Montreal-based audiovisual duo DF released their new EP abcdf this past week, marking the occasion with an evening of stellar local music at Art Lounge that featured sets from Justin Lazarus (Look Vibrant) and Joni Void, as well as DF themselves.
I was fifteen minutes late to the soirée; by the time I arrived the huddled audience was already seeped in the wooze of Lazarus’s characteristically idiosyncratic, adventurous songwriting. Lazarus and his two accompanists had a stripped down set up of vocals, sampler, bass and keys that glowed with analog warmth. He took the crowd to chord school, teaching us to celebrate mixing disparate colours in the same song. Whatever emotional arc Lazarus’s songs demanded, he always chose the sounds that were right for them. His set coupled this free-spirited vision with earnestness and vocal abilities bent to his will, making for an unfailingly exciting live experience.
Following Lazarus was Joni Void, who performed found-sound electronic music, backed by projections. For the most part, he kept a filter over the projector’s lens, lightly distorting the visuals so the audience had to recall them from memory. Void began his set with a dusky lullaby of a rarity from his side project, Boy With a Red Cap. Its serene sine blips were spare but not reaching for anything more, twinkling enough that the crowd could lock into Void’s vision. The set’s highlight was a song based on an ambulance siren that flashed before the audience, running to and from opposite ends of the stereo image. During this song, Void showed us video clips of city life, but never the ambulance itself. The siren passed again and again, suspending me in a daily moment I rarely otherwise think about. Off-kilter harmonies formed around the visuals and a discernable beat took me into a bizarre trance, where the sound and visuals of daytime were bent to rhythms typical of nightlife. Joni Void uses an impressively sparse set of sounds to command of the listener’s mind, and in this set he had me captivated.
Headliners DF performed next in front of their own massive light fixture, an array of panels that visual artist Dan Freder puppeteers in pulses and patterns, responding to Dustin Finer’s saxophone. Throughout the set, Freder hopped from dimension to dimension, switching between altering the patterns on the light fixture and projecting various visual mapping schemes against the venue walls. Prior to this show, I had only seen the duo’s music video for “She’s Great and All…,” which superimposes 3D animations against real life footage. When the two played the song live, Freder opted for alternate imagery, casting ripples on a set of delighted dots. Through innovations such as this, DF made sure the night didn’t feel like a playthrough of the EP, and Freder demonstrated versatile imaginations that paired well with his partner’s music.
On the music end of the set, Finer ditched the potential baggage of the solo-instrument-loop-pedal performance by making sure to get the most out of his tenor sax. Digging deep in the sax’s sound, he reached Hammond-organ-like bass tones and created mechanical glitchy percussion by tapping his horn’s keys. Finer had a family of hearty, triumphant tunes ready for the communal vibe, but he also made time to rip freeform solos through a yummy stacked-4ths harmonizer.
My personal favorite piece of the night was the manic “Hobgoblin,” where Finer squealed through his horn as Freder shook a piece of foil against a beam of light. The fact that “Hobgoblin” lasts only one second is further testament to its reckless creativity, and the duo’s broad, promising conception of art. The nature of AV shows demands they be experienced live, so DF are a group you should see for yourselves – and there will definitely be many more opportunities, as this duo’s future has plenty in store.
– review by Rian Adamian
THE TIME IS NOW. The 15th installation of POP Montreal kicks off with a bang next Wednesday, September 21st and runs until Sunday, September 25th. Being your ~numero uno~ advisor and advocate for all things artsy and Montréalais, the CKUT Music Dept. is proud to present our very own guide to the festivities going on all over the city. Allons-y!
With over 400 artists to choose from in a five-day period, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. We’ve selected a handful of shows for each day that might be worth checking out! You can also find the full list of acts here. The blurbs have been taken from the bands’ five-word descriptions of themselves, courtesy of the POP Montreal mag.
September 21, 2016:
-The Kills (8pm @ Metropolis): “girl, boy, garage rock, hot.”
-Allah-Las (8pm @ La Tulipe): “California, the sands, the seas, the streets.”
-Smileswithteeth (9:15pm @ Balattou): “dreamy, upbeat, warm, rhythmic, melodic”
September 22, 2016:
-Groenland + Lowlands (8pm @ Club Soda): “Indie pop orchestral”
-Jesse Mac Cormack (8:30pm @ Rialto Hall): “Music for the soul”
-Manners (8:45pm @ Cagibi): “POP, ROCK, INDIE, MONTREAL, SUD OUEST”
September 23, 2016:
–Beca (9pm @ Studio Rialto): “Spacey electro-disco with girly vocals”
-Let’s Eat Grandma + Caveboy (9pm @ Bar Le Ritz PDB): “hypnotic vocals from UK sisters”
-Angel Olsen (9pm @ Theatre Rialto): “mesmerizing folk country pop”
-Lungbutter (9:30pm @ Theatre Fairmount): “Noisy, fierce, experimental art rock”
– Shinehead (11:59pm @ Piccolo Little Burgundy Late Night): “MTV Raps Alumni KING”
September 24, 2016:
-Pop vs. Jock IV (1pm @ McGill Sports Centre): Win Butler’s charity basketball game (our description)
-Emilie & Ogden (8:30pm @ La Chapelle Saint-Louis): “The most beautiful harp music”
-Chairs (9:30pm @ Barfly): “quasi-chamber psych-pop”
-Ryley Walker (10pm @ Rialto Hall): “Chicago folk god. Is funny”
September 25, 2016:
-Wolves in the Throne Room (8:30pm @ La Sala Rossa): “deafening metal for a sunday night”
-CopCar Bonfire (9pm @ Brasserie Beaubien): “experimental beats for any occasion”
-Joe Grass (9pm @ Divan Orange): “folk soul blue elephant thrash”
POP Montreal has many artists working with all types of media displaying their installations all over the city; here are a few that we think are worth the trek.
-Kalup Linzy (9/24 6-8pm @ Pop Box 2): a multimedia performance rooted around live singing and video; incorporates themes of the 80’s soap operas and domestic life.
-Feelings Film Festival (9/22 9pm @ Cinema du Parc Theatre #3): emerging video art talent working with the theme of Sex.
–Adam Basanta (9/21-25 @ Quartier Pop, 2nd floor): a Montreal-based sound artist who will be showcasing his sound installation, dissecting this year’s POP Montreal festival sounds!
-Mitch Dixon (9/21-25 @ Quartier Pop, 3rd floor): a multimedia artist who has created a life-sized installation of a studio shared by two artists. The title of the piece is “Two Male Artists’ Passive-Aggressively Compete for Supremacy in a Shared Studio Space Situation, Both Believing in Their ‘Unique’ Views” so you know you gotta be there.
There are a bunch of independent and international films being showcased at this year’s POP Montreal: read up on which ones we think are especially noteworthy.
–Fonko (9/21, 7pm @ Cinema du Parc Theatre #3): discusses the subject of new Pan-African music through a collage-style approach; uses interviews, archived material, and music videos to give the viewer a tour of Africa’s upcoming musical talent.
–True Stories (9/23, 7pm @ Cinema du Parc Theatre #3) and Contemporary Color (9/23, 9pm @ Cinema du Parc Theatre #3): DAVID. BYRNE. FILMS. Or, in other words, True Stories is a satirical take on a classic Hollywood flick and Contemporary Color is a wild version of a concert film.
–I Called Him Morgan (9/24, 1pm @ Cinema du Parc Theatre #3): a stunning film based on the relationship between jazz trumpeter Lee Morgan and his wife Helen, who murdered him unexpectedly during one of his gigs.
–Space Jam (20TH ANNIVERSARY!!) (9/24, 5pm @ Cinema du Parc Theatre #3): NEED WE SAY MORE. Just go. Your nostalgic childhood self will thank us later.
Bet that got your attention. There are a ton of free events that POP Montreal has to offer, so make sure you mark your calendars.
-POP Montreal Opening Party (9/21, 5-8 pm @ Quartier Pop): self-explanatory. Come celebrate the start of what will be a WICKED GOOD TIME.
–Symposium (9/21-9/25, all day @ Quartier Pop)
-POP Montreal BBQs (9/21, 2-7pm and 9/22-9/25, 2-6pm @ Quartier Pop): Food?? Free music?? Please tell us we’re dreaming…
-Divan Orange (9/21-9/25, afternoons @ Divan Orange): showcases up-and-coming Canadian musicians! For FREE.
-Record Fair (9/24-25, 11-6pm @ St-Michel Church)
–Fashion Pop (9/21, 7pm @ Theatre Rialto)
Feel free to check out the POP Montreal website for more information on various events. Hope to see you all there!!
Lots of luv,
The CKUT Music Department
An Ode to Brainfeeder
They caught my attention at The Epic, blew my mind with The Beyond/Where the Giants Roam and Chinese Nu Yr, and changed my religion at Kneedelus. Founded in 2008 under the direction of god-amongst-men, Flying Lotus, Brainfeeder Records has grown into a Mecca for Jazz, Hip Hop, and electronic music lovers alike and its wide array of musical artists has led to an absolutely earth-shattering year of releases in 2015. By utilizing the characteristics of many contrasting genres, the label has achieved a sound aesthetic like no other that both bleeds modernism and pays homage to Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, and the rest of musical fusion’s past.
Tides have been changing this year. The addition of Thundercat’s virtuosic bass work and Robert Glasper’s brilliant orchestration to Kendrick Lamar’s masterpiece To Pimp a Butterfly has exposed the mainstream audience to Hip-Hop/Jazz fusion. Meanwhile, Chance the Rapper simply will not tour without his high school friend/instrumental partner in crime Donnie Trumpet and the one and only David Bowie has caught wind of all this activity and released an epic single, Blackstar, featuring the Saxophone prowess of Donny McCaslin and high intensity jazz drumming of Mark Guiliana. The 90s discographies of The Roots and Tribe Called Quest display the obvious tendency for jazz and popular music to be intertwined, however, it is also valid to say that jazz has held a much more prominent role in the worlds of hip hop and rock this year, which may lead to more genre bending collaboration in the future.
This “Jazz trend” in the commercial music world has been epitomized by Brainfeeder. Kamasi Washington’s The Epic, Thundercat’s The Beyond/Where the Giants Roam, and Kneebody’s collaboration album with Daedelus are three examples of Jazz music taking strides into the realm of fusion while somehow maintaining some sense of accessibility. The Epic can only be described using that one word; Epic. The three hour manifesto seamlessly blends classic elements of Latin-American jazz and straight ahead swing with more progressive elements such as complex meter and scales while somehow still leaving room for catchy vocal hooks. Through the inclusion of all these elements the album has payed tribute to the past, advanced the genre into more progressive territory, and preserved appeal to the less experienced jazz crowd. This mentality is brought to every jazz related album on the label thus resulting in some of the most important jazz music of the year.
Brainfeeder’s glorious execution of jazz fusion is made even more impressive by their grasp of other experimental genres. Not only does the label emphasize the advancement of older genres into new territory, it also supports the idea of entirely new, futuristic explorations. Iglooghost’s ep, Chinese Nu Yr, is a prime example of progressive electronic music that has achieved an entirely forward thinking sound aesthetic. It is important to note that Iglooghost is only 18 years old. Despite his young age, Iglooghost has achieved a very mature sound that screams futurism and truly sounds like nothing else in the world. Chinese Nu Yr does not come with the same level of accessibility as some of the other artists on the label, but the difference between this music and that of Kamasi Washington shows just how many boundaries the label has broken down.
Contrast is possibly the most important aspect of any musical endeavor, therefore record labels themselves should produce enough contrasting albums to fully explore the palate of their listeners. It would be rare for a single record label to incorporate all of the musicians of Brainfeeder, never mind the amount of cross-collaboration the label has encouraged. All of the masterfully produced and creatively composed music of Brainfeeder’s 2015 catalogue has resulted in a truly spectacular collection of contemporary music that will be absolutely be seen as prolific for years to come. Continue reading
CKUT’s annual funding drive is under way! This year, we present to you Radio Unleashed: from October 22nd to November 1st, our airwaves will be filled with special programming from all your favourite shows and hosts. To kick it all off, tonight at 8pm we are hosting a party at Bar Le Ritz PDB, featuring a variety of Montreal artists, from music to dance and even spoken word!
Music will be provided by local bands Cheap Wig, a highly energetic feminist punk-rock group, Show of Bedlam, a dark experimental death rock group and Smileswithteeth, a feel-good electronic pop group. DJ Jef Barbara will also be spinning throughout the night so be ready to dance!
Beyond music, Ill Groove Garden Hip Hop Dance Crew will perform, as well as spoken word artist Kym Dominique-Ferguson. We’ve got something for everyone’s tastes!
Please bring a small donation ($10 suggested) to help keep our station running to its full ability!
If all those reasons weren’t enough to get you out tonight, check out this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Jndopa39j8
We hope you’ll join us in supporting our station!
Hey kids! don’t forget to listen today for this weeks Montreal Sessions, hosted by the one and only Suoni Per Il Popolo. If you’re not yet familiar, Suoni is a festival that celebrates and explores the outer limits of rock, jazz, and classical music (and is definitely worth checking out).
Tune in your ears from 3-5pm to hear your host Paula and our live guests: Technical Kidman. In the meanwhile, you can check out some of their sweet, sweet tunes right here.
Tune in tonight for a steady flow of Montreal music on your dial from 8-10pm. Your host Nick Schofield interviews jazz singer Emma Frank and debuts new songs from her first album ‘For Being Apart’. Later in the show we’ll reach one half of the UN duo, Kara Keith, by phone for a ticket giveaway to their MEG Fest show on July 25. Wanna win? Call in!
Listen live at CKUT.ca or 90.3 FM
Tune in tomorrow for Jordan’s second to last Montreal Sessions show on CKUT. For the next two shows we’ll be having musicians play live on-air. This week’s artist will be Beaver Sheppard. The following week will be the Montreal band Each Other.
THE WORD I HEARD is an experiment. This month on CKUT’s Montreal Sessions, Karen Robins and Tim Beeler will explore the places where spoken word poetry and music come together. The sessions will include found recordings, mashups, in-studio readings, guest artists, as well as their own work.
:::UPDATE::: Tune in to the final installment of The Word I Heard on the Montreal Sessions today from 3 to 5 pm as Karen and Tim reflect on the month’s programming, chat about each others’ work, and bring you some new original material. Also featuring on-air performances from Eric Andrew-Gee of STEPS Magazine and local spoken word poet and founder of Madpoetix Productions, Kym Dominique-Ferguson.
The Montreal Sessions is a monthly artist-in-residency program. Each month a new local artist/DJ/musician/band/label/festival/promoter programs a month’s worth of live, weekly radio shows, which air every Tuesday from 3-5pm .