Left Hip
Album

Winks and Tights - Winks and Tights

The Winks are an impossible-to-pigeonhole band from Vancouver featuring mandolin, cello, woodwinds, percussion and electronics. Their live show has aspects of the chaotic electronic pop of Xiu Xiu, cabaret, classical, free improv, noise and twee. The Winks half of this split CD alternates between chaotic and majestic, quiet and loud, cute and abrasive. The mandolin, cello and woodwinds add a great deal to their appeal. Some songs skew towards the pop side of life, others are instrumental, ele...
Album

François Houle - Aerials

"Exploring clarinet’s uncharted territories" is one way of looking at François Houle’s improvisations because even physically he finds himself in the outer higher limits of clarinet’s range quite often. However I would also call it a marvel in auditory experience. It is impossible to imagine such complex weaving of sound cells alternating between ranges and colours on a single instrument, and that is when one tries to imagine in order to justify the possibility of sounds until I realize tha...
Album

Fond Of Tigers - Release the Saviours

Last Halloween I stumbled upon a back alley club in Vancouver called 1067 and had a chance to witness something like I have never heard before. The club, like a large living room of couches everywhere was intimate. I sat on the floor since all of the seats were taken up. Expecting to hear something intimate like the room, I was blown away when the members of Fond of Tigers sounded their first measure of music. Steven Lyon...
Album

Isaiah Ceccarelli, Bernard Falaise, Joshua Zubot - Subtle Lip Can

Based on a show I’d seen Bernard Falaise do at the Montreal free-jazz hotspot Casa Obscura, I know that the guy’s just a totally mental guitar player. There aren’t many people you’d want to plunk down into the middle of a recording session with this guy: who could keep up? If I remeber correctly, some of the other otherwise very talented players he holed up with that night kinda fell by the wayside in my mind, with the exception of Halifax hotshot Pau Cram, who also really shocked and awed, b...
Album

Fond Of Tigers - Fond of Tigers

When I first heard Andrew Hill’s Smokestack, which features both Eddie Khan and Richard Davis playing upright bass at the same time, a piano quartet with two basses, I realized that when jazz is played cacophonously and far from tight, it can be just as beautiful. Smokestack was a staple for me because Hill was veering away from writing classic themes when all the other cats were trying to find new ways to write them. Instead, he created these walls-of-sound which seem to be following a set o...
Album

Wilson/Lee/Bentley - Escondido Dreams

A beautiful album that answers to no one, Escondido Dreams follows its own unique and winding path through countless contemporary strains of jazz. The group touches on gentle folk-inspired sounds that may owe thanks to Bill Frisell, bebop, spaced-out pointillist textures that recall Stockhausen and abstract melodic sensibilities inspired by serialism, noisy wah guitars that akin to the harmolodic sounds of of James Blood Ulmer, searing fusion leads that remind me of 80's players like ...
Album

Peggy Lee Band - New Code

Another exceptional jazz album from The Peggy Lee Band featuring an all-star cast of top Vancouver jazz players. Opening with a wonderful arrangement of Bob Dylan’s All I Really Want To Do, the album features a mix of seven composed pieces and 3 free improvised tracks. Playing is exquisite throughout, with a mix of beautiful yet cutting edge melodic sensibilities, classic trad jazz playing and some unhindered skronk thrown in of course for good measure, they are form Vancouver, after all. ...
Album

ZMF Trio - Circle The Path

Listing all the heavyweights that have played with members of this trio would amount to nothing short of a novella, so here's just a few: Archie Shepp, Mark Dresser, Eugene Chadbourne, Anthony Braxton. Sound good? It is. Circle The Path is in that wonderful grey zone between free jazz and contemporary classical that's so au courant, but differentiates itself with a real sense of fun and an undercurrent of blues feel.  The ZMF trio is comprised of Joe Fonda from New York on bass, Jean Martin f...
Album

Jesse Zubot - Dementia

Jesse Zubot’s Dementia is recorded once through without stops for editing and rerecording, unfolding over the theme of cognitive break down, documenting its improvised musical expression of confusion, paranoia, hope, agitation, notion of passing time. It plays over prerecorded samples of guitar, mandolin and sounds from the environment. Sometimes the violin is alone improvising on its own over short themes with extended techniques (playing on the bridge, scratched sounds, arco grain, har...
Album

Inhabitants - The Furniture Moves Underneath

JP Carter is the most crazy-assed noisy bastard of a trumpet player you're ever gonna find anywhere. Half the time. The rest of the time he plays smooth as the bottom of baby born with a silver spoon in its mouth. Motherf***er would put Miles in sweats. What you're doubting me? Thinking the cat might be lightweight? I don't blame you I've been known to exaggerate and straight up tell lies. But not this time. This guy can play. Clearly you haven't been suffered permanent hearing loss ...
Album

Butcher Muller and Van der Schyff - Way Out Northwest

I don’t know if I could provide any kind of precise definition for the terms ‘skronk’ or ‘skree’ that might help a listener unfamiliar with contemporary improvisation understand the sound. But those jazz fans for whom the terms are both familiar and interest-piquing will want to take note that there’s a heck of a lot of both going on in this live set from British saxophonist John Butcher, German bassist Torsten Muller (who now calls Vancouver home), and percussionist Dylan van der Schyff. Va...
Album

Tommy Babin’s Benzene - Your Body Is Your Prison

Psyche and rock-tinged free jazz from Vancouver bass player Tommy Babin and his band. The album, recorded in a single take, features Babin on acoustic bass, with Chad MacQuarrie of weird punk band Karen Foster on electric guitar and Vancouver’s omnipresent free-improv hired gun Skye Brooks on drums. Your Body Is Your Prison starts out sounding somewhat composed, with a first track or two that have characteristics of contemporary jazz compositions by Steve Coleman and Rudresh Mahantha...
Album

Inhabitants - A Vacant Lot

The jazz section in your local record store these days could really make due with just two sections: “Albums J.P. Carter Plays On”, and “Other”. Which is a roundabout way of saying that I’m a big fan of the Vancouver’s trumpet player’s deranged dialectic of slow, flowing beautiful jazz lines and unhinged, guitar pedal-driven skree. I’ve seen him charm supper club audiences with smooth bebop lines, and I’ve seen him melt faces off with a Proco Rat at illegal art galleries. While both are great...
Album

Gord Grdina Trio with Mats Gustafsson - Barrel Fire

Based on my one previous experience with Gord Grdina, a very sedate set at Bukowski’s in Vancouver, I wasn’t expecting too much excitement from this one, but considering the company the dude keeps – François Houle, TOmmy Babin, Mats Gustafsson, etc – I should have know better than to prematurely pigeonhole the guy as a mild-mannered, middle of the road jazzbo. This album is a rager. What can really be said? Music like this just needs to be listened to, preferably live. A stellar lineup of Van...