Friday, May 31, 2019

Recording: Cosmic Homeostasis X

Artist: Cosmic Homeostasis X

Songs: The Wire Shimmy [excerpt] + Buzzy Bandit Breakdown [excerpt]

Recorded at The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), March 31, 2019.

Cosmic Homeostasis X - The Wire Shimmy [excerpt]

Cosmic Homeostasis X - Buzzy Bandit Breakdown [excerpt]

Another afternoon of electroacoustic ambient drift sounds, with a robust turnout that reached fifteen performers by the second set. But for all that, the performers showed admirably restraint, growing the soundfield without becoming too obtrusive and making for a rather-pleasant drifting sensation.

The afternoon's performers included:

  • Ron Blake - guitar, kaoss pad
  • Matt Wells - guitar
  • Rob Cruickshank - electronics
  • Randi Helmers - voice
  • Aaron Dawson - crappy old synth
  • Victor O - water-logged xylo, cello bow, random percussion
  • Dame Cook - electronics, xylo
  • Del Stephen - keyboard
  • Marilyn Y - singing bowl, trio chime
  • Paul Newman - tenor saxophone
  • Mira Martin-Gray - electronics
  • Phil Hamilton - guitar, monotribe
  • Patrick O'Reilly - piano, namer-of-things
  • Scott M2 - electronics
  • Heraclitus Akimbo - tapes, pedals, sine wave, guitar

You can also check out the full sets over on bandcamp:

[Cosmic Homeostasis will be back in the Southern Cross on the afternoon of Sunday, June 30th!]

Monday, May 27, 2019

Concert Listings Roundup #304

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:

Audiopollination 72 (feat. MKL32/Anne-F Jacques/Elizabeth Millar / Craig Pedersen/Mira Martin-Gray/Mark Zurawinski / Tim Olive/Allison Cameron/William Davison) / The Tranzac (Tiki Room) 2019-06-01 (Saturday) [FB event]

The Audiopollination series continues to inspire, whether recombining local experimenters in self-curated agglomerations or hosting visiting musicians. This show, moving from the series' usual home at Array Space to The Tranzac's cozy Tiki Room, is one of the latter, welcoming Japan-based Canadian tabletop guitarist Tim Olive. Montréal's Anne-F Jacques as well as familiar faces/honorary locals Elizabeth Millar and Craig Pedersen. They'll be encountering locals MKL32, Mira Martin-Gray and Mark Zurawinski plus Allison Cameron and William Davison. Expect strange sounds rendered joyfully into music.


This week's noteworthy shows:

Blonde Elvis (No Frills / Your 33 Black Angels) / The Baby G 2019-05-27 (Monday) [FB event]

Not Dead Yet presents (feat. Choir Boy / Chasms / Siviyex) / The Baby G 2019-05-28 (Tuesday) [FB event]

Furniture Music (feat. The Lady and the Tramp [Justin Haynes tribute with Christine Duncan/Jim Lewis/Jake Oelrichs/Alex Fournier] / Queasy Weasel [Bea Labikova/Ashley Urquhart/Caleb Klager/Stefan Hegerat] / Wenona Lodge 2019-05-28 (Tuesday) [FB event]

Brodie West Quintet / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2019-05-28 (Tuesday)

Quaker Parents [Our Drawing Club album release show] (Dorothea Paas / Pantayo) / The Boat 2019-05-29 (Wednesday) [FB event]

Teen Daze (Prince Innocence) / The Baby G 2019-05-30 (Thursday) [FB event]

Concrete Cabaret 3: Future Fossils ["experimental puppet and performing object pieces"] (feat. The Gravy Strugglers / Brothers Karamazov / Marisa Boudreault / Brefny Caribou & Paddy MacDonald / The Zen Existential Puppet Theatre / Cecilia McKinnon / Alex Winfield / Kristine White and Bee Pallomina) / The Tranzac (Main Hall) 2019-05-30 (Thursday) [FB event]

Dope Villain [experimental jazz meltdown enthusiasts feat. members of Yamantaka//Sonic Titan] (Chew / Pleasures) / Unit 2 2019-05-30 (Thursday) [FB event]

Aurochs / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2019-05-31 (Friday – early!)

The Ryan Driver Sextet / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2019-05-31 (Friday)

Possum (Mother Tongues / Bart) / The Garrison 2019-05-31 (Friday) [FB event]

Sabine Ndalamba/Tara Kannangara/Eric West/Julian Anderson-Bowes/Jeff LaRochelle / The Emmet Ray 2019-05-31 (Friday – PWYC!) [FB event]

CCMC with special guest Harvey Cowan / Array Space 2019-06-31 (Friday) [more info]

Taktus [album fundraiser!] / Array Space 2019-06-01 (Saturday) [FB event]

Arkose / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2019-06-01 (Saturday)

Ayal Senior (Kurt Newman / Nick Flanagan [comedy] / Heraclitus Akimbo) / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2019-06-02 (Sunday – afternoon show @ 3 p.m.!) [FB event]

Jazz United Jam [jazz + tap dancing] / The Tranzac (Tiki Room) 2019-06-02 (Sunday – PWYC!)

Triio [Bea Labikova/Aidan Sibley/Tom Fleming/Ashley Urquhart/Stefan Hegerat/Alex Fournier] [CD release!] / The Rex 2018-06-02 (Sunday) [FB event]

Nite Comfort 68 (feat. Agencies / Senior Beatbox) / Handlebar 2019-06-02 (Sunday – PWYC!) [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!

Brian Abbott and Paul Newman / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2019-06-04 (Tuesday – extra early set @ 5 p.m.!)

Moon in June (feat. Ghostlight / Kapali Carsi) / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2019-06-05 (Wednesday) [FB event]

Lina Allemano Four / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2019-06-09 (Sunday) [FB event]

The AMBiENT PiNG (feat. Michael Peter Olsen / Snake Church [Michel Mucci & Ben Grossman]) / Handlebar 2019-06-12 (Wednesday) [FB event]

Walrus (Mauno / Vallens / WHOOP-Szo) / The Drake Underground 2019-06-14 (Friday) [FB event]

Fiver / Burdock Music Hall 2019-06-14 (Friday) [FB event]

Vazaleen: Rock N Roll Queer Bar / A Benefit For The Will Munro Fund (feat. Nyssa / Regina Gently) / Velvet Underground 2019-06-22 (Saturday) [FB event]

Analog_futures (feat. N A V I [Cartography EP release show!] / Dirty Inputs / Telum Atramenti / Martin Saint) /The Tranzac (Main Hall) 2019-06-22 (Saturday – PWYC!) [FB event]

Flood Fundraiser (feat. Najva Ensemble) / Aga Khan Museum 2019-06-23 (Sunday) [FB event]

Anunnaki (Harmony on Mars / Stargoon / Cola Wars) / Monarch Tavern 2019-06-26 (Wednesday) [FB event]

Aaron Corbett [a night of experimental electronic music and digital art] (Kieran Maraj) / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2019-07-03 (Wednesday) [FB event]

Triple Record Release! (feat. Sigil / WLMRT / Hugh Man) / The Monarch Tavern 2019-07-06 (Saturday) [FB event]

Not Dead Yet presents (feat. Drab Majesty / Xeno & Oaklander / Body of Light) / Velvet Underground 2019-08-15 (Thursday) [FB event]

Friday, May 24, 2019

Recording: Woodhands

Artist: Woodhands feat. Mamarudegyal

Song: I Should Have Gone With My Friends/Straighten The Curtain

Recorded at Workman Arts – Main Hall (Long Winter 7.5), March 29, 2019.

Woodhands - I Should Have Gone With My Friends/Straighten The Curtain

With drummer Paul Banwatt already on the scene to play with secret guest headliners The Rural Alberta Advantage, this reunion set made good logistical sense. I could be wrong, but I think their last show was in fact the last time I saw 'em, but from Dan Werb's first "oh shit!" it felt like old times. As ever, the pair took the opportunity to stretch out their songs into live 12" dance mixes, injecting their awkward anthems with manic energy.

Recording: The Rural Alberta Advantage

Artist: The Rural Alberta Advantage

Songs: Beacon Hill + Terrified

Recorded at Workman Arts – Main Hall (Long Winter 7.5), March 29, 2019.

The Rural Alberta Advantage - Beacon Hill

The Rural Alberta Advantage - Terrified

In the rather long stretch since I last saw 'em, The RAA has released a couple albums (2014's Mended with Gold as well as 2017's The Wild), lost and reacquired vocalist/keyboardist Amy Cole, and has played a bunch of festivals. This summer they'll be out on the road some more, shaping new material (some of which was previewed at this show).

Recording: Kelly Fraser

Artist: Kelly Fraser

Song: Looking for a Seal

Recorded at Workman Arts – Main Hall (Long Winter 7.5), March 29, 2019.

Kelly Fraser - Looking for a Seal

Hailing from from Sanikiluaq, Nunavut, Kelly Fraser brought a Northern perspective to the night, singing and rapping in Inuktitut and English. Her music showed reverence to her community's traditions but also leaped into the contemporary popsphere with both feet.

Recording: MamaRudeGyal MTHC

Artist: MamaRudeGyal MTHC

Song: 4 A.M.

Recorded at Workman Arts – Roseneath Theatre (Long Winter 7.5), March 29, 2019.

MamaRudeGyal MTHC - 4 A.M.

The self-professed "most awkward rapper in the game", this Burnaby, B.C. based musician nevertheless brought some modest swagger to her performance. (And also dropped a guest verse later on in Woodhands' set.)

Recording: Bruised Years Choir

Artist: Bruised Years Choir

Songs: Trouble in Mind [composer: Richard M. Jones] + We Are the Champions [Queen cover]

Recorded at Workman Arts – Main Hall (Long Winter 7.5), March 29, 2019.

Bruised Years Choir - Trouble in Mind

Bruised Years Choir - We Are the Champions

Once more, Long Winter felt right at home in Workman Arts' frayed-at-the-edges splendour. That was enhanced with this appearance from the Bruised Years Choir, one of the organization's resident ensembles. Guided by Jim LeFrancois on piano (as well as familiar face Johnny Spence on guitar) a dozen singers tackled arrangements of songs focusing both on struggles with addiction and madness as well as celebratory triumph.

[The Bruised Years Choir will be one of the (many!) participants in Luminato's massive Cris Derksen-composed choral event Maada'ookii Songlines, free at the Harbourfront Centre on Sunday, June 23rd.]

Monday, May 20, 2019

Concert Listings Roundup #303

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:

Sacred Lamp [record release in-store!] / Grasshopper Records 2019-05-23 (Thursday) [FB event]

A modest celebration for a long-awaited platter on Thursday night, marking the official release of Ayal Senior and Matthew "Doc" Dunn's self-titled Sacred Lamp album. These songs have been percolating for a while now, and the disc has been hiding in plain sight at some recent Dunn gigs, so it's nice to have it openly out in the world — and over on Bandcamp, too:


This week's noteworthy shows:

Team Building (feat. Joyful Joyful / Jess Kussin / Chris Lyons / Casey Mecija / Ben Gunning / Bruce Lai / Danika Vandersteen / Avalon Rossignol-Tassonyi) / Burdock Music Hall 2019-05-20 (Monday – early! PWYC!) [FB event]

Music Hosted by Karen Ng (feat. Holiday Rambler / Ruster Never Sleeps) / Wenona Lodge 2019-05-21 (Tuesday) [FB event]

McDonald/Card/Silveira (New Hermitage) / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2019-05-21 (Tuesday) [FB event]

Space Cubs (Fast Frens / Dead Neighbourhoods) / The Baby G 2019-05-22 (Wednesday) [FB event]

Music By Harry and Furlong S1E8 (feat. The Search For Eternal Happiness Pt. 6 [Harry Vetro/Alex Fournier/Max Donaldson] / Andrew Furlong & Bea Labikova) / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2019-05-22 (Wednesday) [FB event]

DoVira3 [single release!] (R. Flex / Roa Gayageum) / Burdock Music Hall 2019-05-22 (Wednesday) [FB event]

Jon Langford and his ...... [surprise!] (Jon-Boy w/John Szymanski / Eamon McGrath / Jon-Boy & the Skull Orchard Male Voice Choir w/David Nagler) / The Horseshoe Tavern 2019-05-23 (Thursday) [more info]

The Mean [EP release!] (Secret Wars / Techniques Berlin) / The Piston 2019-05-23 (Thursday) [FB event]

Sick Boss [Cole Schmidt/Peggy Lee/Ted Crosby/Karen Ng] / Chris Pitsiokos) / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2019-05-23 (Thursday) [FB event]

Invocation presents (feat. Sarah Louise / Eiyn Sof / Kurt Newman) / Array Space 2019-05-24 (Friday) [FB event]

Venus Fest presents (feat. Charlotte Cornfield [The Shape of Your Name album release!] / Charise Aragoza) / The Baby G 2019-05-24 (Friday) [FB event]

Ellwood Epps/Nick Fraser/Andrew Furlong / The Tranzac (Tiki Room) 2019-05-24 (Friday) [FB event]

Dan Pitt Quintet [Naomi McCarroll-Butler/Patrick Smith/Dan Pitt/Alex Fournier/Nick Fraser] / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2019-05-24 (Friday) [FB event]

The AMBiENT PiNG presents: Drone Day 2019 (feat. dreamSTATE / Northumbria) / Roland Inspiration Centre 2019-05-25 (Saturday) [FB event]

National Drone Day (feat. autotectonic / Bachelard / Intrepita / Mike Barber) / June Records 2019-05-25 (Saturday – 6 to 9 p.m.! no cover! all ages!) [FB event]

Make Some Noise (feat. Casper Skulls / Joseph Shabason) / Toronto Public Library – North York Central Branch 2019-05-25 (Saturday – free! all ages!) [FB event]

Cloud Circuit (Paul Dutton / Szygy / Lida Nosrati / Miles Forrester) / Gerrard Art Space 2019-05-25 (Saturday) [FB event]

The Big Butter and Egg Men / The Rex 2019-05-26 (Sunday — afternoon set, noon to 3 p.m.!) [FB event]

Silent Revue presents Berlin: Symphony of a Great City [1927 silent film, presented in 35mm with live score] (feat. Tania Gill Quartet) / Revue Cinema 2019-05-26 (Sunday – afternoon screening!) [FB event]

Jazz United Jam [jazz + tap dancing] / The Tranzac (Tiki Room) 2019-05-26 (Sunday – PWYC!)

Jazz from the Cellar (feat. Myriad 3) / The Dakota Tavern 2019-05-26 (Sunday – all ages! early!) [FB event]

TIO Celebrates Gwendolyn MacEwen (feat. The Toronto Improvisors Orchestra) / Array Space 2019-05-26 (Sunday) [FB event]

Double Album Release (feat. Kamancello / Tamar Ilana's Ventanas) / Aga Khan Museum 2019-05-26 (Sunday) [FB event]

The Edwin Sheard Quartet [Edwin Sheard/Patrick O'Reilly/Phill Albert/Stefan Hegerat] (Karen Ng [solo saxophone]) / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2019-05-26 (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!

Dope Villain [experimental jazz meltdown enthusiasts feat. members of Yamantaka//Sonic Titan] (Chew / Pleasures) / Unit 2 2019-05-30 (Thursday) [FB event]

Nite Comfort 68 (feat. Agencies / Senior Beatbox) / Handlebar 2019-06-02 (Sunday – PWYC!) [FB event]

Thom Gill & Friends [Thom Gill/Ryan Driver/Alex Lukashevsky/Alex Samaras/Karen Ng/Dan Fortin] [playing the music of Abbey Lincoln] / The Emmet Ray 2019-06-03 (Monday – early!) [FB event]

Track Could Bend #51 (feat. Pete Johnston's Bog Standards / Mike Barber / Ashley Urquhart and Friends) / Wenona Lodge 2019-06-04 (Tuesday – PWYC!) [FB event]

Misha Bower [Trying to Have it All album release celebration!] / Burdock Music Hall 2019-06-04 (Tuesday) [FB event]

Roedelius (Castle If / Catholic Wilt) / The Baby G 2019-06-07 (Friday) [FB event]

Somewhere There's Second Sunday Series (feat. Lotte Anker/Heidi Chan/Chris Adriaanse / Lotte Anker/Mark Zurawinski/Raphael Roter/Bea Labikova) / Array Space 2019-06-09 (Sunday) [FB event]

Anika [solo] (Phèdre / Praises) / The Garrison 2019-06-13 (Thursday) [FB event]

Grandma's Secret Spices 2: A Night Of Live Experimental Music (feat. Leucrocuta / AUTOTECTONIC / 3hands4milo / Sonja) / Handlebar 2019-06-13 (Thursday) [FB event]

Okavango African Orchestra / Alliance Française de Toronto 2019-06-14 (Friday) [FB event]

MSEA (Kira May / Laura Swankey) / Burdock Music Hall 2019-06-19 (Wednesday) [FB event]

Kahil El'Zabar and David Murray / Remix Lounge 2019-06-21 (Friday) [FB event]

Robyn Hitchcock / Monarch Tavern 2019-06-24 (Monday) [FB event]

Alex Samaras and Friends / Island Cafe 2019-07-12 (Friday – PWYC!) [FB event]

Nhapitapi / Island Cafe 2019-08-09 (Friday – PWYC!) [FB event]


Community corner:

  • The Dandelion Initiative and The Music Gallery are teaming up for a discussion and social hour on the topic of "Safer Spaces for the Arts" at Lula Lounge on Tuesday Night (May 21st). There will be a panel discussion (with David Dacks, Chippy Nonstop, Aerin Fogel and Me Time) as well as time for mingling and discussion afterwards. PWYC at the door, all proceeds from the door are going to the Dandelion Initiative. Light snacks will be provided alongside a cash bar, where all can connect with different people in our community to share space, exchange resources and talk safety and inclusion. There will be child care provided in the front room by a registered early childhood educator.

Bandcamp corner:

  • Nick Fraser has started the vital work of filling in the online gaps of the late Justin Haynes' discography, starting with the self-explanatory Justin Haynes Early Works bandcamp page. There are four albums posted already, starting with Show, Justin's first instrumental album , circa 1997.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Recording: Brodie West

Artist: Brodie West

Song: [excerpt]

Recorded at Array Space (Avant Garde Music Avant Garde Birthday), March 25, 2019.

Brodie West - [excerpt]

Guitarist Kurt Newman decided to mark his birthday this year with this session at Array, inviting some friends to join him in a trio of solo sets. Brodie West closed out the night with a set that was somewhat an inversion of the host's, exploring space and quietness with his saxophone.

Recording: Helicopter Money

Artist: Helicopter Money

Song: [final sections]

Recorded at Array Space (Avant Garde Music Avant Garde Birthday), March 25, 2019.

Helicopter Money - [final sections]

Guitarist Kurt Newman decided to mark his birthday this year with this session at Array, inviting some friends to join him in a trio of solo sets. Like his ongoing investigations into country musics, Helicopter Money sees him improvising in a genre that doesn't get so much regard in the realms of "serious" creative music. I don't know much about the shred-y realms of metal, but I'm assuming it's possibly not genre standard to have a single musician (on microtonal guitar) shredding away to live improvised visuals (provided by Kelley Mitchell).

[Kurt Newman will be performing (and presumably bringing something more in his Nashville Minimalism zone) alongside Eiyn Sof at Invocation's presentation of Sarah Louise at Array on Friday, May 24th.]

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Recording: Xiodjiha

Artist: Xiodjiha

Song: [second piece, in three parts]

Recorded at Array Space (Somewhere There Presents), March 24, 2019.

Xiodjiha - [second piece, part 1]

Xiodjiha - [second piece, part 2]

Xiodjiha - [second piece, part 3]

Double bassist Alex Fournier has made plenty of friends along his path, and has been offering hometown crowds some intriguing variety by offering local ears a chance to encounter some of his out-of-town collaborators. Processing the bass with a touch-sensitive tablet, Edwin Huet's live manipulations added an engaging performative angle here, plus some zwangtastic digital timbres. Plus it's always satisfying to see in the present something that would have looked spot-on futuristic to eyes from a generation or two ago.

Recording: Heraclitus Akimbo

Artist: Heraclitus Akimbo

Song: 86Hz [edited excerpt]

Recorded at Array Space (Somewhere There Presents), March 24, 2019.

Heraclitus Akimbo - 86Hz [edited excerpt]

A last-minute fill-in for a friend feeling unwell, I brought some wires and gear to replicate some sounds I'd been noodling around with at home. Revisiting a concept I'd been enamoured with a while back, my main sound source here was simply an 86Hz wave from my function generator. Except for a few burbles from the tape in my 4-track, everything here comes from shaping and folding that tone.

photo by Peter Gough

Friday, May 17, 2019

Recording: Michael Davidson & Dan Fortin

Artist: Michael Davidson & Dan Fortin

Songs: H Moll (Zeitweisse) + Out of Love

Recorded at the Canadian Music Centre, March 23, 2019.

Michael Davidson & Dan Fortin - H Moll (Zeitweisse) + Out of Love

To celebrate the release of their new duo album Clock Radio (which has been in rotation in my ears for a couple months now — highly-recommended stuff!) Michael Davidson & Dan Fortin booked the intimate and sonically-rich living room-like performance space at the Canadian Music Centre. All the better to hear the resonant tones of Davidson's vibes and Fortin's double bass. Basically tackling the whole album as a suite, the pair were aided in a couple spots with some synth support from opener Chris Pruden, who adds a dreamy undercurrent to "Out of Love".

[Dan Fortin's Myriad3 will be playing at The Dakota Tavern's Jazz from the Cellar series in the early slot on Sunday, May 26th.]

Recording: Chris Pruden

Artist: Chris Pruden

Song: Spare Parts [composer: Tim Berne]

Recorded at the Canadian Music Centre, March 23, 2019.

Chris Pruden - Spare Parts

Opening things up for Michael Davidson and Dan Fortin, Chris Pruden brought a set of piano pieces, mostly his own compositions but closing with this Tim Berne reinterpretation bringing in some lush pads from his Prophet-6 synth.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Recording: R. Andrew Lee

Artist: R. Andrew Lee

Song: Four Quiet Preludes [excerpt] [composer: Anthony Genge]

Recorded at Canadian Music Centre (Riparian Acoustics Presents), March 21, 2019.

R. Andrew Lee - Four Quiet Preludes [excerpt]

The final offering in the season of Nick Storring-curated CMC Presents concerts brought Denver-based pianist R. Andrew Lee to town. His selections often mixed Satie-esque spareness with formal complexity, and in honour of this show's location, Lee brought some works by Canadian composers such as Ann Southam and Cecilia Livingston — but it was this piece by Anthony Genge that captured me most.

As of this writing, the archived livestream of the show is still available for you to view:

[Riparian Acoustics will be returning to curate next season's CMC Presents concert series as well, so stay tuned for more announcements there. In the meantime, there will be two RA co-presentations at this year's TONE festival, including Beverly Glenn-Copeland and Dustiny at the Jam Factory on Wednesday, June 12th and CVN with Koeosaeme, Korea Town Acid and Kat Estacio at Burdock on Monday, June 24th.]

screenshot from CMC livestream

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Recording: Grdina/Fraser/Ng

Artist: Gord Grdina/Nick Fraser/Karen Ng

Song: [excerpt from first piece, in two parts]

Recorded at The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), March 20, 2019.

Gord Grdina/Nick Fraser/Karen Ng - [excerpt from first piece, part 1]

Gord Grdina/Nick Fraser/Karen Ng - [excerpt from first piece, part 2]

Stopping over in T.O. en route to Montréal, Gord Grdina brought his oud and guitar for this improvised set with Nick Fraser (drums) and Karen Ng (saxophone). Good grooves, and like his earlier solo set, some nicely shreddin' spots, but also spaces to pull back and explore some mellower zones.

[Gordon Grdina Quartet and his Quartet will be headlining a Wavelength/Salone di Cultura show at 918 Bathurst on Friday, June 21st.]

Recording: Gord Grdina

Artist: Gord Grdina

Song: [first section]

Recorded at The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), March 20, 2019.

Gord Grdina - [first section]

Blowing off some psychic steam after a a rough travel day, Gord Grdina opened up this stopover show with a short solo set that was more shredtastic than anticipated, especially in this opening bowed guitar section. It must have proved beneficial as it lead to some quieter oud explorations to close things out.

[Gordon Grdina Quartet and his Quartet will be headlining a Wavelength/Salone di Cultura show at 918 Bathurst on Friday, June 21st.]

Recording: Kurt Newman & Mark Zurawinski

Artist: Kurt Newman & Mark Zurawinski

Songs: [excerpts from two pieces]

Recorded at The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), March 20, 2019.

Kurt Newman & Mark Zurawinski - [set 1, first piece excerpt]

Kurt Newman & Mark Zurawinski - [set 1, second piece excerpt]

This Allison Cameron Presents timeslot ended up being an AC-less duo, with Kurt Newman (guitar) and Mark Zurawinski (drums) bouncing ideas off each other. Creating some volume pedal swells, Newman filled in the cracks of Zurawinski's rolling rhythms (and occasional scraping sounds).

[Mark Zurawinski will be performing in the early slot at The Tranzac tonight (May 15th) while Newman will be playing in the late show.]

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Recording: Dame Cook

Artist: Dame Cook

Song: [edited excerpt]

Recorded at The Tranzac's Tiki Room (Cold Early Spring), May 16, 2019.

Dame Cook - [edited excerpt]

This aptly-named night, curated by Hexzuul's David Jones, saw the temperature falling and some occasional snow flurries outside, and a warm crowd filling the Tiki Room. Also celebrating an Arachnidiscs CD-r EP (one more to keep track of amongst a prolifically-updated bandcamp), Dame Cook offered a set that sounded a bit like like popping some Quaaludes and flipping through youtube while the cat walks on your keyboards in the background, moving from Metal Gear Solid samples to a seasonally-appropriate tribute to the recently-passed Mark Hollis.

[Dame Cook will be performing alongside Bile Sister and Leucrocuta at Handlebar this Saturday (May 18th) as part of "American Standard Union", a "flower power electronics super-assembly" of American Standard Trio, New Tendencies and Brother Cece.]

Recording: Beard Closet

Artist: Beard Closet

Song: [1st section]

Recorded at The Tranzac's Tiki Room (Cold Early Spring), May 16, 2019.

Beard Closet - [1st section]

This aptly-named night, curated by Hexzuul's David Jones, saw the temperature falling and some occasional snow flurries outside, and a warm crowd filling the Tiki Room. Celebrating the cheerfully grim (and already sold out) Depression Memes on Arachnidiscs, Phil Hamilton brought some "guitar tones as beautiful, harsh, soothing and painful as life in the age of memes."

Recording: Hexzuul

Artist: Hexzuul

Song: [3rd piece, edit]

Recorded at The Tranzac's Tiki Room (Cold Early Spring), May 16, 2019.

Hexzuul - [3rd piece, edit]

This aptly-named night, curated by Hexzuul's David Jones, saw the temperature falling and some occasional snow flurries outside, and a warm crowd filling the Tiki Room. Jones also lead off the night with a set mixing dreamy ambient sounds with austere noise, and ending — just like old times — with some wires being pulled loose.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Concert Listings Roundup #302

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:

Burn Down The Capital presents (feat. The Ex / New Fries / Eucalyptus / Abebe Fikade) / The Jam Factory 2019-05-17 (Friday – all ages!) [FB event]

A true no-doubter here. Besides a chance to check in with one of the world's most energizing live bands, there's a fab lineup top to bottom here, with the return of the recently-dormant New Fries as well as an appearance by Ex-associate Brodie West leading Eucalyptus through some jams.


This week's noteworthy shows:

Ornate Presents (feat. Meghan Gilhespy & Patrick O'Reilly / Wire Circus) / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2019-05-14 (Tuesday – early!) [FB event]

W h e r e ? [Michael Davidson / Patrick O'Reilly] / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2019-05-14 (Tuesday) [FB event]

Jazz and Otherwise Improvised Musics (feat. Brian Abbott / Julian Anderson-Bowes/Kayla Milmine/Luan Phung) / Wenona Lodge 2019-05-14 (Tuesday) [FB event]

Quintet [Robin Dann/Felicity Williams/Christopher Willes/Mark Zurawinski/Allison Cameron] / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2019-05-15 (Wednesday – early!) [FB event]

Josh Cole/Kurt Newman/Blake Howard / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2019-05-15 (Wednesday) [FB event]

Mulatu Astatke / The Great Hall 2019-05-15 (Wednesday) [FB event]

Tim Hecker / Mod Club Theatre 2019-05-15 (Wednesday) [FB event]

Breathers (Goosebump) / The Baby G 2019-05-15 (Wednesday) [FB event]

AMBiENT PiNG: A Tribute to Phil Ogison (feat. dreamSTATE / Sylken / Wally Jericho / subductionCurrent / Lorne David Thomson / Jeff Howard) / Handlebar 2019-05-15 (Wednesday) [FB event]

Nora Roberts presents Backyard Romp (feat. WOW / Tryal / Esther Splett / Context, NA) / Pamenar Café 2019-05-16 (Thursday) [FB event]

LAL [Dark Beings album release show!] (Ziiibiwan) / Gladstone Hotel 2019-05-17 (Friday) [FB event]

The Sound of Art (feat. UnQuartet [Meghan Cheng/Nelson Moneo/Cheryl O] with special guest Peter Lutek) / Gallery 345 2019-05-17 (Friday) [FB event]

Yamantaka//Sonic Titan (Völur / Labradoodle) / The Garrison 2019-05-18 (Saturday) [FB event]

Ugly Beauties / Gallery 345 2019-05-18 (Saturday) [FB event]

Bile Sister (Leucrocuta / American Standard Union) / Handlebar 2019-05-18 (Saturday) [FB event]

Sung Ra (feat. Rakestar Arkestra with Christine Duncan and The Element Choir) / The Tranzac (Main Hall) 2019-05-18 (Saturday) [FB event]

catl. (Volk) / The Dakota Tavern 2019-05-18 (Saturday) [FB event]

The Big Butter and Egg Men / The Rex 2019-05-19 (Sunday — afternoon set, noon to 3 p.m.!) [FB event]

Jazz United Jam [jazz + tap dancing] / The Tranzac (Tiki Room) 2019-05-19 (Sunday – PWYC!)

Somewhere There presents (feat. Harrison Argatoff & Noah Franche-Nolan) / The Emmet Ray 2019-05-19 (Sunday – PWYC!) [FB event]

Don Valley (Dohn Valley / Mindbender / Snow White) / The Painted Lady 2019-05-19 (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!

Sick Boss [Cole Schmidt/Peggy Lee/Ted Crosby/Karen Ng] / Chris Pitsiokos) / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2019-05-23 (Thursday) [FB event]

National Drone Day (feat. autotectonic / Bachelard / Intrepita / Mike Barber) / June Records 2019-05-25 (Saturday – 6 to 9 p.m.! no cover! all ages!) [FB event]

Concrete Cabaret 3: Future Fossils [" experimental puppet and performing object pieces"] (feat. The Gravy Strugglers / Brothers Karamazov / Marisa Boudreault / Brefny Caribou & Paddy MacDonald / The Zen Existential Puppet Theatre / Cecilia McKinnon / Alex Winfield / Kristine White and Bee Pallomina) / The Tranzac (Main Hall) 2019-05-30 (Thursday) [FB event]

Audiopollination 72 (feat. MKL32/Anne-F Jacques/Elizabeth Millar / Craig Pedersen/Mira Martin-Gray/Mark Zurawinski / Tim Olive/Allison Cameron/William Davison) / The Tranzac (Tiki Room) 2019-06-01 (Saturday) [FB event]

Canadian Piano Left Hand Commissioning Project Concert [new works for left-hand only piano by Emilie LeBel, Christopher Butterfield, Adam Sherkin, Christina Volpini, Alex Eddington, Taylor Brook, Nick Storring, and Anna Hostman] (feat. Adam Scime / Adam Sherkin) / Canadian Music Centre 2019-06-05 (Wednesday – PWYC!) [FB event]

Elephant In The Room ["mak[ing] space in our community and friendship group to talk about loss, hope, and action around the climate crisis, as well as listening to and celebrating music"] (feat. Marker Starling / Tania Gill plus conversations with Tania Gill, Brooke Manning, and Tamara Lindeman) / Burdock Music Hall 2019-06-06 (Thursday – early!) [FB event]

Pleasure Craft [single release!] (Bernice / Fleece) / Lee's Palace 2019-06-07 (Friday) [FB event]

New Friends DIY and Art Of The Uncarved Block present (feat. Lume / meth. / Stresser) / Owl's Club 2019-06-09 (Sunday) [FB event]

Toronto Creative Music Lab presents (feat. Quatuor Bozzini with special guest Andrea Young) / The Music Gallery @ 918 Bathurst 2019-06-14 (Friday) [FB event]

Wavelength Monthly Music Series: Summer Solstice Show/Salone di Cultura presents (feat. Gordon Grdina Quartet / VERSA / Anastasia Minster) / 918 Bathurst 2019-06-21 (Friday – all ages!) [FB event]

Friendly Rich with The Nihilist Spasm Band (Retired feat. {AN} Eel) / Rivoli 2019-07-04 (Thursday) [FB event]

Lars Lundehave Hansen (Hymns57 / Joyful Joyful) / Monarch Tavern 2019-07-17 (Wednesday) [FB event]


Bandcamp corner:

  • A very exciting union of two big talents, The Opening sees Rick White (formerly of Elevator, Eric's Trip, etc.) joining forces with Melissa Boraski, a.k.a. Eiyn Sof. Musically, this hews more toward White's psychedelic chug ("a heavy spacey fairytale vibe"), but the songs were very much conceived with the vocals as a co-operative endeavour.
  • Meanwhile, Jakob Rehlinger temporarily un-retires his BABEL moniker for this (mostly) archival release of layered pieces for bell-sounds.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Recording: Doug Tielli

Artist: Doug Tielli

Songs: Highwayside Weeds + Strange Echo

Recorded at The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), March 16, 2019.

Doug Tielli - Highwayside Weeds

Doug Tielli - Strange Echo

A night with some heavy vibes and a sense of absence in the room was a chance for community members to gather together and feel the balm of Doug Tielli's songs. This turned out to be one of those CD release shows where the CD's hadn't arrived yet, though that didn't feel like too much of an obstacle — what's a few more days when these were mostly songs that were, as Tielli noted, recorded about four years ago? (And some of them were in his live repertoire for some time before that, even.)

Joined by his full band, with Heather Saumer on trombone, Bea Labikova on sax, Chris Adriaanse on bass and Raphael Roter on drums (plus Tania Gill on piano for part of the set) there was an opportunity to replicate the album's off-kilter lushness — and, even more importantly, its vocal harmonies. Truth and Elseness is filled with lovely sounds and wise observations, wrapped up in a bit more of country-ish package (fans of groups like Royal City will find a lot to like here) — and this was made even before Tielli decamped from the city, so who knows what quiet backroads his songs will head down next?

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Recording: Nerve Gas

Artist: Nerve Gas

Song: Machine Gun [composer: Peter Brötzmann]

Recorded at Wenona Lodge (Jazz and Otherwise Improvised Musics), March 12, 2019.

Nerve Gas - Machine Gun

This ambitious evening in Andrew Furlong's JAOIM series saw saxophonist Patrick Smith assembling a band with the same lineup deployed by Peter Brötzmann for his Machine Gun session. After a first set of tunes from Furlong and Smith (as well as some Ornette), the group was ready to really take off, tackling the Machine Gun album in full.

This was a full-on blast fest with plenty of collective caterwauling clatter and the group was certainly up to the material. (And given the notoriously muddled fidelity of the album, even this field recording may be a bit cleaner to the listener's ears.) A special nod should be given to pianist Max Donaldson — one of the next wave of players emerging from U of T — for really standing out in this esteemed group.

The full Nerve Gas complement consisted of:

  • Patrick Smith, Alex Manoukas, Karen Ng - saxophones
  • Colin Fisher, Mike Gennaro - drums
  • Max Donaldson - piano
  • Andrew Furlong, Mike DeiCont - double bass

[JAOIM returns to Wenona on Tuesday (May 14th) with a solo set of microtonal guitar from Brian Abbott plus a trio of Julian Anderson-Bowes, Kayla Milmine and Luan Phung.]

Friday, May 10, 2019

Recording: Plastic Babies

Artist: Plastic Babies

Song: [excerpt]

Recorded at Burdock Music Hall (Women From Space Festival – Night 4), March 11, 2019.

Plastic Babies - [excerpt]

The first Women From Space Festival saw four excellent concerts take place over the course of the International Women's Day weekend. Organized by Bea Labikova and Kayla Milmine, the festival felt like a really savvy gathering, always more than the sum of its parts and showcasing the depth of talent in the city's various creative music streams in a women-centred environment.

This trio of vocalists Laura Swankey and Christine Duncan and guitarist Patrick O'Reilly has now been graced with a band name, but that hasn't changed their freewheeling approach. Rather than a verse-chorus-verse-bridge-chorus kind of structure, their sets work more like a church service in a hymn-homily-hymn-benediction mode.

[Duncan will be bringing her Element Choir to an event dubbed "Sung Ra" (Saturday, May 18th at The Tranzac's Main Hall), where Ottawa's Rakestar Arkestra will be "giving new voice and many voices to the wondrous compositions of jazz giant Sun Ra".]

Recording: Prices Easy & New Chance

Artist: Prices Easy & New Chance

Song: [3rd section]

Recorded at Burdock Music Hall (Women From Space Festival – Night 4), March 11, 2019.

Prices Easy & New Chance - [3rd section]

The first Women From Space Festival saw four excellent concerts take place over the course of the International Women's Day weekend. Organized by Bea Labikova and Kayla Milmine, the festival felt like a really savvy gathering, always more than the sum of its parts and showcasing the depth of talent in the city's various creative music streams in a women-centred environment.

I had previously seen poet Aisha Sasha John holding a room in a more traditional "reading" scenario, but this new collaboration with Victoria Cheong moved in interesting new directions. With some well-chosen musical backdrops adding an extra layer of fluidity, John's words (mixing the personal and political) were even more performative here — poetic but allowed to stretch out in spoken word segments that moved with dream-drift logic, and deploying vocal effects to underline and enhance certain phrases. This was one of the festival's more ear-catching sets, and I presume there will be more to come from this collaboration.

Recording: Happy Apple

Artist: Happy Apple

Songs: [two excerpts]

Recorded at Burdock Music Hall (Women From Space Festival – Night 4), March 11, 2019.

Happy Apple - [excerpt 1]

Happy Apple - [excerpt 2]

The first Women From Space Festival saw four excellent concerts take place over the course of the International Women's Day weekend. Organized by Bea Labikova and Kayla Milmine, the festival felt like a really savvy gathering, always more than the sum of its parts and showcasing the depth of talent in the city's various creative music streams in a women-centred environment.

One of my stronger memories of the previous time I got to perform with Allison Cameron was her deployment of a Fisher Price happy apple, so that seemed like a good band name for another duo set. Cameron obliged by producing her full collection of no less than four happy apples and with some contact mics we were on our way. Plucked strings, synthbursts and tape shenanigans were some of the ingredients here, with the occasional cheerful chime a nice framing element.

[Allison Cameron will be presenting a Quintet where she'll be joined by Robin Dann, Felicity Williams, Christopher Willes, and Mark Zurawinski at her next Tranzac night on Wednesday, May 15th.]

photo by Susan O'Connor

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Recording: Tania Gill & Rebecca Hennessy

Artist: Tania Gill & Rebecca Hennessy

Song: [excerpt from 2nd piece]

Recorded at Array Space (Women From Space Festival – Night 3), March 10, 2019.

Tania Gill & Rebecca Hennessy - [excerpt from 2nd piece]

The first Women From Space Festival saw four excellent concerts take place over the course of the International Women's Day weekend. Organized by Bea Labikova and Kayla Milmine, the festival felt like a really savvy gathering, always more than the sum of its parts and showcasing the depth of talent in the city's various creative music streams in a women-centred environment.

Trumpeter Rebecca Hennessy and pianist Tania Gill have played together in quite a few ensembles over the years, but by their own account this was their first time improvising together for an audience. No surprise that for a couple players whose works include a lot of song-based music, there was a lyrical quality to their interactions here, even as Gill explored some extended piano techniques and Hennessy played with the room's sonics by using the piano as a resonating chamber, playing into its raised lid.

[Tania Gill will be offering both music and some thoughts on her journey to climate activism at "Elephant In The Room", an event at the Burdock on Thursday, June 6th hosted by The Weather Station's Tamara Lindeman.]

Recording: Lîla Fragments

Artist: Lîla Fragments

Song: [excerpt]

Recorded at Array Space (Women From Space Festival – Night 3), March 10, 2019.

Lîla Fragments - [excerpt]

The first Women From Space Festival saw four excellent concerts take place over the course of the International Women's Day weekend. Organized by Bea Labikova and Kayla Milmine, the festival felt like a really savvy gathering, always more than the sum of its parts and showcasing the depth of talent in the city's various creative music streams in a women-centred environment.

More telepathic interaction from this trio, "fragmented" from the larger ensemble that sometimes sees them performing with improvising dancers. There was lots of action here — by set's end, bits of Raphael Roter's drumstick were flying all over — but there were also some especially-satisfying quieter moments as well, like this balladic conversation between Roter and double bassist Chris Adriaanse that got teased into something quite compelling with the addition of Bea Labikova's running commentary on sax.

Recording: Overleaf

Artist: Overleaf

Song: [excerpt]

Recorded at Array Space (Women From Space Festival – Night 3), March 10, 2019.

Overleaf - [excerpt]

The first Women From Space Festival saw four excellent concerts take place over the course of the International Women's Day weekend. Organized by Bea Labikova and Kayla Milmine, the festival felt like a really savvy gathering, always more than the sum of its parts and showcasing the depth of talent in the city's various creative music streams in a women-centred environment.

One of the most highly-anticipated sets at the festival was a rare appearance from this all-star trio, bringing together Heidi Chan's modular synthesis, Mira Martin-Gray's no input mixer feedback and Kayla Milmine's soprano saxophone. Granulated popsongs and some un-soprano-like groans (thanks to a curly plastic tube replacing the sax's mouthpiece) danced over the background swells and bursts of white noise, layering together like one of those cocktails where differing specific gravities keep the ingredients in their own strata until taken in together in a gulp.

[There are no further group peformances on the horizon at the moment, but it'll be easy to find all three of the group's members at cool shows in the near future. Kayla Milmine will be playing in a trio with Julian Anderson-Bowes and Luan Phung at the next instalment of Jazz and Otherwise Improvised Musics at Wenona on Tuesday, May 14th. Heidi Chan will be performing as Bachelard at June Records' free National Drone Day showcase on Saturday, May 25th. Mira Martin-Gray will be performing as part of Audiopollination 72 on Saturday, July 1st at The Tranzac's Tiki Room.]