Friday, August 26, 2016

Recording: L.atasha A.lcindor

Artist: L.atasha A.lcindor

Songs: Talk My Shit + I'm Alive

Recorded at Artscape Gibraltar Point (Camp Wavelength), August 19, 2016.

L.atasha A.lcindor - Talk My Shit

L.atasha A.lcindor - I'm Alive

Following and expanding on the template of last year's successful festival, Wavelength returned to the island with a meticulously-executed event that included an exciting range of music and a beach full of art beside festival headliner Lake Ontario. It also managed to be a stress-reducing rather than a stress-inducing time — rather like a weekend at the cottage, even if the city was just out of view.

When I first saw L.atasha A.lcindor a.k.a. L.A. on the island last year, I noted she played "a charismatic set that made her the night's de facto headliner", and that was pretty much the case once again, being the talk of the late-night crowd after her engaging set. Being able to project her dextrous wordplay on stage is no mean feat, and it's even more impressive that she managed to pull it off while throwing down some dance moves and interacting with the crowd. Best of all, her set made the space feel both close and intimate — especially on a talk about facing her own anxieties before "I'm Alive" — and Coachella-sized as she got the crowd worked up.

Recording: Operators

Artist: Operators

Song: Mission Creep

Recorded at Artscape Gibraltar Point (Camp Wavelength), August 19, 2016.

Operators - Mission Creep

Following and expanding on the template of last year's successful festival, Wavelength returned to the island with a meticulously-executed event that included an exciting range of music and a beach full of art beside festival headliner Lake Ontario. It also managed to be a stress-reducing rather than a stress-inducing time — rather like a weekend at the cottage, even if the city was just out of view.

Operators were so relaxed out on the island that they apparently forgot to bring out one key synthesizer while setting up, leading to a somewhat-awkward delay just as they were about to start their set. That misstep aside, Dan Boeckner was clearly enjoying the surroundings and the festival vibe, presenting his songs about grim rural upbringings and other dark subjects with a certain jauntiness. The music, including the tunes from this year's Blue Wave full-length, has a similar tension, sometimes registering like the Bee Gees on PCP. The band's "festival pacing" needs a bit of fine-tuning, ending their set on a low-energy note that made the call for an encore seem a little perfunctory. But while their minor mishaps might kill the momentum in a different setting, it all fit in just fine with Camp Wavelength's take-it-as-it-comes mellow vibe.

Recording: Jef E. Barbara's Black Space

Artist: Jef E. Barbara's Black Space

Song: unknown*

Recorded at Artscape Gibraltar Point (Camp Wavelength), August 19, 2016.

Jef E. Barbara's Black Space - unknown

Following and expanding on the template of last year's successful festival, Wavelength returned to the island with a meticulously-executed event that included an exciting range of music and a beach full of art beside festival headliner Lake Ontario. It also managed to be a stress-reducing rather than a stress-inducing time — rather like a weekend at the cottage, even if the city was just out of view.

After some quieter time away, Jef Barbara (now Jef Elise Barbara) has returned with a hot single, a new backing band and a set of new material. Creating room for textured groove explorations, the new material finds the glam in melding the cosmic and the quotidian (the title "Spacecraft Dinner" captures that juxtaposition nicely). Deep bass, sax licks and Elena Stoodley's backing vox brought it all together, even re-appropriating some doot-de-doo's from Lou Reed's "Walk on the Wild Side" in this cut.

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

Recording: For Esmé

Artist: For Esmé

Song: unknown*

Recorded at Artscape Gibraltar Point (Camp Wavelength), August 19, 2016.

For Esmé - unknown

Following and expanding on the template of last year's successful festival, Wavelength returned to the island with a meticulously-executed event that included an exciting range of music and a beach full of art beside festival headliner Lake Ontario. It also managed to be a stress-reducing rather than a stress-inducing time — rather like a weekend at the cottage, even if the city was just out of view.

Martha Meredith and co.'s mix of Stacey Q Hi-NRG cotton candy and Metric-y death disco is a bit more naturally suited for a late-night club than a late-afternoon field, but their exuberance fit right in with the festival's vibe. They even managed to mix a couple new songs into their set, including this one providing an antidote to hate.

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

Recording: M.A BEAT!

Artist: M.A BEAT!

Song: Morocco

Recorded at Artscape Gibraltar Point (Camp Wavelength), August 19, 2016.

M.A BEAT! - Morocco

Following and expanding on the template of last year's successful festival, Wavelength returned to the island with a meticulously-executed event that included an exciting range of music and a beach full of art beside festival headliner Lake Ontario. It also managed to be a stress-reducing rather than a stress-inducing time — rather like a weekend at the cottage, even if the city was just out of view.

This crew from France were making their first Canadian foray and, as such, were something of an unknown quality as they lead off the festival. But their mix of sample-based experimental grooves, dual percussion, proggy keyboards and a hint of bass clarinet was a tasty mix, propelling itself with forward momentum but presenting lotsa tasty textures along the way.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Recording: Bryan Qu Large Ensemble

Artist: Bryan Qu Large Ensemble

Song: [excerpt]

Recorded at Array Space (Somewhere There's Second Sunday Series), August 14, 2016.

Bryan Qu Large Ensemble - [excerpt]

Over the course of the summer, this agglomeration has convened a handful of times to experiment with large-group free improvisation. Under the nominal leadership of saxophonist Bryan Qu (another young player from the U of T crew that's seeping into the city's creative music scenes) there's no conducting or prearranged cues, which makes it somewhat surprising that the group approaches things with relative restraint. Although the music crests in a series of Ascensions, you can generally follow individual players without things getting lost in a clamourous blow-out. The group were eleven deep this time out, as as far as I can work out, the contingent included: David Baldry (trumpet), Mark Ballyk (percussion), Evan Cartwright (drywalling tools), Belinda Corpuz (voice), Brandon Davis (bass), Emily Denison (trumpet), Chris Pruden (keyb), Alexei Orechin (guitar) Raphael Foisy-Couture (electronics), Vicky Mettler (guitar), and Bryan Qu (saxophone).

Recording: Ali Berkok + Diane Roblin

Artist: Ali Berkok + Diane Roblin

Song: [third piece]

Recorded at Array Space (Somewhere There's Second Sunday Series), August 14, 2016.

Ali Berkok + Diane Roblin - [third piece]

A rare opportunity to hear two noteworthy players exchanging ideas on a pair of grand pianos, this set saw Diane Roblin and Ali Berkok improvising from a series of pre-written "snippets" ranging in mood from clomping and rollicking to hushed and serene. This piece saw Berkok getting inside the piano, plucking the strings and caressing them via an e-bow, eliciting a meditative response from Roblin.

Recording: Afrafranto

Artist: Afrafranto

Song: unknown*

Recorded at Harbourfront Centre's Concert Stage (Habari Africa Festival), August 14, 2016.

Afrafranto - unknown

I only managed to make it down for a few hours on Sunday, but I hear there was a lot of excellent music and more going on at Harbourfront's Habari Africa Festival, overseen by local hero Nadine McNulty of Batuki Music. I did manage to catch these great local purveyors of Ghanaian palmwine and highlife music. I missed the release party for their Nsadwase album (which doesn't seem to have found its way online yet) but it's always worthwhile to catch these grooves live as they ripple outwards from Pa Joe's guitar.

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

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Recording: Eric Chenaux

Artist: Eric Chenaux

Songs: Skullsplitter + Social Living [Burning Spear cover]

Recorded at Burdock Music Hall, August 13, 2016.

Eric Chenaux - Skullsplitter

Eric Chenaux - Social Living

Now that Eric Chenaux's local shows are more-or-less annual events, each one feels like a chance at rediscovery, and a moment of frisson at encountering his advanced/debased guitar style once more. More unstable than radium, it even seems that there are even more dimensions of wobble and melodic shifting than previously. Essaying some of the pieces from last year's Skullsplitter alongside older tunes, there was also his usual dip into his bag of reinterpretations, here giving a wildly-deconstructed take on a Burning Spear number that dallied sideways momentarily into Jerome Kern's showtune "I Dream Too Much".

Recording: Ryan Driver

Artist: Ryan Driver

Songs: unknown* + It's Tulip Season

Recorded at Burdock Music Hall, August 13, 2016.

Ryan Driver - unknown

Ryan Driver - It's Tulip Season

The feeler of pure joy brought some of his pop constructions to this night, opening things up for his collaborator and fellow rat-drifter Eric Chenaux. Backed by Charles James (double bass) and Michael Davidson (vibes), Driver played keyb and guit, rolling out a few new songs alongside older ones. There's a yodel, there's an ai-yi-yi-yi-yi-yi-yi, there's a contradiction and there's no contradiction.

[Ryan Driver's Sextet will be playing its monthly dose of beautifully-wobbly standards at The Tranzac on Friday night (August 28th).]

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

Monday, August 22, 2016

Concert Listings Roundup #163

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:

Wolf's Nacho Wednesdays presents Abundant Habitat (feat. Ylang Ylang / Isla Craig / Not The Wind, Not The Flag / "special surprise") / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2016-08-24 (Wednesday – early + late slots!) [FB event]

There's been a great string of happenings lately at The Tranzac's Nacho Wednesdays, and things are getting kicked up another notch this week and next with a pair of nights booked by Manticore's Zoë Alexis-Abrams. Both nights are totally solid top to bottom (and sprawl over the usual early and late slots) — so order up some nachos and settle in for the evening.


This week's noteworthy shows:

BRINKS [David French/Michael Davidson/Dan Fortin/Fabio J Ragnelli] / The Emmet Ray 2016-08-22 (Monday – early!) [FB event]

Destroying Angel (Clara Engel / Moon Sunn Moon / Cetacea) / Coalition 2016-08-22 (Monday) [FB event]

Saint Dirt Elementary School / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2016-08-23 (Tuesday – early!) [FB event]

Somewhere There Presents (feat. Titanium Riot / The Knot [CD release!] / Brenders + Zukerman) / Ratio 2016-08-23 (Tuesday) [FB event]

Manticore (Within / Cares) / Array Space 2016-08-23 (Tuesday) [FB event]

Prince Nifty (Baby Cages [solo] / Egosystem / Fresh Flesh) / Holy Oak Café 2016-08-23 (Tuesday) [FB event]

Robin Buckley/Emily Denison/Karen Ng/Nilan Perera / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2016-08-23 (Tuesday)

Alex Samaras & Friends / Holy Oak Café 2016-08-25 (Thursday – early!) [FB event]

Hamilton Trading Co. (Shawn Clarke / Courtney Dubois / Fern Tips) / The Central 2016-08-25 (Thursday) [FB event]

Live on the Patio (feat. Aline Morales) / Roy Thomson Hall Patio 2016-08-26 (Friday – free! outside! early show, sets @ 6:30 and 8:00 p.m.!) [more info]

Badlands (Sarah Ayton / James Irwin & Apey0) / Holy Oak Café 2016-08-26 (Friday – early!) [more info]

Invocation Residency Series (feat. Arrington de Dionyso [full band!] / Doom Tickler / Ben Grossman / Array Space 2016-08-26 (Friday) [FB event]

Deliluh [Hours release party!] (Nighttime / Ryanescence [new project from Ryan Carley]) / Nowhere Gallery 2016-08-26 (Friday) [FB event]

Queer Bengali Dance Fundraiser (feat. LAL) / Unit 2 2016-08-26 (Friday) [FB event]

Julie Doiron (LUKA / Nick Ferrio) / Menalon Restaurant – back patio 2016-08-26 (Friday) [FB event]

Death Cookie Soup no. 7: Punk Rock Cabaret (feat. readings + live music by Panic Breakfast) / The Central 2016-08-26 (Friday) [FB event]

The Ryan Driver Sextet / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2016-08-26 (Friday)

Pierre Kwenders (Casey Mecija) / Yonge-Dundas Square 2016-08-26 (Friday – free! all ages! outside!) [more info]

Weaves [record release show!] (She-Devils / Poster Boy) / The Horseshoe Tavern 2016-08-27 (Saturday) [FB event]

Ambient Apsylum 2016 ["ambient music/visuals/performance"] (feat. Snowday / Jakob Thiesen / naw / Treeotica / DreamSTATE / Leelee Mishi) / High Park Labyrinth 2016-08-27 (Saturday – free! all ages + family friendly! outside!) [FB event]

D I Α N E T I C S . V ["two floors of video/drones/dance/noise/performance"] (feat. Jonas Bers / Philip Baljeu / David Jones & Carolyn Ellen / Cares / Unsay / Xuan Ye / Sapphogeist / Mandelbrut / Vanessa Bee Rieger) / Electric Perfume Gallery 2016-08-27 (Saturday) [FB event]

Arrington de Dionyso & Pierre-Luc Simon (Raphael Foisy-Couture/Vicky Mettler/Colin Fisher) / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2016-08-27 (Saturday) [FB event]

Audiopollination #45.3 (feat. Alex Cunningham/Branko Dzinovic / Alex Cunningham/Myk Freedman/Karen Ng / Alex Cunningham [solo violin]) / Array Space 2016-08-27 (Saturday) [FB event]

XHE & Healing Power present: WET TECH (feat. New Chance / SourPussy / Tax Haven / Charzar@hotmail.com / XHE Reservoirists) / The Tranzac (Main Hall) 2016-08-27 (Saturday) [FB event]

Holy Mount (If We Are Machines / Death Panels / Zener Cards) / Handlebar 2016-08-27 (Saturday) [FB event]

Will Kidman (EONS / Misha Bower) / Church of St. Andrew by-the-lake 2016-08-28 (Sunday – afternoon show, doors @ 4:00 p.m.!) [FB event]

Cell Memory & Castle If (Hexzuul / Psychic Pollution / Mystic Triangle) / Monarch Tavern 2016-08-28 (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!

Fisher/Hundevad/Gennaro (Carl Didur) / Array Space 2016-08-30 (Tuesday) [FB event]

Freeer [Free-Uhr] Records BBQ (feat. Tradition / Andre Charles Theriault / SGVBRIII [Susan Grace Van Beek Rogers III] / Stucco) / a yard on Beaconsfield 2016-09-03 (Saturday – afternoon/evening event!) [FB event]

Optical Sounds Showcase: American Invasion (feat. The Veldt / Your 33 Black Angels / Dyr Faser / B-17) / Double Double Land 2016-09-04 (Sunday) [FB event]

Nite Comfort 37 (feat. SlowPitchSound & Germaine Liu / Heraclitus Akimbo) / Handlebar 2016-09-04 (Sunday – PWYC!) [FB event]

Track Could Bend #18 (feat. Catholic Wilt [new project from Blonde Elvis' Jesse James Laderoute!] / Mark Hundevad & Mike Gennaro / Isla Craig [experimental set]) / Dundas Video 2016-09-06 (Tuesday – PWYC!) [FB event]

Deathsticks (Bonnie Trash / Alpha Strategy / High Streets / Motor Goat) / The Silver Dollar Room 2016-09-09 (Friday) [FB event]

Burn Down The Capital presents (feat. Bromp Treb / Fleshtone Aura / Julia Male) / Double Double Land 2016-09-09 (Friday) [FB event]

Team Building ["new friends and old share new songs, works in progress, thoughts in sound "] (feat. Luke Kuplowsky / Stephen Prickett / Brittany Brooks / Ian Kehoe / Myra Maines / Thom Gill / Dan Edmonds / Jason Bhattacharya / Geordie Gordon / Lisa Bozikovic / Jessie Kussin / Felicity Williams) / Holy Oak Café 2016-09-11 (Sunday) [FB event]

Rough Idea presents (feat. Grdina/Houle/Loewen / Nick Fraser & Nicole Rampersaud) / Burdock Music Hall 2016-09-14 (Wednesday) [FB event]

Twist [Spectral album release party!] (PKEW PKEW PKEW / Bobbypin) / The Baby G 2016-09-16 (Friday) [FB event]

Ricardo Dias Gomes (Ida Toninato / Kat Estacio) / The Music Gallery 2016-09-17 (Saturday) [FB event]

TRAITRS (Morthouse / Eyeballs / Basement Revolver) / The Silver Dollar Room 2016-09-17 (Saturday) [FB event]

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

Walrus (Crazy Bones / Boat Culture / Father Christmas) / The Silver Dollar Room 2016-09-28 (Wednesday) [FB event]

Not Dead Yet presents (feat. Merchandise / Public Memory / Whimm / Big School) / The Silver Dollar Room 2016-10-03 (Monday) [FB event]

Weyes Blood (Sahara / Ducks Unlimited) / The Baby G 2016-10-29 (Saturday) [FB event]

Tuns / Lee's Palace 2016-11-04 (Friday) [more info]


Community corner:

  • Christopher Willes and Adam Kinner have brought their interactive Listening Choir project back to town as part of Art of the Danforth. "Enacting a practice of group listening, these walks offer a way of encountering the affective landscapes of public settings together, reflecting on broad notions of common space and participation." It's a really engaging adventure — I took part in last year's edition on Queen West (there's some sonic documentation here) and it was an excellent opportunity to become more present to the sound-world that surrounds us all the time. There are two more walks left on Tuesday and Wednesday, and it's free — you just need to sign up in advance.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Recording: DATU x HATAW

Artist: DATU x HATAW

Song: World Gong Crazy

Recorded at Pia Bouman School for Ballet (SummerWorks: High Blood). August 13, 2016.

DATU x HATAW - World Gong Crazy

Capping off the music shows at this year's SummerWorks Festival was this joint entry from future-R&B crew DATU and dance group HATAW. Both groups share an artistic vision of examining diasporic Filipino culture through a Canadian lens — realized here by going to church and presenting the show as an examination of rituals, Catholic and otherwise.

A true multimedia spectacular with a cast of more than twenty, this involved elaborate choreography and eye-popping costumes besides the music. Those ingredients came together in different ways for each song, pausing to take confessions from audience-members mid-way through. This track was the show-stopping climax, featuring a rap from HanHan while the dancers performed a tinikling dance. Intense, wonderful stuff. This was the clear standout of this year's crop of music shows and it seems inconceivable that it wouldn't get remounted somewhere else.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Recording: Special Costello

Artist: Special Costello

Song: Late Night

Recorded at Pia Bouman School for Ballet (SummerWorks: Sound Circuitz), August 12, 2016.

Special Costello - Late Night

Sometimes, a single moment of flotsam on the pop-culture sea can get lodged in the back of your head and become a personal beacon that endures for years. Like, say, the image of a bird and fish falling in love in an early computer-animation clip. That scene, and others from the Mind's Eye computer animation demos that were repackaged for a generation of Canadian teens as YTV's Short Circutz, was the inspiration for Basement Studio Project (Halloway Jones, Natalie Logan and Heather Rappard), who turned the theatre space into an analogue reconstruction of a computer animated landscape. Giving a huge amount of depth to the room, the audience were welcomed to wander (or dance) around the performers.

Although Jeremy Costello's project works on a different terrain than Baby Cages, the two sets were fine complements for each other. Costello's slo-mo r&b-influenced new romantic constructions were in no hurry to get where they were going, stretching out with a sort of languid satisfaction, though Nick Dourado, on drums and sax, helped nudge things along.

Recording: Baby Cages

Artist: Baby Cages

Song: Dark Arts

Recorded at Pia Bouman School for Ballet (SummerWorks: Sound Circuitz), August 12, 2016.

Baby Cages - Dark Arts

Sometimes, a single moment of flotsam on the pop-culture sea can get lodged in the back of your head and become a personal beacon that endures for years. Like, say, the image of a bird and fish falling in love in an early computer-animation clip. That scene, and others from the Mind's Eye computer animation demos that were repackaged for a generation of Canadian teens as YTV's Short Circutz, was the inspiration for Basement Studio Project (Halloway Jones, Natalie Logan and Heather Rappard), who turned the theatre space into an analogue reconstruction of a computer animated landscape. Giving a huge amount of depth to the room, the audience were welcomed to wander (or dance) around the performers.

Besides contributing to the visual concept, Halloway Jones also performed, fronting her band Baby Cages in a set of ruminative guitar pop. This was the first time I managed to catch Katie Jensen's keyb work with the band, which added some welcome extra textures. Jeremy Costello, a longtime collaborator who also played with his project Special Costello, also adds some backing vox here.

Recording: Counterstasis

Artist: Counterstasis

Song: 11:30

Recorded at The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), August 12, 2016.

Counterstasis - 11:30

En route to another gig, I only managed to do a brief stop in to say hello and check out the first chunk of the set from this combo of Bill Gilliam (piano, keyb), Joe Sorbara (perc) and Glen Hall (reeds, laptop). But I did manage to catch this engagingly goofy start to things, with a dude at the bar initiating a loud phone conversation just as the musicians were about to start. They picked up on his energy, tossing a couple overheard phrases back and forth as they got going — the opposite of stasis indeed.