Sunday, September 30, 2018

Recording: Whisper Room

Artist: Whisper Room

Song: unknown*

Recorded at Handlebar (THE AMBiENT PiNG's 19TH ANNiVERSARY), August 15, 2018.

Whisper Room - unknown

Congratulations to the Ping, which celebrated its 19th Anniversary with some out-of-town guests. While back in town from Berlin for a couple weeks, Aidan Baker got a chance to perform with several of his projects, including an outing for this minimalist kosmische trio with Neil Wiernik (a.k.a. NAW) on bass and Rich Baker sitting in on drums. Finding some joy in repetition, the set basically settled into a couple long grooves and explored the effects of small variations within each of them.

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

Recording: Weep, O' Mine Eyes

Artist: Weep, O' Mine Eyes

Song: unknown*

Recorded at Handlebar (THE AMBiENT PiNG's 19TH ANNiVERSARY), August 15, 2018.

Weep, O' Mine Eyes - unknown

Congratulations to the Ping, which celebrated its 19th Anniversary with some out-of-town guests. Calgary's Michael Weicker brought some visual panache to the night in performing with an Eigenharp, a versitile MIDI controller that looks like a bassoon, baliset and robot had an accident in a telepod. Weicker used it to generate some pleasing soundscapes and floating atmospheres.

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

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Recording: The Holy Oak Family Singers

Artist: The Holy Oak Family Singers

Songs: Stay Loose [vox by Ben Gunning] + Only Love Would Know [vox by Felicity Williams + Thom Gill] + If You Could Read My Mind [vox by Tamara Lindeman] + I'll Tag Along [vox by Luke Kuplowsky] [all songs composed by Gordon Lightfoot]

Recorded at The Burdock Music Hall, August 13, 2018.

The Holy Oak Family Singers - Stay Loose

The Holy Oak Family Singers - Only Love Would Know

The Holy Oak Family Singers - If You Could Read My Mind

The Holy Oak Family Singers - I'll Tag Along

You never know what you have 'til it's gone. When the beloved Holy Oak was in full swing, "family" events like this were a regular occurrence, with some of the locals who used it as their hub banding together to cover musicians ranging from Prince to Mary Margaret O'Hara. The bonds of comradeship have transcended the loss of the venue, but events like this are a bit rarer on the ground these days. It has to be said that this was entirely too good a show for a Monday night, but it just might be impossible to gather these busy pros together on any other night of the week.

The instrumental core — Evan Cartwright (drums), Ben Whiteley (bass), Christine Bougie (lap steel), Ben Gunning (electric guitar), Luke Kuplowsky (acoustic guitar) and Thom Gill (keyb) — served as session aces for an all-star team of vocalists, including the latter three instrumentalists plus Tamara Lindeman, Felicity Williams, Robin Dann and Alex Lukashevsky. There were plenty of hits essayed, from "Every Highway" to "Rainy Day People", but the group here dug deeper as well, showing a special affection for the less-popular 80's Gord, including his '86 East of Midnight album, and demonstrating that the craft and wisdom in those compositions is on par with the better-known stuff.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Recording: The Ace of Africa

Artist: The Ace of Africa

Song: unknown*

Recorded at Harbourfront Centre's Concert Stage (Habari Africa Festival), August 11, 2018.

The Ace of Africa - unknown

One of the summer's best-curated weekends for just go and discover something music hangs, the Habari Festival brought music, dance, film and more celebrating the diversity of African cultures. The night finished with a giant dance party courtesy of "Les As d'Afrique", another all-star unit representing the top flight of players in Congolese styles (ndombolo, soukous, rumba, zouk, mutuashi), mostly from Montréal. Lead by Jackson Ayale Molo, the eight-member group (plus guest vocalist Blandine) paid tribute to the late singer/dancer Moto Kapia. Check out how (through some coincidence of parallel evolution) Molo's guitar here sounds like it keeps locking into half-bar loops from a Tom Verlaine guitar solo — advanced grooves, and just super joyful and super-fiery stuff.

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

Recording: Africa All-Stars

Artist: Africa All-Stars

Song: Nabhoran

Recorded at Harbourfront Centre's Concert Stage (Habari Africa Festival), August 11, 2018.

Africa All-Stars - Nabhoran

One of the summer's best-curated weekends for just go and discover something music hangs, the Habari Festival brought music, dance, film and more celebrating the diversity of African cultures. Drawing again from the deep pool of talent that previously brought together the celebrated African Guitar Summit, this re-shuffling reunited Alpha Yaya Diallo with fellow guitar aces Madagascar Slim and Donne Roberts, alongside percussionist Kofi Ackah, bassist Ebenezer Agyekum and dancer Mabinty Sylla. That gave each of the trio multiple turns both as frontman and dynamic guitar-slinger. This tune, from Diallo's acoustic guitar, brought some extended Guinean grooves, simmering along as the crowd was whipped up by dancing and some extra percussion. The first of many show-stoppers in a top-notch set.

Recording: Barnes/Woldemichael Ethio-jazz Quartet

Artist: Barnes/Woldemichael Ethio-jazz Quartet

Song: '66 E.C.

Recorded at Harbourfront Centre's Stage in the Round (Habari Africa Festival), August 11, 2018.

Barnes/Woldemichael Ethio-jazz Quartet - '66 E.C.

One of the summer's best-curated weekends for just go and discover something music hangs, the Habari Festival brought music, dance, film and more celebrating the diversity of African cultures. Playing in the Stage in the Round with the sun starting to set behind them, this group of veteran local Ethio-jazzers mixed in a few classics alongside their own contributions to the tradition. Given that band namesakes Girma Woldemichael (sax) and Daniel Barnes (drums) honed their skills playing as touring musicians being the likes of Aster Aweke means their renditions are entirely lived in.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Recording: Késia Decoté

Artist: Késia Decoté

Song: Colour Etude II [composer: Omar Peracha]

Recorded at Array Space, August 10, 2018.

Késia Decoté - Colour Etude II

This night from Nick Storring's Riparian Acoustics opened with a pairing of Allison Cameron and Kurt Newman's cicada-like buzz-plucks that that seemed at first like an odd counterpart for a recital from this UK-via-Brazil pianist, especially when she played some spare, slow pieces from Linda Catlin Smith and from Storring himself. But when she turned her attention to the toy piano — especially on this piece from Omar Peracha that incorporates electronics via its own iphone app — the throughline on the night became clear.

[Riparian Acoustics has two intriguing events coming up in October: a night of "new music for baroque cello" with Elinor Frey at the CMC on Wednesday, October 3rd as well as a special presentation of Sarah Hennies' Contralto at TIFF on Wednesday, October 24th — screening her experimental documentary alongside live musical accompaniment from Thin Edge New Music Collective.]

Recording: Dog Days of Summer

Artist: Dog Days of Summer

Song: [excerpt]

Recorded at Array Space, August 10, 2018.

Dog Days of Summer - [excerpt]

This night from Nick Storring's Riparian Acoustics opened with this pairing of Allison Cameron (electronics) and Kurt Newman (dobro) taking some cues from the background drone of the season's cicadas. A sort of back-porch hypnagogic drift, that sort of near-dream sensation you get while snoozing and the setting sun's rays slowly creep onto your face, and things in your mind get just a little too uncanny to be languid.

[Riparian Acoustics has two intriguing events coming up in October: a night of "new music for baroque cello" with Elinor Frey at the CMC on Wednesday, October 3rd as well as a special presentation of Sarah Hennies' Contralto at TIFF on Wednesday, October 24th — screening her experimental documentary alongside live musical accompaniment from Thin Edge New Music Collective.]

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Recording: Sarah Davachi

Artist: Sarah Davachi

Song: unknown [excerpt]*

Recorded at The Baby G, August 9, 2018.

Sarah Davachi - unknown [excerpt]

Nominally a "punk" presenter, Not Dead Yet is best known for its namesake festival, but its year-round programming is also noted for fostering positive community vibes. As this drone dream of a show indicated, they're also willing to stretch out, musically, and it was a thrill to see a healthy and mixed crowd out for a night of zero-bpm hovering. Although recent recordings have featured mellotron, harpsichord and pipe organ, this touring show from the Canadian-born/LA-based drone superstar was a minimalist, synth-based affair. Eschewing banter or any stage dramatics, Davaci simply let her music slowly unfold and embrace the audience, delicious soundscapes slowly shifting and morphing before evaporating into the air.

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

Recording: Uxvae

Artist: Uxvae

Song: unknown*

Recorded at The Baby G, August 9, 2018.

Uxvae - unknown

Nominally a "punk" presenter, Not Dead Yet is best known for its namesake festival, but its year-round programming is also noted for fostering positive community vibes. As this drone dream of a show indicated, they're also willing to stretch out, musically, and it was a thrill to see a healthy and mixed crowd out for a night of zero-bpm hovering. Bryan Bray would probably be familiar to the NDY crowd for his other projects (especially Gates' doom-y side) but this newer duo with Marty Adem, heavy on, er, heavy atmospherics fit right into the night's flow. Dramatic whispers and soaring e-bow lines cut through the dronefog, and in presenting just three long pieces, the pair managed to deliver the most focused set that I'd yet caught. Still made me feel like I was out later than I should be in a dark forest, though.

[Uxvae will be performing next week (Tuesday, October 2nd) at Track Could Bend, alongside The Velvet Crystals and Jakob Rehlinger at Wenona Lodge.]

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

Recording: Moth Ash

Artist: Moth Ash

Song: unknown*

Recorded at The Baby G, August 9, 2018.

Moth Ash - unknown

Nominally a "punk" presenter, Not Dead Yet is best known for its namesake festival, but its year-round programming is also noted for fostering positive community vibes. As this drone dream of a show indicated, they're also willing to stretch out, musically, and it was a thrill to see a healthy and mixed crowd out for a night of zero-bpm hovering. But it's only a lateral step over from harsh noise (which is closer to NDY's sweet spot) to loud ambient, and both members of this duo have straddled those liminal sound-spaces in their respective solo gigs. Framed by some liturgical chanting, this latter section of their set builds a nice drone from hurdy-gurdy, violin and plenty of pedals.

[Moth Ash will be opening things up for Jerusalem In My Heart and Sarah Pagé next week (Wednesday, October 3rd) at Burdock.]

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

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Recording: Luyos MC

Artist: Luyos MC

Song: unknown*

Recorded at Wenona Lodge (Track Could Bend #41), August 7, 2018.

Luyos MC - unknown

"Unexpected rain just before showtime," is scrawled in my notepad at the start of this night. Little did we know that a monumental storm was about to settle over the city and flood low-lying areas — like, say, basement venues — making nature the surprise guest headliner on the night and cutting things short. Before things got to that point, though, we got most of a set from this "true-stories-through-sound" experimenter, fusing sarunay gong sounds with electronic textures. The sounds + stories were cut slightly short, however, when the rain intruded on things — you can't argue with nature.

[What should have been the third set on this night, featuring Debashis Sinha, is actually happening tonight (September 25th) at a special offsite make-up show at Array Space. (Allison Cameron & Mani Mazinani are also playing a set!) Meanwhile, Track Could Bend will be back in the basement at Wenona next week (October 2nd) with sets from Uxvae, The Velvet Crystals and Jakob Rehlinger.]

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

Recording: No Seas

Artist: No Seas

Song: unknown*

Recorded at Wenona Lodge (Track Could Bend #41), August 7, 2018.

No Seas - unknown

"Unexpected rain just before showtime," is scrawled in my notepad at the start of this night. Little did we know that a monumental storm was about to settle over the city and flood low-lying areas — like, say, basement venues — making nature the surprise guest headliner on the night and cutting things short. Things started without incident though, with Alexei Orechin leading off the evening with a carefully-constructed set from his tapes-and-guitar project. Often the tools of "noise", Orechin is instead using his tapes as compositional frames — and the found-sound answering machine messages add a slightly-voyeuristic documentary edge to the proceedings.

[What should have been the third set on this night, featuring Debashis Sinha, is actually happening tonight (September 25th) at a special offsite make-up show at Array Space. (Allison Cameron & Mani Mazinani are also playing a set!) Meanwhile, Track Could Bend will be back in the basement at Wenona next week (October 2nd) with sets from Uxvae, The Velvet Crystals and Jakob Rehlinger.]

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

Monday, September 24, 2018

Concert Listings Roundup #269

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:

SynapticCircusSundays (feat. Fake Humans / A Nilan Perera Ensemble [Kayla Milmine/Wes Neal/Nilan Perera/Ted Phillips]) / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2018-09-30 (Sunday) [FB event]

If I were being self-promote-y (full disclosure: I am) I'd mention here that I have my hands in a couple shows this week that should not be missed, especially on Tuesday night. But instead, I'll give a nudge here to what's been one of the city's coolest series of late, with Nilan Perera mixing together different streams of adventurous music — and often participating in one form or another. Fake Humans' four-hands-many-sounds grooves are always a can't-miss and the ensemble that Perera has assembled for this night should have some interestingly unpredictable results.


This week's noteworthy shows:

Neko Case (Thao) / The Danforth Music Hall 2018-09-24 (Monday) [more info]

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

Molly Nilsson (Scott Hardware) / The Garrison 2018-09-24 (Monday) [FB event]

Nick Fraser New(ish) Quartet [Nick Fraser/Emily Denison/Karen Ng/Josh Cole] / The Emmet Ray 2018-09-24 (Monday) [FB event]

Mechanical Forest Sound Presents a Track Could Bend offsite special (feat. Debashis Sinha [The White Dog Toronto release celebration!] / Allison Cameron & Mani Mazinani) / Array Space 2018-09-25 (Tuesday) [FB event]

Christina Petrowska Quilico [Soundspinning album launch – piano works by Ann Southam] / Canadian Music Centre 2018-09-25 (Tuesday – free with RSVP!) [FB event]

Palm (New Fries) / The Baby G 2018-09-25 (Tuesday) [FB event]

Nick Fraser New(ish) Quartet [video shoot!] / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2018-09-25 (Tuesday) [FB event]

Music By Harry and Furlong S1E1 (feat. The Search For Eternal Happiness [Harry Vetro/Emily Denison/Madeleine Ertel/Patrick O'Reilly/Dan Pitt/Meghan Noelle Gilhespy/Nelson Moneo/Patrick Smith/John Nicholson/Andrew Furlong/Noah Franche-Nolan/Harrison Argatoff/Alison Keery] / Andrew Furlong/Mark Ballyk) / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2018-09-26 (Wednesday) [FB event]

Not Of [LP release!] (Nailbiter / Cellos) / The Baby G 2018-09-27 (Thursday) [FB event]

Night Owl Festival Night 1 (feat. MIEN / Yamantaka//Sonic Titan / Petra Glynt / Bonnie Trash) / Velvet Underground 2018-09-27 (Thursday) [FB event]

A Deer A Horse (Lilim / Alpha Strategy / Burner) / Duffy's Tavern 2018-09-27 (Thursday) [FB event]

Machine Moon (Rampancy + Rob Michalchuk / Beggin' For Oxys / Goth Girl / Iron Blood) / Faith/Void 2018-09-28 (Friday) [FB event]

Wavelength 765 (feat. Joyfultalk / Mimico / Isla Den) / Array Space 2018-09-28 (Friday – all ages!) [FB event]

The Ryan Driver Sextet / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2018-09-28 (Friday)

Meghan Gilhespy/David Blake/Patrick O'Reilly/Phill Albert / The Rex 2018-09-29 (Saturday – afternoon set @ 3:30 p.m.!) [FB event]

Brickwork (Rob Grieve/Karen Ng/Stefan Hegerat) / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2018-09-29 (Saturday – early!) [FB event]

The Weather Station (The Highest Order / Ian Daniel Kehoe) / Mod Club Theatre 2018-09-29 (Saturday) [FB event]

Silent Shout (feat. Plazas / New Chance / AIDA / Isla Den) / Handlebar 2018-09-29 (Saturday) [FB event]

Blue Season (Luan Phung Quintet) / Array Space 2018-09-29 (Saturday – music + visual art!) [FB event]

Mark "BBQ" Sultan (Andre Ethier / Pow Wows / Tommy & The Commies) / Monarch Tavern 2018-09-29 (Saturday) [FB event]

Ouroboros (feat. Darbazi / Turkwaz) / St. Anne's Church 2018-09-29 (Saturday – PWYC!) [FB event]

Raag-Mala Music Society of Toronto: Nuit Blanche (feat. Ken Zuckerman/Pandit Ashis Sengupta / Sweekar Katti/Yashwant Vaishnav / Shantanu Bhattacharya) / Aga Khan Museum 2018-09-29 (Saturday – free! performances at 7:30 p.m./11:30 p.m./5:00 a.m.!) [FB event]

Aurochs / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2018-09-29 (Saturday)

Toronto Improvisors' Orchestra / Array Space 2018-09-30 (Sunday – afternoon show @ 2 p.m.!) [FB event]

Cosmic Homeostasis VIII (feat. Paul Newman/Abigail Trotsky/Chris Trotter/Ronnie Blake/Mira Martin-Gray/Patrick O'Reilly/Heraclitus Akimbo + more TBA) / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2018-09-30 (Sunday – afternoon set @ 3 p.m.! PWYC!) [FB event]

Silent Revue: Sunrise [silent film with live accompaniment] (feat. Ugly Beauties [Marilyn Lerner/Matt Brubeck/Nick Fraser]) / Revue Cinema 2018-09-30 (Sunday – afternoon show @ 4 p.m.!) [FB event]

Chris Pruden & Laura Swankey / The Rex Hotel 2018-09-30 (Sunday – early!) [FB event]

Harrison² [Harrison Argatoff/Mike Murley/Steve Wallace/Harrison Vetro] / The Emmet Ray 2018-09-30 (Sunday) [FB event]

Furniture Music Presents (feat. Colour and Noise [Tara Kanangara/Patrick O'Reilly/Aidan Sibley/Alex Fournier/Ashley Urquhart] / Tetsuo) / Lower Ossington Theatre 2018-09-30 (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!

Rob Clutton Trio [Rob Clutton/Nick Fraser/Karen Ng] / The Emmet Ray 2018-10-01 (Monday – PWYC!)

Nite Comfort 60 (feat. Processor [LP release! / Memorex) / Handlebar 2018-10-07 (Sunday – PWYC!) [FB event]

Somewhere There's Second Sunday Series (feat. TANDEM / Colour and Noise [Alex Fournier/Tara Kannangara/Patrick O’Reilly/Aidan Sibley/Ashley Urquhart]) / Array Space 2018-10-14 (Sunday) [FB event]

BA Johnston (First Base / Jean Daddy) / Junction City Music Hall 2018-10-20 (Saturday) [FB event]

SynapticCircusSundays (feat. Heidi Chan / Nic Murray [solo sets plus duo set!]) / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2018-10-28 (Sunday) [FB event]

Feast In The East 71 (Luge [Tall Is Just a Feeling LP release!] / Retired / Baby Labour / Deep Waters) / Matt Durant Studio 2018-11-03 (Saturday – all ages!) [FB event]

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Recording: Mikrosleep

Artist: Mikrosleep

Song: unknown*

Recorded at Handlebar (Nite Comfort 58), August 5, 2018.

Mikrosleep - unknown

The artist's statement at the outset of this set was that the visualizations were derived from "training AI's to feel pain" — a concept fairly evident in some footage of computer-generated stick-figures being put in the path of all sorts of peril (falling off cliffs, running into each other, attempting impossible leaps, etc.). The music had a similar scientific rigour to it as well, often seemingly holding certain variables in place while investigating the impact of changing other parameters one at a time.

[Nite Comfort is back at Handlebar in a couple weeks (Sunday, October 7th), with a huge night celebrating Processor's new album and a set from Memorex as well.]

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

Recording: Senior Beatbox

Artist: Senior Beatbox

Song: unknown*

Recorded at Handlebar (Nite Comfort 58), August 5, 2018.

Senior Beatbox - unknown

Sporting a bandana and a table full of gear, Savino M. conducted some lo-fi synth symphonies. This opening section had a very tasty planetarium groove, but things took a less-celestial turn after that with some widdly bleepbloop sountracks to detached montages of apartment buildings and other urban inhabitants on the video sceen behind him.

[Nite Comfort is back at Handlebar in a couple weeks (Sunday, October 7th), with a huge night celebrating Processor's new album and a set from Memorex as well.]

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

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Recording: BLOOP

Artist: BLOOP

Song: [second piece]

Recorded at The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), July 31, 2018.

BLOOP - [second piece]

This occasional project from Lina Allemano sees her trumpet work being manipulated by Mike Smith (deploying some similar techniques to those he brings to Aurochs) set against the clattering buffalo herd percussion of Blake Howard (filling in for Germaine Liu) and Nick Fraser. Accidental tangents keep things interesting, but it's all held together by the mindmeld grooves. Let's bloop!

Recording: Tena Palmer & Rob Clutton

Artist: Tena Palmer & Rob Clutton

Song: [an improvisation]

Recorded at The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), July 31, 2018.

Tena Palmer & Rob Clutton - [an improvisation]

This duo set matched Rob Clutton's double bass work with Tena Palmer's inventive vocalizations, which ranged from cackles, clucks and whispers to something sounding like a jazzy ballad sung in orcish.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Recording: Clutton/Fraser/Perera/Oore

Artist: Rob Clutton/Nick Fraser/Nilan Perera/Dani Oore

Songs: [two improvisations]

Recorded at The Tranzac's Southern Cross Lounge (Synaptic Circus Sundays), July 29, 2018.

Rob Clutton/Nick Fraser/Nilan Perera/Dani Oore - [second piece]

Rob Clutton/Nick Fraser/Nilan Perera/Dani Oore - [third piece]

Although I've seen each of Nilan Perera, Rob Clutton and Nick Fraser many times, I don't think I've ever seen them perform together — so I had a quiet smile to myself at seeing the Toronto version of the Jandek band reunited on stage. Joining them was the always-playful Dani Oore, on reeds, PVC pipe, and the occasional shout of joy. There was a lot of ground covered in this set, as these two contrasting pieces indicate — the first features Perera's fingerpicked acoustic guitar, subtly-interjecting some of Jimmy Page's "Bron-Yr-Aur", while the latter goes electric and cranks things up several notches, flipping without warning into some heavy vibes.

Recording: Emily Denison & Tara Kannangara

Artist: Emily Denison & Tara Kannangara

Song: [excerpt]

Recorded at The Tranzac's Southern Cross Lounge (Synaptic Circus Sundays), July 29, 2018.

Emily Denison & Tara Kannangara - [excerpt]

With only two-thirds of a scheduled trumpet trio playing in this set, there was plenty of space for Emily Denison and Tara Kannangara to explore their contrasting approaches to their instrument. Kannangara worked in more melodic terrain, giving some firm ground for Dennison to dodge and weave around with a series of drones, gurgles and noise-plops.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Recording: Emily Denison Septet

Artist: Emily Denison Septet

Songs: Crazy [composer: Willie Nelson] + And So It Goes [composer: Billy Joel]

Recorded at The Emmet Ray, July 29, 2018.

Emily Denison Septet - Crazy

Emily Denison Septet - And So It Goes

Though currently based in Montréal, trumpeter Emily Denison makes fairly frequent forays to her old stomping grounds — and this busy Sunday saw a flurry of activity. This group — a fairly ambitious undertaking for a late afternoon slot at a quiet bar — was probably as much as anything a chance for Denison to flex her muscles as an arranger and have a chance to perform with some old comrades. Bringing soft lushness to both pop and jazz tunes meant that the likes of Sam Amidon and Thelonious Monk were rubbing shoulders and fit in equally in Denison's aesthetic of niceness ("only the most wholesome music that sounds as sweet as honey"). It was also a good opportunity to hear Laura Swankey as a song-singer, given most of the places we cross paths hew towards improvisation. The group also included Nelson Moneo (viola), Beth Silver (cello), Patrick O'Reilly (guitar), Victor Vrankulj (double bass), and Mark Ballyk (drums).

[Emily Denison will be back in town — and back at The Emmet Ray — as part of Nick Fraser's "new(ish)" quartet next week (Monday, September 24th) and the same group will be at The Tranzac the following night.]

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Recording: Cosmic Homeostasis

Artist: Cosmic Homeostasis

Song: Drone Wish for Paul Newman [excerpt]

Recorded at The Tranzac's Southern Cross Lounge (Cosmic Homeostasis VII), July 29, 2018.

Cosmic Homeostasis - Drone Wish for Paul Newman [excerpt]

A robust group of old and new faces combined to generate some Sunday-afternoon electroacoustic space drones at The Tranzac. Frequent contributor Paul Newman was absent (in celebration of a joyous milestone) so the first set started with some manipulated sounds from one of his ace solo saxophone recordings before slowly lurching towards The Spider Nebula. The full cast for this excursion was: Patrick O'Reilly, Del Stephen, Mira Martin-Gray, Niamh Shiffra Girling, Rod Campbell, mkl32, Ronnie Blake, Laura Swankey, Emily Denison, and Heraclitus Akimbo (who was also designated as the namer-of-things).

You can listen to the afternoon's full proceedings over on Bandcamp:

[Cosmic Homeostasis will be back at The Tranzac on Sunday, September 30th in its customary 3 p.m. timeslot. Help us listen to whispers from space!]

Monday, September 17, 2018

Concert Listings Roundup #268

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:

Brodie West Quintet [Clips album release!] (Wow and Flutter [Kayla Milmine/Bea Labikova/Sarah Peebles]) / The Music Gallery @ 918 Bathurst 2018-09-21 (Friday) [FB event]

A low-key evening at The Tranzac is all well and good (in fact, it's one of my favourite things!) but every once in a while it's nice to see some peeps taking their music to a bigger stage for a well-deserved airing in front of a larger audience. I've been watching Brodie West work out the unique rhythmic space that his quintet (with dual percussionists Nick Fraser and Evan Cartwright plus Josh Cole and Tania Gill) inhabits for a while now and the process has culminated in the release of Clips. And for a bonus, the evening is being opened up by Wow and Flutter, a new trio combining the unique talents of Kayla Milmine, Bea Labikova and Sarah Peebles. [Plus, for even more of a bonus, come out and hang while we consider the history of Musicworks' recorded legacy — see the note at the end of these listings for the whole scoop!]


This week's noteworthy shows:

Thanya Iyer feat. Anh Phung (Dana Gavanski) / Burdock Music Hall 2018-09-17 (Monday – early!) [FB event]

Jim Lewis/Mark Godfrey/Nick Fraser / The Emmet Ray 2018-09-17 (Monday) [FB event]

Full Moon Torrents [improvised duo and quartet performances] (feat. Michael Davidson and Harley Card / Colin Fisher and Jeff Luciani) / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2018-09-18 (Tuesday) [FB event]

c_RL / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2018-09-19 (Wednesday – early!) [FB event]

Josh Cole Trio [Josh Cole/Karen Ng/Michael Davidson] / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2018-09-19 (Wednesday) [FB event]

Guerilla Toss (Luge / WLMRT) / The Baby G 2018-09-19 (Wednesday) [FB event]

Father Murphy (Sahara / Gabe Knox) / Monarch Tavern 2018-09-19 (Wednesday) [FB event]

Jessica Stuart presents! Ep. 8 (feat. Lydia Persaud / Jessica Stuart with Liam Smith) / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2018-09-20 (Thursday – extra early show @ 5 p.m.!) [FB event]

Venus Fest (feat. Moor Mother / OSHUN / Elle Barbara's Black Space / LOOM) / Mod Club 2018-09-20 (Thursday – all ages!) [FB event]

Victor Cirone/Colin Fisher / Pamenar Café 2018-09-20 (Thursday) [FB event]

Venus Fest (feat. Zola Jesus / Allie / Maylee Todd / TIKA / Ora Cogan) / The Opera House 2018-09-21 (Friday – all ages!) [FB event]

Silver Dapple (So Young) / The Baby G 2018-09-21 (Friday) [FB event]

catl. [Bide My Time Until I Die album release party with "greatest hits" set!] (The Maness Brothers) / The Dakota Tavern 2018-09-21 (Friday) [FB event]

catl. [Bide My Time Until I Die album release party, playing the album from start to end!] (The Maness Brothers) / The Dakota Tavern 2018-09-22 (Saturday – early show @ 6 p.m.!) [FB event]

Venus Fest (feat. Bully / Partner / Vallens / Isla Craig) / The Opera House 2018-09-22 (Saturday – all ages!) [FB event]

Badge Époque Ensemble (Korea Town Acid) / The Baby G 2018-09-22 (Saturday) [FB event]

Burn Down The Capital presents (feat. Paul de Jong / Charles Spearin / Joni Void + Sarah Pagé) / Handlebar 2018-09-22 (Saturday) [FB event]

Hand Eye Society Ball 2018: A Fancy Videogame Party (feat. YlangYlang / New Chance / Leucrocuta / Bile Sister) / 918 Bathurst 2018-09-22 (Saturday) [FB event]

Rat-drifting 1 (feat. Marielle Groven/Aaron Lumley/Jasper Stadhouders/Marjolein Vogels) / Array Space 2018-09-22 (Saturday) [more info]

Sean Nicholas Savage (Nyssa / Favours) / Monarch Tavern 2018-09-22 (Saturday) [FB event]

Chris Pruden/Laura Swankey/Emily Denison / The Rex Hotel 2018-09-23 (Sunday – early!) [FB event]

Christine Duncan/Patrick O'Reilly/Laura Swankey / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2018-09-23 (Sunday) [FB event]

Ensh (Honey Beard / Lavender Bruisers / House Sounds) / Handlebar 2018-09-23 (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!

Molly Nilsson (Scott Hardware) / The Garrison 2018-09-24 (Monday) [FB event]

A Deer A Horse (Lilim / Alpha Strategy / Burner) / Duffy's Tavern 2018-09-27 (Thursday) [FB event]

Meghan Gilhespy/David Blake/Patrick O'Reilly/Phill Albert / The Rex 2018-09-29 (Saturday – afternoon set @ 3:30 p.m.!) [FB event]

Ouroboros (feat. Darbazi / Turkwaz) / St. Anne's Church 2018-09-29 (Saturday – PWYC!) [FB event]

Cosmic Homeostasis VIII(feat. Paul Newman/Abigail Trotsky/Chris Trotter/Ronnie Blake/Mira Martin-Gray/Patrick O'Reilly/Heraclitus Akimbo + more TBA) / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2018-09-30 (Sunday – afternoon set @ 3 p.m.! PWYC!) [FB event]

Furniture Music Presents (feat. Colour and Noise [Tara Kanangara/Patrick O'Reilly/Aidan Sibley/Alex Fournier/Ashley Urquhart] / Tetsuo) / Lower Ossington Theatre 2018-09-30 (Sunday) [FB event]

Track Could Bend #43 (feat. Uxvae / The Velvet Crystals / Jakob Rehlinger) / Wenona Lodge 2018-10-02 (Tuesday – PWYC!) [FB event]

Riparian Acoustics/CMC Presents [new music for Baroque cello, work by Linda Catlin Smith, Isaiah Ceccarelli, Ken Ueno, Scott Godin, Lisa Streich, and David Jaeger] (feat. Elinor Frey) / Canadian Music Centre 2018-10-03 (Wednesday) [FB event]

Myriad3 [Vera CD release concert!] / Jazz Bistro 2018-10-03 (Wednesday) [FB event]

Audiopollination 64.1 (feat. Paolo Gàiba Riva/Mira Martin-Gray/William Davison / Francesco Zedde/James Beardmore/David Jones / Paolo Gàiba Riva/Francesco Zedde/Kayla Milmine /Brian Abbot/MJ Wright / Paolo Gàiba Riva and Francesco Zedde) / Array Space 2018-10-07 (Sunday) [FB event]

Jaunt (ginla) / Owl's Club 2018-10-11 (Thursday) [FB event]

Soundstreams: Six Pianos [works by André Ristic, John Cage, Witold Lutoslawski, Alexina Louie, Juliet Palmer, Steve Reich] (Soundstreams feat. Stephanie Chua/Radka Hanakova/Russell Hartenberger/Midori Koga/Gregory Oh/Jamie Parker/Ryan Scott) / Koerner Hall 2018-10-12 (Friday) [more info]

Audiopollination 64.2 (feat. claude wittmann/Lo Bil/Tova Kardonne / Ashley Urquhart/Alex Fournier/Curtis Whittaker / Matt Nish-Lapidus/Neil Wiernik/Dan Pitt / Tandem Trio [Ed Williams/Anouck Genthon/Tom Malmendier]) / Array Space 2018-10-13 (Saturday) [FB event]

Nick Ferrio (Tough Age / BBQT) / The Beguiling 2018-10-13 (Saturday) [FB event]

Thin Edge New Music Collective, TIFF and Riparian Acoustics co-present: Contralto [Sarah Hennies' experimental documentary with live musical accompaniment] (feat. lana Waniuk/Nelson Moneo/Amahl Arulanandam/Adam Scime/Cheryl Duvall/Nathan Petitpas/Germaine Liu) / TIFF Lightbox 2018-10-24 (Wednesday) [FB event]

Death to T.O VIII (feat. Nyssa / Jessica Upton Crowe / Roy Phillips / Sahara / The Effens / In Drift / Rapport / Hot Garbage / Sportsfan / Brenda / Mother Tongues / Komodo / members of MIMICO / Weaves / Kaleidoscope Horse / Greys / CRAZY BONES / Witchrot / Simone TB) / Lee's Palace/The Dance Cave 2018-10-26 (Friday) [FB event]

Look Vibrant (Omhouse / Slurry) / The Baby G 2018-11-30 (Friday) [FB event]

Dilly Dally / Lee's Palace 2018-12-06 (Thursday) [FB event]

Burn Down The Capital presents (feat. Jessica Moss / Völur / Qarafa) / Burdock Music Hall 2018-12-14 (Friday) [FB event]


Community corner:

  • Musicworks Magazine has grown and transformed from a scrappy zine-like newspaper to the slick journalistic package that exists today and is marking its 40th anniversary this year. As part of the celebrations, I'm putting on my local experimental music history hat once more, and, along with Fahmid Nibesh, co-convening this event focusing on the tapes and CD's that have enhanced Musicworks since 1983. Rather than a formal panel, consider this an interactive oral history session, with folks who were there sharing first-hand memories as we explore this unique archival resource for experimental Canadian sounds. Free for all to attend, Friday (September 21st) at The Music Gallery (918 Bathurst St.) — plus you'll be in the right spot for the gig of the week afterwards!

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Recording: Goosebump

Artist: Goosebump

Songs: Piano Room (feat. Lee Rose) + She Don't Say Goodbye (feat. Ruhee Dewji + Jesse Locke)

Recorded at Lula Lounge, July 26, 2018.

Goosebump - Piano Room

Goosebump - She Don't Say Goodbye

Launching their new album under their new name (and with a new-ish keyboard player in the fold), it's easy to pitch these former Germaphobes as casting off in a new direction. But underneath that highly-marketable veneer of newness, there are plenty of continuities at hand here. Besides preserving the peanut-butter-and-chocolate songwriting stylings of Paul Erlichman and Neil Rankin that are at the band's heart, there were some more specific connections to past strands here, such as how the new Goosebump platter gives us finished versions of several songs that made their first rough-draft appearances in the Germaphobes-era "Heat Shuts Off Overnight" musical theatre one-off.

Meanwhile, as befits the special-occasion nature of an album-release show, the group brought out several guest performers to augment their sound, including Ace of Wands' Lee Rose on violin (allowing the group to tackle "Piano Room", which isn't normally in the live rotation) and Ruhee Dewji on sax and Jesse Locke on percussion to fuel the set's funky finale as heard here.

[Goosebump are playing tonight (September 16th) at Burdock, alongside Future States and L CON.]

Recording: Chandra

Artist: Chandra

Song: Stranger

Recorded at Lula Lounge, July 26, 2018.

Chandra - Stranger

Now well beyond the novelty stage, the Chandra band has become a wonderfully groovy new wave force to be reckoned with. Chandra Oppenheim, who originally recorded these songs as a pre-teen, now fronts a unit powered by an all-star force of local rockers — including Julie Reich and Vic Cheong (vox, melodica), Penny Clark (guit), Nyles Miszczyk (bass), Jesse Locke (drums) plus Kristina Koski (keyb). Looking a bit like a fashionable cult, the group took advantage of Lula's excellent sound system for a superb-sounding set. More of Oppenheim's old demos are being added to the setlist supplementing the material from the Transportation EP (which has, sadly, apparently disappeared from Bandcamp) so one can only hope that we'll get some "new" material soon.

Recording: Persons

Artist: Persons

Songs: two unknown songs*

Recorded at Lula Lounge, July 26, 2018.

Persons - unknown #1

Persons - unknown #2

Rock shows in the sumptuous Lula Lounge are a relatively-unusual thing (though with a paucity of options, more shows have been showing up there lately). Kicking off a celebratory night in support of Goosebump's new album, Hamilton's Persons started things off with a metaphorical glitter explosion. Rocking a sort of post-binary workout groove, the quartet (which has since, I understand, reduced itself to a duo) offered a mashup of genres and vocal styles (though Q-Tip's rap on "Groove Is In The Heart" and/or an acid-dappled Digable Planets are in the mix there somewhere). Dayglo chaos and intense onstage dance moves (whose primary inspiration might be the hypnotic herky-jerk stutters of animated gif's) made it easy to overlook that there was actually a lot of choreographed coordination at play. Unclassifiable and joyous — maybe just call it a best-case scenario for post-apocalyptic rave culture.

* Does anyone know the titles to these? Please leave a comment!

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Recording: The Titillators

Artist: The Titillators

Songs: Prelude to a Kiss [composer: Duke Ellington] + Cotton Tail [composer: Duke Ellington] + Midnight Sun [composers: Lionel Hampton and Sonny Burke]

Recorded at The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), July 22, 2018.

The Titillators - Prelude to a Kiss

The Titillators - Cotton Tail

The Titillators - Midnight Sun

A historic occasion on the debut of this new combo convened by Ryan Driver, here on street sweeper bristle bass and flanked by Tania Gill (synth), Thom Gill (synth, whistling). The ensemble was completed by Germaine Liu and Phil Melanson, who were seated at a blanket full of miscellaneous percussive items (including happy apple, toy piano, wood block, bowl of water, metal bowls, rattles, miso soup, trowels, chopsticks and so forth), making it look like they were on an especially whimsical picnic. (D. Alex Meeks sat in for the second set, adding even more small taps and crunches.)

This was a sure antidote for anyone feeling like they arrived too late for first-hand witnessing of classic Rat-Drifting-style high-concept oddness, with the sound here being a sort of fractured take on novelty jazz, or a really "out" Spike Jones cover band. (In any case, the repertoire surveyed at this show included plenty Ellington and other standards.) If that sounds too high concept, just imagine these tunes serving as background fodder for the sort of Muppet Show sketch that would end with Crazy Happy pressing his plunger and blowing up the whole thing. That said, as off-kilter as the whole thing is, this is delicate and lovely music (that isn't superbly captured by my recordings) so you shouldn't miss an opportunity to get titillated.

[The Titillators' historic third performance is happening tonight (September 15th) at The Tranzac.]

Friday, September 14, 2018

Recording: FASTER

Artist: FASTER

Song: [excerpt]

Recorded at Gerrard Art Space (Faster Presents: Summer Sound Explorations), July 21, 2018.

FASTER - [excerpt]

After opening this night of electronic and acoustic sounds with separate sparring partners, Kayla Milmine and Brian Abbott finished things off with an old-fashioned FASTER set. "Old-fashioned" in the sense that they took a night off from the large-scale compositional pieces that have been occupying them lately and just went on an improvised high-speed chase with hairpin turns and random songbursts.

[FASTER is presenting another excellent night of creative sounds at Gerrard Art Space tomorrow night (September 15th) with visiting improvisers Carl Ludwig Hübsch/Pierre-Yves Martel/Philip Zoubek as well as the ever-quieter Montréal/Toronto force of MagicEyeImage.]

Recording: Paul Stillwell

Artist: Paul Stillwell

Song: [excerpt]

Recorded at Gerrard Art Space (Faster Presents: Summer Sound Explorations), July 21, 2018.

Paul Stillwell - [excerpt]

Paul Stillwell did bring some acoustic elements to his set — most notably a large PVC pipe overtone flute heard in the closing section here — but also featured some very tasty (and largely ambient) electronic textures.

[FASTER is presenting another excellent night of creative sounds at Gerrard Art Space tomorrow night (September 15th) with visiting improvisers Carl Ludwig Hübsch/Pierre-Yves Martel/Philip Zoubek as well as the ever-quieter Montréal/Toronto force of MagicEyeImage.]

Recording: Eugene Martynec & Brian Abbott

Artist: Eugene Martynec & Brian Abbott

Song: [excerpt]

Recorded at Gerrard Art Space (Faster Presents: Summer Sound Explorations), July 21, 2018.

Eugene Martynec & Brian Abbott - [excerpt]

On this FASTER-curated night of electronic and acoustic sounds, both halves of the duo split off to perform with separate sparring partners. Eugene Martynec (MIDI instruments) and Brian Abbott (guitar) brought a different temperament to the proceedings, playing a microtonal duo where the acoustic and electronic sounds melded nicely together.

[FASTER is presenting another excellent night of creative sounds at Gerrard Art Space tomorrow night (September 15th) with visiting improvisers Carl Ludwig Hübsch/Pierre-Yves Martel/Philip Zoubek as well as the ever-quieter Montréal/Toronto force of MagicEyeImage.]

Recording: James Bailey & Kayla Milmine

Artist: James Bailey & Kayla Milmine

Songs: [two excerpts from an improvisation]

Recorded at Gerrard Art Space (Faster Presents: Summer Sound Explorations), July 21, 2018.

James Bailey & Kayla Milmine - [first section]

James Bailey & Kayla Milmine - [second section]

On this FASTER-curated night of electronic and acoustic sounds, both halves of the duo split off to perform with separate sparring partners. To lead things off Kayla Milmine (on soprano sax) was joined by James Bailey, who was armed with a bench full of percussive bricabrac (roto-tom frames, computer parts, serving tray, wire brushes, bread saw, etc.).

[FASTER is presenting another excellent night of creative sounds at Gerrard Art Space tomorrow night (September 15th) with visiting improvisers Carl Ludwig Hübsch/Pierre-Yves Martel/Philip Zoubek as well as the ever-quieter Montréal/Toronto force of MagicEyeImage.]

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Recording: Mas Aya

Artist: Mas Aya

Song: Mapale*

Recorded at Festival Main Stage (BIG on Bloor Festival), July 21, 2018.

Mas Aya - Mapale

I dipped into this busy street festival just long enough this year to see Brandon Valdivia ignite a conscious party. His flute/vox/electronics were accompanied throughout by percussionist Reimundo Sosa, and the spirit was further enlivened by a very-pregnant Lido Pimienta who not only provided the stage area's jubilant/pointed artwork installation ("Families Belong Together") but also came onstage to dance and add vocals to "Hoy" and "Masters". (Congratulations to the truth-to-power couple on that child's recent arrival!) With happy children dashing about and friends and passers-by stopping to dance it felt like a joyful and positive space — this is what our streets should be for, after all.

* Thanks to Brandon for passing along the title to this one!

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Recording: The American Devices

Artist: The American Devices

Songs: Got The Feeling It's + Meaning of Life

Recorded at Owl's Club (basement), July 20, 2018.

The American Devices - Got The Feeling It's

The American Devices - Meaning of Life

Perhaps not unlike Hamilton's Simply Saucer, this longstanding Montréal band navigated their own sonic emergence from first-wave punk in relative isolation and obscurity, allowing them a sort of parallel evolution. Like fish or frogs found in secluded caverns, there are familiar hallmarks here — hints of Mission of Burma's muscularity crossbred with an upfront keyboard sound — but arranged into something unique. Still doing their own thing (and working on new audiovisual projects), the quintet manage to not sound trapped in history — or at least their sounds fit just fine into the fabric of this modern era.