in live performance in these parts adding sounds to Del Stephen's performances) has a new collection from his Sick Days project, a low-key bricolage mixing field recordings, reverse delay, percussion and contact mic experiments into some pleasing rumbles.
  • Released just before the Change In Things, Lina Allemano's solo Glimmer Glammer album offers an inventive mix of "trumpet, mutes & materials" in a series of joyful, spontaneous sound celebrations.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Recording: Kris Davis & Ingrid Laubrock

Artist: Kris Davis & Ingrid Laubrock

Song: unknown*

Recorded at 918 Bathurst (Women From Space Festival – Night 4), March 8, 2020.

Kris Davis & Ingrid Laubrock - unknown

After spending three nights at the cozier Burdock, Women From Space wrapped up its second festival on International Women's Day, moving to the more expansive surroundings at 918 Bathurst — and it packed the place out for a triumphant conclusion. In retrospect, this was for many of us "the last big night out", the last night when hugs and handshakes were exchanged without reserve. The words "social distancing" had been uttered, but they were still an abstraction, compared to say, sharing a piece of cake or lingering with a group of friends. It is possible that these things might be thinkable again when International Women's Day rolls around again next year — one can only hope that Kayla Milmine and Bea Labikova get a chance to build upon the success of this year's festival.

The festival closed out with some big-name internationally touring headliners, although pianist Kris Davis and saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock have plenty of local Toronto connections. Their duo pieces moved from dense clusters to slowly-building harmonies, but I was most mesmerized by the beguiling drone, featuring some e-bowed piano string work from Davis.

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

Recording: Labikova/Parker/Liu

Artist: Bea Labikova/William Parker/Germaine Liu

Song: [first section]

Recorded at 918 Bathurst (Women From Space Festival – Night 4), March 8, 2020.

Bea Labikova/William Parker/Germaine Liu - [first section]

After spending three nights at the cozier Burdock, Women From Space wrapped up its second festival on International Women's Day, moving to the more expansive surroundings at 918 Bathurst — and it packed the place out for a triumphant conclusion. In retrospect, this was for many of us "the last big night out", the last night when hugs and handshakes were exchanged without reserve. The words "social distancing" had been uttered, but they were still an abstraction, compared to say, sharing a piece of cake or lingering with a group of friends. It is possible that these things might be thinkable again when International Women's Day rolls around again next year — one can only hope that Kayla Milmine and Bea Labikova get a chance to build upon the success of this year's festival.

Leveraging the festival's timing, co-founder Bea Labikova combined her appearance with esteemed NYC bassist William Parker with a recording session — the fact that these musicians (including percussionist Germaine Liu) has been intensely playing together was apparent from the way they tore right into it when this set began, roaring through a non-stop set of free explorations that skipped right past the tentative getting-to-know-you stages that these encounters often feature.

Recording: Heather Saumer + Co.

Artist: Heather Saumer feat. Felicity Williams/Alex Samaras/Thom Gill/Robin Dann

Song: unknown*

Recorded at 918 Bathurst (Women From Space Festival – Night 4), March 8, 2020.

Heather Saumer feat. Felicity Williams/Alex Samaras/Thom Gill/Robin Dann - unknown

After spending three nights at the cozier Burdock, Women From Space wrapped up its second festival on International Women's Day, moving to the more expansive surroundings at 918 Bathurst — and it packed the place out for a triumphant conclusion. In retrospect, this was for many of us "the last big night out", the last night when hugs and handshakes were exchanged without reserve. The words "social distancing" had been uttered, but they were still an abstraction, compared to say, sharing a piece of cake or lingering with a group of friends. It is possible that these things might be thinkable again when International Women's Day rolls around again next year — one can only hope that Kayla Milmine and Bea Labikova get a chance to build upon the success of this year's festival.

Trumpeter Heather Saumer has been sharing her voice for awhile now, though often hewing more in a folk vein. This set saw her pivoting towards pop — albeit an airy, abstracted form of pop, which made her choice of collaborators (serving in and around the orbit of Bernice, "Toronto's ever-evolving backing band") entirely fitting.

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

Monday, April 13, 2020

Concert Listings Roundup #349

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.


Special note:

For the past six-and-a-half years, I've faithfully been cranking out these listings every Monday. Because of the unprecedented situation we now find ourselves in, this week's listings remain blank. Stay safe and sheltered.


Community corner:

  • After being forced to cancel the remaining events in its season, the Music Gallery has pivoted to find new ways to support artists and engage with its community. The Music Gallery at Home series begins tonight with David Dacks in conversation with Nilan Perera, the first of several interviews taking the ethos of their History Series. The music events are built around Xuan Ye's score-app "Even a Blind Squirrel Finds a Nut Once in a While", which will be interpreted by a series of musicians, leading off this week with Germaine Liu. [customary disclosure: I am a member of the MG's Artistic Advisory Council.]

Bandcamp corner:

  • M. Joakim's Saturn City continues her series of synth EP's based on single-take recordings with no multi-tracking or editing. This time out she explores Pan, Saturn's innermost moon, with a quartet of typically tasty probes.
  • After a series of demo-ish duo sketches that laid out some song ideas, The Archives of Eternity have presented an ensemble album that lives up to their incendiary live shows. Formed in the model of a classic jazz combo, the multi-generational band features percussive titans Mark Hundevad (vibes) and Mike Gennaro (percussion) alongside Patrick Smith (tenor sax) and Andrew Furlong (double bass) playing with plenty belly-fire.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Recording: Pantayo

Artist: Pantayo

Song: Eclipse

Recorded at Burdock Music Hall (Women From Space Festival – Night 3), March 7, 2020.

Pantayo - Eclipse

It's generally acknowledged that the key to a successful sequel is in making things bigger and more explosive while staying true whatever it was that made the original feel special and unique. The second annual Women From Space Festival applied that maxim to great effect, cosmically expanding in all directions while nourishing its core ideal of creating Space for a diverse range of women-centred creative expressions. The night was headlined by a confident set from electro-kulintang groovers Pantayo. The work they've done in developing their songs and sonics is paying off next month with the release of their debut album. Unclear as it is at the moment how we'll be celebrating album releases in the months ahead, it was a real treat to get to hear these songs on stage.

[After bookmarking Telephone Explosion's bandcamp to be ready for the album when it drops, you can pass some time by dancing along to the band's video for "Heto Na".]

Recording: Sam Newsome & Kayla Milmine

Artist: Sam Newsome & Kayla Milmine

Songs: [two excerpts from second piece]

Recorded at Burdock Music Hall (Women From Space Festival – Night 3), March 7, 2020.

Sam Newsome & Kayla Milmine - [excerpt 1 from second piece]

Sam Newsome & Kayla Milmine - [excerpt 2 from second piece]

It's generally acknowledged that the key to a successful sequel is in making things bigger and more explosive while staying true whatever it was that made the original feel special and unique. The second annual Women From Space Festival applied that maxim to great effect, cosmically expanding in all directions while nourishing its core ideal of creating Space for a diverse range of women-centred creative expressions. Festival co-founder Kayla Milmine took the opportunity to bring her teacher and mentor Sam Newsome to the festival, offering a rare duo set of avant-approaches to soprano saxophone. Two stacks of preparations on the stage saw both players put aside their reeds for tubes and duck calls, but Milmine didn't attempt to outdo Newsome on that score as he deployed a vacuum hose, balloons, windchimes, etc. etc.