Thursday, September 27, 2012

Filling in the blanks

My apologies for the umpteenth unplanned hiatus on the blog. Hopefully this rundown will explain why these pages have been fairly silent. For everyone who might be landing here from my interview on The Jazz Session, welcome.

POP Montreal wrapped up this past weekend, which occupied a fair chunk of my week. I kicked it off at Balattou alongside Sarah Linhares, who showcased her solo work and a new electro-influenced project called Future Falcon. Sarah's record Messages From the Future just got nominated for Best Electronic Album at the GAMIQ, and we're gearing up for our next live show October 4 at Piano Rouge.

I was also responsible for mounting a live band for my friend ANGO. I called Mark Haynes and Jahsun of Kalmunity to bring the reggae and 80s R&B flavours out of Ango's music, which was enhanced by Mike Din triggering samples and effects that I didn't have enough hands for. It was a blast seeing Prison Garde and Jacques Greene, who had produced tracks on Ango's mixtape Serpentine, reacting to their beats coming to life.

I didn't get much of a chance to catch other people's music at POP this year - I only saw three shows. Fanfare Ciocarlia was at the Rialto Theatre, and their breakneck music was nearly ruined by a hyperactive lighting tech. It's a Balkan brass band, not a techno rave, the strobe lights can stay home. The sound at the Rialto was far better than I remember. I caught most of AKUA's set at Sala Rossa. I've known Akua for a long time, back to our days with McGill a cappella ensemble Effusion, and it's a pleasure to watch her solo material blossom. She acquitted herself well as a solo act, singing and playing keys over her Ableton Live (I assume) beats, and joined at times by harpist Emilie and saxophonist Dave. Akua is a striking visual presence as well, but it's hard to really interact when one is stuck behind a computer screen. The final show I saw was the PASA Musik showcase at Lambi, featuring Sarah MK and La Bronze. I hadn't seen La Bronze, though I have known drummer/vocalist/dancer Nadia Essadiqi for a while through the female percussion troupe Maloukaï. She's a force to be reckoned with onstage, with an honest voice that sometimes falters. The tunes didn't necessarily hit the climaxes that they could have, and while the first number with her two dancers was a welcome surprise, their return appearances became more routine. Maybe it's because they weren't properly lit at Lambi.


In Jason's interview, I spoke a lot about Alicuanta. Rehearsals are well and truly under way. Having lived with this music for nearly two years makes getting into detail work during the rehearsal process a much more feasible task. Pablo Serrano Dakán was in town from Mexico City for over a month working on the projection design. Seeing even the rough drafts of the projections were breathtaking.


I continue to indulge my love for Latin American music. The Trio Bruxo EP has been given some loving attention by Anthony Dean-Harris on his show The Line-Up, and was reviewed by Peter Hum. My monthly Latin series, MOVIM, continues tonight with my friends in Tupi Collective, and I'll be DJing alongside them. MOVIM will continue through the fall with performances by Trio Bruxo, Joel Miller, Frizson, and more.

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