by carl wilson

Music via the Weekend

They're back!

My weekend was a little productive, a little debauched: A Friday-night birthday party at a Veterans' Hall that became a series of parties, stretching into the miniscule hours. The soundtrack at the party proper was the standard rotation of 80s revivalism that plagues my people (the gen formerly known as X), though it perked up a bit when it shaded back to early-60s rock'n'roll, which at least is somebody else's retro. But at my next party, it's all Shakira all the time. ("I'm just a consequence of the great musical momentum and the great changes we are going through in the world," she says, shortly after discussing the Renaissance iconography and psychoanalytic implications of the cover of her new album Oral Fixation Vol. 2. Yow.)

Saturday night brought me to the Tranzac Club, where I hosted the final show in the three-night 416 Festival. My end of things was a little chaotic (organizer Glen Hall was benched by a migraine, leaving the organizational side a bit untucked) but the music was strong, beginning with a wide-ranging CCMC set (very different in flavour than last Tuesday's, with trombonist Scott Thomson more than ably filling his guest chair), followed by by far the strongest set I've ever seen by Ken Aldcroft's Convergence Ensemble - I used to find the composition-based group a bit stilted, but this weekend they were energetic and fluent, a terrific leap ahead. Last came the Fake New Age Music Band, with Ryan Driver, Sandro Perri and Justin Haynes on electronics, thumb reeds (meaning pieces of balloon rubber that Driver plays between his thumbs, which I've never heard sound as good as they do in this setting), guitar, CDs and toys - a mesmerizing sound that actually created the meditative ambience that "real" new-age music drenches in goop and crystal healing hoohah. Hope there's a recording.

Before the gig there was the first general meeting of AIMT (the Association of Improvising Musicians of Toronto) which I'm told yielded a lot of useful feedback. And it's already had at least one practical outcome: This new MySpace site.

Sunday, brunch and watching Les Revenants - a very French zombie movie, in which masses of people rising from the dead represents primarily a bureaucratic dilemma. The ending, in which the "returnees" change the terms with a move that includes a burning car or two, deals quite presciently (and pessimistically) with the consequences of treating "integration problems" in said French manner. It's a gas, and genuinely creepy, and follows its conceit just short of too far, which may mean just short of far enough. (I'm still torn about whether its focus on white middle-class zombies was a cop out or a clever subterfuge.)

Finally, went to Mammalian Diving Reflex's Diplomatic Immunities, the second installment of a developing "social acupuncture" project whose mode is the interrogative - the actors asking questions of their subjects, the subjects interviewing the actors, the actors interviewing one another, and the audience, and vice-versa. This workshop was based on a day spent with a Grade 5/6 class in Parkdale (some of whom were in the audience, and eventually on stage). One of the questions they asked the kids: "What song should we sing?" Meaning, in the show. The 10- and 11-year-olds heatedly debated whether it should be 50 Cent's G Unit, with a posse of boys saying YES WAY and the rest of the class standing firm on NO WAY. A favourite quote, one pigtailed black girl saying, "Some of us aren't mature enough to listen to that, and other people just think they're mature enough." A pretty articulate statement, though enjoyably complicated by the fact that she kept wavering along the way over whether the word should be "mature" or "immature," which seemed a poetic slip coming from an 11-year old, who perches exactly on that edge of that distinction. There were votes for several Green Day songs (American Idiot at no. 1) but in the end they chose a song they all knew, which none of the adults, me included, had ever heard: It's called Lonely, based on a Bobby Vinton sample sped up to Chipmunks speed, by Senegal-born rapper Akon. As you can see from the dawg-turned-loverman R&B; lyrics, it manages to balance exactly on that same border: It at once sounds like a kids' song, with its 1950s chord changes, and verges on the inappropriate, but only verges. (Uh, just what it is that he put the girl through?) Those preadolescents, they know what they need. And it was readymade for theatrical singalongs too.

So that was the weekend (from the folks who brought you the minimum wage). And tonight it's John Cale at the Lula Lounge - I'll report back.

Bonus round: Strangest misestimation of the economic value of indie rock of the week.

| Posted by zoilus on Monday, November 14 at 05:15 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (4)



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Hey Carl,

Thank you so much for linking the AIMToronto Myspace... You have been such a wonderful advocated of that scene and it is much appreciated. Your role is already totally transparent to me and I'm only a newbie on the scene (living in Kitchener hampered my participation while still in school).

sincerely, Nick Storring (current "Myspacer" for AIMT)

Posted by Nick Storring on November 18, 2005 08:55 PM



You "adults" with your old-timey music. Akon's "Lonely" was toppa the charts, over here in the Kingdom. Probably in Canada, too.

Great writeup of that thing: makes me long to a) have been there; b) teach kids.

Posted by Sean on November 15, 2005 06:27 AM




Zoilus by Carl Wilson