Daily Value

June 22, 2009, 10:54 am
Filed under: Beats and Bobs. | Tags: , , , ,


By Nicki Borland

Upon venturing out for a night of artistic and musical delight, one should not only expect and hope for an experience previously unmatched, but most importantly, feel deserving of one. The LA band of experimental racket makers, HEALTH effortlessly displayed just that during their short but spectacular set at The Horseshoe Tavern for Toronto’s NXNE festival. With a compelling mix of seemingly noise derived melodies set to an array of heart-throbbing drum beats, the eerily executed yet calculated musings of lead vocalist, Jake Duzsik, offer solace in what would otherwise be a tangled mess of bodies, instruments and musical pleasure. Each song blends into the next and are together energized but subdued making for an unforgettably haunting performance of which each viewer cannot help but admire.

Whether in awe of each members’ apparent absorption in the very moment they are living or engaging in collective confusion regarding the message or intent of Jupiter Keyes’ Nickleback homage, not one witness can deny that they were bombarded with and intrigued by the unique and particular stylings of this California quartet.

To see HEALTH is an experience indeed for one must recognize that those they are watching are the direct personification of the music they are hearing. The band’s allure resides in their capability to be consistently spontaneous, fluidly experimental and endlessly enticing through talent and originality inherent to each member. Although simply listening to HEALTH is a perfectly enjoyable experience, it seems to be like reading a play: something that was created to be performed should be enjoyed as such.

Thus to truly understand and grasp the experience that is HEALTH, one must delight in the band’s permanently inseparable elements of music and performance as so many did this past Thursday during 26 minutes of sheer musical glee.


Liam Crockard, Stash Can (After Warhol), 2009

Liam Crockard, Stash Can (After Warhol), 2009

Remember high school? Remember the lead up to the very first day- the mixed feelings of apprehension, excitement and overwhelming fear? We do. For some those were the best years, filled with misadventures that they could never repeat to their grandchildren over milk and cookies, for others they were Carrie-like and reminiscent of the first few levels of hell. For the boys behind Studio Gallery’s latest, ‘Seminal Hex’, high school was, like life in general, a combination of both, everything and nothing all at once. Like pages ripped from mental yearbooks, the works are as diverse as they are thematic, traversing incestuously between mediums in the re-creation of the dulled eunni of youth.

‘Seminal Hex’ features the works of four artists including, Daily Value favourite, Liam Crockard, in a toast to disillusionment, adolescence and nostalgia. Just don’t call it an ode.

‘Seminal Hex’ opens at Studio Gallery tonight and runs until May 21st.

p.s. Image courtesy of Studio.

– N.A.M.

Daniel, Nigel Nolan

Nigel Nolan, Daniel 2009

Don’t let its name fool you. The newest installation by artist and graphic novellist, Nigel Nolan, is far from a tiny sampling. The full-gallery installation is an “environment” of sorts according to Nolan, and expresses every nuance of the vulagrity of art. Although wrapped with a disclaimer to the squeamish, prude and judgemental, AMUSE-BOUCHE challenges Torontonians to a new, fresh look at what it means for art to be graphic.

Opening in Tornoto tonight, AMUSE-BOUCHE will be hosted by Nolan and gallery director Wil Kucey.

To May 3rd at Le Gallery.

p.s. Image courtesy of Le Gallery

Colour Me There

By Terese Saplys


Jessica Eaton, Shadow 9, 2009

Mourners of film photography should visit Hunter and Cook‘s eponymous exhibit of Vancouverite Jessica Eaton’s work, which opened Friday, March 27. More impressive than having her first show in Toronto coincide with her first solo show in Toronto, all the works on display have been made from film: not one of them is digitally constructed.


Jessica Eaton, 108_06, 2009

Eaton’s exhibit is a display of virtuosity, each piece a microcosm of what could become the basis for a larger show. Every print in the Emily Carr Institute graduate’s show represents a technical practice she has been refining for a year or more, as she related at the opening. “108_06” unveils a bare gallery wall as a wormhole to the whole photonic spectrum through a process called “masking,” the contemporary version of which is commonly used in digital imaging. Eaton, however, uses the earlier and painstaking analog version: to create “108_06,” she had over a hundred uniquely manufactured darkslides laser-cut to her specifications, which she then used to expose one piece of film at a time to red, green and blue separation filters. “These are the primary colours in light [additive] colour theory,” she explains. “By multiply exposing each square to different combinations of pure red, green, and blue, I can make ‘normal’ white light and a set of additive secondaries-magenta, yellow, and cyan-visible at the same time.” She’s been working on the technique for approximately five years.

Eaton’s work re-imagines ’70s-era minimalist and conceptual art: a time when artists aimed to strip the aesthetic object down to its most essential state and concept took precedence over traditional aesthetic concerns (a serial work of Eaton’s-a diamond pattern captured mid-liftoff from its foundation of grid paper-especially invokes Sol LeWitt). Like her predecessors, Eaton uses a purist’s palette, but, rather than baring the aesthetic object, she reveals it in the process of undressing.

In the best of cases, Eaton’s hesitation in paring down the object imbues her work with a heady sense of mystery. We look through “Shadow 9” and “108_06” and glimpse the sensory world’s inchoate elements quietly gathering, but Eaton keeps the curtains mostly drawn. Her modesty creates a worshiper of the viewer, compelled by the ever-unfulfilled promise of the unknown. Certain pieces reflect her strengths to greater effect: the light from a window covered in film gels that she installed in her own apartment carries greater conceptual and poetic weight in “Shadow 9,” where its rainbows filter through a cosmogonally black circle of heavy stock card onto a white sheet of paper, than in the photograph of the window itself. Ditto the print of the window’s technicolour reflection on her apartment floor. But the exhibit’s overall effect is erotic: it piques and prolongs the thrum of audience interest and does not explore the artist’s maturity as such. To that effect, Eaton’s patience with and innovative application of singular production methods, and the visceral pull created therein, make for a thrilling tease.

Jessica Eaton’s exhibit will be at Hunter and Cook (15 Ossington Avenue) until April 26, 2009.

p.s. Images courtesy of Hunter and Cook.

Empire Strikes
March 16, 2009, 5:21 pm
Filed under: Beats and Bobs., Quick-Fix | Tags: , , , ,


Toronto-based hip hop artists, Empire a.k.a Fifth Letter Fam, have been known not only for their lyrical prowess but their ability to consciously reflect on issues ranging from personal struggles and adversity to more public tragedies. Their more recent work, the S.A.R.S mix tape series, was released at the apex of the SARS outbreak in Toronto and has since infiltrated the city’s sound waves marking them as ones to watch.

Check out their newest video “Impossible” ft. Jay NY:

Also, check out their Myspace page here!

pirate/rock and desert boots
February 11, 2009, 11:44 pm
Filed under: Beats and Bobs. | Tags: , , , , , , ,
Joe & Josh, of pirate/rock.

Joe & Josh, of pirate/rock.

It was supposed to be another dull Tuesday night.  Instead we found ourselves seated at Last Temptation, a quiet Kensington bar in Toronto, with the boys of pirate/rock.  After catching a few of their shows Daily Value collectively agreed that they were ones to watch.

Daily Value: Who is pirate/rock? Go ahead and introduce yourselves.

Joe: My name is Joe –

Josh: Roth and my name is Josh Mcintyre. He plays guitar and vocals and I play drums as well as vocals.

DV: So why pirate/rock? Where did the name originate from?

Josh: From the beginning we were going to name the band Black Russells, because we thought that sounded cool. We thought of pirate/rock because we obviously don’t have very much money and we couldn’t find any labels to put out our music. So we decided to pirate our own rock records. Where we would make these CDR’s, put our songs on them, make our own art work or have friends create art work and just try to get our music out ourselves. So that was it.

DV: Who are your influences?

Josh: Our influences are another reason why we thought of pirate/rock. Because we have such different influences, mine being Hip Hop and Joe well he listens to what ever he listens to.

DV: What do you listen to Joe?

Joe: I listen to everything. I don’t know.

Luke the Roadie: Blink 182, The Strokes and bands.

Joe: That is not a real voice; he’s not speaking right now.

DV: Who are you ?

Luke the Roadie: Luke Drayton

Josh: Luke Drayton the roadie slash publicist.

Luke the Roadie: [Essentially] the talent wrangler

Josh: Anyway we are [basically] pirating all of our influences to make our records.

Luke the Roadie: Your explanations become more and more extravagant with every interview.

DV: What’s with the slash?

Joe: There is no reason for the slash.

Josh: It’s purely aesthetic thing.

DV: Then you wouldn’t be offended if you were written about without the slash?

Josh: Yeah we would. It’s like taking the slash out of AC/DC.

DV: But you are not AC/DC…

Josh: Not yet.

DV: So how did you to come together and create pirate/rock?

Josh: Joe and I have been playing music together since grade ten, so it’s been six or seven years.

Joe: It was actually four or five years ago.

Josh: I was 14, so it’s been six years. Anyway, then we were a part of another band called Red Yellow Green, and that band fizzled. We played only one show, but we didn’t really like Red Yellow Green. So behind everyone’s back we decided to start jamming and practice. There were five of us at the time and slowly people would stop showing. So eventually our side project became our real project.

DV: Is the creative process easier with just the two of you?

Josh: It is definitely much much easier in the sense that we don’t have to deal with musical egos. It’s just me and Joe. We’ve been playing together for six years, so I can write really well with him.  He can also tell me that my drum lines are terrible and I won’t get offended.

DV: You keep it real then?

Joe: Real talk.

Josh: Exactly we keep it real.

DV: We’ve noticed bands that thrive on a little tension, what do you guys think about that?

Joe: As in competition?

Josh: Well I don’t think there is competition, but as far as the tension goes we’ve been friends for so long we could insult the hell out of each other during practice. At the end of the day we chill and have a beer.

Joe: Or more like a half hour or fifteen minutes later.

Josh: You know what I mean. So yes, we take none of it to heart.

DV: Where do you see pirate/rock in the next five years?

Josh: That is an interesting question, there are things happening that we don’t want to talk about right now. Regardless of what happens pirate/rock will always be together no matter what. There are no chances of us ever breaking up.  We’ve always made our music for ourselves, so we will keep doing it.

Joe: That was the worst answer I have ever heard.

Catch their next show at Rancho Relaxo this Saturday the 14th, with Dawn of Humans, HEAVEN and Young Flux.