Jonathan Bunce

Experimental Music Unit. Land Sea Sky Land Sea Sky is certainly not rock music, but it’s elemental like a weathered stone, and similarly resists any kind of interrogation. This is music as stripped down to its fundamental components as possible. It just simply is. Yet, like a rock, for those who speak the language of[...] Read more

Recordings Jonathan Bunce Issue 147

Absolutely Free. Aftertouch. A centrepiece track of Absolutely Free’s Aftertouch is “Remaining Light,” a sly nod to the title of Talking Heads’ fourth LP, Remain in Light. But that’s a bit of a ruse, as neither the song nor the album pick up that 1980 masterwork’s seminal thread[...] Read more

Recordings Jonathan Bunce Issue 141

Vicky Chow. A O R T A. One hundred years ago, Erik Satie coined the phrase furniture music. The French composer and pianist applied the term—Musique d’ameublement, more correctly translated as “furnishing music”—to short repetitive pieces meant to be heard as background music in[...] Read more

Recordings Jonathan Bunce Issue 127

Avec le soleil sortant de sa bouche. Pas Pire Pop, I Love You So Much. “Theme and variations” isn’t exactly rock ‘n’ roll’s modus operandi, unless you count the retrograde lyrical motif of “cars, girls, repeat.” But thanks to this modern-day Montreal quartet, it’s no longer the exclusive domain of Mozart and[...] Read more

Recordings Jonathan Bunce

Unsound Toronto. Part of Luminato Festival. For over thirty years, the Richard L. Hearn Generating Station was something of an urban myth in Toronto. A massive, decommissioned power plant, shuttered in 1983, it sat there at the edge of the city’s consciousness on the industrial Port Lands, loved only by urban explorers of[...] Read more

Concerts and Events Jonathan Bunce Issue 126

Alexander MacSween. The Squiggle Game. The Squiggle Game is that rarest of beasts, the free-improv disc you can air-drum along to. Its absorbing rhythmic heft, especially on tracks like the lead-off “That Gum You Like,” is unsurprising when you realize that it’s the brainchild of a drummer. Alexander MacSween[...] Read more

Recordings Jonathan Bunce

Colin Stetson and Sarah Neufeld. Never Were the Way She Was. Never Were the Way She Was is as robust as you would expect from a collaboration between Colin Stetson and Sarah Neufeld, two members of the ever-fertile Montreal music community whose instrumental prowess seems as much a product of virtuosity as extreme physical endurance. Their solo work[...] Read more

Recordings Jonathan Bunce Issue 122

DJ Sniff. Incredulous Cuts—Reinterpretations of the Doubtmusic Catalogue. On Incredulous Cuts, DJ Sniff finds the hidden connections between the chirrup of the hip-hop needle-scratch and the squawk of the free-jazz horn blast. Also known as Takuro Mizuta Lippit, the Japanese-born, Hong Kong-based former artistic director of STEIM in Amsterdam (from 2007 to 2012),[...] Read more

Recordings Jonathan Bunce Issue 121

Plumes Ensemble. Folk Songs and Future Loves. Being both a guitar-based indie-pop band and a modern chamber ensemble, Plumes Ensemble (or Plumes) is a group with a split personality. Based in Montreal and Paris, the ensemble makes a mighty effort to reconcile these seeming opposites with its latest recording, Folk Songs and Future Loves[...] Read more

Recordings Jonathan Bunce

Bedroom Community Reykjavik to Breidholt, a suburban district south of downtown that is home to Valgeir Sigurdsson’s Greenhouse recording studio and the offices of Bedroom Community, the record-label collective that the native Icelander cofounded in 2006 with American composer Nico Muhly and Australian[...] Read more

Recordings Jonathan Bunce Issue 115

Lina Allemano Four. Live at the Tranzac. The “Four” in Lina Allemano’s band’s moniker is apt. Live at the Tranzac starts with a geometric four-note figure on “Flummox,” and throughout the album, the Toronto trumpeter demonstrates a penchant for rectangular shapes in her cool contemporary post-bop. To[...] Read more

Recordings Jonathan Bunce Issue 115

Buke and Gase. Function Falls EP. Buke and Gase are a Brooklyn-based duo that makes a robust racket from a ramshackle collection of homemade and home-modified instruments. And it’s their unique instruments—Arone Dyer’s Buke (“byook,” a baritone ukulele) and Aron Sanchez’s Gase (“gace[...] Read more

Recordings Jonathan Bunce Issue 115