Monthly Archives: January 2015

grouper - ruins

Album Review: Grouper – Ruins

grouper - ruins

By: Sophie MacArther

From the outset Ruins, the tenth record from musician Liz Harris, is remarkable in the way that it breathes and deals with space. It is an invitation into Harris’s state of mind while making the record on the coast of Portugal back in 2011. It feels personal and rooted in a sense of place, allowing each listen to transports us into her little world.

In spite of the sparse instrumentation used on the album, these recordings do not feel bare because so much attention is paid to how they live and breathe. They feature what sounds like chirping frogs at certain instances, rainfall, and an almost constant hum that likens to the sound of a distant sea. These sounds are incorporated as essential aspects of the sonic patchwork of each composition, likening the songs to living, breathing organisms despite their languid and drawn out piano and vocals and moments of silence. The varied tones of the piano consistently interplay with each other and with silence. The recordings have an interesting sonic depth: the vocals fit in the middle of the mix, sung in half-whisper, with Harris often layering multiple vocals upon each other. The piano reverberates beautifully around her melodies, and her lyrics frequently remain difficult to discern.

This is very much an album record, in the sense that the songs work as a cohesive unit, employing an all-encompassing sonic palate and progressing steadily through time. When the songs start and end it feels less like a moment to change gears than simply a moment to breathe before continuing on. The record’s structure begins with a percussive track and then two vocal pieces before moving into the instrumental “Labyrinth.” Here, the music is so immersive and meditative that when a microwave beeps at the end of the track it is exhilarating, an awakening return to earth before the next track, “Lighthouse” which refocuses attention with its beautifully layered vocals. The record then moves into an instrumental track again before another beautifully layered vocal track, “Holding.” The final track, “Made of Air,” shifts gears sonically. It is more drone-based than the rest, but no less gentle or moving; instead, it serves as a final, cathartic release to end the record. The structure of the record allows the listener to drift in and out of focus while gleaning its emotional effect throughout. It inspires multiple listens.

When listening to this record I was fascinated by how each time I heard it, I was transported to a very specific state of mind. My body assumed a certain posture and my surroundings took on a poetic beauty; my actions were committed with a heightened sense of perception. Ruins gives us space to reflect on ourselves. It is both melancholic and peaceful at the same time. It strikes a balance and beauty only possible with an attuned sense of space and subtlety, masterfully employed by Liz Harris throughout its 40 minutes.

Exit Roots Rock Rebel, Enter The Rebel Beat

For those of you who dig ska, you’re probably familiar with longstanding CKUT show Roots Rock Rebel. For nearly a decade it’s been the go-to for Montreal’s ska movers and shakers, but there are changes afoot. To give you the news from the horse’s mouth, we’re turning things over to Aaron Maiden himself — read on for the full scoop:

To all the rude boys, rude girls, punks, mods, and rockers,

I have some bittersweet news. After broadcasting for 9 years, Roots Rock Rebel will be no more after January 2015. It has been an incredible passion and honour for me to serve the local and international ska, punk, and reggae scenes with this show, interviewing bands from around the world, and giving space to promote underground artists.

I am going to carry on doing a radio show and podcast every Wednesday from 10pm-12am on CKUT, but the show is getting a total overhaul. So I’m very excited to introduce to all of you – The Rebel Beat.

The Rebel Beat will launch with its first edition on February 4, 2015.

 Roots Rock Rebel has always been about ska, reggae, punk, and class war on the dance floor. With The Rebel Beat, my plan is to put the emphasis on the latter, and showcase revolutionary political music across different genres, and across different continents. 

We live in serious times. Militarized police states. Ecological devastation taking such a toll on our planet. Racism so crude that you’d think it was 1950, not 2015. But serious times call for serious action, and a serious soundtrack. That is where I hope The Rebel Beat will come in –  a show to connect musicians and artists with global movements for revolutionary change. Indeed, class war on the dance floor.

What will you hear when you tune in? Less ska and reggae, more hip-hop against police brutality, riot folk, anarcho-punk, union picket line hymns, slam poetry, plus interviews with artists, agitators, revolutionaries, community organizers, and more.

I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has listened to the show over the years and supported us. People who have really come through and who should be named include:  Val Desnoyers, Cath Marchand, Reggie McClean and the Fundamentals, Victor Rice (who composed our theme song!), Danny Rebel and the KGB, Kman and the 45s, Lorraine Muller, Matt, Mike, Lora, Alex, and everyone at Stomp Records, Rebel Time Records, Jay Nugent, Dave Hillyard, and the Slackers, The Hangers, and of course the whole Montreal Ska Festival crew.

Below you’ll find some more info on The Rebel Beat. I hope you keep tuning in every Wednesday night on CKUT, or keep downloading the podcast, because this new show promises to be amazing.

Link us up!

Until next week, stay rude, and stay rebel,
Aaron Maiden


About the Rebel Beat
The Rebel Beat is a show of radical political music across different genres, and across different continents. It is the mixtape to a riot against police brutality. It is your nightly newscast set to bass and beats. It is a rallying cry against apathy. It is protest anthems from Hong Kong to Istanbul to Ferguson to Montreal.

Tune in every Wednesday from 10pm-12am EST on CKUT 90.3 FM in Montreal, or stream or download the podcast at Curated and hosted by Aaron Maiden (formerly Roots Rock Rebel), and featuring regular collaborators and guest DJs.


Hey friends,

Hope all of you in the northeast are enjoying your snow day. Here in Montreal, we feel your winter woes — but I’m writing this from a cozy, well-heated office so it certainly could be worse. January is also the Month of Birthdays at CKUT (we aquarius folks are creative types, y’know?), mine included, and last week my heart was warmed by a gang of friends who braved the cold to shower me with chocolate, whiskey, and other treats. The collective hangover was a little easier to bear this year and while I’d like to credit it to us being a wiser and more mature crew, I feel like that is perhaps wishful thinking.

You guys all know how amazing the Free Music Archive is, right? How about CKUT’s page on the FMA? It’s pretty chock-full of live studio sessions in more genres than we care to list, and we’ve just added a couple recent gems from Echo Beach and Hazy Montagne Mystique to the collection. Give ‘em a listen and don’t forget to check past entries too — we’ve been running this page since 2011, and there’s plenty of good stuff for your ears to discover.

ckut top 30 – january 27, 2015
1. viet cong – s/t – flemish eye CC
2. stefan christoff & nick schofield – reves sonores a montreal – howl! arts CC *
3. charlemagne palestine & rhys chatham – youuuu + mee = weee – subrosa
4. siskiyou – nervous – constellation CC
5. notta comet – success with houseplants – self-released CC * Continue reading

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Live Bands! // Underground Sounds

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Part of what makes radio wicked is the studio sessions, when artists visit the station and perform their music live on air. In a two-hour program, this means loading and prepping all the gear: the drum-set, guitars and amps, microphones and cables; then, wiring everything up, setting the levels, correcting issues, and before you know it, the band is ready to play!

Since these musical moments are fleeting on-air, here are some recent live in-studio jams from Underground Sounds, extracted for long-term listening pleasure. You can find more performances and interviews on the show blog, or just tune in each week, Mondays 8-10pm. 

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Nomadic Massive host The Montreal Sessions :: Jan 27

NM picFor their final episode of The Montreal Sessions, your host with the most, Nomadic Massive is finishing with a bang!

Co-hosting today’s episode is Meryem, Tali and Lou from the NM crew airing tunes strictly from Montreal, so keep your ears peeled for some familiar sounds. They’ll also be checking in with Vincent Stephen-Ong of the Cypher and closing our the show with a free-for-all live jam + improvised rap session. It’s gonna be good, and you know it!

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Moss Lime + Lido Pimienta // Underground Sounds

US logoWhoa, hot show tonight, folks. Gotta’ make this quick ’cause we’re kicking things off so soon~

Co-hosting the show tonight is your usual guy Nick Schofield, plus the wicked wiles of Rachel Weldon, CKUT’s Arts & Culture Assistant/founder of Debaser. Together we’ll be tackling an interview with Lido Pimienta in anticipation of her #mtl show this Satuday (Jan. 31) with Gambletron and Mas Aya. And, it only gets better, Moss Lime (Fixture records) is stoppin’ by the studio with their geetars for a live performance. This local trio has been making our charts sweat all winter, so now’s your chance to hear them like never before, live on the radio.


Album Review: Shash’U – Thru Da Night


By: Néma Gaye

When you think of successful talented Montreal artist, Richard St-Aubin aka Dj Sash’u is an essential reference. Really well known in the Montreal urban community, his work has allowed him to perform at major events like Juste Debout in France, as well as Igloofest , PikNik Electronic and Boiler Room in Montreal. His interesting discography shows that he has crossed genre borders to end up with a unique sound that he qualifies has Power Funk (PWRFNK).

Here we are today with another new project from him, Thru Da Night EP. Released under Fool’s Gold Record on January 13th, Shash’U spoiled his fan base and music connoisseurs with a free five track project. The EP was really well received on an international scale, with major platform like Complex Magazine highlighting his work. Shash’U did put Montreal on the map and made us proud.

So what should you expect listening to Thru Da Night? Electric, funky and soulful sounds. Keep reading for a track by track review.

The EP starts with the song “Don’t Fight It, which takes you through the 80’s in about one second, and almost makes you believe the tracks could be the theme song to a classic TV show  (think Knight Rider and the A-Team mixed together with extra drums and bass: marvellous!). Quickly enough Shash’U takes the listener to a whole other universe pairing his talent with another great Montrealer; Mrs Mimo LaFunk for the “Song Thru Da Night.” The  song was actually released on his Youtube account about 2 months ago with a very dope visual; check it out : ).

“One More Ride” will take you to a funky electronic Carnival vibe! This track will flip your mood if you are down and the good energy from the song transcends your entire body. “Lol XoX” keeps us at the party with some more ‘’headsprungy’’ notes, alongside heavy drums, and subtle cross fader magic/scratching at his best.

“Skyline” is a great closing track, with a little slower tempo, it’s certainly the darkest song of the project, but still really enjoyable.

To conclude; with a very strong mixture of sounds, Shash’U is giving us a bit of everything in this 5 track release to satisfy all the moods and all the listeners – but, still staying faithful to his unique sound. A must listen !

New Tracks on the Free Music Archive

Have you perused CKUT’s page on the Free Music Archive lately? We’ve got a couple of new recordings up and we’re really excited to share them with your ears — check out this long-form sonic tapestry from Echo Beach and these beautiful electronic pieces from Jeunesse Cosmique favourite Hazy Montagne Mystique. Plus, we’ve got plenty more recordings in the works so keep an eye on the FMA page for new goodies to arrive very soon…


Hi folks,

The weekend flew by in a whirl of amazing shows, including another amazing edition of Art’s Birthday — just check out that shot of the CKUT Circuit Workshop kicking off the night with their lab coats and homemade circuit-bent wonders. It was zany!


CKUT has a totally rad, award-winning monthly artist-in-residency program called the Montreal Sessions. Each month a new local artist/DJ/band/label/festival/promoter/collective programs a month’s worth of live, weekly radio shows which air on Tuesdays from 3-5pm. Check out the whole list of past curators (there are a ton of ‘em) here.

This month, we’re really excited to be welcoming Nomadic Massive into the studio to host the Montreal Sessions. Rapping in English, French, Creole, Spanish and Arabic, Nomadic Massive is the city’s secret weapon of politically conscious beats & rhymes.  Sharing a message of universal understanding and social justice, the live powerhouse has released two LPs & two EPs and toured all over the globe with the likes of Charles Bradley, K’Naan, and Deltron 3030. With a dedication to spreading their sound across borders and cultures, the group has captivated audiences and critics worldwide.  Tune in every Tuesday in January from 3pm – 5pm to hear them talk about what’s real in Montreal and beyond.

ckut top 30 – january 20, 2015
1. notta comet – success with houseplants – self-released CC *
2. towanda – black sheep EP – self-released CC *
3. r u real – s/t – inyrdisk CC *
4. stefan christoff & nick schofield – reves sonores a montreal – howl! arts CC *
5. fire moss – mars//moon//earth – self-released CC Continue reading