Friday 13 January 2017

Episode 42

Mixcloud stream      Gonzo stream      download

1. Owen Hewson — "Facelift" theme

2. Soft Machine — "Dada Was Here" → "Thankyou Pierrot Lunaire" → "Have You Ever Bean Green?" (from Volume Two, 1969)

3. Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith — "Rare Things Grow" (from EARS, 2016)

4. Richard Sinclair with DieS GoA UniT — "Didn't Matter Anyway" (live in Beausoleil, France, 2015-02-07)

5. Oneirhythm — "Harum Scarum" (online release, 2014)

6. Ian East — "Rotations" (from Inner Paths, 2016)

7. Robert Wyatt featuring the SWAPO Singers — "The Wind of Change" (7" single, 1985)

8. Jerry Dammers and the Spatial AKA Orchestra — "Ghost Planet" (live in 2009)

9. Vin Gordon — "Grass in the Sun" (12" single, 1980)

10. Kevin Ayers — "Everybody's Sometime And Some People's All The Time Blues" (live at Mr. Kyps', Poole, 2002-10-25)

11. "Toronto Underground" mix contributed by listener Joe

12. Gneng — [unknown title] (live at Club Burrito, Canterbury, 2016-11-04)

13. Witchdoctor — "Milk That Cow" (online release, 2016)

14. Jamie Dams — "Where Is The Way?" (from Rush of Souls, 2016)

15. Syd Arthur — "Into Eternity" (from Apricity, 2016)

16. Bison Bonasus — "Goldfish In The Spring" (from Group Portrait With Telephone EP, 2016)

17. Hatfield and the North [feat. Robert Wyatt] — "God Song" → "Fol De Rol" → "For Robert" → "A-Mewsing" (recorded for French TV programme Rockenstock, December 1972)

18. Allen Ginsberg — "Wales Visitation" (origin unknown)

19. King Crimson — "Cadence and Cascade" (alternate take with Greg Lake vocal, from In The Wake Of Poseidon 40th anniversary edition)

20. King Crimson — "21st Century Schizoid Man" (live in Hyde Park, London, 1969-07-05)

errata/clarifications: The Ciani/Smith collaborative album (to be featured in coming episodes) is called Sunergy, not Synergy as I said, and Smith's album EARS is indeed pronounced "ears" rather than "E-A-R-S". According to Wikipedia, "[Jerry] Dammers still regularly DJs in English nightclubs, as well as performing with his band, The Spatial AKA Orchestra, playing his own compositions and tributes to Sun Ra and other experimental jazz artists. The band features established jazz musicians Zoe Rahman, Larry Stabbins and Denys Baptiste. They perform in elaborate Ancient Egyptian and outer space-themed costumes, and share the stage with bizarre props such as model alien heads and mummy Sarcophagi. Renowned trombonist Rico Rodriguez also featured in a number of shows.". Vin Gordon is indeed a Jamaican trombone player (he was in the Skatalites, and was Studio One's main session trombonist). Rico Rodriguez was born in Cuba but grew up in Jamaica (he passed away in 2015). I should have mentioned that Josh Magill (who co-composed that Syd Arthur piece) is also the drummer in Bison Bonasus.

Joe's notes on the Toronto Underground mix:

Carl Didur probably turned me on to the "Canterbury sound". His group Zacht Automaat is one of my fave local bands, and when he passingly mentioned that he was getting tired of scribes calling them a krautrock band (when they were clearly more inspired by Canterbury) it gave me cause to investigate something that was a blank spot in my musical knowledge. I knew a bit about Wyatt and had passingly heard some Soft Machine, but that was about it. It was actually while I was digging around to learn some more that I came across Canterbury Soundwaves and I got an education working through all the old episodes while doing my Sunday chores. I was pleased when I came across Carl's old band The Battleship, Ethel, and as I worked my way forward I was expecting to get some ZA in there as well. Once I caught up on Canterbury Soundwaves (and Canterbury Sans Frontières) I was a little surprised they hadn't been brought into the fold yet. So, this is my attempt to return a sort of cosmic debt while leaving a trail of breadcrumbs for others to follow — and also a hearty attempt to say thanks for Matthew's devoted work that I have dug so much.

This mix isn't at all documentation of a "scene" or a movement within Toronto's many scenes. In fact, as I sorted through what to include, rather than broaden the scope, I ended up narrowing it down inasmuch as a lot of the participants here show up in two or three of these bands. Just to give strangers to this music a sense of this, I'll try and follow the threads in the annotated tracklist below.

Several of these selections are drawn from my archive of live recordings. There's a lot more that sounds like this stuff (and a whole lot more that doesn't) over at my blog.

Zacht Automaat — "Lost In The Peak District
As I mentioned above, ZA emerged from the ashes of The Battleship, Ethel as a duo partnership between Carl Didur (mostly synths) and Michael McLean (bass + other things). They're extremely prolific, with a dozen-ish albums under their belt despite the fact that half the band is at Oxford. Live, they're backed by Louis Percival (drums) and Colin Fisher (sax) who occasionally guest on recordings. Calico Corp., a record label run by Slim Twig and his wife Meg Remy (a.k.a. U.S. Girls), released a double vinyl compilation of the band's work and that's a good place for the uninitiated to start, though full immersion into the ZA bandcamp also works very well.

Carl Didur — live excerpt 2016-08-30
Meanwhile, keyboard wizard Carl Didur keeps busy fixing old gear, recording and occasionally performing solo. This cut from this summer sees him on synth/clav/taishogoto (which'll pop up again later) which is a change from the synth/tape loop rig he deployed for quite a while.

Transcombobulation — "Third"
Switching gears to a couple other local synth noodlers, this is a duo project between Jonathan Adjemian (Korg MS-20) and Mike Smith (Moog Little Phatty/Moog Rogue/Yamaha MR-10) playing the latter's compositions.

Mike Smith Co. — "Forced False Setting" (live 2016-06-28)
Anyone digging these sounds should check out All-Set! Editions, a label curated by Mike Smith, whose projects contain their own set of interlocking personnel (many of whom previously served in the much-loved but defunct Muskox). The Mike Smith Co. is more of a malleable project than a fixed band that has brought anywhere from five to a dozen musicians to the stage to interpret Smith's wobbly works.

THREADS (Quintet) — "Threads II" [single edit]
Ken Aldcroft (who recently passed away much too young) was a force in Toronto's creative music scenes, working with a number of regular groups (including a recurring partnership with legendary NYC free jazz bassist William Parker) and showing up in ad hoc improvised combos with seemingly everyone. THREADS, inspired by Henry Threadgill's Zooid unit, was perhaps his most prog/noodly group, sporting pieces that mixed compositional and improved elements and typically lasted for twenty minutes. The synth here is played by Jonathan Adjemian (also heard above and below) who also makes solo drones as Hoover Party.

Not The Wind, Not The Flag — live excerpt 2016-02-25
One of Toronto's mightiest bands, this improvising duo's sets can range from meditative gong drones to electronic/percussion grooves to full-on freakouts. Brandon Valdivia (drums, electronics, kalimba) and Colin Fisher (sax, guitar, percussion, electronics) play with a sort of intuitive Zen mind-meld — and could bring a whole other set of instruments to a gig than the ones listed above. This excerpt shows Colin Fisher shredding on sax, but I could have just as easily picked a piece with his amazing guitar work as well.

The Cosmic Range — live excerpt 2016-09-18
Matthew "Doc" Dunn is another Toronto polymath whose projects tend to pull together a stage filled with top-flight musicians. A true cosmic "head", Dunn is the guy who gets the call to be a special guest when the likes of Woods or MV&EE hit town. On stage, the Cosmic Range is like a psychedelic Sun Ra supernova, and the lineup at this gig overlapped with some of the other stuff in this playlist, including Jonathan Adjemian, Mike Smith (on bass here), and Brandon Valdivia.

Fake Humans — live excerpt 2016-03-11
This duo from Carl Didur and Colin Fisher started out as more of an abstract noise-exploration project, but has slowly moved into a more tuneful headspace. It's ridiculously reductionist to say, but if Zacht Automaat features Didur's refractions of Soft Machine, then this one might be his Van Der Graaf Generator. Fisher is on drums here, and Didur is doubling up on synth and taishogoto — every time I listen to this I remain shocked that this is just the work of two people on stage. No stdio recordings yet, but I've heard that there's something in the can.

Muskox — "Ghost Ride"
A point of origin for several local groups (including Aurochs, who started as a sort of smart jazz piano trio but have evolved into something more convoluted), this was Mike Smith's old band. Their earlier stuff has more banjo and harmonium in the mix, but Canterbury fans will especially groove on their final album Invocation/Transformations.

Zacht Automaat — "Special Dinner"
...and the end is the beginning is the...


Blogger sa said...

hi matthew, hi everyone.. and a good year 2017 to all.. after a few attempts i'm still not able to COMPLETE the downloading of the (it stops at 315MB for some reason)... anyone?

19 January 2017 at 09:27  
Blogger Matthew Watkins said...

I've reuploaded - try the new link

20 January 2017 at 02:30  
Blogger Matthew Watkins said...

Hmmm. I can't get that one to work either. I'll try something else. Bear with me...

20 January 2017 at 02:43  
Blogger Matthew Watkins said...

It seems that a lot of Dropbox users have been having this problem in recent weeks:
I think you'll have to make do with streaming until they sort this out. Or can anyone suggest a better (free) alternative to Dropbox?

20 January 2017 at 07:17  

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