I’m not really into April Fool’s Day, and jokes where you’re made to feel gullible are the most terrible thing on earth to me. I remember Terrorizer magazine’s prank from about 10 years ago when they awarded Album of the Month to a black metal band called Arktyk, unknowns from Alaska who’d just signed with Relapse. The album’s description, something like extreme black metal mixed with Pink Floyd parts, sounded right up my alley—and, alas, they were entirely fictional. For about two hours I was all set to order their album before I realized I’d been reading the April issue. I was crushed. At least these days I can listen to Deathspell Omega, who basically fulfill all my progressive black metal requirements.
I did go out and have a hell of a time on Tuesday anyway. After work I headed to the Railway Club for Jen Currin’s book launch. Her latest collection is Hagiography, and my first impression is that it’s her most accessible work yet. Her poetry can be a little tricky and elusive (for want of a much better word), but I like it because every line is a surprise. When Jen reads, she reveals the amount of care and humour she puts into her work, and it becomes even more impressive. At times during her set I’d get derailed by a particularly brilliant line, like “He’s old enough to be her mother” and have to force myself to quit pondering it and rejoin the poem already in progress. The first poet of the evening, Bill Stobbs from Wisconsin, went over really well too. It’s a shame he sold out of books (he only had four copies on hand) so quickly.
From the Railway I went straight to La Casa Del Artista on Main Street for Stitching and Unstitching, a monthly jazz/improv event that Jeff Younger helps to put on. I don’t think I’ve mentioned Jeff Younger here before, which is a damn shame. He’s a sick guitarist with a twisted mind. Jeezly talented. You’re never quite sure what’s burbling beneath his gleaming pate, but you know it’ll inevitably express itself in some really cool musical way. He’s also a top man, and fighting the good fight in this here town. Last Tuesday’s Stitching and Unstitching featured Jeff doing his Devil Loops project and The Sukha Trio. Devil Loops saw Jeff, his guitar, and various digital confabulators and doohickeys work through a few different pieces that flowed really well, from mellow to skronktastic and back to mellow, building up layers (i.e. these newfangled “loops” alluded to in the project's name) with delay and stripping them down again. Despite what Jeff said between songs, none of it sounded like Santana.
The Sukha Trio consisted of Jared Burrows (guitar), Stan Taylor (drums) and Colin MacDonald (saxophone) and Daniel Hella (flute), Hella also threw in occasional toy accordion, bells, vocals, a noisemaker thing that looked like a Big Gulp cup with a wire hanging out of it. They set themselves up two-by-two on the floor in front of the stage, facing each other across the floor with a video projector between them. The projections showed blurred/abstracted footage of birds and planes, kids playing in water, and pots boiling. I’m a sucker for live music and visuals (slides or video), and The Sukha Trio’s presentation worked out nicely. Sometimes the video segments would finish before the music did, but with their loose-seeming arrangements I can’t say they were really intending to time everything to the exact second. My only real quibble would be they went a little long (I was tired, I admit, full of poetry and beer), but I’d definitely like to see them again, especially if they work up a new set. I feel pretty lucky that La Casa is right down the street from me. I’ve seen some cool things there recently, including a triple bill of punk rock (including moviecore monsters Graf Orlock) where I was undoubtedly the oldest dude in the room.