Archive for January, 2007

44 Wards in 44 Hours – Eye Weekly (11.30.06)

January 2, 2007

Toronto in two days

Taking a cue from the mayor, our correspondent hits 44 neighbourhoods in 44 hours in search of the city’s identity

During the final weekend of the recent municipal election campaign, Mayor David Miller endured a marathon trek to every part of Toronto. He called it the “44 Wards in 44 Hours” tour. It was an admirable gesture for a mayor who would represent every corner of the city. On election night, he said that he wished “every Torontonian could do this -because then everyone would see just what a great city we have.” Interesting idea. I wanted to see what a great city we have, too. So I set out to do as Miller had done – though, as an experiment in one-upsmanship, I attempted to compress his three-day journey into 44 consecutive hours.

Staring at the ward map long enough to absorb Toronto’s geographic bulk, I determined a route that would get me to every corner of the city by public transit. For someone who lives downtown, any journey that deviates from the subway or the College streetcar causes a mild case of The Fear. But I choked back my apprehensions and prepared to brave the buses of Scarborough, the uncharted territories of north Etobicoke and the endless wait for a Lakeshore streetcar.


Record Guide Reviews – Eye Weekly (11.23.06)

January 2, 2007

Two reviews from Eye’s Holiday Record Guide issue.

Astronome (Tzadik)

With his MacArthur Fellows Genius Grant plaque freshly framed on the studio wall, John Zorn pulls out the file cards and runs his drum, bass and vocal lab rats through a labyrinthine death-metal opera in vocalese based on the brief collaboration of Artaud and Varese entitled Astronome. The rats in this experiment are the same who wrought Zorn’s hardcore improv session Moonchild: Joey Baron (Masada) and Fantomas’ Trevor Dunn and Mike Patton. Pretentiousness aside, the “pocket opera” as Zorn’s liner notes refer to it, is a sheets-of-plate-glass-through-a-wind-turbine kind of affair. Highlights of the three-act monsterpiece include Patton’s committed performance of slurps, gurgles and inhuman shrieking in key, and the classy packaging crammed with Artaud artwork.

Originally published here.

For Hero: For Fool (Astralwerks/Lex)

Only in San Francisco do experimental hip-hop groups tackle paranoid surrealist meditations on personal identity and the primal savagery of celebrity with such epic ambition. Subtle’s For Hero: For Fool is, in a word, dense. Doseone inexhaustibly sputters his copious texts, crammed with enough fantastic anatomy to arouse a Mugwump, over a soundtrack seamlessly flowing from intricately layered electronica to chunky beats, and even the occasional rock-epic instrumental break. Pop hooks are fleeting, eschewed in the interest of non-linear song structures. However, lead-off single “The Mercury Craze” twists a tale of vanity blood transfusions into four minutes of Gnarls-y infectiousness. Any attempt to absorb everything on this album in one listen can only result in injury.

Originally published here.