Wavelength #545C: Coca Cola and Not the Wind, Not the Flag

Not the Wind, Not the Flag

by Elena Gritzan

It is officially summer and, for me at least, the season is pretty synonymous with gorging on live music.  Wavelength seems to agree, hosting a mini-series of shows over the past weekend at Double Double Land that they called Summer Solstice Triptych.  I probably did not take full advantage of the “three” inherent in the word triptych (there was three shows, most of them with three bands), catching two bands during the third installment late Friday night, but it was still a suitable way to bring in the official start to the warm season.

First was Coca Cola, a collaborative project between Slim Twig and U.S. Girls.  As a fan of both artists individually, I was excited to see what they could come up with after musically joining forces.  They are not as poppy as either of their usual projects, instead creating drifting, drone-y textures.  The entire set blended as one ambling composition, full of sampled dialogue that sounded like it was coming from a classic film or old radio.  I’m not sure if all of the meandering went anywhere, but it was certainly a journey.

Continuing the theme of long-form instrumental improvisations was Toronto’s Not the Wind, Not the Flag.  Colin Fischer and Brandon Valdivia started by working with percussion (shakers, drums, gongs and a finger organ) to create atmospheric, almost tribal textures.  Things built in intensity throughout the set with the inclusion of recorders and guitar.  The set took a Gaussian distribution: starting soft and small before reaching epic intensities and then fading back away into calmness.

The combination of the two acts made for one of the strangest musical experiences I have had in a while, but both were compelling and pushed my ear outside of its usual comfort zone (always a good thing in my book).  Hopefully the rest of the long summer days can be spent discovering inventive bands and taking in the wealth of musical opportunities available in Toronto and elsewhere.  Wavelength definitely has us off to a good start.

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