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The Complex Stillness of Mark Ellestad “For me, there is a kind of stillness in music that comes from a generous and welcoming place. It has nothing to do with speed or style or tradition or school. It can come from dark or light, from any shade of intensity. It doesn’t need to express anything at all. I love it when[...] Read more

Profile Julian Cowley Issue 142

The Apperceptive Musical Adventures of Taylor Brook Canadian composer Taylor Brook—whose music can strike an unusual balance between challenge and charm, sometimes with an astonishing delicacy—had been based since 2011 in New York City, where he was first a doctoral student and then a lecturer at Columbia University, all the while[...] Read more

Profile Kurt Gottschalk Issue 140

Ashley Au Is Stretching Out Most music fans in Winnipeg have seen plenty of Ashley Au playing bass in recent years in a wide range of idioms—Americana, hip-hop, jazz, and sludge metal. Pausing to tally current projects, Au counts in blinks before saying, “I’m in an open relationship with maybe seven[...] Read more

Profile Daniel Emberg Issue 139

Aidan Baker’s Ambient Autonomy Over the past twenty years, Berlin-based Canadian guitarist and composer Aidan Baker has developed a creative rhythm, using his guitar as a gateway to seemingly disparate sounds and marrying noise, krautrock, metal, drone, and free jazz in thrilling and unexpected ways. Through his[...] Read more

Profile Michael Rancic Issue 137

FET.NAT’s Post-Punk Palimpsests Around twenty years ago, a post-punk revival was supposedly upon us. Reissue compilations proliferated alongside a crop of new artists who audibly drew from the genre’s heyday. Where punk-rock wedded a rock ethos with rebellious politics (or sometimes just rebellious posturing), post-punk[...] Read more

Profile Nick Storring Issue 136

The Many Trajectories of Erin Rogers Erin Rogers and Dennis Sullivan are facing each other on the stage of Manhattan’s Le Poisson Rouge in late February of 2020, a small table of gear between them. They take turns triggering samples of sportscasters by pounding large, illuminated buttons as if playing bare-knuckle Whac-a-[...] Read more

Profile Kurt Gottschalk Issue 136

Tim Olive’s Flexible Aesthetic It’s a typically humming Saturday night at the Tranzac Club. Different events are in progress in each of the Toronto venue’s three rooms. The Tiki Room (the smallest and most living-room-like of the three) is hosting a special edition of the Audiopollination series, which is[...] Read more

Profile Joe Strutt Issue 135

Webber/Morris Big Band On a cold January evening in 2019, Angela Morris approaches the bandstand of Manhattan’s Jazz Gallery and announces that she will be able to conduct her piece that night. A few days ago it was still uncertain. Weeks earlier, on Christmas Eve, she broke her shoulder, making the arm[...] Read more

Profile Kurt Gottschalk Issue 133

The Musical Colours of Dominique Fils-Aimé On the 2004 live-concert recording Tour de Force, the renowned American poet and musician Gil Scott-Heron introduces his 1981 song “Is That Jazz?”: “Go to your record store . . . look at the bottom shelf, you will find a box called miscellaneous. We are miscellaneous. We[...] Read more

Profile Chaka V. Grier Issue 133

Lina Allemano is Splitting Time If Toronto’s avant-jazz and free-improv community has a living room, it’s the Southern Cross Lounge, the front room of the Tranzac Club—a cluttered bandstand with an ancient upright, a friendly bar in the back corner, a familiar audience—where drummer Nick Fraser[...] Read more

Profile Stuart Broomer Issue 132

Vanese "VJ" Smith is Right on Time Vanese (pronounced va-NIECE) “VJ” Smith and I are on the Spadina streetcar, chatting like old friends. Just minutes earlier we met for the first time. I arrived from up North (aka Thornhill) in a state of winter-blues petulance, but when I saw her bright smile and waving arm from[...] Read more

Profile Chaka V. Grier Issue 130

Vicky Chow Is Just Warming Up Against a deep blue, backlit stage, Vicky Chow sat at the baby grand in the Scheuer Auditorium at the Jewish Museum on Manhattan’s Upper East Side in April 2017, flanked by forty speakers hanging from stands. For an uninterrupted hour, she played dizzying sequences of interlocking[...] Read more

Profile Kurt Gottschalk Issue 128