What’s your scene? Lit, food, arts, music, theatre, find out what’s happening in the city of churches.

  • Behind the DJ Booth: Malky

    Malcolm Duncan, a.k.a. Malky, has been producing music for several years, developing his skills while completing a BFA in Electroacoustics at Concordia. Little did I know, hidden on the eighth floor of the MB building are a bunch of music producers.

    Duncan is from Ottawa and made the move to Montreal as a last-minute decision when he was 19. Moving away from the residential side of our nation’s capital to the diverse metropolitan of Montreal, Malky was thrown into the world of music production. It was at this point that he started taking his music more seriously and became ambitious about his production.

    He started dabbling mostly in hip-hop, sending tracks to his friends, who would rap over them. Now his style has broadened to include various genres, such as ambient and electronic. But his hip-hop roots can still be heard in his latest work, which moves from acoustic-instrument-driven to heavy, downtempo electronic pulses.

    Duncan is surrounded by musical people, and even shares his St. Henri apartment with another DJ. This lifestyle has influenced his style and the music he chooses to take to full production. While the tracks heard on his website are not directly mixed with other people, his friends contribute by giving him feedback.

    “What makes me want to finish a song is when someone pops into my room and says ‘oh that’s really good’,” Duncan said.

    His work is the result of a process of daily music-making, tireless editing, re-working and yes, even more alterations. Malky is aiming to produce “professional music” and is often not satisfied with his work.

    “When you make a song, something may be missing and it may take years to find the perfect sound,” he said.

    “It may not be [that there is] something missing, but something that’s there that shouldn’t be.”

    For the summer, Malky is looking to get more into DJ-ing on a regular basis, and continuing to develop his own style on the production side. He’s working on developing a method of bringing concert-style performances and DJ-ing together, to show the production aspect directly to his audience.

    So I will be keeping my ears open for Malky’s ambient hip-hop once the snow’s all gone!

    For more on Malky’s music visit his bandcamp page.

  • M83 Branches into Film

    • M83’s Oblivion soundtrack April 9, 2013 through Back Lot Records

    Anthony Gonzalez, the genius behind the awe-inspiring shoegaze tunes of M83, has achieved his dream of taking his music to the big screen.

    M83 is most known for their 2005 release Before the Dawn Heals Us, and the 2011 mega-hit Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming, with the catchy and saxxy tune “Midnight City.”

    Gonzalez has teamed up with Tron: Uprising composer Joseph Trapanese for the score of the upcoming sci-fi flick Oblivion, starring Tom Cruise in a post-apocalyptic future on Earth.

    The first song of the score, “StarWaves,” was released March 6, 2013.

    Reminiscent of John Murphy’s “Surface of the Sun” score for the 2007 film Sunshine, “StarWaves” has an eerie celestial melody that slowly builds and gains momentum, maintaining a melancholy and forlorn tone.

    The song reaches climax in a transcendental finale of soaring synths that rocket listeners through the deep reaches of space, swelling with emotion, then retreating back into the cosmos as quickly as it arrived.

    The soundtrack for Oblivion is set to be released on April 9 through Back Lot Records.

  • CONCERT REVIEW: Animal Collective Comes Out to Play

    We’re adorned in feathers and beads, at our own indoor Woodstock in Metropolis.

    Everyone’s smiling, soaking the music into our skin. The lights aren’t quite dimmed yet as Dan Deacon plays master of ceremonies, raving about forests of hair with a drummer on either side of him. He acoustically loops and layers percussion with the help of his ensemble, and shit-talks the laptop member of his band. He caresses the stage monitors, propelling good wishes through the crowd amid his hippie club music.

    Deacon tells us to keep up the protests, that they’re good for us, before leaving the stage to our headliner’s sound techs. It’s not until then that I realize Animal Collective has lined the top and bottom of the stage with giant teeth.

    Unceremoniously taking the stage, they lull us in with “New Town Burnout” before exploding into “Moonjock,” both off their latest Centipede Hz, a handbook to new-school psychedelia with Deakin back in the mix. Panda Bear behind a full drum kit and Avey Tare wielding a guitar, everything’s much more live here than the Merriweather Post Pavillion setup. They stay away from anything on their biggest record, until “Brother Sport” makes a welcomed appearance in their second set.

    An early high point is “Today’s Supernatural,” the crowd erupting as the bouncing trip disintegrates into distortion halfway through the song. We’re all dancing together, hands twirling in the air like 21st-century flower children.

    The first set is all about Centepede Hz, but they start turning back time after returning to the stage, first by channeling The Grateful Dead in cut time 7/4 “What Do I Want? Sky.” We sink deeper as each interlude hints at the next song, dropping into dancing and ecstasy at the perfect moment as they do so often. The crowd laps up older favourites like “Did You See the Words” and “Purple Bottle,” we all scream along with Avey Tare as he jumps around during “Peacebone.”

    It all ends without a word; with barely a moment of silence during their nearly two-hour set, the contrast is jarring. We’re left with an infectious high, willing the night to continue and for an encore at least to hear “For Reverend Green.” But no such luck, although we’re better off than Toronto—the band cancelled their Saturday show due to illness.

    The show reveals only one side of Animal Collective, of the always-weird, always evolving band’s huge repertoire. This Centipede Hz tour shows them as old pros with a light show that swallows you whole, retreated from their ultra-accessible Merriweather / Fall Be Kind phase. They’ve come out the other end with yet another sound, more psychedelic than ever. Where they go next is anyone’s guess.

  • One Night, Many Freebies: Walking Through Nuit Blanche

    This year was the 10th anniversary of Nuit Blanche, the city-wide all-night festival that celebrates visual arts, music, film, dance, theatre, cuisine, literature and more. Over 150 events are scattered throughout the city, tens of thousands of Montrealers braving the snow every year and trekking from downtown to the Plateau and Old Montreal.

    This humble film student set out to make the most of his first Nuit Blanche experience.

    We started the night off classy with a visit to the Museé des Beaux-arts for a free chocolate tasting with exquisite offerings from Venezuela, Ecuador, Madagascar and others. Arguably the best part of Nuit Blanche is the never-ending supply of free stuff.

    We then decided to head to the main site and braved the anarchy of Place-des-Arts Metro—packed in a tin can surrounded by drunk sardines—to reach the Place des Festivals.

    The impressive large-scale attractions like the illuminating ferris wheel and snaking toboggan slide were worth it; we even contemplated getting in on the action. The ludicrously long lines lead us to quickly discard that idea.

    Heading over to St. Laurent Blvd., we entered Société des arts technologiques for some eclectic chiptune music (also known as 8-bit, the genre derived from manipulating old computers and video games—including Gameboys—to synthesize their electronic emissions into trippy beats).

    We grooved to music straight out of Legend of Zelda on the chic upper level, and played video games created by indie Montreal designers on bean bag chairs at the lower level.

    Then we hiked over to Old Montreal and stepped into the Montreal Trade Centre for a photo art exhibit, but we got distracted by a performance art piece with a man in a glass box half-filled with balloons. Eventually we ended up committing fully to exploring the Art Souterrain for hours— venturing through malls, metros, train terminals and ice rinks.

    Some art installations included a paper airplane battle-royale station, a huge human ear made of thousands of clay strings, an interactive “Simon Says” colour and music game stretching down a hallway and a fort constructed with crates large enough to host half a dozen art-goers, with everyone’s inner-child smiling with glee.

    We almost called it quits at 3 a.m., but stayed strong and backtracked to the Hilton Bonaventure for a rooftop swim under the stars and snow. We were unceremoniously turned away for not having an advance ticket—immediately regretting decision to trek out to the Hilton.

    By 4 a.m. it felt like a pretty respectable time to call it a night. For the unilingual, a “nuit blanche” is staying up all night. Well, we came pretty damn close.

  • Indie Quebec

    Quebec cinema is taking over. Both the Cineplex Odeon Quartier Latin and the Cinemathèque were reserved earlier this month for Quebec films as part of the Rendez-vous du cinéma québécois.

    Discussions between artists and producers of the film industry were held as part of the cinq à sept, to honour female filmmakers and the filmmaker André Melançon.

    Independent cinema also shone with 35 documentaries and over 200 shorts screened during the Rendez-vous.

    Five films produced by Concordia students were shown during the festival, including an ambitious independent feature-length production, Soft Gun, directed by three alumni.

    The film tells the story of two travellers wandering through the southern United States and features a climactic ending in New York City.

    The impulsivity of the filmmakers to take an idea and turn it into an artistic road trip is similar to that of the story’s female protagonist, who finds herself hitting the road to Atlanta with the hope of reuniting with a long-lost cousin.

    Starting with a 50-word script and an untamed desire to explore the roads of America, the seven-member crew set off to Atlanta in the summer of 2011 with a few hundred dollars in their pockets.

    “Some people thought we were mad,” said co-director and co-writer Guillaume Collin about the challenge of directing the film. “We wanted to learn together. We didn’t realize how complicated co-directing was.”

    In the end, Collin ended up being the only one behind the camera, as Alexandra Bégin and Jesse Kray, the two other co-directors were already busy playing the two main characters.

    “There was no timeframe,” said Collin of the pre-production process.

    “Things went so fast,” added Bégin. “We actually finished the financing campaign one week before shooting.”

    Like many other indie projects, the film’s budget came mostly from an online Kickstarter fundraising campaign.

    As for commercial success, Bégin acknowledged the importance of having a star attached to the project—but also admitted that it was not a priority for the crew.

    “It didn’t even cross our mind. We had to make the film as fast as possible,” she said. In the end, the film did fairly well on the Canadian festival circuit, screening at both the Toronto Independent Film Festival and the Cinéfest Sudbury International Film Festival.

    Being independent in every sense of the word, the next step for Soft Gun is the American festival circuit, followed by online distribution before the end of the year.

    Soft Gun editor Daniel Dietzel will also present his own short film, A Million Statues, a film he defines as “two people kissing.” In the five-minute short, the viewer is taken on an exploration of film in the digital age.

    “It’s the idea that a frame is like a statue—one image is created into light and fades into light.”

    Also working on Soft Gun, this time as a sound engineer, filmmaker Dejan Pavlovic will show his first short Mjestro Mira, a film set in Sarajevo during wartime. The film examines the ambiguity of the time, “as we question who’s to blame and we are there to see the world change” instead of the usual implied political opposition between two groups.

    Mjestro Mira was shot entirely in Montreal, which was briefly transformed into a pseudo-Sarajevo. According to Pavlovic, the film is not about war, but about two human beings who just happen to be trapped in between the two camps.

    The advantage of having no memories about the Bosnian conflict is, through Pavlovic’s eyes, essential to the exclusion of political judgment and bias. For a sense of historical context, he consulted family members who all have their own personal views on the war.

    Collin, who produced the short, highlighted the fact that film school has allowed him and his fellow students to create links and a network of people who, even if they have different interests and viewpoints, can have the opportunity to collaborate on films.

    He hopes this spirit of collaboration will live on in the upcoming years, as new projects are already on the table.