Sunday, September 25, 2016

Download: NoMeansNo

One of my all-time favourite bands announced their retirement yesterday. Nomeansno were the first "punk" band that I truly loved, that suggested that punk could be so much more expansive than one particular set of sounds or gestures. And the fact that there was this legendary Canadian band hidden in plain sight set me off looking for so many other things. I managed to see them live twice (and their alter agos, The Hanson Brothers, once) though only the last of those was in my show-taping era. That night at Lee's was a marathon hour-and-three-quarters, digging through their deep catalogue but also throwing in some newer stuff. Never a dinosaur act, Nomeansno goes out with a pretty solid discography under their belt, including a handful of stone classic albums. Old age will get us all — but in every defeat, there will be victory.

Nomeansno - Jubilation

Nomeansno - Theresa, Give Me That Knife

Nomeansno - Something Dark Against Something Light

Nomeansno - Victory

Grab the full set here:

NoMeansNo - Live at Lee's Palace, April 4, 2011 [MFS #679]

Meanwhile, here is also my favourite NMN live recording. I bought this "official bootleg" on cassette back when I lived in Winnipeg, and for my money, this is a more-fierce set than the contemporaneous "official" Live and Cuddly. (Do note: this isn't my rip.)

Grab it here:

NoMeansNo - Live in Warsaw [QQRYQ Records, 1990]

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Recording: Elliott Sharp

Artist: Elliott Sharp

Songs: [excerpt, in two parts]

Recorded at Soybomb (Intersection Festival – Day 1), September 2, 2016.

Elliott Sharp - [excerpt, part 1]

Elliott Sharp - [excerpt, part 2]

The Intersection Festival has a habit of augmenting its free day of music in Dundas Square with a ticketed concert. Like last year, that entailed going "off-site" as part of the Music Gallery's Departures series. This show was perhaps a bit more of a departure than usual, bringing some chamber music to DIY/punk venue Soybomb — definitely an intersection between different sounds and different crowds.

An avant garde-ist and no waver whose works have been released by everyone from SST to Tzadik, Elliott Sharp probably has as much "punk cred" as any chamber composer you care to name. Across dozens of ensembles and recording projects, that manifests in the freedom to explore across a wide range of sonic terrains. In this set for solo guitar, his decades of musical inquiry were compressed into dense, knotty streams of technically-rich playing, filled with double-tapping arpeggiations, prepared strings and slide abstractions that hinted at in-the-moment inventiveness as well as higher-order mathematical unities.

Recording: Soupcans

Artist: Soupcans

Songs: Fluorescent Orange + Wet Alien + Pleasure Overdose

Recorded at Soybomb (Intersection Festival – Day 1), September 2, 2016.

Soupcans - Fluorescent Orange

Soupcans - Wet Alien

Soupcans - Pleasure Overdose

The Intersection Festival has a habit of augmenting its free day of music in Dundas Square with a ticketed concert. Like last year, that entailed going "off-site" as part of the Music Gallery's Departures series. This show was perhaps a bit more of a departure than usual, bringing some chamber music to DIY/punk venue Soybomb — definitely an intersection between different sounds and different crowds.

Programming a night like this would often entail sticking the punk band at the end of the night, not smack-dab in-between the chamber ensemble and solo guitar sets. I like that this was in the middle of it all, avoiding the easy trajectory and forcing the audience to think about these sounds and how they collide with each other is a less abstract way. I will note, somewhat to my surprise, the older, more genteel "Music Gallery" crowd who looked somewhat out of their element seemed to be pretty cool with this — I mean, they've probably seen some punk action in their time — while the younger "Soybomb"-type crowd tended to melt away after this set was done. That might also have been, however, that some of them were hep to the rumours this was going to be the Soupies' last show. (A query to the band confirms "we may do one more studio session and record some of these songs for a posthumous release, but that was likely the last soupcans set for the foreseeable future.") A great way to go out, if true (two words though: reunion tour) playing a set crammed with new tunes on a night dedicated to new sonic adventures.

Recording: Thin Edge New Music Collective + Elliott Sharp

Artist: Thin Edge New Music Collective + Elliott Sharp

Song: Mare Undarum [composer: Elliott Sharp]

Recorded at Soybomb (Intersection Festival – Day 1), September 2, 2016.

Thin Edge New Music Collective + Elliott Sharp - Mare Undarum

The Intersection Festival has a habit of augmenting its free day of music in Dundas Square with a ticketed concert. Like last year, that entailed going "off-site" as part of the Music Gallery's Departures series. This show was perhaps a bit more of a departure than usual, bringing some chamber music to DIY/punk venue Soybomb — definitely an intersection between different sounds and different crowds.

It was quite something to see Thin Edge New Music Collective setting up in the giant half-pipe, but the room, baffled against aggressive sonic assaults, sounded quite decent. They played a set of chamber pieces by Elliott Sharp, and with the composer sitting in on guitar, this one came closest to the dense technical knottiness of his own solo set. Some of the other pieces, like "Light in Fog" pulled back from that somewhat to offer hints of Alban Berg while "Flexagons" added percussion and an underlying drone — plus some moments that felt like refractions of punkrock guitar shredding as much as anything else. All part of the night's continuum, then.

[Thin Edge will be presenting Balancing on the Edge, a mix of "new circus and new music" with works by John Cage, Iannis Xenakis, David Lang, Nicole Lizée and the world premiere of compositions by Scott Rubin and Nick Storring. It's happening as part of Harbourfront's NextSteps Dance Series on November 18th and 19th, plus there's a chance to check out a sneak preview on Nuit Blanche.]

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Recording: Gennaro-Hundevad-Fisher

Artist: Mike Gennaro/Mark Hundevad/Colin Fisher

Songs: [three excerpts]

Recorded at Array Space, August 30, 2016.

Gennaro-Hundevad-Fisher - [excerpt 3]

Gennaro-Hundevad-Fisher - [excerpt 1]

Gennaro-Hundevad-Fisher - [excerpt 2]

Epic improvisations from this trio of heavy hitters, matching drummer Mike Gennaro with Mark Hundevad, another top-notch percussionist who came to this set ready to play the piano but ended up pulling out Array's vibes and marimba as well. Hundevad turned out to be no mean mallet player, leaning and twisting as his sticks became just as much of a blur as Gennaro's. Colin Fisher, meanwhile, brought a trio of saxophones to face off with the pair — from the get-go, one got the impression that they might blast away until someone had to stop due to exhaustion. Just as life is lived forwards and understood backwards, the quiet meditation from near the hour's end is perhaps the best entry here, before working back to a couple samples of the more frenzied interplay.

Recording: Carl Didur

Artist: Carl Didur

Song: [first section]

Recorded at Array Space, August 30, 2016.

Carl Didur - [first section]

Carl Didur's solo set was split into two parts this time out, leading with the meditation for synth/clav/taishogoto reproduced here before taking the plunge on one of Array's grand pianos.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Recording: Cell Memory & Castle If

Artist: Cell Memory & Castle If

Song: [new piece, in two parts]*

Recorded at Monarch Tavern, August 28, 2016.

Cell Memory & Castle If - [new piece, part 1]

Cell Memory & Castle If - [new piece, part 2]

A reunion of sorts for this kosmische duo, each of whom have lately been doing work on their own projects. The set started with some of the extended burbles of yore, a patient, all-in twenty minute glide before the set finished with this new piece, which seemed less concerned with Faust-y drift than amniotic stasis.

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

Recording: Psychic Pollution

Artist: Psychic Pollution

Song: two unknown songs*

Recorded at Monarch Tavern, August 28, 2016.

Psychic Pollution - unknown #1

Psychic Pollution - unknown #2

The great local electronic sounds on this night were fitting musical companions for J. Schuurman, who was passing through from Victoria. His Psychic Pollution project offers up a very tasty selection of austere moog-powered noodles. Not quite ambient and not quite thrumming with kosmiche propulsion, this feels more like a dream (with a VHS filter) where you're running away from a UFO but stuck in slow-motion. (There's also much goodness on offer over at his bandcamp page.)

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

Recording: Mystic Triangle

Artist: Mystic Triangle

Song: unknown*

Recorded at Monarch Tavern, August 28, 2016.

Mystic Triangle - unknown

There's been a slight tweak in Ben Oginz's approach with some new compositions for his Mystic Triangle project — these instrumentals felt less like the soundtrack to a straight-to-VHS Predator ripoff and more like background music in a particularly excellent 80's episode of NOVA.

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

Recording: Hexzuul

Artist: Hexzuul

Song: [first movement]*

Recorded at Monarch Tavern, August 28, 2016.

Hexzuul - [first movement]

David Jones lead off this night of electronic/synth variations with an extended piece based around a self-hypnosis tape, which moved from drift-off-to-sleep to noise shards and back again. Lay back, close your eyes, and you'll wake up strangely refreshed.

* I don't know if this piece as a whole has a title; I will update if I get more info!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Concert Listings Roundup #167

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 [Alexandra Park LP release!] / Alexandra Park 2016-09-23 (Friday – outside! all ages + family friendly! evening show @ 7 p.m.!) [FB event]

There's all kinds of stuff going on this week, but looking it over, I realized more than anything, I was looking forward to gathering "near the boulder between the skate park and the children's playground" to hear some atmospheric solo saxophone improvisations. This show in Alexandra Park is in celebration of Alexandra Park, a new LP of solo sax improvisations being released by Pleasence Records.


This week's noteworthy shows:

David Jones (Ross Birdwise / New Chance / Fake Humans) / Ratio 2016-09-19 (Monday) [FB event]

The AMBiENT PiNG: Back to School Drone (feat. DreamSTATE / Drone:Klub) / Handlebar 2016-09-20 (Tuesday) [FB event]

Wavelength #711: in/future (feat. DATU X HATAW / Dirty Inputs / Isla Craig) / Ontario Place 2016-09-20 (Tuesday) [FB event]

Wolf's Nacho Wednesdays (feat. c_RL) / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2016-09-21 (Wednesday – early!)

Wolf's Nacho Wednesdays (feat. The Josh Cole Quartet) / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2016-09-21 (Wednesday) [FB event]

Partner (Bueller / Cupcake Ductape / Thrifty Kids) / The Horseshoe Tavern 2016-09-21 (Wednesday) [FB event]

Solids (Slow Mass / Not Of) / The Baby G 2016-09-22 (Thursday) [FB event]

Buzz Records presents (feat. Wreckless Eric / Johnny De Courcy / Rogue Tenant) / Smiling Buddha 2016-09-22 (Thursday) [FB event]

Left Coast Tour Fundraiser (feat. LAL / Lee Reed / Mars Baby 5000) / Supermarket 2016-09-22 (Thursday) [FB event]

Man Made Hill (CHOBO / Paul Tjepkema) / Holy Oak Café 2016-09-22 (Thursday – PWYC!) [FB event]

The Big Sound / The Great Hall 2016-09-23 (Friday) [FB event]

Uma Nota at In/Future: Brazilian Grooves! (feat. Bruno Capinan / Luisa Maita / Maracatu Mar Aberto) / Ontario Place 2016-09-23 (Friday) [FB event]

Singing River ["dance, music, storytelling and installation in celebration of the Don River"] (feat. music by Germaine Liu and Juliet Palmer / Christine Duncan & The Burble Choir) / Corktown Common 2016-09-24 (Saturday – free! all ages + family-friendly! afternoon event from 1 to 5 p.m.) [FB event]

Feast In The East 59 (feat. Yamantaka//Sonic Titan / Völur / Whoop-Szo / Body Rot) / Anchored Social Club 2016-09-24 (Saturday) [FB event]

Illeagle Studio Presents (feat. Doritoh / FORCES [ex-Golden Dogs] / Stella Ella Ola / Brother Amos) / Handlebar 2016-09-24 (Saturday) [FB event]

Zoo Owl (Slow Down Molasses / Hush Pup / Mother Tounges) / The Baby G 2016-09-24 (Saturday) [FB event]

Faster Presents: solo/solo/trio - Welcoming the fall equinox! (feat. Paul Newman / Nicole Rampersaud / Bill Gilliam/Kayla Milmine/Ambrose Pottie) / Gerrard Art Space 2016-09-24 (Saturday – PWYC!) [FB event]

A Memory For Ken Aldcroft From All Of Us ["Please bring music or words and/or your self"] / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2016-09-24 (Saturday)

Club Kidz ["an early evening show & dance party for kidz and their adults... dancefloor games of tag, calm zone art making and making space for youths in Toronto communities of care"] (feat. LAL) / Burdock Music Hall 2016-09-25 (Sunday – early show 5 to 8 p.m.! all ages! PWYC!) [FB event]

Invocation Presents (feat. Psychic Ills / His Clancyness / Whimm) / Double Double Land 2016-09-25 (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!

Wolf's Nacho Wednesdays: Broken Guitars & Shattered Dreams (feat. Brian Ruryk / Kapali Carsi / Determinist? [Beard Closet versus Bodies That Matter – live debut!]) / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2016-09-28 (Wednesday) [FB event]

SheWolf Radio's 1st Anniversary Party (feat. So Young / Basement Revolver / Planet Creature / Triples) / Handlebar 2016-09-29 (Thursday) [FB event]

Comet Control [Center of the Maze record release!] (Eiyn Sof / Holy Mount) / The Horseshoe Tavern 2016-09-29 (Thursday) [FB event]

By Divine Right (The Magic / Dave Schoonderbeek) / Monarch Tavern 2016-10-01 (Saturday) [FB event]

Track Could Bend #19 (feat. CHOBO with strings / Goosey [Benjamin Hackman + Karen Ng] / Diane Roblin + Katie Jensen) / Dundas Video 2016-10-04 (Tuesday – PWYC!) [FB event]

CMC Presents: Bridging Worlds (feat. Allison Cameron in conversation with Kristel Aubrey Jax / live performances by Allison Cameron & Heraclitus Akimbo) / Canadian Music Centre 2016-10-06 (Thursday – early! 5:30 to 8 p.m.) [FB event]

The Taste (Ian Daniel Kehoe / Dorothea Paas) / Monarch Tavern 2016-10-07 (Friday) [FB event]

L CON [Moon Milk vinyl release!] (Isla Craig / James Irwin) / Monarch Tavern 2016-10-15 (Saturday) [FB event]

DAS RAD [final show!] (Surinam / Traitrs / Alpha Strategy) / The Baby G 2016-10-15 (Saturday) [FB event]

Body Help + Dan Pencer [Healing Power digital album release!] (New Chance / Brodie West + Fleshtone Aura) / Burdock Music Hall 2016-10-17 (Monday) [FB event]

Johan Seaton (Hybrid Frequency / Fog Spirits) / Belljar Café 2016-10-22 (Saturday – PWYC!) [FB event]

Death To T.O. 6(66) (feat. David Bowie & Prince Tribute [performed by The Big Sound band with special guest singers on each song] / Nirvana [performed by The Wooden Sky] / The Smiths [performed by Only Yours] / Girlschool [performed by members of Teenanger, Hooded Fang, Milk Lines & more] / Blink-182 [performed by EVJ & Friends] / PJ Harvey [performed by Vallens] / T. REX [performed by Sunshine and The Blue Moon] / The Eurythmics [performed by members of Beliefs & more] / The Rolling Stones [performed by Nyssa & friends] / Corrosion Of Conformity [performed by ex members of Rammer] / Hüsker Dü [performed by several futures] / The Velvet Underground [performed by The Vypers] / Mudhoney [performed by sedge] / Yeah Yeah Yeahs [performed by sportsfan]) / Lee's Palace + Dance Cave 2016-10-28 (Friday) [FB event]

Ricky Eat Acid (Kitty / Scott Hardware) / Smiling Buddha 2016-11-02 (Wednesday – all ages!) [FB event]

Pleasence Records double release party (feat. Blonde Elvis / Germaphobes / Grounders / Whimm) / The Baby G 2016-11-05 (Saturday) [FB event]

Thee Oh Sees (Twist) / The Danforth Music Hall 2016-11-17 (Thursday) [FB event]

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Sunday Playlist #46

Sunday Playlist #46: In memoriam Ken Aldcroft

I was shocked and saddened yesterday when suddenly my facebook feed started filling up with the news of Ken Aldcroft's passing. My thoughts are with his family, friends, and many collaborators.

Ken had a powerful musical drive, and he was as happy to throw in with one-off ensembles as he was to work away at elaborate compositions with his more formal groups. Ken's guitar tone and technique were so distinctive to me: his dense flurries of notes were often like someone playing a rope trick, where the cord appears irreversibly tangled — until a sudden twist unknots everything. He loved complicated harmonics and catchy tunes and could tackle either with ease.

But beyond that, Ken was a warm and inviting person, eager to share his music and talk about it, or just to share a laugh and a deadpan story. He will be remembered as a teacher and a community-builder as well as a masterfully-inventive improvising musician.

There will be time to come to ponder more deeply at his many musical paths (including his excellent recorded legacy through his Trio Records releases) but for now I just wanted to revisit a few of the sets that stuck out in my mind. These aren't the "best" shows, just nights that I remember for one reason or another — certainly for Ken's playing, but also for the conversations or the situations. His music will endure, and hopefully today if can be a comfort as well. Let us remember his presence.

Ken Aldcroft - [excerpt]

  • Recorded at The Tranzac's Main Hall (Somewhere There Creative Music Festival – Show 2), February 27, 2016.

Ken Aldcroft + Mike Gennaro - [third piece]

  • Recorded at Dundas Video (Track Could Bend #6), September 1, 2015.

Aldcroft/Lynn/Ng/Miller - [set 2 excerpt]

  • Recorded at The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), June 8, 2016.

THREADS (Quintet) - Threads I [excerpt]

  • Recorded at The Emmett Ray, October 21, 2013.

Ken Aldcroft and Scott Thomson - [excerpt from duo improvisation]

  • Recorded at The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), June 17, 2015.

Aldcroft-Fisher-Gennaro - [excerpt from first piece]

  • Recorded at The Imperial Pub's back room, December 21, 2013.

Alaniaris - unknown

  • Recorded at The Tranzac - Southern Cross Lounge ("The Second Annual Somewhere There Creative Music Festival" – Show 1 late set), February 21, 2014.

Hat & Beard - Jackie-ing

  • Recorded at The Tranzac - Main Hall ("The Second Annual Somewhere There Creative Music Festival" - Show 2), February 22, 2014.

Sunday Playlist is an occasional feature that brings back some of this blog's previously-posted original live recordings for an encore. You can always click the tags below to see what I originally wrote about the shows these songs came from.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Recording: Will Kidman

Artist: Will Kidman

Songs: unknown* + Through the Morning, Through the Night [Gene Clark cover]

Recorded at Church of St. Andrew by-the-lake, August 28, 2016.

Will Kidman - unknown

Will Kidman with Misha Bower and Matt Cully - Through the Morning, Through the Night

A trip out to the Island to see a gig in the Church of St. Andrew by-the-lake is always a treat, and this Sunday afternoon offered three sets where the performers kept overlapping in various ways. Misha Bower, Matt Cully and Will Kidman (with occasional contributions from Martha Farquhar-McDonnell, who'd had her own show in St. Andrew a couple months back) each provided some new offerings from their own songbooks as well as coming together for a trio of set-ending covers. The previous weekend had seen Will Kidman out on the Island, backing up Michelle McAdorey at Camp Wavelength but it seemed he needed a little help from his friends to cajole him into playing his own material. Kidman mentioned that one of the new songs had been completed the night before with the help of Misha Bower, and she was on hand to sing on a couple, including the closing cover which strayed from the Neil Young tracks in the previous sets to go with this tune from the second Dillard & Clark album. [Do note this show was performed without microphones, so the sound of my recording is a bit raw — if you listen closely, you can hear the whir of the overhead fan, and occasionally the drone of the cicadas outside.]

[Will Kidman plays the Bloor Ossington Folk Festival on Sunday (September 18th) in Christie Pits Park at 4:10 p.m.]

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

Recording: EONS

Artist: EONS

Songs: Leslie Spit + Birds [Neil Young cover]

Recorded at Church of St. Andrew by-the-lake, August 28, 2016.

EONS - Leslie Spit

EONS with Will Kidman - Birds

A trip out to the Island to see a gig in the Church of St. Andrew by-the-lake is always a treat, and this Sunday afternoon offered three sets where the performers kept overlapping in various ways. Misha Bower, Matt Cully and Will Kidman (with occasional contributions from Martha Farquhar-McDonnell, who'd had her own show in St. Andrew a couple months back) each provided some new offerings from their own songbooks as well as coming together for a trio of set-ending covers. A week after unveiling a bunch of new Bruce Peninsula songs over on the other side of the Island, Matt Cully and Misha Bower showed that their other project is getting closer to releasing its second album. This set ended with Matt Cully moving to the piano for another Neil Young song, with Will Kidman joining in on the choruses. [Do note this show was performed without microphones, so the sound of my recording is a bit raw — if you listen closely, you can hear the whir of the overhead fan, and occasionally the drone of the cicadas outside.]

Recording: Misha Bower

Artist: Misha Bower

Songs: Starless Nights + Wrecking Ball [Neil Young cover, via Emmylou Harris]

Recorded at Church of St. Andrew by-the-lake, August 28, 2016.

Misha Bower - Starless Nights

Misha Bower with Matt Cully and Will Kidman - Wrecking Ball

A trip out to the Island to see a gig in the Church of St. Andrew by-the-lake is always a treat, and this Sunday afternoon offered three sets where the performers kept overlapping in various ways. Misha Bower, Matt Cully and Will Kidman (with occasional contributions from Martha Farquhar-McDonnell, who'd had her own show in St. Andrew a couple months back) each provided some new offerings from their own songbooks as well as coming together for a trio of set-ending covers. The air in the church was warm and still on a hot day, and Misha Bower had kicked off her shoes to present some new tunes. She was mostly backed by Will Kidman on guitar (though Matt Cully played on one) and both came up to harmonize on a lovely run through "Wrecking Ball" which followed Emmylou Harris' arrangement and spirit. [Do note this show was performed without microphones, so the sound of my recording is a bit raw — if you listen closely, you can hear the whir of the overhead fan, and occasionally the drone of the cicadas outside.]