Saturday, July 21, 2018

Recording: In Between

Artist: In Between

Songs: Sans Soleil [composer: Karen Ng] + Old Feeling [composer: Ted Crosby]

Recorded at The Emmet Ray, May 21, 2018.

In Between - Sans Soleil

In Between - Old Feeling

After a couple sets with magiceyeimage, percussionist Phil Melanson was doing double-duty on this night, joining Josh Cole (on electric bass) as the rhythm section for the horns (and tunes) of Ted Crosby and Karen Ng. It's especially pleasing to see the latter's composition book growing with another chance to hear the Ken Aldcroft-inspired "Mister" as well as several other recent pieces. Even a passing street-sweeper (or some similar contraption) came in right on time at the close of Cole's bass intro to the latter selection here — all elements accidentally right in place.

Recording: magiceyeimage

Artist: magiceyeimage

Songs: [two excerpts]

Recorded at The Emmet Ray, May 21, 2018.

magiceyeimage - [excerpt]

magiceyeimage and friends - [excerpt]

Well, it had been no slight amount of time since I had last seen this trio in action, back before percussionist Phil Melanson was such a fixture in these parts. Shifting his base of action to T.O. has made this unit (alongside Gabriel Drolet on double bass and Simon Labbé on guit) less active, so it was a real treat to lean back and soak up their slow momentum. Close in spirit to locals Aurochs (and further afield, The Necks), there's a joy here of exploring gestures and slowly-transforming textures more than any sort of melodic structures. As the evening glow from the skylight began to fade, everything seemed in place in the dusky gloom — as if the musicians were feeling their way through unseen terrain, never too forcefully loud as the roar of trucks and other streetsounds occasionally overwhelmed their sounds.

After a break, the trio were joined for a second set by a couchful of singers. (If my notes are correct, they were: Alex Samaras, Frederique Roy, Felicity Williams, Robin Dann and Eugénie Jobin Tremblay.) With occasional Victoria Day fireworks snapping in the background, this felt like a long-weekend cottage-y soundscape, like you could open your eyes and catch the last glimmers of the sunset over the lake.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Recording: Arma Agharta

Artist: Arma Agharta

Song: unknown*

Recorded at Owl's Club (basement), May 18, 2018.

Arma Agharta - unknown

This evening of weird pop at Owl's Club was in support of this visiting Lithuanian sound artist. Celebrating 20 years of DIY creativity with a world tour, this was joyfully-bracing stuff. A table full of strange gear (including a pair of CDJ's) and European voltage adapters, the respectable-looking individual who was seen setting up re-emerged dressed as Marvin the Martian — and things just got weirder from there. That look was totally appropriate for the Carl Stalling acid trip that followed, a bricolage of drums-rolling-down-a-staircase and maniacal jibber-jabber, all presented with a delightful intensity that made the set as much of a visual spectacle as an aural one.

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

Recording: Bonnie Trash

Artist: Bonnie Trash

Song: Sleepless Sheep

Recorded at Owl's Club (basement), May 18, 2018.

Bonnie Trash - Sleepless Sheep

Sarafina and Emmalia Bortolon-Vettor can raise plenty ruckus on their own, but this outing saw them with some support from Chris Worden on second guitar (though to some extent fulfilling the role of bassist in the band). The set was still centred on last year's Ezzelini's Dead EP, but their music was delivered with a bolder confidence than I've seen from the band in the past, making them a rock'n'roll force to be reckoned with.

Recording: Greydini

Artist: Greydini

Song: Abstract Spider Pizza Party

Recorded at Owl's Club (basement), May 18, 2018.

Greydini - Abstract Spider Pizza Party

Also known for his work with Wolfcow, the great Greydini has been making "solo" releases of skewed pop for a while, and this set saw him previewing several tunes from the forthcoming 10" Pardon My Syrup mini-album. Exchanging the band's no wave chug for some bumpin' mutant disco tracks, the songs are still fuelled by the same manic street poetry and delightfully absurdist crab consciousness sensibility.

[Rumour has it that Greydini will be returning to party (probably with that new disc in hand) at Owl's Club for Alpha Strategy's album release party on August 31st.]

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Recording: Trevor Turple

Artist: Trevor Turple

Song: [excerpt]

Recorded at Owl's Club (basement), May 17, 2018.

Trevor Turple - [excerpt]

Responsible for assisting in the untangling of the loops of Nikki Lyttle's songs so they could be recorded cleanly to tape, Trevor Turple also closed out the release party for that same tape with some drifting ambient abstractions. After building a little nest of cables (appropriate, perhaps, for the looped birdcalls that would soon ring out) he deployed synth, sampler and guitar to unfurl some atmospheric samplescapes and backmasked lullabies to wrap up the evening.

Recording: Naomi Floods

Artist: Naomi Floods

Song: unknown*

Recorded at Owl's Club (basement), May 17, 2018.

Naomi Floods - unknown

This show was a celebration of both a tape release and a birthday and felt right at home in the casual, rec-room environs of the Owl's Club basement. Based around carefully-constructed loopcraft, this project from Nikki Lyttle (who previously recorded as gustywinds) built up bemused, yearning dreamscapes from voice, guitar and percussion.

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

Recording: Bad Passion

Artist: Bad Passion

Song: unknown*

Recorded at Owl's Club (basement), May 17, 2018.

Bad Passion - unknown

This menacing slo-jam duo of Lesley Davies and Digits' Alt Altman was building up a good head of steam a few years back, with an EP and everything, but a "dimensional shipwreck" lead to some quiet time before the group was reactivated earlier this year. Songs that sound like the mellowest Kraftwerk duets ever imagined usually conceal apocalyptic imagery (often couched in action-movie tropes) so the music sounds as timely as ever in the current cultural environment.

[Bad Passion will be playing alongside Poster Boy, Leucrocuta and The Databats at Handlebar this Sunday (July 29th).]

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

Recording: Lavender Bruisers

Artist: Lavender Bruisers

Song: Salary

Recorded at Owl's Club (basement), May 17, 2018.

Lavender Bruisers - Salary

Though involved, as ever, in a lot of community initiatives (including the No Mean City Collective), Kritty Uranowski has also been spotted lately rockin' out with this fuzzy, stripped-down solo take on the sort of pop she formerly tackled in Patti Cake. Anchored by her powerhouse vox and with a drum machine clattering along for company in the background, the tunes were delivered with a demo-ish rawness and punkrock immediacy. Expect a release of the project's first album (on sale at this show in a preview CD-R with handmade art) to follow soon.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Concert Listings Roundup #259

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:

The Titillators / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2018-07-22 (Sunday) [FB event]

Well, I don't know what to expect from the "historic first performance" by this new crew convened by Ryan Driver, but given the all-stars involved — Thom Gill, Tania Gill, Germaine Liu and Phil Melanson — I certainly want to be on hand to see what unfolds.

This week's noteworthy shows:

Allison Cameron Band [Allison Cameron/Thom Gill/Kurt Newman] / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2018-07-18 (Wednesday – early!)

Isla Craig (Colin Fisher/Josh Cole/Spencer Cole) / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2018-07-18 (Wednesday) [FB event]

Tough Customer (Puzzlehead / WLMRT / Hugh Man) / Faith/Void 2018-07-18 (Wednesday – all ages!) [FB event]

Ben Gunning Group (Paul, Doug & Phil) / Burdock Music Hall 2018-07-18 (Wednesday) [FB event]

Alex Fournier & Tom Fleming / Black Cat - Artspace 2018-07-19 (Thursday) [FB event]

Maria Bonita & The Band / Drom Taberna 2018-07-19 (Thursday – free!) [FB event]

Nifty Trio [Matt Smith/Colin Fisher/Thom Gill] / Pamenar 2018-07-19 (Thursday) [FB event]

American Devices (Prom Nite / Protruders / Robert Dayton) / Owl's Club 2018-07-20 (Friday) [FB event]

Orville Peck [backed by FRIGS] (Whitney K / Pink Acid Wash / K.A. Butala) / Monarch Tavern 2018-07-20 (Friday) [FB event]

BIG on Bloor Festival (feat. Blokoloko / Juliana Flores / Ayrah Taerb / Luna Li / doesntmatteritsokay / Mas Aya / Jeff Burke / Bonjay / TRiSH / JoniGold) / Festival Main Stage 2018-08-21 (Saturday – free! all-ages and family-friendly! outside!) [FB event]

Not Dead Yet presents (feat. Pharmakon / Anamai / Intensive Care) / The Garrison 2018-07-21 (Saturday) [FB event]

Faster Presents: Summer Sound Explorations (feat. James Bailey & Kayla Milmine / Paul Stillwell / Eugene Martynec & Brian Abbott / Faster) / Gerrard Art Space 2018-07-21 (Saturday – PWYC!) [FB event]

Moul D. (Dumb / Rotten Column) / The Beguiling (basement) 2018-07-21 (Saturday) [FB event]

Art of the Uncarved Block presents (feat. Fond [record release!] / Blankscreen / Tiptoes) / The Dupe Shop 2018-07-21 (Saturday – all ages! PWYC!) [FB event]

Luge (For Esmé) / The Bentway Beer Garden 2018-07-22 (Sunday – free! outside! afternoon show, 3 to 5 p.m.!) [more info]

Taktus / Toronto Music Garden 2018-07-22 (Sunday – afternoon show @ 4 p.m.! outdoors! free! all-ages and family-friendly!) [more info]

DATA (Lily & Horn Horse / Moul D / Lice II) / Faith/Void 2018-07-22 (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!

b mccb 5 [ben mccarroll-butler/Kaelin Murphy/Yunjin Claire Lee/Irene Harrett/Giuliano Di Vito] (Tiny Music [Patrick Smith/Kaelin Murphy/Max Donaldson] / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2018-07-24 (Tuesday) [FB event]

The Mean (Neon Bloom/Uncle Father) / The Piston 2018-07-26 (Thursday) [FB event]

Subtle Blend presents (feat. Buscrates / LeXus / SlowPitchSound) / Handlebar 2018-07-26 (Thursday – PWYC!) [FB event]

96 Tears Backyard BBQ (feat. Komodo / Whimm / Deliluh) / 96 Tears Vintage 2018-07-28 (Saturday – afternoon backyard show!) [FB event]

Synaptic Circus Sundays (feat. Emily Denison/Tara Kannangara/Nicole Rampersaud / Rob Cluttton/Nick Fraser/Nilan Perera/Dani Oore) / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2018-07-29 (Sunday) [FB event]

Astral Projections X (feat. Body Butter / ZONES) / Handlebar 2018-08-02 (Thursday) [FB event]

Witch Prophet (Future Peers / VERSA) / The Commons Space 2018-08-02 (Thursday) [FB event]

Handlebar turns 6! (feat. LOLAA / Akage No Anne / "secret guests") / Handlebar 2018-08-04 (Saturday) [FB event]

Godspeed You! Black Emperor (Jessica Moss [Aug. 6th] / KGD [Aug. 7th]) / The Phoenix 2018-08-06–2018-08-07 (Monday–Tuesday) [FB event]

Track Could Bend #41 (feat. Debashis Sinha / Luyos MC / No Seas) / Wenona Lodge 2018-08-07 (Tuesday – PWYC!) [FB event]

Not Dead Yet presents (feat. Sarah Davachi) / The Baby G 2018-08-09 (Thursday) [FB event]

Moon King (Nyssa / Mother Tongues) / Lula Lounge 2018-08-15 (Wednesday) [FB event]

Freak Heat Waves (Kristian North / Bile Sister) / The Baby G 2018-09-07 (Friday) [FB event]

Julie Doiron and the Wooden Stars / The Garrison 2018-09-13 (Thursday) [FB event]

Nap Eyes / The Horseshoe Tavern 2018-09-24 (Monday) [FB event]

The Holy Gasp [The Love Songs of Oedipus Rex release celebration!] / 918 Bathurst 2018-10-27 (Saturday – rescheduled date! "please dress for a wedding") [FB event]

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Recording: Josh Cole Quartet

Artist: Josh Cole Quartet

Songs: [two pieces]

Recorded at The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), May 16, 2018.

Josh Cole Quartet - [first set, second piece]

Josh Cole Quartet - [second set, first piece]

Scheduled as a quintet date, the numbers here ended up being reduced by last-minute illness, but there were still plenty ideas flowing from Josh Cole (double bass), Karen Ng (clarinet and sax), Ryan Driver (piano) and Brandon Valdivia (percussion). With a freshly-recorded album in the can, the players were well in sync in a series of explorations. The first selection here revs up to speed with a push from Valdivia and Driver's clumpy clusters, while the second, coming after one of those cozy let's-hang-out between-set breaks, reconvened to a quieter room and after tossing and turning a bit settled into a sort of late-night sleepwalk through empty city streets.

[In place of the quintet, Josh Cole will be presenting some different ensembles in the next couple months, including this Wednesday (July 18th) at The Tranzac, backing Isla Craig in a trio alongside Colin Fisher (who will also be playing a duo set with Spencer Cole).]

Recording: Octopus Curls

Artist: Octopus Curls

Songs: [two improvisations]

Recorded at The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), May 16, 2018.

Octopus Curls - [first set, second piece]

Octopus Curls - [second set, fourth piece]

A slightly-different flavour of octopus this time out, with curlers Nicole Rampersaud and Allison Cameron joined by only singular quadruped percussionist Mark Zurawinski. As a crowd trailed past into the Main Hall to be mesmerized by a hypnotist, the trio cast their own enchantment of honks, theremin-ish buzzings, feedback sputters, clonk-clicking, wobbly ukulele and harmonica bleats.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Recording: Haynes/Ng/Whitty/Heraclitus Akimbo

Artist: Justin Haynes/Karen Ng/Lowell Whitty/Heraclitus Akimbo

Songs: Bluehawk + Green Chimneys [composer: Thelonious Monk]

Recorded at The Emmet Ray (Monk's Music), May 13, 2018.

Justin Haynes/Karen Ng/Lowell Whitty/Heraclitus Akimbo - Bluehawk

Justin Haynes/Karen Ng/Lowell Whitty/Heraclitus Akimbo - Green Chimneys

When Justin Haynes was given responsibility for an instalment of the Sunday afternoon Monk's Music series at The Emmet Ray, he assembled a crack team of musicians — well, a crack team and one ringer. Thus Haynes (on guitar) was joined by Karen Ng (clarinet) and Lowell Whitty (drums) as well the non-jazz-certified knob-twistings of Heraclitus Akimbo (seen squinting intently at the lead sheets, perhaps trying to put the "fake" in "fakebook"). It is possible that his presence didn't unduly spoil the fun of two sets of Monk's tunes, which seem to be flexible enough to withstand drone intros, dub keyb stabs, etc. Of course, with musicians like the others on hand, it would be tough for things to go entirely sideways.

[Justin Haynes will be melding together an even larger group of disparate musicians when the Maximum Effort Ensemble plays Terry Riley's "In C" at La Rev on Friday, June 27th. The impressive group is slated to include Josh Cole, Michael Davidson, Alisdair Jones, Tania Gill, Thom Gill, Julia Hambleton, Owen Heathcoate-Fraser, Dafydd Hughes, Jeff LaRochelle, Kayla Milmine, Phil Melanson, Indira Nanavati, Diane Roblin, Luan Phung, Jeff Burke, Heraclitus Akimbo, Blake Howard, Mary-Margaret O'Hara, Heather Saumer, Doug Tielli, Patrick O'Reilly, Tom Walsh, Nick Zubeck, Arie Verheul-van de Ven, Chris Gartner and others.]

Friday, July 13, 2018

Recording: This Tale of Ours Quartet

Artist: This Tale of Ours Quartet

Songs: Little Black Dog + Neveser 14 / Synkathistos

Recorded at Eastminster United Church (Labyrinth Musical Workshop Ontario Concert Series), May 12, 2018.

This Tale of Ours Quartet - Little Black Dog + Neveser 14

This Tale of Ours Quartet - Synkathistos

This was the first in a series of concerts that were the public-facing segment for a busy first year of the Labyrinth Musical Workshop. Labyrinth's central component was a series of workshops giving students a chance to have close-up encounters with masters of different modal traditions from around the world — and the chance to hear many of those same masters making rare local concert appearances was the icing on the cake. This opening show saw an ongoing project that mixes two amazing local musicians (Pedram Khavarzamini: tombak; Araz Salek, tar) with two of the founders (Ross Daly: lyra, tarhu, and rabab; Kelly Thoma, lyra) of the original Labyrinth Workshop on Crete.

Two sets of music from the quartet mixed traditional tunes with new compositions and saw solo turns all around become embroidered by the group's effortless collective flow. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to make any of the other shows in the series, but I kept hearing amazing things about the visiting headliners as well as the emerging local musicians who opened the shows — and the skills and techniques learned will linger on in the practices of a whole host of local players. Labyrinth is truly something that our "music city" needs more of, so hopefully the conditions will be put in place for this concept to thrive in our soil.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Recording: Botanicals

Artist: Botanicals

Song: [second section]

Recorded at Handlebar (The AMBiENT PiNG), May 9, 2018.

Botanicals - [second section]

A pleasant night out at the Ping saw some new sound experiments from familiar faces, including this experimental pairing of Neil Rankin and Kirsten Nolan (who are currently and formerly of Germaphobes, now known as Goosebump). Mixing electronics, keyboards, cassette concrète, bass and vintage drum machine, the pair made some sonic explorations in the same style as their concurrent demo recordings, slowly transforming from mechanical rumbles to new age drift.