Tag Archives: AJ Cornell


Suoni Per Il Popolo: Local Heroes

After writing a review of the fantastic Suoni Per Il Popolo Festival opening concert featuring the likes of Wadada Leo Smith and Kai Kellough, I was graced with the opportunity to witness a slew of Suoni festival concerts throughout their two week line-up.  As usual, Suoni delivered a mind bending take on music.  From spoken word to art-punk to free jazz, all things underground seemed to be represented in one way or another.  Through and through Montreal was well represented.  At the end of the day, the festival is really about this beautiful city we live in so, I thought it would be best to spend some time writing about some of my favorite local acts.  Check it out:

Jean Derome and Joane Hétu @ Sala Rossa


Jean Derome has been an important figure in Quebec’s Musique Actuelle scene for 45 years.  For this year’s festival, Derome put on a career spanning concert event featuring various ensembles and musicians from different eras in his life.  From beginning to end the audience witnessed extraordinary feats as each and every musician tested the capabilities of their selected musical instruments.  The set that I remember most fondly was Derome’s first with alto saxophone player and vocalist Joane Hétu.  Although Derome has an impressive arsenal of instruments including Alto Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone, Alto Flute, Soprano Flute as well as various extended wind instruments, Hétu still matched Derome’s level of contrast with her outstanding ability to use everything at her disposal.  From screeching high notes and intense vocal clicking to airy sax playing, Hétu successfully held her ground when faced with the spectrum of noise of Derome.  The set began with textural devices.  Puffs of air and rhythmic scratching evolved into huge walls of sound as Hétu and Derome developed extensive motivic ideas side by side.  The quick-hitting contrast and shocking sound effects maintained excitement throughout, truly epitomizing the wonder of live improvised music. Continue reading




Greetings radio,
We survived another epic year of Suoni Per Il Popolo and now it’s back to the usual summer routine of park hangs, picnics, and bike rides. Suoni brought a lot of great folks into Montreal, including our dear friend (& former CKUT music coordinator) AJ Cornell to perform in an excellent duo with fellow CKUT music dept alum Tim Darcy — we were lucky enough to have them in for a live interview during last week’s Montreal Sessions, and it felt so good to have a mini reunion right there in the studio.

ckut top 30 – june 21, 2016

1. jef elise barbara – sexe machin/sex machine – fixture records CC *
2. kaytranada – 99.9% – xl CC *
3. aj cornell & tim darcy – too significant to ignore – nna tapes CC *
4. anohni – hopelessness – secretly canadian
5. un blonde – good will come to you – egg paper factory CC * Continue reading

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Album Review: AJ Cornell & Tim Darcy – Too Significant To Ignore

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We’ve always known Tim Darcy had a way with words.  Last year he stunned us with the line “I’m no longer afraid to die cause that is all that I have left” from the song “Beautiful Blue Sky” on Ought’sSun Coming Down.  The band’s first album More than Any Other Dayalso had its brilliant lyrical moments; “today, more than any other day, I am prepared to make a decision between 2% and whole milk” said Darcy in a particularly ironic discussion of his grocery shopping.  With the help of electronic musician AJ Cornell, Darcy’s lyrical talent and vocal delivery have been put in a vacuum.  Gone are the erratic rhythms and bass lines he’s usually featured beside.  Gone is Darcy’s guitar centered songwriting style and vocal hooks.  Replacing the usual Ought set-up is AJ Cornell’s eerie avant-garde electronic backdrop, which has brought a whole new personality out of Darcy resulting in the album Too Significant To Ignore. Continue reading

Chenaux in Beirut

Show in Review: Eric Chenaux, Le Fruit Vert, MiSR

Chenaux in Beirut

Monday, July 23, Casa del Popolo

One of those quiet nights at the Casa where the room sat completely empty until the minute before it was packed near to capacity. A full room on Monday for MiSR, Le Fruit Vert, and Eric Chenaux. MiSR found Radwan Moumneh (seated, wearing sunglasses) on mandolin, Jessica Moss (up font and standing) on violin, and (forgive me) a third on a floor tom.  The trio played a single piece, starting rhythmically and quiet, slowly building into percussion, and ending with a sparse group acapella.

Le Fruit Vert features former CKUT music director Andrea-Jane Cornell and Marie-Douce (of Pas Chic Chic, others) facing off on a near-total-dark casa stage. For those familiar with Cornell’s other musical exploits, this performance was particularly exciting as the duo ventured into decidedly more… tonal waters. Chanting, churning, and overlapping vocal melodies fought break against slow, measured chest-ringing bass hits and the dark stirrings of Marie-Douce’s organs. Other sounds: the pair wore bells on their heads. Andrea-Jane was obviously conducting some other unidentifiable spectral sonic daemonry from an immense pedal-spread on the floor.

The night finished with Eric Chenaux (seated next to a chair bearing his effects pedals). He switched between a heavy hollow-body electric guitar and a smaller classical, but with both he laid out distinctive and simple songs (mostly, from what I can tell, from or in the style of his newest release Guitar & Voice, out now on Constellation). Simple is perhaps not the best word considering Chenaux’s songs were sprawling—meditative and tense tracks that often featured 5-10 minutes guitar interludes. To pull off such… adventurous guitar riffing (this blog-poster having seen even the likes of Dinosaur JR’s J Mascis fall very short on a similar seated fuzzed-out riffing odyssey) is a feat in and of itself, but to see Chenaux play crescendos up and down the neck with the evocative emotional gut punch of a Really Good violinist was something else entirely.

Barely moving, and with the mic a few inches further than normal away from his face, Chenaux played quietly, but had no trouble being heard over the rapt crowd. What a voice! I had heard of his involvement with fellow by-way-of-Toronto Constellation artist Sandro Perri, and the similarities are definitely there (but, oh look, a young Chenaux playing post-punk, a bit of a head-turner as well…).

All ’round: one of the better shows I’ve had the pleasure of attending in quite a while. Watch out for Le Fruit Vert’s immanent debut tape on Los Discos Enfantasmes as well as Eric Chenaux dates in Ontario and Quebec this summer.