Thursday, September 21, 2006

Abstract Index playlist - September 20/06

The original Studio One, circa 1990. Note the open-reel decks where I first learned how to dub on the air. Chris Compton is in the foreground.

Thank you to everyone who's called over the years. Usually the highlight of my weekly post-mortem to Sarah is recounting a phone conversation with someone. It's a great feeling when a listener pulls over at the side of the road just to say how much they love what's playing. Or when someone tells you that the music you're playing has lifted their spirits. Or someone calling from a construction site, or, for that matter, those who call several times a month. It's not like I give out the number much either... Those calls mean much more to me than fundraising dollars. With myriad entertainment options available to anyone in the GTA, taking the time to call up a DJ is a sign that community radio, and my own programming, still connects with people.

Good times last Wednesday... Schoolly D's at Gypsy Co-Op next Friday!

happy birthday - universal congress of (sst)
it's krack - schoolly d (jive)
boops - sly and robbie feat. shinehead (mango)
let's get small (live) - trouble funk (tted/island)
musical massacre - eric b. & rakim (uni)
my philosophy - boogie down productions (jive)
letters of three - kgb (attic)
go on girl - roxanne shante (warner bros.)
sound of the zeekers - leaders of the new school (elektra)
bourgeois boogie - ornette coleman and prime time (portrait)
brown - john oswald/plunderphonics (fony)
the devil is loose and dancing with a monkey - the henry threadgill sextett (novus)
strings of life - rhythim is rhythim (network)
royal marcha - robin jones remixed by tim "love" lee (royal palm)
on the lake - triosk/jan jelinek (scape)
p'u sal - samulnori (cmp)
la candela viva - toto la momposina (real world)
rocking universally - noel ellis (light in the attic)
heads of government - leroy sibbles (attic)
level vibes - half pint (cornerstone)
legalize the herb - ninjaman (tommy boy)
youthman sufferer - ras michael (sst)

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Poor Pilgrim #25 - Wednesday Sept. 20

Following my 20th anniversary spectacular on CIUT from 6-8PM Eastern Time, I'll be throwing down at Poor Pilgrim at the Press Club, at Dundas & Bathurst Sts. Here's the full lineup:

Sept 20 - Poor Pilgrim #25

W.A. Davison a juggernaut of sandwich power falling onto several precisely placed pins. Or...musician/noisician, composer/improvisor, visual artist, performance artist, film/videomaker, writer, basket weaver and jet engine specialist. Active in "experimental music" (?) since early 80's (punk, industrial, psychedelic, outsider pop, ambient, electronic, musique concrete, soundtracks, audio art, improvised music, cut-up, drone, psych-folk, harsh noise, and uncategorizable experiments and hybrids) Plenty more info to be found at:::

Knurl a.k.a. Alan Bloor is one of the premier noise artists in Canada. Using contact mics and scrap metal Knurl creates incredibly powerfull harsh noise. At times reminescent of the likes of Daniel Menche and Haters, Knurl has released 2 efforts for Alien8 Recordings aswell as appearing on the Coalescence compilation. Other labels that have documented Knurl include RRR, Self Abuse, Labyrinth, Entarte Kunst and Musicus Phycus. Knurl has performed with Keiji Haino, David Kristian, Haters, Princess Dragon Mom, MSBR and Goverment Alpha and collaborated live with Jim O’Rouke and Thurston Moore.

Charles Balls and the Cincinatti Single Fileled by Andrew of GFR / Bennifer Editions, this sound troupe is number one with Canadian teens and has recently solved a local crime involving murder. For this incarnation the Single File will include collagists & instrumentalists Michelangelo Iaffaldano, Zoe Barcza and Nilan Perera Mark your calender

Parkade This long running and wildly challenging group/non-group began performing in the reverberating public catacombs of our city (parking garages, etc.) but has since stripped naked (with chains!) in the Drake Hotel and rubbed meat upon unmentionables at Xpace (while croaking Sinead O’Connor!), among other anti-evocative acts. Parkade are a dependably convention-shattering and highly subversive delight for the open senses your mind won’t soon let you forget.

& ME!!! On the wheels of steel and aluminized plastic.

DOORS AT 9:30... PLEASE PLEASE come early because we will be running a pretty tight schedule.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Abstract Index playlist - September 13/06

As my 20th anniversary at CIUT approaches, I was happy to see a new release which takes me back to one of the most enjoyable and inspiring times at CIUT.

The Irie Band are a new-ish outfit fronted by longtime reggae scenester Steven Cogdell. I didn't get a chance to hear the whole album, but "195 Dub" certainly delivers the dub in a classic Jamaican late 70s, early 80s style. Stevie has run Lionheart studios with wife Charmalee since 1991, originally at a facility located at 26A Oxford St. in Kensington Market in Toronto. This was primarily a rehearsal studio back in the day, although good-quality recordings came out of the well appointed if ramshackle room. Lionheart's notoreity stemmed from their Saturday night sessions, where reggae and African bands would play all night from 12-6AM and CIUT would broadcast live to air. The mix for broadcast, indeed the timeslot, belonged to D.B. Hawkes.

This was totally illegal. It was a boozecan, and all manner of substances were consumed on the premises. The building was a fire trap, and that was the greatest concern of the authorities who occasionally visited. However, even the cops realized that the event was not only good-natured, but was compelling radio. I heard more than once that this broadcast was a favourite of cops on stakeout. There was something more than a little 'pirate radio' about broadcasting from a boozecan in the heart of Kensington with nothing more than a crew of volunteers and the initiative of the hosts.

Those were good times for me: I MC'ed a few shows, or did whatever work was required to put them on, such as hanging out all night at the CIUT master control board to make sure the signal was OK. Hanging out at CIUT had its moments of surprise too - such as those calls from D.B. telling me that the show was going to end after the current song; could I fill time for an hour and a half? One of my favourite show archives is an hour-long mix of records hastily pulled from the library, complemented by live dub from the reel to reel decks, after having partied into near-incoherence all night long.

The whole enterprise fulfilled the great promise of community radio. Here was a mass medium in the heart of a clandestine yet welcoming party, broadcasting to a potential audience of 8 million people - this is the kind of spontaneous and rewarding programming that I've most enjoyed over my time at CIUT. Our live remotes carry on this tradition, but they've never been quite as nutty as the Lionheart days.

The Irie Band play every Tuesday at Cervejaria Downtown. 26A Oxford St. is now a series of cookie-cutter townhouses.

eclipse - scotty hard's radical reconstruction surgery (thirsty ear)
here you are, hated - fond of tigers (drip audio)
save your neck, save your brother - i am robot and proud (darla)
zentown - zentone (jarring effects)
abatina - kobo town (kobotown)
dalida - boom pam (essay)
sni bono - dengue fever (m80)
doppelspiel - feuermusik (feuermusik)
pinkeye - lina allemano (lumo)
bonsai eric 5 - bik bent braam (BBB)
tangents - chris speed (songlines)
retrato - murcof (leaf)
weave in and out - adrian klumpes (leaf)
long walk for a slow loris - stephen vitello/david tronzo (new albion)
forobana - habib koite and others (sterns)
tumbemba nsalaba - abana ba nasery (globestyle)
exodus - albert kuvezin & yat-kha (world village)
repatriation - dubmatix feat. kwabena reuben (dubmatix)
dance with me - noel ellis (light in the attic)
195 dub - irie band (independent)
VLA music - sly and robbie (heartbeat)
real rock - sound dimension (heartbeat)

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Squeaky Wheel

Thanks to Michael Barclay who tipped me to Metacritic's ranking of Ali Farka Toure's Savane as its #1 album so far this year. I'm sure it had everything to do with my inflammatory rhetoric.

Interesting, too, that Soul Jazz's outstanding Tropicalia comp sits at #2. And then there's Dylan...

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Don't Take My Word For It

One of my favourite promotion companies to deal with is Rock Paper Scissors in Bloomington, IN. Their head honcho, Dmitri Vietze, has just launched a new blog called DubMC.

The blog covers many of the same issues around world music that I do, except it actually solicits the opinions of music industry leaders on said topics. Very, very insightful stuff. I especially appreciate how business conditions in North America (often further subdivided into the US and Canada) and Europe are compared and contrasted.

Just a few posts into its existence, it's already in my regular rotation.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Daddy's In Guelph

CIUT is broadcasting live from the Guelph Jazz Festival today through Friday. Check out the website for the exact times.

This is the station's second year broadcasting from Ontario's best jazz festival, and coverage will be even more extensive this time around.

I'll be helping out on Friday, from 12-1PM and 3-4PM. During the latter slot I'll be joined by jazz writer Nate Dorward (Coda, Exclaim, Cadence) to talk about the festival, music in general and possibly parenting issues in jazz. Maybe I should see if Tim Posgate is handy...

Speaking of parenting in music, my 3 year old, Hannah, has a new #1 in her rotation - edging out Money Mark's "Spiders" after dozens and dozens and dozens of plays is Keith and Tex's "Stop That Train" (or "Stomp that train" as she calls it).

But nothing warms my heart more than to hear "Daddy, can you put on some James Brown?"

Abstract Index playlist - Aug 23/06

I am guilty of being intemperate when it comes to the "indie scene" (crikey, not again...) of Toronto. Nevertheless, there is a great deal of open-mindedness and creativity amongst fans and musicians. That a fractured avant jazz band like Feuermusik can be embraced by a wide spectrum of indie kids is encouraging news. I'm a total dolt for not seeing these guys at either of the Extermination Music Night events, or at their CD release at Bummer In The Summer. They unfortunately won't be playing anytime soon as woodwind player Jeremy Strachan has moved to Newfoundland to pursue his studies. Then again, I don't know exactly what's going on, being pretty new to their music, so here's hoping they can play some gigs and promote this excellent album.

The template is perfect for busking: woodwinds and amplified buckets. Since it's busker music, the circular motifs of the parts makes sense: these forms could be extended miles beyond their length record - provided there were enough extra horns to pull it off 'on the corner' as it were. Tunes are very Brotzmann-like in terms of their demands on lung power - tunes like "Doppelspiel" sound like a particularly taxing exercises. But this is no off-the-floor session. Overdubs of massed horns make a huge difference, with luxurious and elegantly tailored arrangements ensuring that this album will get repeat play. With huge chords, clarinets and saxes massed together with more than a nod to Mingus, it comes out sounding more like ROVA or Vinnie Golia.

Gus Weinkopf's bucket drumming tends toward the 16 beats to the bar as practiced by the original bucketeer Larry Wright, but as the disc wears on he deploys more tricks to make the percussive elements more situational than continuous. His work on a full kit on the last track "Recessional" is a disc highlight - full of subtlety that the buckets can't deliver. His contributions fuse Strachan's lushly aggressive work to a solid groove reminescent of the 'tribal' drumming in no wave and early 80s dance rock.

So hush my mouth. Torontopia is a many splendored thing.

ancestral voyage/mystery succeed - daniel carter/reuben radding (aum fidelity)
les lumieres pt. 1 - bell orchestre (rough trade)
lost broadcast - triosk (leaf)
soul of the city - eldad tsabary (deep wireless)
eastern persuasion - reggie workman (postcards)
sirin - filifin (frikyiwa)
i will you - feuermusik (independent)
freedom of expressions - milton cardona (american clave)
yroco - jimmy sabater (vampisoul)
tra la la - the great deltas (jazzman)
macongo - lette mbulu (bbe)
i thank the lord - mighty voices of wonder (numero)
samabaleas - sao paris (f communications)
alone at my wedding - buscemi vs. kocani orkestar (crammed)
black renaissance - harry whittaker (luv and haight)
beloved gift - bernie senensky (do right)
i'm not ashamed - culture (vp)
shining light - king ujah (king ujah)
money is a barrier - leroy brown (discograph)
hey ho - dub syndicate (on-u sound)
new beginning - bush chemists (ROIR)
money man skank - half pint (vp)
fanga den - tiken jah fakoly (discograph)
poor people must work - rhythm & sound feat bobbo shanti rmx by carl craig (burial mix)

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Bringing in the Shepherd

This month's Exclaim features Michael Barclay's excellent piece on Torontopia, which has set off yet another firestorm of "Toronto's great! Toronto sux!" banter and related commentary.

It was interesting how the Jamaica to Toronto (Jatdot for short) concert - Harbourfront's most populous event so far this year - was listed off the top of being an element of Barclay's Torontopia. It certainly has been part of my Torontopia this year, too. It was one of the most profoundly indie events of the year: these guys were "outside of music" (as they say in jazz) for decades, then hooked up with a small but hardworking label and managed to create a huge, long-overdue splash. But despite a well-written and thought provoking article on the promise and perils of participating a "scene", it was beyond the article's scope to analyze what "indie culture" could represent along the lines of (and beyond) the success of Jatdot. I know Jonny Dovercourt - quoted extensively in the article, he is a founder of Wavelength and current mainstay of the Music Gallery - has similar questions on his mind.

Jatdot's success as a one-off event was commented upon by another feature in Exclaim during in previous issue, where Ryan Patrick observed the state of soul music in Canada - which, perhaps predictably, flew under too many pundits' radar. This article, with themes applicable to any 'speciality' music in Canada, details how Canada's solid soul audience of the 60s was fairly quickly supplanted by rock and roll once Canadian Content requirements were established in the early 1970s. This exploration of hard-won successes and more frequently lost battles of homegrown soul artists ends with "The measure of success might well be if artists can avoid ending up on a Jamaica To Toronto type of “lost recordings” compilation 20 years from now."
Maybe I'm gearing up to write Torontopia: The Sequel sometime soon, because the optimism inherent in the term reflects how I feel about a great deal of Torontonian music.

I wouldn't call Elizabeth Shepherd a soul artist, but soul permeates her record "Start To Move". Released by the Do Right label, who will undoubtedly use their connections in worldwide nu-jazz media and venues generated by their excellent Ready or Not comps of CBC jazz archives. This label traces its spirtual lineage to another indie diaspora in Toronto originating from the Twilight Zone house/groove/after hours scene of the late 80s into long running jazz/afro/groove/hip hop parties such as Bump and Hustle and Movement (captained by the Do Right founders, Aki and John Kong). Toronto has always been very strong in funky, jazzy dance music for at least 10 years. Shepherd's music is in a jazz piano trio configuration, but her work on keys has a sense of pocket that speaks to house music.

The record captures a lot of what I like about the Torontopian concept - a singer/instrumentalist with good chops and good tunes, a smart indie label behind it, and an original presentation of something that in lesser hands could have become a very generic vocal jazz recording with predictable standards and aspirations to jazz-industry terms of success.

Read the article here.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Abstract Index playlist - Aug 16/06

Sorry for the summertime spaceout... But I'm back as JB with Full Force would say.

A few weeks ago Toronto was graced by three Thomas Mapfumo in one week. I know he likes Toronto, he’s been to town a good half dozen times in the last 15 years. There have been tremendous events like his headlining Afrofest in a thunderstorm of three mbiras (literally and figuratively), and not so memorable gigs where the kaya took over completely. I met him some years ago and he is a regal figure whose eyes burn into you. However, my indelible image of him will always be at the late great Apocalypse Club (now El Convento Rico) engaged in a furious tabletop game of Ms. Pac-Man. The Lion of Zimbabwe wasn’t about to let Inky, Pinky, Blinky and Sue get in his way.

He’s slowed down his pace over the years, but his new-ish album Rise Up is still worthwhile.

I went back to the beginning of his recorded career in 1974 with the aid of the crackin’ new label Analog Africa, who’ve compiled much of the recorded output of the outstandingly monikered Hallelujah Chicken Run Band. They were named such because of Mapfumo and fellow member’s work at the local chicken supply depot. Both this disc and that of the Green Arrows, which made another appearance on the playlist this week, are sterling examples of the indestructable beat of Zimbabwe as the times changed to a more revolutionary climate. Both discs feature twin guitar action as their most beguiling element. This is African punk, folks - too basic a comparison, to be sure, but there's a universal energy and urgency about two guitars, bass and drums kicking it for 3 minutes at a time (even though live this would go on much longer). HCR doesn’t snarl out of your speakers, but it would become chimurenga (“struggle” or “resistance” music) within a couple of years, where the guitars interpolate the mbira rhythms of shona music and the vocals become explicitly political.

Mapfumo only lasted a year and a half with this band before hooking up with the equally well-named Acid Band, and later the Blacks Unlimited which is his ensemble name to the present day. Murembo was the first song ever released in Rhodesia/Zimbabwe with explicitly political lyrics, and created a sensation. But the main guitar riff would have created a sensation anywhere.

maha-samana - john mayer (vocalion)
ya fama - toumani diabate's symmetric orchestra (nonesuch)
go to hell mr. bush - skerik's syncopated skronk septet (hyena)
morceau d'amour - mahala rai banda rmx by nouvelle vague (crammed)
murembo - hallelujah chicken run band (analog africa)
is there any love - trevor dandy (numero)
ronco da cuica - da lata (compost)
island song - prince lasha/sonny simmons (contemporary)
para los romperos - bio ritmo (locutor)
de coco y anis - cortijo and his time machine (mp)
carmelina moderna - los pleneros de la 21 (smithsonian folkways)
no delay (bullitt) - green arrows (analog africa)
a big car - jackie mittoo (soul jazz)
live and learn - alton ellis (heartbeat)
for the good of man - meditations (wackies)
beneath the valley - burning babylon (mars)
lonely soldier - dub guerilla (enja)
final frontier - creation rebel/new age steppers (on-u sound)
survival dub - dr. israel (ROIR)