Aiyun Huang. Resonances. On Resonances, Toronto-based percussionist Aiyun Huang showcases an eclectic range of musical ideas. The seven-track album is out on the Chicago label Sideband, which was founded in 2020 to present a wide spectrum of new-music records. Resonances features works by an assortment of[...] Read more

Recordings Vanessa Ague Issue 141

Robin Hatch. T.O.N.T.O. When Toronto keyboardist and composer Robin Hatch became an artist in residence at the National Music Centre in Calgary, she was given rare access to a wondrous resource in the centre’s collection of antique instruments: The Original New Timbral Orchestra (TONTO), a mammoth machine that[...] Read more

Recordings Mary Dickie Issue 141

Gordon Grdina and Jim Black. Martian Kitties. Canadian Gordon Grdina and American Jim Black cannily invest this album’s thirteen tracks with multiple textures from two instruments each: Grdina playing guitar and oud, and Black using drums and electronics. The augmentation doesn’t follow the expected course though, with the[...] Read more

Recordings Ken Waxman Issue 141

Jessica Ackerley and Daniel Carter. Friendship: Lucid Shared Dreams and Time Travel. Alberta-born, New York-based guitarist Jessica Ackerley combines elements rarely heard together, compounding them into an improvisatory language that includes American primitive (the school of John Fahey and Robbie Basho that stretches from folk idioms to ragtime and raga) and the clear,[...] Read more

Recordings Stuart Broomer Issue 141

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

Silla and Rise. Silarjuaq. In 2017, the trio Silla and Rise released a self-titled debut that merged Inuit throat-singing duo Silla (Charlotte Qamaniq and Cynthia Pitsiulak) and the electronic beats of DJ Rise Ashen. They sounded like nobody else. In 2019, Galactic Gala proved that the innovative trio was crafting an[...] Read more

Recordings Chaka V. Grier

Pamela Z. A Secret Code. Characterized by the transformation of mundane experience into something beautiful and poignant, A Secret Code includes works from across Pamela Z’s repertoire—pieces written for dance, excerpts from larger works, and works from live-sampled concerts. Pamela Z uses extended vocal[...] Read more

Recordings Kathryn Knowles Issue 140

Maurice Louca. Saet El-Hazz (The Luck Hour) Some of the most mind-bending and genre-blending music is emerging from the fertile underground scene of Cairo, Egypt. Maurice Louca is a founding member of the Dwarfs of East Agouza trio with Alan Bishop of Sun City Girls fame and Montreal’s Sam Shalabi, as well as other Cairo-based[...] Read more

Recordings Lawrence Joseph Issue 140

Le GGRIL. Sommes. Montreal’s Ratchet Orchestra, Vancouver’s New Orchestra Workshop, and Toronto’s Association of Improvising Musicians are evidence that Canada’s largest cities have robust improvisation scenes whose participants occasionally coalesce to play works composed for larger[...] Read more

Recordings Lawrence Joseph Issue 140

Badge Epoch. Scroll. The psychedelic era’s unprecedented explorations of studio technology birthed a fruitful concept that has since infiltrated many genres of recorded music: the collision of music performance and collage tactics.   Toronto’s Badge Epoch—a slimmer variation of[...] Read more

Recordings Nick Storring Issue 140

Akropolis Reed Quintet. Ghost Light / Quasar. De souffles et de machines III The year 2021 delivered eclectic offerings of literal and abstract artistic storytelling in U.S.-based Akropolis Reed Quintet’s most recent album Ghost Light, and the latest iteration of De souffles et de machines by Canadian new-music veterans Quasar.   The strength[...] Read more

Recordings Olivia Shortt Issue 140

Linda Catlin Smith. Ballad. Traditional ballads, Scottish writer Willa Muir once suggested, arise from deep strata of shared human experience. They open onto landscapes of feeling and imagination that have their own unhurried rhythms, quite distinct from the regulatory measures of clock time. This performance by[...] Read more

Recordings Julian Cowley Issue 140