Category Archives: CKUT programming

CKUT TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE CHARTS::: June 20, 2017

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Hello friends,
The past week has been kind of a blur… In addition to catching a bunch of excellentSuoni shows, I was also lucky enough to share a bill with the fantastic HSY and H. de Heutz (above) at Ottawa Explosion — in a church, no less! I ended up staying for a couple days to hang with pals and came back just in time to see Les Filles de Illighadad make their North American debut here in Montreal last night. It was probably the most stunning show I’ve seen all year; in addition to putting on an amazing performance, they also have a pretty incredible story. They’re playing a few other dates on this side of the pond, and please do yourself a favour and check them out if they stop in your town.

xo
joni

:::WHAT’S UP AT CKUT:::
We’ve got a whole ton of fresh new content up on the CKUT music dept blog. Check out our take on Next Music from Tokyo and peruse these reviews of local favouritesEmmett McCleary and Best Fern; or perhaps you’re in the mood for a more detailed read, like our ongoing series tracing the use of samples in modern hip hop. There’s a lot to explore, so turn on some background music and dig right in.

:::CHARTS:::
ckut top 30 – june 20, 2017

1. she-devils – s/t – secretly canadian CC *
2. best fern – covers ep – self-released CC *
3. sick boss – s/t – drip audio CC
4. joni void – selflessness – constellation CC *
5. arto lindsay – cuidado madame – northern spy Continue reading

Concert Review: Bernice & Charlotte Day-Wilson @ PHI Centre

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The night of April 22nd saw the Phi Centre opening its doors for an unforgettable showcase of two outstanding Toronto acts, complementary in many ways but diverse enough to keep the audience hooked.

Opening the show was Bernice, a six-piece electronic pop outfit fronted by Robin Dann. The band’s presence alone was formidable; there was something immediate in the way they were stationed under the cool lights. The music conveyed a similar power, with their weird knotty songs lying coiled beneath a deceptively smooth exterior. One striking detail of this setup was the prevalence of the electronic elements: synths, samplers, and a digital drum kit laid down a gorgeous, minimal foundation for the clear and understated vocals. The overall effect was one of supreme control and comfort, songs gracefully unfolding with a fine-tuned joy. By the time they hit their stride, the room was already packed and the audience was tuned in for this bracingly original set.

Offering a stark contrast, Charlotte Day-Wilson came with a far more conventional approach, though not unremarkable in and of itself. Backed simply by keys and a drummer, Charlotte tended to the sole vocal duty while busily trading off bass, sampler, guitar and saxophone, the latter eliciting a wild cheer from the crowd. Elements of funk, soul, hip-hop, and gospel coalesced seamlessly beneath her truly powerful voice, and with the aid of her flippant stage presence the room warmed quickly until the crowd was hanging off every beat drop and vocal somersault. All in all it was a head-spinning masterclass in the last half-century of popular music, tastefully arranged and presented by a commanding and singular voice.

Scapes: the Montreal Sessions, April Edition

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During the month April, Jean Cousin, aka Joni Void, will be hosting The Montréal Sessions on CKUT, every Tuesday from 3-5pm, leading up to the release of his forthcoming album Selfless on Constellation Records.

For the Montréal Sessions, Joni Void presents Scapes: a “series of conceptual musical selection experiences.” Immersive mixes that aim to transcend genres and traditional radioplay, instead sounding more like a lucid dream broadcast.

These thematic sonic journeys include: Voxscapes, a vocal-based mix of songs that are almost entirely a-capella/only use voice; Livescapes, a compilation of Montréal live recordings, with a first hour dedicated to recordings made at La Plante/The Plant, an alternative space in which Jean resides and organizes events; Dronescape, focusing on drone and ambient music, including a live performance with other members of La Plante; Cityscape, a soundscape of Montréal with local field recordings and songs that directly reference the city; and finally Filmscape, a collage of diverse film samples, and soundtracks. These episodes will also feature some of Jean’s own music, from his different monikers/projects, even including some unreleased material.

Tune in and Join the Void.

Concert Review: SunnO))) & Big|Brave

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“Maximum volume yields maximum results.” This is printed on every rider and stage plot Sunn O))) sends out to venues in advance of their shows. Not many bands can claim to have a motto, but it’s the most fitting summation of this act you’d ever need.

Opening the show is Montreal’s own Big|Brave with a polished and appropriately doomy set. Thunderous drums and heavy, ponderous riffs carry the plaintive vocals, expertly setting the mood and giving the headbangers a chance to get it out of their systems while they can. This will be the one and only time such familiar musical hallmarks as rhythm, melody, and discernible lyrics make an appearance tonight – we’re heading somewhere much weirder.

There is a long stretch between the acts as the smoke machines are pushed to their limits, and a thick haze settles over the crowd. Dim red lights pulse and a guy near me takes the opportunity to sneak a cigarette. This innocuous subversion feels significant: we’re entering new territory and losing some rules and markers along the way. Those of us in the first half-dozen rows can barely see the bodies around us, let alone the stage. We’re retreating into ourselves and losing sight of everything else.

Before anyone even realizes the group has taken the stage, sound begins to fill the room. It is the voice of Atilla Csihar, guttural and droning. His range is magnificent, dipping down into a rich throat hum steeped in overtones, leaping up into chanted invocations which might be Hungarian or might be a dead language from a forgotten dimension. As the smoke clears we see there are others behind him, manning guitars and synths; they are all hooded and cloaked, moving slowly and with purpose. The sound swells and drowns the voice in a billowing roar and our earplugs are in, the unprepared quickly realizing their unfortunate mistake and clasping their hands to the sides of their heads.

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Overused as the cliché may be, this is more than music. This is an experience of sound at its most primal level, a crash course in the physics of vibration. It is felt in the body as much, or perhaps even more, than it is heard in the ears. It rattles your bones, warps your gut. The skull buzzes, ears pop. The sheer volume elevates sound into physical reality, unfurling from the wall of stacked amps like a standing wave.

Beyond the novelty of noise, the stage presence is worth mentioning. It feels less like a performance for our benefit and more like a glimpse into their own intimate ritual – and not just because they’re all dressed like druids. These men are participating in something special and deeply personal. They pass around a bottle of water like a sacrament, all motions careful and deliberate. One or two or three members at a time come and go from the stage; at one point both the guitarists are gone and we are treated to a much lighter passage of synth and horn, which only deepens the impact when the guitars drop back in.

The sound ends suddenly. The silence comes as a shock, a jolt. The body grows so accustomed to the volume, the ubiquitous vibration, that its sudden absence leaves a void. There is a collective release throughout the crowd as hundreds of bodies immediately relax, slacking into the vacuum. The smoke clears, the thunderous applause fades away, raised horns are lowered, faces are left glowing and awed. There is a general consensus of speechlessness, an inability to express what we all just went through. A friend manages: “That was church.”

Concert Review: Kaytranada @ L’Olympia

photo taken by Aaron Bentley

photo taken by Aaron Bentley

Final exams didn’t faze dedicated fans from attending a sold out show at L’Olympia from local electronic producer Kaytranada. Taking the stage at 11:20pm, the venue was packed to the brim with people eagerly anticipating the eccentric young artist to perform his latest mixes for everyone. Fellow local artists Planet Giza and Lou Phelps opened the show earlier on that night with their own sets to warm up the crowd. However, if you planned on catching just the main act then you would’ve had to bear waiting outside in line for over half an hour before stepping foot into the venue.

Once inside L’Olympia, security pushed their efforts in patting down every single person before letting anyone onto the dancefloor. The crowd was immense, nothing but a sea of bodies could be seen in every direction and by the time my friends and I made our way inside, Kaytranada had already took to the stage with performing his mixes.

We made our way up towards the front of the stage, the energy in the room was unparalleled to the show that Kaytranada performed back in May for the release of his debut LP 99.9%. By this time around people knew what to expect from the young producer, his debut album garnered widespread attention and has been making appearances on end of the year lists for the hottest albums of 2016.

He performed fan favorites from 99.9%. The tracks “Glowed Up” and “Lite Spots” had the audience going ballistic and vibing hard off of the hottest two singles on the album. During another point of the show “Cranes In The Sky” off of Solange’s latest record A Seat At The Table had people grooving hard to the funky remix that Kaytranada was able to provide on the track. The liveliness of the venue was constant, everyone in the building was able to lose themselves to Kaytranada’s crisp production that has become distinct to the artist’s production style.

After over an hour of material the show finally concluded around 12:35am, roars of excitement and cheer filled the venue of L’Olympia as Kaytranada thanked everyone for coming to the show. While it’s only been a couple of months since 99.9% dropped, the amount of playability that album holds is always refreshing when listening to his debut efforts. On a live stage all his songs translate exceptionally well to the dancefloor, which makes total sense. His music is meant to be danced to, meant to be played at parties, and most importantly is meant to showcase that Kaytranada is no one-trick pony when it comes to making music.

-review by Michael Eidelson

Blue Skies Turn Black hosts the December Montreal Sessions

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This December, Blue Skies Turn Black is taking over CKUT’s Montreal Sessions to celebrate its sweet 16. Every show will be hosted by a different BSTB employee looking back on their favorite music of the year. Look out for special co-hosts, giveaways and surprise announcements throughout the month.

About Blue Skies Turn Black

Blue Skies Turn Black is a Montreal based concert promotions company founded by Meyer
Billurcu and Brian Neuman in March 2000. BSTB has booked thousands of artists spanning across every genre in its 16 year history. From DIY lofts to 2000+ capacity theatres, BSTB has worked with just about every venue in town. Its small but dedicated team of music enthusiasts work tirelessly to discover new artists as well as cultivate the relationships with the bands it has already worked with, both from the local and international scene.

Stream the show live every Tuesday in December from 3-5pm or download the full audio archives from ckut.ca.

CKUT TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE CHARTS::: November 29, 2016

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First it was Leonard Cohen, then Sharon Jones, now Pauline Oliveros. Don’t even wanna think about what’s gonna happen next week.

In light of all this downer music news, here’s a tiny bunny eating some wildflowers. Let yourself enjoy the little things.

xo
joni

:::WHAT’S UP AT CKUT:::
Our Annual General Meeting is tomorrow! If you’re in Montreal, please do stop by – it’s your chance to catch up on all the things we’ve done over the past year and get an idea of what’s coming up in 2017. All your fave CKUT folks will be there, and we’ll have food courtesy of Midnight Kitchen. Check out the details & RSVP here.

:::CHARTS:::
ckut top 30 – november 29, 2016

1. tanya tagaq – retribution – six shooter CC
2. meredith monk – on behalf of nature – ecm
3. phern – pause clope/cool coma – fixture records CC *
4. sam shalabi & alan bishop – mother of all sinners: puppet on a string – unrock CC *
5. weyes blood – front row seat to earth – mexican summer Continue reading

Album Review: MonkeyJunk – Time To Roll

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Time To Roll is the fifth studio album from the Ottawa blues band MonkeyJunk. The band is proud to announce that this album features an electric bass prominently, which was not the case in any of the band’s previous four album. The album is not only, electric but also eclectic. While every song is united under the umbrella of blues and blues rock, each song has a unique essence and emotion. In the first three tracks the listener experiences the emotion of a Jonny Lang ballad, the milieu of a Tinsley Ellis song, and the rockin’ vibe of something straight from the depths Jimmie Vaughan and The Fabulous Thunderbirds.

Vocalist Steve Marriner bowls over the listener with the sheer power and potency of his voice, such as in the first track “Best Kept Secret,” yet, at the same time caresses the listener with sonorous care, for example, in the soulful “Blue Lights Go Down.” As well, most every song also features Marriner’s powerful harmonica in addition to his strong vocals. The band covers many styles on the album, from the gospel tinged, funky “Fuzzy Poodle” to the strong, throbbing love song “Can’t Call You Baby.” Perhaps most interesting to a traditional blues lover, “Undertaker Blues” is what could only be described as MonkeyJunk’s take on the country blues John Lee Hooker’s songwriting. The song is the perfect coalescence between Marriner’s sharp harp and vocals, Tony D’s twangy guitar, and drummer Matt Sobb’s driving percussion. Monkey Junk entertains with the comical “Gone” and another southern rock-influenced tune, “Time To Roll.” Listeners will swear they hear Derek Trucks on the soulful “Pray For Rain.” “See The Sign” features a Southern/Indie Rock feel accompanied by Sobb’s drumming in tandem with that ever-present harmonica that anyone will come to know well after listening to this album. Time To Roll leaves the listener with a heart full of MonkeyJunk’s sonorous and impassioned blues and great contentment.
– review by E.C. Wenzel

Album Review: Lady Wray – Queen Alone

Queen Alone is the second solo studio album from American R&B singer Nicole Wray, and her first album under the name “Lady Wray”. Eighteen years since her first album, Make It Hot, Wray has a new record company, a new producer, and a new sound. Make It Hot was part R&B and part hip-hop, with heavy drum beats and frequent features by album producer and rapper Missy Elliot. Queen Alone presents a more mature, classic R&B sound that puts the focus on Wray’s powerful vocals.

Most of the songs on Queen Alone are old-school R&B. Simple instrumentals are punctuated by trumpets and background vocals heavily influenced by gospel, a side effect of Wray’s church upbringing. This can be seen in tracks such as “Do It Again”, “Guilty”, and “Make Me Over”, nostalgic tunes about love and loss. As the album progresses, however, the songs begin to bring in elements of other genres. “In Love (Don’t Mess Things Up)” features a folksy instrumental not typically seen in R&B, providing an interesting contrast to Wray’s vocals. “It’s Been A Long Time” is reminiscent of the Jackson 5, bringing in more of a pop vibe. The tracks “Cut Me Loose” and “Underneath My Feet” delve into rock, with heavy guitar and drum beats. Finally, “They Won’t Hang Around” brings back memories of classic Amy Winehouse hits such as “You Know I’m No Good”. With elements of so many different genres, Queen Alone runs the risk of sounding like a collection of single songs rather than an album. However, the R&B undertones of every song, combined with Lady Wray’s powerful vocals, give the album the necessary cohesiveness.

Queen Alone is remarkable different from Lady Wray’s first album. Her new sound emphasizes her incredible voice instead of relying on the heavy backbeat and hip-hop elements of Make It Hot. Wray’s return to a more classic R&B sound suits her well, and is a great listen for anyone looking to reminisce about the old-school days of R&B.

– review by Emma Park

Mundial & M for Montreal take over CKUT’s Montreal Sessions

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For the month of November, we’re stoked to welcome Eli Levinson of Mundial Montreal and M for Montreal into the studio to curate CKUT’s Montreal Sessions. Both M and Mundial bring industry people together to see shows, network, and create business. It’s a great opportunity for artists to develop themselves professionally and for audiences to discover the best and brightest local talent.
Mundial Montreal (November 15-18) focuses on globe-spanning international sounds with an eclectic mix of Canadian talent, plus high caliber international acts and a special series called Aboriginal Sounds highlighting new music created by Indigenous artists.
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M for Montreal (November 16-19) focuses on indie rock, hip hop, and electronic music and is primarily aimed at showcasing Montreal-based artists. It has been instrumental in bringing local talent to international stages and helping to raise the profile of our local scene.
This month, the Montreal sessions will focus on artists showcasing at Mundial and M as well as a couple highlights from past editions. There will be plenty of special guests, interviews, and live performances — tune in every Tuesday in November from 3-5pm for a truly diverse sampling of the artists hitting our stages this month.