Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Recording: Mbongwana Star

Artist: Mbongwana Star

Songs: Malukayi + unknown*

Recorded at The Great Hall, July 19, 2017.

Mbongwana Star - Malukayi

Mbongwana Star - unknown

This Congolese crew has been busily circling the world ever since creating a sensation with their debut album From Kinshasa a couple years back — so if they were a bit weary with their material by the time they touched down in T.O, there was certainly no sign of it. Part of it might be down to the fact that on stage this is a somewhat different beast than the post-punk tinged sound on their album, coming out instead like a supercharged soukous party. Live, the guitar had some of that Konono Nº1-esque electric likembé sound, but was also just as likely to grab from a nimble bag of tricks (including bringing new levels of coolness to some tones last heard on hair-metal albums). The real focus was vocalists Coco Ngabali and Theo Nzonza (formerly of Staff Benda Bilili), who never stopped dancing and whipping up the crowd. As things got heated up, there were several show-stoppers in a row, with the band barely pausing for breath before attempting to top themselves — a well-tuned groove machine indeed.

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

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Recording: FOG

Artist: FOG

Song: Snag

Recorded at The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), July 16, 2017.

FOG - Snag

More than just a blast-it-out-by-the-numbers New Orleans jazz band, Rebecca Hennessy's FOG manages to bring together several strands, mixing slow'n'low N.O. flow with pieces that more directly show off her composerly skills, and all filtered through her love of nature (especially fishing). This evening was a celebration of the release of the band's new Two Calls album, with the whole crew offering some righteous simmering grooves.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Concert Listings Roundup #214

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 #54 (feat. Minibeast [Keith Seidel/Eric Baylies/Peter Prescott] / Insect Factory [Jeff Basky] / Sandy Ewen) / Array Space 2017-08-21 (Monday) [FB event]

After a summer break, beloved improvised music series Audiopollination returns with this Monday-night special with some high-powered out-of-town guests before returning to its usual "self-curated" format. Known for his work with Mission of Burma and Volcano Suns, Peter Prescott brings his Minibeast project to town, joined by Jeff Barsky's meditative/atmospheric guitar project Insect Factory. And Sandy Ewen, who has some local roots, is no stranger to Audiopollination.


This week's noteworthy shows:

See Through 4 [Pete Johnston/Rebecca Hennessy/Mike Smith/Jake Oelrichs] / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2017-08-22 (Tuesday)

Andrew Miller/Alexei Orechin/Emily Denison / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2017-08-23 (Wednesday) [FB event]

Burn Down The Capital presents (feat. Lea Bertucci / Manticore / Kat Estacio) / Double Double Land 2017-08-23 (Wednesday) [FB event]

Institution Vol. 1 (feat. Nailbiter / MNISOTA / Mike Rocha / C.R. Gillespie / Castle If) / The Baby G 2017-08-24 (Thursday) [FB event]

Nhapitapi / Island Cafe 2017-08-25 (Friday – PWYC!) [FB event]

Aurochs / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2017-08-25 (Friday – early!)

A Ryan Driver Quintet [Ryan Driver/Brodie West/Blake Howard/Josh Cole/Kurt Newman] / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2017-08-25 (Friday) [FB event]

Rob Michalchuk (Brian Ruryk) / The Dupe Shop 2017-08-26 (Saturday – afternoon show @ 3 p.m.! PWYC!) [FB event]

Toronto Outdoor Picture Show presents Slapstick By Starlight [live original score to the silent comedy classic "The Freshman"] (feat. The Holy Gasp) / Parkway Forest 2017-08-26 (Saturday – free! outside! all-ages + family-friendly!) [FB event]

AIM LOW (birdboy / Childs / Mud) / Smiling Buddha – basement 2017-08-26 (Saturday – early!) [FB event]

The Starved (Terror Lake / Candi) / The Baby G 2017-08-26 (Saturday) [FB event]

Quiet Bedrooms presents: Launch Show (feat. Ivan Distaro / Henoheno / S. Ayton / Charles Spearin / Guilt Mountain / Heraclitus Akimbo / YlangYlang) / Danforth And Woodbine neighbourhood 2017-08-27 (Sunday – afternoon/evening show! PWYC!) [FB event]

A Quiet Little Village [Paul Newman/Kayla Milmine/Tomasz Krakowiak] (Heraclitus Akimbo & Matthew Fava) / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2017-08-27 (Sunday) [FB event]

POSI VIBEZ presents (feat. Osypa Luna [EP release!] / Brigitte Bardon't / James Gray) / Handlebar 2017-08-27 (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!

Intersection Day 1: Music Gallery Departures Series (feat. Mick Barr + Thin Edge New Music Collective + Droid) / Jam Factory 2017-08-31 (Thursday – all ages!) [FB event]

Kulture 3 (feat. 185668232 / Mandelbrut / Oblique / Hexzuul + Iderdown) / The Steady Café 2017-08-31 (Thursday) [FB event]

Intersection Day 3 (feat. Northumbria / Meridian / Contact / Carl Didur / Jason Doell & Xuan Ye / The Visit / Kristina Guison / Dialectica Sax Quartet) / Yonge-Dundas Square 2017-09-02 (Saturday – free! outside! all ages + family-friendly! weird sonic interventions in the mersh fabric!) [FB event]

Harrison² Quartet [Mike Murley/Harrison Argatoff/Steve Wallace/Harrison Vetro] / The Rex Hotel 2017-09-03 (Sunday) [FB event]

Track Could Bend #30 (feat. MAMALIA / Tova Kardonne / Christopher Willes) / The Steady Café 2017-09-05 (Tuesday – PWYC!) [FB event]

Jay Arner (Ducks Unlimited [EP release!] / Tough Age / Germaphobes) / Monarch Tavern 2017-09-14 (Thursday) [more info]

Peggy Lee Octet / Array Space 2017-09-16 (Saturday) [more info]

Nick Ferrio [Soothsayer album release!] (Dan Edmonds / Ansley Simpson) / Burdock Music Hall 2017-09-22 (Friday) [FB event]

Saint Pé (Crocodiles / Twist) / The Garrison 2017-10-10 (Tuesday) [FB event]

The Diodes / The Horseshoe Tavern 2017-10-31 (Tuesday) [FB event]

The 'B' Girls (Pale Lips / Chris Houston Au GoGo / The Trash Bags) / Rivoli 2017-11-04 (Saturday) [FB event]

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Recording: Xuan Ye

Artist: Xuan Ye

Song: [excerpt]

Recorded at The Tranzac's Southern Cross Lounge (Seven Sonorous Scintillators), July 16, 2017.

Xuan Ye - [excerpt]

Celebrating the release of her You've Just Become Part of Me album of selected comprovisations, Xuan Ye gathered a collection of friends, collaborators and fellow travellers to celebrate, including a Drone Therapy session from Kristel Jax and some jams from DJ New Chance. There was something of a chapter closing/chapter opening feel to this show, with the album release marking the end to a period of intense solo performance that saw radically unique sets from an artist reluctant to re-use past ideas/set-ups. Joining in on percussion and piano during Zoë Alexis-Abrams & Johnny Spence's last song before segueing into her own short-ish set to cap the show off felt like a nod to a direction Ye has been discussing, foregrounding collaboration instead of individual effort. Expect voluminous ideas to keep flowing in any case.

[Xuan Ye + David Jones will be collaborating at a sure-to-be-wonderful show with ANAMAI and YlangYlang, Thursday, September 21st at The Baby G.]

Recording: Zoë Alexis-Abrams & Johnny Spence

Artist: Zoë Alexis-Abrams & Johnny Spence

Song: The Mountain*

Recorded at The Tranzac's Southern Cross Lounge (Seven Sonorous Scintillators), July 16, 2017.

Zoë Alexis-Abrams & Johnny Spence - The Mountain

Celebrating the release of her You've Just Become Part of Me album of selected comprovisations, Xuan Ye gathered a collection of friends, collaborators and fellow travellers to celebrate, including a Drone Therapy session from Kristel Jax and some jams from DJ New Chance. Occasionally collaborating ever since last summer's "Abundant Habitat" show, it was no surprise to see Zoë Alexis-Abrams on this bill.

Working through the possibilities of her "solo" material has seen Alexis-Abrams collaborating with some different partners as she explores new textures and sounds. This joint enterprise with synth wizard Johnny Spence saw him creating space for Alexis-Abrams to worry less about setting up loops and so forth. It also included a somewhat-surprising shift that saw her singing mostly in English, changing from relying on her vocal qualities alone to relate her lyrical messages.

[Manticore, Zoë Alexis-Abrams' longstanding duo with David Jones, will be playing at a Burn Down the Capital show alongside Lea Bertucci and Kat Estacio, next Wednesday, August 23rd.]

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

Recording: Heraclitus Akimbo & Jason Doell

Artist: Heraclitus Akimbo & Jason Doell

Song: [edited excerpt]

Recorded at The Tranzac's Southern Cross Lounge (Seven Sonorous Scintillators), July 16, 2017.

Heraclitus Akimbo & Jason Doell - [edited excerpt]

Celebrating the release of her You've Just Become Part of Me album of selected comprovisations, Xuan Ye gathered a collection of friends, collaborators and fellow travellers to celebrate, including a Drone Therapy session from Kristel Jax and some jams from DJ New Chance. The night started with this somewhat-noisy encounter between Jason Doell (Xuan Ye's partner in Invisible Out, here on guitar and pedals) plus one Joe Strutt (on function generator, spring reverb, pedals, mixer).

[Heraclitus Akimbo will be back at The Tranzac performing another duo set — this time alongside Matthew Fava — on Sunday, August 27th, opening up for A Quiet Little Village (Paul Newman/Kayla Milmine/Tomasz Krakowiak).]

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Recording: {AN} EeL

Artist: {AN} EeL

Song: Birthday A Cappella

Recorded at Gerrard Art Space (Eclec~Tic~Toc Fest, Vol. 1 – Night 2), July 15, 2017.

{AN} EeL - Birthday A Cappella

Ever since washing up on our shores, Neal D. Retke (who performs as {AN} Eel) has been spreading joy and preaching the benefits of D.I.Y. co-operation. A busy member of the international home-taping circuit known for his many collaborative projects, this festival arose from a desire to bring together some of the different musicians he's encountered here so far, mixing together songs and noises over two days in the G.A.S.'s cozy east-end space.

With time growing short at the end of a day packed with music, Retke played the consummate host by cutting short his own festival-closing set — despite the fact it was his own birthday! An ambitious thing done well, here's hoping that this festival makes a return next year.

Recording: Damon Loren Baker

Artist: Damon Loren Baker

Song: Birth Pangs [excerpt]

Recorded at Gerrard Art Space (Eclec~Tic~Toc Fest, Vol. 1 – Night 2), July 15, 2017.

Damon Loren Baker - Birth Pangs [excerpt]

Ever since washing up on our shores, Neal D. Retke (who performs as {AN} Eel) has been spreading joy and preaching the benefits of D.I.Y. co-operation. A busy member of the international home-taping circuit known for his many collaborative projects, this festival arose from a desire to bring together some of the different musicians he's encountered here so far, mixing together songs and noises over two days in the G.A.S.'s cozy east-end space.

That Damon Loren Baker's name is almost an anagram for "Demon Lore Barker" is on point, as that would almost be an apt description for what went down here, with a droning laptop track the backdrop for some just-almost-audible unamplified vocals, Baker's expression somewhere between possession and catharsis.

Recording: Knurl

Artist: Knurl

Song: [excerpt]

Recorded at Gerrard Art Space (Eclec~Tic~Toc Fest, Vol. 1 – Night 2), July 15, 2017.

Knurl - [excerpt]

Ever since washing up on our shores, Neal D. Retke (who performs as {AN} Eel) has been spreading joy and preaching the benefits of D.I.Y. co-operation. A busy member of the international home-taping circuit known for his many collaborative projects, this festival arose from a desire to bring together some of the different musicians he's encountered here so far, mixing together songs and noises over two days in the G.A.S.'s cozy east-end space.

It's always a gift that we are able to watch real artistes like Alan Bloor at work. This time out, instead of his circular sawblade stringed instrument, he brought his table of mounted medal tongues to bow, clink and rasp.

Recording: Moth Ash

Artist: Moth Ash

Song: [excerpt]

Recorded at Gerrard Art Space (Eclec~Tic~Toc Fest, Vol. 1 – Night 2), July 15, 2017.

Moth Ash - [excerpt]

Ever since washing up on our shores, Neal D. Retke (who performs as {AN} Eel) has been spreading joy and preaching the benefits of D.I.Y. co-operation. A busy member of the international home-taping circuit known for his many collaborative projects, this festival arose from a desire to bring together some of the different musicians he's encountered here so far, mixing together songs and noises over two days in the G.A.S.'s cozy east-end space.

After letting things build for several minutes, Craig Renaud (who had also played the festival the day before in his solo guise) crouched down to guide things along through pedal manipulations, which slowly got more abrasive and crunched-up. On the whole, another excellent set from one of the city's choicest drone duos with Lumi Krysztal (violin) and Renaud (a.k.a Bit Reduction, hurdy gurdy + electronics) offering elegant sounds that never overstay their welcome.

Recording: Valerie Kuehne

Artist: Valerie Kuehne

Song: Nootropics

Recorded at Gerrard Art Space (Eclec~Tic~Toc Fest, Vol. 1 – Night 2), July 15, 2017.

Valerie Kuehne - Nootropics

Ever since washing up on our shores, Neal D. Retke (who performs as {AN} Eel) has been spreading joy and preaching the benefits of D.I.Y. co-operation. A busy member of the international home-taping circuit known for his many collaborative projects, this festival arose from a desire to bring together some of the different musicians he's encountered here so far, mixing together songs and noises over two days in the G.A.S.'s cozy east-end space.

Valerie Kuehne hit this show on tour with fellow NYC-ers Irrevery, and while each occupy a different musical terrain, one could see the kinship in the highly-energized performance styles of Kuehne and Irrevery's Paige Johnson-Brown — a sort of hyperactive/hyper-stylized cabaret. (And, indeed, the latter came on-stage to help close out this set.) Though without her usual backing musicians, Kuehne filled the room with her story-babbles and the skronk of her unamplified cello. There were a couple mannequin heads to keep her company, too, though her presence alone was enough to make this a memorable set.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Recording: Members of Retired

Artist: Members of Retired

Song: [first two sections]

Recorded at Gerrard Art Space (Eclec~Tic~Toc Fest, Vol. 1 – Night 2), July 15, 2017.

Members of Retired - [first two sections]

Ever since washing up on our shores, Neal D. Retke (who performs as {AN} Eel) has been spreading joy and preaching the benefits of D.I.Y. co-operation. A busy member of the international home-taping circuit known for his many collaborative projects, this festival arose from a desire to bring together some of the different musicians he's encountered here so far, mixing together songs and noises over two days in the G.A.S.'s cozy east-end space.

With bassist Adam Hanrahan having played his own solo set the day before, the remaining members of the group assembled for a jam, giving a rare chance to see how the group's musical sensibility shifts with one element removed. Most notably, the sample-segues evident in band shows in between songs were now centre stage, with the instrumental breakdowns being more palate cleansers, giving the previously unrealized insight that underneath the weird jazz band there's a really weird hip-hop/noise collage band clawing its way to the surface.

Recording: Fake Flesh

Artist: Fake Flesh

Song: Cosmic Dread

Recorded at Gerrard Art Space (Eclec~Tic~Toc Fest, Vol. 1 – Night 2), July 15, 2017.

Fake Flesh - Cosmic Dread

Ever since washing up on our shores, Neal D. Retke (who performs as {AN} Eel) has been spreading joy and preaching the benefits of D.I.Y. co-operation. A busy member of the international home-taping circuit known for his many collaborative projects, this festival arose from a desire to bring together some of the different musicians he's encountered here so far, mixing together songs and noises over two days in the G.A.S.'s cozy east-end space.

Day 2 of the festival had some intense noise-bursts as well courtesy of Fake Flesh, the solo counterpart of the busy/collaborative Goth Girl. As this piece shows, there's a concept beyond noise-for-the-sake-of-noise — there's an actual song fighting to breathe amongst the distortion-bursts and crunching percussion. That shouldn't be taken to mean that there to too many soft edges here, and this was still music that felt a bit out of place in the daylight hours, as opposed to late at night in the darkest shadows.

Recording: Irrevery

Artist: Irrevery

Song: unknown*

Recorded at Gerrard Art Space (Eclec~Tic~Toc Fest, Vol. 1 – Night 2), July 15, 2017.

Irrevery - unknown

Ever since washing up on our shores, Neal D. Retke (who performs as {AN} Eel) has been spreading joy and preaching the benefits of D.I.Y. co-operation. A busy member of the international home-taping circuit known for his many collaborative projects, this festival arose from a desire to bring together some of the different musicians he's encountered here so far, mixing together songs and noises over two days in the G.A.S.'s cozy east-end space.

The festival even gave shelter to a couple bands on tour up from N.Y.C., including Irrevery, who mixed scratchy country-punk (think Uncle Tupelo fronted by Loretta Lynn) with some conceptual art elements. Hints of ready-to-roll-on-the-floor recklessness, but there was also a lot of control in the way that the band could descend from a racket down to an intense whisper.

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

Recording: No One Receiving Duo

Artist: No One Receiving Duo

Song: [excerpt]

Recorded at Gerrard Art Space (Eclec~Tic~Toc Fest, Vol. 1 – Night 2), July 15, 2017.

No One Receiving Duo - [excerpt]

Ever since washing up on our shores, Neal D. Retke (who performs as {AN} Eel) has been spreading joy and preaching the benefits of D.I.Y. co-operation. A busy member of the international home-taping circuit known for his many collaborative projects, this festival arose from a desire to bring together some of the different musicians he's encountered here so far, mixing together songs and noises over two days in the G.A.S.'s cozy east-end space.

No One Receiving was one of Lorne Shapiro's active projects when he was based in Montréal. Since coming to Toronto, there's fewer opportunities to gather, but one could sense an instant connection sparking his gamba playing when Michal Seta (guitar, electronics) was on hand, with strings swelling into clouds of electronic interference. ("Moveable" member Hiroya Miura was virtually present in some of Seta's samples.)