As I approach the finish line of my first issue as editor of Musicworks
, I am keenly aware of the sonic geography that surrounds me. Pharoah Sanders’ Message From Home
is playing in the background. My dog is snoring nearby. The kitchen appliances are humming. But beyond the familiar sounds of my late-night working groove, everything has changed. All I have to do is step outside, and I can hear it: an intense cricket thrum mingles with the bustle of a large civic project happening in the West Toronto Diamond—the junction of four major railway tracks that lies just north of my backyard. I am in the midst of a noisy transformation.
In mid-August I moved with my family from a Victorian rowhouse in downtown Toronto to a less aged house on the outer edge of an area known as The Junction. Despite its recent and rapid gentrification, my new Toronto neighbourhood retains the independent character of a lively small town. On the first Friday evening after our move we hit the Junction Design Crawl. Local design-oriented businesses welcomed visitors with snacks and live music. The local flea market filled a vacant corner lot, the whole site festooned with strings of blinking white lights and buzzing with friendly chatter. It felt like the community had put on a big party to welcome us home.
When I began my new job at Musicworks in early June, my pending house-move seemed to heighten my awareness of the importance of community, specifically in the context of the kind of art and creators explored in the magazine. I have no doubt now that this influenced my thinking as I was planning the issue, communicating with writers, and liaising with people involved in the presentation of new music. I didn’t intend to curate a themed issue, yet as the weeks passed I encountered the idea of community at every turn.
You’ll find this unofficial theme reflected throughout the stories in issue #117—arriving soon in your mailbox and landing on our website in early October. Giorgio Magnanensi (looking intensely serene on the cover) has sparked dozens of sonic projects aimed at bringing local Vancouver artists and the larger community closer together; Beirut’s experimental music scene has grown from humble beginnings to become a vibrant destination for both fans and visiting musicians; Anna Höstman delves into the cultural history and present-day realities of her childhood home, the Bella Coola Valley, for her new work-in-progress; and Charlemagne Palestine sheds light—make that a twinkle—on the attentive community of travelling companions that never misses one of his performances.
I’ve learned that every story in the magazine builds its own little community as it’s being written and readied for print. After many years in arts journalism as, essentially, a solo artist, returning to a more collaborative work environment has been a total delight. I’m also returning to the music world, where I got my start, and I’m digging the shift in daily rhythm. As I blast down the railpath on my twenty-five-minute bicycle commute to work, I mull over the latest email from copyeditor Paul Dutton and the supportive advice from new friends, like my predecessor Micheline Roi. When I step inside the office, I hear a familiar, cheery hello from Anastasia Klyushin, Musicworks’ new operations manager.
Gee, but it’s great to be back home.
[EDITORIAL FROM MUSICWORKS #117. POSTED SEPT. 27, 2013]