Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Preview + Contest: X Avant VII

X Avant VII: Expanding Circuits

October 12-21, 2012

Unless otherwise mentioned, all events are at the Music Gallery.

Now in its VIIth year, The X Avant festival has lived up to its name by positing that illusive, unknown X and filling it in with a constantly shifting variable. In his first year at the helm, Artistic Director David Dacks is substituing "electronic music" for X.

"Expanding circuits" is an apt goal in a year when electronic music has reached new levels of exposure and commercial success. But there's way more to the genre than the quote-unquote EDM making waves right now, and though the recent past has seen an increasing number of electronic music festivals in the city, none are dedicated to pushing boundaries like this.

There's also a most-pleasing range in the events under the festival's umbrella, meaning there's as much here for those who want to get up on the dancefloor as those who want to sit down and take in a lecture. The goal here is to make some new discoveries, so while I'll be plunging myself into, say, the "Living Cinema" of Bob Ostertag & Pierre Hébert, there are a few things that I'm familiar enough with to recommend:

  • Vancouver's JP Carter will be familiar to many indie-rock fans for his sideman work with Destroyer and Dan Mangan, cutting a distinctive figure with one hand on his trumpet while the other manipulates effects and electronics. He's also passed through town with several of his own projects, including Fond of Tigers and Inhabitants. At this show (also with Andy Haas), he's playing under his own name, and it promises to be exciting stuff. [Wednesday, October 17, 2012 @ OCAD University. $20 regular/$10 MG members+students]
  • Nick Storring, who can deploy his cello treatments in the service of electroacoustic soundscapes as readily as for dancefloor grooves, is in a good position to ponder the mind/body split. He's opening for Shigeto, whose music is also "beat-driven but given to richly textured sound design". [Thursday, October 18, 2012. $25 regular/$15 MG members]
  • Local new music ensemble Contact impressed recently with their work at the INTERsection festival, and their return to the Music Gallery is going to be anything but a regular show. Expect three-hundred-and-sixty degrees of sound as their performance of Jordan Nobles' Undercurrents is given live treatments and a surround mix by Sandro Perri — very much a one-time event that you'll have to experience live. [Friday, October 19, 2012. $30 regular/$15 members]
  • And things will probably get a little Weird at a triple-header of futurepop anchored by Québec's Jean-François Laporte. But the real hook for me is sets by Man Made Hill (outsider-in existential disco) and Pon de Replay (found-sound funk bricolage) — the latter to be joined by local hero Colin Fisher. A not-to-be-missed show. [Saturday, October 20, 2012. $22 regular/$13 members]


Courtesy of the Music Gallery, I have one pair of tickets to give away to the JP Carter/Andy Haas show and another for the Laporte/Man Made Hill/Pon De Replay spectacular.

To win, shoot me an email to with "X AVANT" in the subject line, and let me know if you're particularly entering to win tickets to one show or if you're interested in both. Act fast — I'll draw and notify the winners on Monday, October 15, 2012.

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