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

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

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

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

Harris Eisenstadt Canada Day. On Parade in Parede; Harris Eisenstadt. Recent Developments. Having reached a comfortable maturity in his playing and composing, Toronto-born, Brooklyn-based percussionist Harris Eisenstadt isn’t averse to showcasing his talents in varied settings. With On Parade in Parede, the drummer has created a spirited post-bop session with his Canada Day[...] Read more

Recordings Ken Waxman Issue 128

Paul Dolden. Histoires d’histoires. Paul Dolden is a maximalist’s maximalist, combining literally hundreds of simultaneous acoustic tracks of standard orchestral instruments, augmented with rock drums and guitars and spiced with exotic instruments. So great is the attention paid to the minutest detail of each track that[...] Read more

Recordings Lawrence Joseph Issue 128

Dario Calderone. James Tenney Bass Works. In 1983, composer James Tenney posed the question: Why is a compound tone consisting of many harmonic partials perceived as a single tone? He apparently didn’t find a satisfactory answer, and surmised that the solution must reside in the listeners themselves. That is where the music is[...] Read more

Recordings René van Peer Issue 128

Leblanc / Vincente / Antunes / Ferreira Lopes. A Square Meal Portugal has a vibrant free-jazz scene with prolific record labels like Clean Feed, prominent festivals like Jazz Em Agosto, and a plethora of world-class performers. This CD brings together two such musicians from Lisbon, trumpeter Luís Vicente and double bassist Hugo Antunes, with[...] Read more

Recordings Lawrence Joseph