Monday, November 30, 2009

Abstract Index Playlist - November 25/09

I'm having some trouble retrieving the archive for this one but will get it soon I hope. I'm keen to hear DJ Valeo's set again.

Valeo manages Bonjay, who have just released their long awaited debut EP. Somewhat boldly, they decided to focus on one song pushed and pulled in different directions by some notable remixers: Poirier, Grahmzilla and Smalltown Romeo. I enjoyed interviewing Alanna, and wrote about them at Spinner.

Valeo had many interesting things to say about global musical exchange as contrasted with the music industry-conceived term of world music. However, his actions spoke louder than words. As he alchemized his source material on Serato (something I've never explored) it was obvious that the combination of similar production tools combined with similar mixing tools could yield an incredibly elastic, culturally expansive sound that simply was not possible with World Music 1.0 (at the time... I'd be interested to hear what those Parisian soukous records from the 80s sound like when given a proper Serato rinse-out). Though Valeo pointed out that Serato is largely a North American tool at present, it's possible to create transformational mixes with CDJ setups.

Bonjay's Toronto-spawned Creole-accented dancehall-soul both stands out and blends into this technology-friendly sound. In the decade to come, any dancefloor-oriented cultural fusion can potentially originate from any location on Earth, and that it will be sought after by a worldwide network of cultural antennae like Valeo, who will then blend such sounds into highly individual, locally influenced styles. That's a more grassroots kind of world music than ever before.

confliction - chicago underground duo (thrill jockey)
soul village - walter bishop jr. (muse)
talk that talk pt 2 - rance allen group (stax)
transamazonica - antonio adolfo e a brazuca (emi)
sweet tears - roy ayers ubiquity (polydor)
mhandu ye hove - stella chiweshe (piranha)
white wednesday off the wall - henry threadgill (pi)
polar sexus - the embassadors (nonplace)
come down 2 earth - ras g (brainfeeder)
redrico - giant panda dub squad (no label)
hexed and perplexed - liquid stranger (interchill)

dj valeo:
llave materna - universildo (hipi duki)
purple city - joker and ginz (kapsize)
from ever since - nebulla (code of arms)
cashflow - major lazer ft jah dan blakkamoore rmx by subskrpt demo (mad decent)
gimmee gimmee - bonjay (no label)
dibi dibi - maga bo vs. ismael vs. bass nectar (no label)
tagine loghate featuring providence - fnaire (no label)
citoyen du monde - an-ten-nae rmx by poirier with face-t (muti)
yo pa enmé - admiral t (no label)

upsetting dub - tony dubshot (no label)
fully charged - souljah fyah (no label)
mr. big man - porti (heartbeat)
west end 12 - burning babylon (sound shack)

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Friday, November 27, 2009

Huelepega Sound System in Guelph

The best Latin food in Guelph celebrates the anniversary of its relocation.

Our special guest for the evening will be none other than Generation Bass scribe/awesome producer, CABALLO.

Royal City, be prepared for DOOMBIA!

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Abstract Index Playlist - November 18/09

One of the world's great guitar bands is back with album number 2 (for Western markets).

Sublime Frequencies has compiled another collection of Group Doueh's recordings, and it's another crunching set of noise-funk/rock. As with the first Doueh album, it's pretty difficult to mix this with other funk because of the midrange-and-up focus of the grooves, not to mention the ebb and flow of tempo. Most funk enthusiasts just don't care for this much REAL funk with their funk; there is no smoothness here - just raw, tense rhythm.

All this makes the sound more distinctive and rewarding for those who can devote forty something minutes to opening up to the vista of harsh sounds on display here. The sidelong "Tazit Kalifa" explodes the style into a 20 minute psyched-out ramble.

I was very fortunate to have secured an email interview with them courtesy of Hisham Mayet at SF. It has just been published as a Conversation at


nasil? na zaman? - hardal (shadoks)
times reprise - giant panda dub squad (no label)
crank two - johnny trunk (trunk)
all dead - shafiq husayn (spectre)
i can't sit and wait - 100 proof aged in soul (invictus)
is it love or desire - betty davis (light in the attic)
bang tik-a tik-a - etaoin shrdlu (standard form)
ragsa jaguar - group doueh (sublime frequencies)
atiadele - mangwana all stars (otrabanda)
victory - soul messengers (numero)
gimmee gimmee - bonjay rmx. by grahm zilla (no label)
untitled 3 - cracker and shoe (no label)
untitled 3 - ghostlight (inyrdisk)
tune for wind dog - lucky dragons (marriage)
pure love in your heart - andru branch and halfway tree (no label)
low dem - willi williams (drum street)
spliff long - baijie (truckback)
no cigarettes - mr. williamz (greensleeves)
strength in numbers - matt shadetek (gold dust)
dub missle - liquid stranger (interchill)
cara de no yo fui - ocote soul sounds rmx by ancient astronauts (esl)
move on up - greyhound (compost)

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Huelepega Tonight!

Ack! I totally forgot to blog about tonight's INYRDISK showcase at the Boat. Kevin Hainey's noise label features us and three other simpatico sound sculptors - here's the details courtesy of Tad "Burn Down The Capital" Michalak:



members of Mean Red Spiders. A free form improv. psych-rock experience. From spaced out soundscapes to intense psychedelic noise, free jazz whispers and crushing heaviness, Ghostlight weaves musical elements & genres together to create something otherworldly.

David Dacks' "doombia" ensemble mixes cumbia with slowed down doomy dub drones. Drawing influences from the latin world as well as modern noise music, Huelepega pushes latin rhythms into a dissonant, boundless territory.

Ayal Senior's free-jazz space psych unit featuring a who's who list of Toronto's most accomplished out music masqueraders takes the back road approach creating soundscapes that creep up on your from a minimal pitter patter into a storm cloud of swirling noise & distortion. A serious raw driving force.

Primal noise rock featuring members of Disguises, Women In Tragedy and Inyrdisk founder Kevin Hainey. First show in way too long. Expect crushing jams that don't bottom out, but scrape along mashing everything in their path.

All this for $5, seriously come out & support experimental music in Toronto.


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Monday, November 16, 2009

416 - 2009

The ninth edition of the 416 Toronto Creative Improvisers Festival gets underway tonight at the Tranzac. I'm going to be MCing the Friday edition, which I helped program. Dougal Bichan will be stopping by the Abstract Index tomorrow at 7PM to talk about this jam packed celebration of some of Toronto's most innovative music.

Here's the description from the website:

The fest is a series of concerts, 3 a night over 4 days that feature some of Toronto’s finest improvising musicians. These improvisations often take the form of completely free-form spontaneous compositions, created entirely “in the moment, at the moment of performance, by the performers”. At other times, a drawing, or graphic, or other object may be used to inspire the music.

Tuesday, Nov. 17

9 pm
Lori Freedman solo- bass clarinet
and duo with guest Martin Tétreault

10 pm
Martin Tétreault solo - turntable
and duo with guest Lori Freedman

11 pm
Gordon Allen - trumpet, with a bunch of locals
Rob Clutton - bass
Tomasz Krakowiak - percussion
Ben Grossman - hurdy gurdy

Wednesday, Nov. 18

9 pm
Woodchoppers Orchestra
Dave Clark and friends, you never know who will show up. A collective of some of the finest improvisers hereabouts.They play with love in their hearts.

10 pm
Cracker & Shoe
Michael Keith - various strings
David Sait - guzheng

11 pm
Joe Sorbara's Other Foot First
Ken Aldcroft - guitar
Jay Hay - saxophones, clarinets
Nicole Rampersaud - trumpet, flugelhor)
Nate Renner - guitar
Ronda Rindone - clarinets
Evan Shaw - saxophones
Joe Sorbara - drums, percussion
Scott Thomson - trombone

Thursday, Nov. 19

9 pm
Dougal Bichan - guitar
Alan Bloor - bass, violin
Rod Campbell - trumpet, etc
Elliott Chapin - various winds
Jack Vorvis - percussion

10 pm
Quartetto Graphica
Mike Hansen - turntables
Arnd Jurgensen - guitar
Guy LeBlanc - electronics
Pao Torres - laptop

11 pm
Scarborough Streisand
Michael Keith - guitar
Chris Cawthray - percussion
Glen Hall - saxophone

Friday, Nov. 20

9 pm
Nick Storring - solo cello & electronics

10 pm
Amir Amiri - solo (Persian) santur

11 pm
Lamp Chops aka Simeon Abbott (prepared guitar) and Colin Fisher

Kyle Brenders Quartet
Kyle Brenders - woodwinds
Steve Ward - Trombone
Tomas Bouda - bass
Mark Seeger - drums

Saturday, Nov. 21

2 pm
416 Toronto Creative Improvisors' Pool Workshop
facilitated by Rod Campbell
Palmerston Library
560 Palmerston Avenue

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Friday, November 13, 2009

Abstract Index Playlist - November 11/09

As I listen to Wayne & Wax, DJ/Rupture and other leading lights on the Afropop Radio documentary "World Music 2.0" I find myself blogging about a subject so world music 1.0 it's hilarious.

Now you probably know that I have more affection than most for the term 'world music'. It has aggregated and created a marketplace for audiences, artists, labels, media and other players who believe in cultural exchange through music. Of course the debate is always about the TERMS of this exchange - who makes the rules, who profits, and whether it's fundamentally a one-way system.

I have never known what the deal is with Arc Music's roster and their marketing techniques. They're a British company who release a truckload of discs every year, most of which are guilty of Photoshop 1.0 design. The greater part of these discs appear to be one-off licenses (I hope) from individual artists or fledgling producers. Its output is a mix of pop and folkloric material. Its folklore is often served up with easy-listening reverb, while its pop won't drive anyone out of the souvenir shop. This market is well established by the initial world music 1.0 conventions set up in the late 80s, then tweaked by Putumayo's success in the 90s.

What bugs me most is that too many of Arc's releases feature the style of music front and center, with the artist's name buried in the graphics. The message seems to be "here's an example of this music" in the tradition of Putumayo's compilations which reduce the individual personality of the artists to a function of the overall image or flavour.

I can't understand what's going on this disc. 'Yinguica' doesn't seem to be the name of a band; perhaps it too is a one-off. Percussionist Barry Van Zyl is a member of Johnny Clegg's band, and he's a frequent name on Arc releases. So the listener/buyer isn't even sure about this disc's intent beyond the promise of authentic-sounding 'Marrabenta'. Since this Mozambique-based music is one of Africa's lesser known party sounds but stops well short of digital boom bap, it's an opportunity for Arc to put out yet another variety of novel but unthreatening global grooves.

Fortunately, as with a small but steady proportion of the label's content, the music is worthwhile. Hard charging percussion dominates most songs, and the instrumentation is kept spare with bass, drums, and intertwining acoustic guitars. I'm no expert on the music so I can't judge its 'authenticity', but it's clear that the participants are actually working up a sweat in keeping with the "play it 'til your strings break!" ethos of Marrabenta posited by the back cover.

This won't set the blogosphere on fire, but it's further proof that there is plenty of credible music being put out by the gatekeepers of world music 1.0, even if the circumstances are sometimes obscure. Hopefully everyone is seeing a return on their investment.

In the meantime, check that Afropop doc - it's a good roundup of how disintermediation is the main characteristic of world music 2.0.


sierra alone - the embassadors (nonplace)
tiny pyramids - ratchetorchestra (no label)
the alley of enchantment - dub rocket (touchbass)
nucleus roots - automaton (satamile)
aqua con sal - bronx river parkway (truth and soul)
ni nhi me le - yinguica (arc music)
serengeti - magic drum orchestra (lion hea...d)
ghost ride - muskox (standard form)
avante me fante - mahala rai banda (asphalt tango)
plovdiska rachenista - boban i marko markovic orkestar (piranha)
joe pill - electro morocco (blue jay way)
untitled track 3 - pink saliva (no label)
lower nile - arthur blythe (india navigation)
blues n' boxing - michael kemp (no label)
independent girl - demattos (no label)
hallelujah - leroy brown (dakarai)
different strokes - kiddus i (naya)
i sight - tarrus riley (vp)
bumpy's lament - richie phoe (balanced)
don't cry dubwise - jah warrior (tanty)
stalag 23 - tony dubshot (no label)
the attorney - tommy mccook and the supersonics (pressure sounds)

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Sunday, November 08, 2009

Abstract Index Playlist - November 4/09

Amid the chaos and hype of fundraising (please visit CIUT to make an online pledge - seriously, it would help this show a lot) was one serene yet pace-setting musical selection which gave hour 1 so much momentum.

This was the music of Muskox, a self described progressive jazz sextet based in Toronto whom I regret not having seen yet. 5 Pieces is one of the latest salvos of music from Standard Form.

You guessed it - the disc is five songs long. Whether experienced as a tight, focused suite or track by track, both the writing and playing are very strong. Despite the lack of a drumkit, these are highly rhythmic pieces. The percussive aspects of electric piano, vibes and banjo are deployed over math-rockish time signatures, but the overall effective is minimalist. On top of this thicket of pulsation are the airy cello, alto saxophone and even acoustic bass parts which create winding melodic statements. European classical, Appalachian folk and West African rhythms all creep into this hybrid, with a pleasing sense of understatement throughout.

I hope this merits some discussion when the Polaris 2010 chin-stroking sessions start to pick up steam.

There will be no podcast this week. Playlist is coming soon.

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Sunday, November 01, 2009

Fall Membership Drive - Wed November 4

CIUT's Fall Membership drive begins tomorrow and I'm in the hot seat on Wednesday November 4.

My guests for the affair will be the Simmer Down DJ crew, trumpeter Nicole Rampersaud and Uma Nota/Samba Elegua's Jonathan Rothman - maybe more if I can really get my shit together.

One thing you can count on is a massive, crazy diverse selection of CDs to be given away over the course of two draws during the show (7 and 8PM). To be eligible for the draw, you must become a member with a pledge of $25.

I need to attract 20 members to stay on the air... and it's always a battle. Why? Traditionally, open format radio shows are a harder sell than themed shows. Don't agree? Make a pledge and prove me wrong. I dare you.

Here's a partial list of the highlights, just to pique your interest...

Divine Brown - The Love Chronicles
Tinariwen - Imidiwan
The Warsaw Village Band - Infinity
Maher Shalal Hash Baz - C'est La Derniere Chanson
Anthony Braxton/Kyle Brenders - Toronto (duets) 2007
Noel Ellis - Noel Ellis
Kieran Hebden & Steve Reid - NYC
Gang Gang Dance - Saint Dymphna
Mishka - Above The Bones
Souljazz Orchestra - Manifesto
Blah Blah 666 - It's Only Life!
Blaze - Spiritually Speaking
Ganelin Trio - Live At The Lithuanian Philharmony, 2005
Sara Tavares - Xinti
The Tony Wilson Sextet - The People Look Like Flowers At Last
Lina Allemano - Gridjam

You don't have to wait until Wednesday to contribute, you can go to right now and pledge securely. Tell 'em the Abstract Index sent you.

Thanks for your support!