Nick Fraser. Is Life Long? The opening four minutes of Toronto drummer and composer Nick Fraser's new disc consists almost entirely of long astringent tones that seem simultaneously on the brink of decay and of gathering momentum. This impression is compounded by Fraser’s brittle, skittering accompaniment of[...] Read more

Recordings Nick Storring

send+receive: a festival of sound, v.19 For a festival of any stripe to last until its nineteenth edition suggests a deep commitment by its organizers to maintaining the attention of their audience. crys cole, director of send+receive, builds the festival around a different theme every year, going with “outside of the box[...] Read more

Concerts and Events Daniel Emberg Issue 129

Tim Beattie. Of Spectra. The debut release from young, award-winning Toronto classical guitarist Tim Beattie is filled with compositions that subtly shift, the way sunlight does in a room throughout the day. Merging classical guitar and electronics, Beattie, producer Connory Ballantyne, and engineer William Crann,[...] Read more

Recordings Laura Stanley

James Rolfe. Breathe: music for voices and early instruments New music for period instruments is not always convincing. But in these substantial works, James Rolfe avoids pastiche, homage, and self-conscious novelty, creating music that is subtle, sophisticated, and surprising.    In Breathe (2011) Anna Chatterton’s new[...] Read more

Recordings Cecilia Livingston

ISCM World New Music Days 2017 Let’s get the complaints out of the way first, shall we? An awful lot of take-out sushi was eaten during the International Society for Contemporary Music’s annual festival, held this year in Vancouver. With up to five official concerts a day, plus secret showcases not[...] Read more

Concerts and Events Alexander Varty

2017 Guelph Jazz Festival Striding confidently towards its 2018 silver anniversary, the Guelph Jazz Festival was invigorated this year with choice concerts from U.S. and European artists—but nonetheless, two of the most notable performances were from Canadian bands.     Montreal trio[...] Read more

Concerts and Events Ken Waxman Issue 129

Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Luciferian Towers.     At this point, the GY!BE formula probably needs no introduction. Godspeed You! Black Emperor has been making long-form, crescendo-driven, enigmatically titled, outspokenly political, communally produced, instrumental post-rock for over twenty years, with no major[...] Read more

Recordings Daniel Glassman

Something Else! Festival of Creative Music The rough, faded industrial city of Hamilton, Ontario, might seem an unlikely setting for a top-notch festival of creative music, but thanks to the efforts of Cem [pronounced Jem] Zafir, the artistic director of Something Else!, the city proved a perfect little world for the musicians and[...] Read more

Concerts and Events Mike Chamberlain

Joni Void. Selfless. It’s hard to be lo-fi in the twenty-first century. Even the most rudimentary contemporary sound recorders—on a smartphone or laptop, say—lack the auditory artifacts so fetishized by connoisseurs of tape and vinyl and emulated by much contemporary sampling and plunderphonics[...] Read more

Recordings Daniel Glassman Issue 128

Kelly Moran. Bloodroot. You know you’re onto a captivating recording when you’re so mesmerized by the music that you barely notice the unusual manner in which it was created. Pianist Kelly Moran employs various preparations, including screw-and-bolt obstructions à la Cage and long tones sustained[...] Read more

Recordings Lawrence Joseph Issue 128

Philippe Lauzier. A Pond in my Living Room. Exploring the sophisticated capacities of overdubbing, Montreal-based bass clarinettist Philippe Lauzier has created a multilayered program, which emphasizes not only the reedy tones but also the consolidated air currents emanating from his instrument. Like an action painter who works in[...] Read more

Recordings Ken Waxman Issue 128

Eyvind Kang / Jessika Kenney. Reverse Tree. Singer Jessika Kenney and viola player Eyvind Kang have released albums of a decidedly austere beauty. Their music has tinges of early medieval ritualistic song and of classical repertoire from the Middle East. Its calm pace turns its gaze inward, hovering over a dusky stillness, over[...] Read more

Recordings René van Peer Issue 128