2018 events:

  • SUNDAY, JANUARY 14, 2018
    High Line Brewing 1318 9 Ave SE, Unit #113 (access via Minh Chau parking lot off 9th Ave SE)
    7-10pm, 18+, $5 cover

For the next few months, we will be hearkening back to the early days of Bug Incision, where the evenings are shuffled ad hoc groupings of 6-8 musicians in a given evening, playing short pieces grouped into three sets from 7-10pm.

Chris Dadge is a multi-instrumentalist mainly known for his work as a drummer and percussionist, primarily working in the fields of rock and pop music (Lab Coast, Chad VanGaalen, Alvvays) and free improvisation (Bent Spoon Trio/Duo, Midnighties, Eric Chenaux, Joe Morris, Mats Gustafsson). He has operated Bug Incision since its inception in 2005.

Jonathon Wilcke
is a saxophonist and multi-reedist who has naturally taken his place as one of Calgary's most forward thinking workers of the horn since his relocation to the city in 2012. He co-leads the Not Now, Hamelin trio and has issued works from them and various solo pieces on his own imprint Uncanadian Activities. He has collaborated with Shane Krause, Rachael Wadham, Dave Chokroun, Eugene Chadbourne, Jack Wright, Joe Morris, Darren Williams, he currently plays in a duo with Chris Dadge, with whom he has been co-running Bug Incision for the last few years.

Mark Fleischhaker is Calgary's most adventurous pusher of the boundaries of what can reasonably be considered a vocalist. Whether it's his gleefully anarchic take on "traditional" karaoke or his FX-enhanced gutturralizations, he provides much to chew on each time. His solo voice & tapes vehicle is called Terrible Crayon, and he also leads a group called Nipple Puppet, plays drums in a free metal trio called Lord Something (with Chris Dadge and Scott Munro), and is an excellent group improvisor, recent playings with Halifax's Tim Crofts and Waterloo's Kathryn Ladano being highlights.

Colin MacLeod
is a saxophonist and another recent addition to the Bug Incision universe. His main area of activity currently is within the jazz realm and his scholarly studies thereof, all cut through with a noted view of the outer reaches. His playing incorporates shades of his influences, drawing on the concepts and styles of sax greats such as Wayne Shorter, Johnny Hodges, and Chris Potter.

Ian MacLean
is a guitarist, composer, and improvisor who recently made his debut on the Bug Incision stage under his solo moniker Forager. That guise allows MacLean to explore a wealth of diverting musical approaches, covering everything from primitive-style fingerpicked guitar work to more expansive drone-oriented pieces and tactile guitar improvisations.

Scott Munro
is a multi-instrumentalist of the first degree, known largely for his work as a guitarist and bassist (in ensembles such as Preoccupations, Chad VanGaalen & The Bleach Wipes, Lab Coast, and Child Actress), but also - to those in the know - a wonderful issuer of ideas on the double bass, viola, trombone, percussion, and vocals. He's been a core member of the Bent Spoon axiom since its 2002 inception, and has played with Jack Wright, Peter Evans, Ellwood Epps, Allison Cameron, Eric Chenaux, Darren Williams, and more.

  • MONDAY, FEBRUARY 12, 2018
    High Line Brewing 1318 9 Ave SE, Unit #113 (access via Minh Chau parking lot off 9th Ave SE)
    7-10pm, 18+, $5 cover

For the next few months, we will be hearkening back to the early days of Bug Incision, where the evenings are shuffled ad hoc groupings of 6-8 musicians in a given evening, playing short pieces grouped into three sets from 7-10pm.

Devin Friesen is a central figure in Calgary's fringe-leaning musical community, known mainly as a guitarist working in the post-Sonic Youth 6-string landscape. Over the years he's honed his sound into a malleable and responsive set of techniques, pedal settings, conceptual procedures, held together with a robust improvisor's aesthetic. His solo project Bitter Fictions has a pile of great LPs, CDs, and cassettes available, all via his own imprint, Shaking Box Music. He can also be found playing in the Friesen-Waters Duo, alongside saxophonist Nate Waters.

David Laing was present for the birth of Bug Incision back in 2005, as a member of the Bent Spoon Trio, who issued their debut recording as the first Bug Incision Records release. During that area he was highly involved with Bug Incision and Calgary's free improvisation scene, eventually moving this activity aside in favour of singing and songwriting for the acclaimed group Lab Coast, who've released a number of LPs, CD, 7"s, and cassettes, and recently toured Europe and the UK. His playing on the alto sax, Laingdon, and melodica is spacious, idiosyncratic, and highly malleable, making him an ideal player for this type of situation.

Rob Oxoby is a double bassist who has - luckily for us - been appearing with increasing frequency on the Bug Incision stage, with his group Not Now, Hamelin, and also in various ad hoc scenarios. He's known for his work with Muerte Pan Alley and the Bobby Kork Orchestra, and performed last year alongside master guitarist Joe Morris in a duo and trio (with Eric Hamelin). Morris and Oxoby also cut a duo record at Arch Audio studios, which will be released on Bug Incision Records this year.

Nathaniel Schmidt is primarily known as a pianist of excellent caliber, having worked extensively in Calgary's classical music communities, covering the entire gamut thereof, dipping into everything from choral work to chamber groups. Last year, along with Nate Waters, Chris Dadge, and Mark Limacher, Schmidt took the reigns in starting the composer-performer ensemble Nobody Say Anything, which played their debut show last year a Festival Hall, and is currently planning a release for this year. He is a member of Signs & Letters, a cross-provincial collaboration of electronic compositions, also holds the position of president of Kensington Sinfonia, 30 year stalwart of the Calgary Baroque string ensemble scene.

Lisa Cay Miller is a pianist based in Vancouver, who, it turns out, is originally from Calgary and hasn't played here in some time. She is the managing artistic director of Vancouver's seminal, long-running NOW Society, is an internationally renowned composer, and played with a long list of fellow improvising stalwarts, including Audrey Chen, Nicole Mitchell, Butch Morris, John Zorn, Ig Henneman, Wilbert de Joode, and many more. Of her piano playing, the Globe & Mail wrote “If the new improvisational movement means to convey the spirit of jazz without reiterating its stylistic clichés, then Vancouver-based pianist Lisa Miller deserves to be considered one of its leading lights.”

Chris Dadge is a multi-instrumentalist mainly known for his work as a drummer and percussionist, primarily working in the fields of rock and pop music (Lab Coast, Chad VanGaalen, Alvvays) and free improvisation (Bent Spoon Trio/Duo, Midnighties, Eric Chenaux, Joe Morris, Mats Gustafsson). While often seen performing on various configurations of drums and percussion, he has also been spotted playing guitar (in XL Hippies and on Bent Spoon Duo recordings), trumpet, and violin, the latter of which he'll be using on this night. He has operated Bug Incision since its inception in 2005.

Nate Waters is a multi-reedist with a strong penchant for the saxophone. He is one of the city's more wide-ranging hornsmen, equally at home in jazz scenarios with his own groups and countless sideman gigs, classical music, and pop & rock (with his sadly-defunct combo The Cable-Knits). He is one half of the Friesen-Waters Duo with Devin Friesen, and is a key member of the Bug Incision administrative team.

Eric Hamelin has been at the epicentre of Calgary's various creative music worlds for the better part of two decades now. His primary focus is drums and percussion, with which he routinely whips up a fantastic racket. He is a member of the free jazz-loving trio Not Now, Hamelin, maintains a duo of mostly potential with Chris Dadge (called either XL Hippie or Cryingsnice), was a member of the raucous jazz-beating Nomoreshapes duo/trio, and holds down the drum chair in Ghostkeeper and Sleepkit, two of Calgary's more genuinely out there groups.

  • SUNDAY, MARCH 4, 2018
    High Line Brewing 1318 9 Ave SE, Unit #113 (access via Minh Chau parking lot off 9th Ave SE)
    7-10pm, 18+, $5 cover

    Jack Sinclaire has been making the scene in Calgary's fringe-leaning circles for the last few years, appearing in a number of collaborative groups such as Duet (with Andy Lehman) and Turner Fries Jazz Ensemble, the latter of whom lovingly destroys even the faintest whiff of jazz standards and other classic tunes. He's also been appearing with increasing frequency as a soloist, notably as Aftertaste at one of last year's Joe Morris shows at the Vintage Room.

    Flautist Jiajia Li is a new face to the Bug Incision world, but she's been making waves around town since her arrival in Calgary in 2014. She's a frequent player with Timepoint Ensemble, tackling some of the the more contemporary outpourings of the classical music world, and she also comprises one half of the Impasto Duo (alongside pianist Elisabeth Desruisseaux), whose speciality is "classical art music". She also holds down the job of artistic director for the Calgary Chinese Orchestra, and is curating a night of Chinese music this month at the Engineered Air Theatre in Arts Commons. Improvising has recently been added to her list of ongoing musical activities, and this will be a grand introduction to many of the common Bug Incision players.

    Chad VanGaalen is well-known all over the world for his multi-faceted output as an animator, visual artist, filmmaker, improvisor, instrument builder, composer, and singer-songwriter. He's released six critically acclaimed and fan-cherished albums on Flemish Eye Records (and via the legendary Sub Pop Records in the rest of the world), and recently completed over 60 shows over a series of tours across Europe, the United States, and Canada. Over the years, he's acted as producer-engineer for some classic Canadian indie rock albums (Alvvays' debut and both Women LPs), and he writes the music and designs some of the characters for Adult Swim's darkly hilarious Dream Corp LLC.

    Aaron Scholpp is a longstanding member of many of Calgary's music scenes, first emerging years ago in Calgary's briefly flaming math rock scene. His work today covers jazz, rock, blues, and country, and he's played with country pop unit The Northern Beauties, Lorries Matheson's rock band Sons of Bears, alt-country rockers The Collapse, Calgary stalwart John Rutherford and the Big Blues Trio, singer-songwriter Emily Triggs, and more. Scholpp is also the primary force behind The Low End Theory, a soul/R&B/funk-oriented project which places his original tunes alongside contemporary and vintage classics.

    Violinist Laura Reid has been involved with the classical music world since an early age, remarkably playing with the Saskatoon Symphony at the tender age of 11, and eventually joining the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra after sharpening her game at various schools in Canada and the US. She left the CPO in 2015 and her world has widened considerably since then; she and one of main collaborators, the pianist and composer Mark Limacher, have joined forces as not only an excellent and eclectic new music duo, but also as co-hosts of Unprocessed, a radio programme on CJSW 90.9FM that deals with new music, jazz, and many bits in between. She has also dipped successfully into the pop music world, collaborating with a diverse array of acts including indie-rock stalwarts Knots, country troubadour Cam Penner, and eclectic songwriter Ethan Cole.

    Jason Wierzba, who is primarily known these days as a writer of fiction and essays, has been appearing at least once a year on the Bug Incision stages for the past few, with his duo W-W (the other "W" being brought up by multi-instrumentalist Dan Wilson), often found wrestling his acoustic guitar in submission in a ferocious display of bloody-mindedness. That project has a specific scope, and we are excited to hear what sort of other approaches he brings to the table. Wierzba also enjoyed an earlier life as a singer and songwriter. A bit more about this and how it affects his playing today, in his own words: "I essentially began as a home studio technician of malevolent musical sketches (recording as a kind of disturbed diary keeping) replicating many of the effects of psychoactive drugs, then went on to be a flamboyant writer and performer of what I called "post-punk country blues." My use of open tunings during this phase has led, after a lengthy musical hiatus, to an interest in dissonant tunings during my new life as an improviser."

    Of all the fine people surrounding him today, Cody Oliver has one of the longest histories of engagement with Calgary avant-garde music. His presence reaches back into the 90s through his involvement in nach Hause (Bug Incision's direct precedent in the concert series game) and Space for Space events, and also with his own record labels - House Leek Audio and Noise Miniatures - which beautifully presented his various exploits, everything from painstakingly assembled music concrete pieces to solo improvisations. More recently, he's worked with Chris Dadge in the Midnighties, and alongside percussionist Peter Moller and multi-instrumentalist Lyle Pisio in the MOP Trio.

  • SATURDAY, MARCH 24, 2018
    Weeds Cafe (1903 20th Ave NW)
    7-10pm, $6 cover, all ages

    Jessica Ackerley Trio
    We're very excited to be presenting this trio led by ex-Albertan and current resident of New York City, guitarist Jessica Ackerley. Over the past decade, she's established herself in a guitarist of renown, first during her beginning years in the Canadian music world, and more recently in her home base of Brooklyn and surrounding areas, where she regularly performs at notable venues such as The Stone, ShapeShifter Lab, The Bluenote, and The Met Breuer. While her trio is the her main focus these days, she also appears as a member of composer/percussionist/multi-instrumentalist Tyshawn Sorey's conduction ensemble, and also plays in a noise duo called Essi, who recorded an album with the legendary outré-rock producer Martin Bisi (Sonic Youth, Swans, Bill Laswell, Material). Her most recent album with the trio is called Coalesce, and showcases not only her nimble and inventive guitar playing, but also her unique compositional approach, which packs in "more ideas than most groups of twice the size", according to Avant Music News. She will be joined by Mat Muntz on double bass and Zack O'Farril on drums.

    Read some thoughtful reviews of her work here and here.

    Turner Fries Jazz Ensemble
    This motley crew of irreverent multi-instrumentalists has been not only providing some of the more truly "out" musical excursions of the past few years, but they're also representing the newest wave of Calgary improvisors. This group features a fluid lineup, centered around Jack Sinclaire - who has appeared in various solo (Aftertaste) and group (Duet) formats over the years - Matt Purdue (who also appears in another project called Reflex Action), and Jesse Conradson, all of whom take on a bewildering array of instruments, and then use them to fully dismantle whichever jazz canon classics they choose for a given night. Sounds good!

    Chris Dadge
    Known for his work across a variety of genres, instruments, and roles, Dadge has been working in Calgary as a musician, concert organizer, and producer since the early '00s. Alongside Scott Munro and David Laing (aka the Bent Spoon Trio), he inaugurated Bug Incision back in 2005 and has kept it up over the countless monthly concerts and nearly 100 releases on the Bug Incision Records label. He is known mainly as a member of bands (Pre Nup, Samantha Savage Smith, Chad VanGaalen), bandleader and co-songwriter (Lab Coast), session musician (Alvvays, Crystal Eyes), and improvisor (including work with Joe Morris, Peter Evans, Eric Chenaux, Mats Gustafsson, John Oswald), and also works as a producer/engineer and a composer of theatre, film, and dance music. This evening he will be performing solo improvisations on the violin.

  • SUNDAY, APRIL 8, 2018
    High Line Brewing: 1318 9 Ave SE, Unit #113
    (access via Minh Chau parking lot off 9th Ave SE)
    7-10pm, 18+, $5 cover

    We're very excited for the return of this fantastic duo from Montreal. Craig Pedersen (trumpet) and Elizabeth Millar (clarinet) have staked their claim on some of the more extreme edges of their respective instruments' sound palettes, and have further magnified these sounds via their masterful use of live amplification through a PA system. The result is a beautiful, highly nuanced, and deeply human type of music, and it is one that is genuinely challenging and idiosyncratic even within the context of free improvisation, a practice where those very characteristics are often taken for granted. The pair spent the better part of last year on tour; first across Canada (including a memorable stop here for the first show at the new Emmedia) then they ripped across the Pacific and jumped around a whole bunch of different places across Asia, playing all the while. They'll be playing a set of their own music, then joining a handful of Calgarians for some mixed ensembles. (Their set will be first, so don't miss it - will likely start shortly after 7.)

    Sound of the Mountain will be joined by the following people:

    WHITNEY OTA on modular synth. Whitney is known for a variety of important roles in Calgary. As a musician, he's released and performed a wide variety of music, covering kosmiche-style synth-based drones (Yankee Yankee), free rock (Burro), free jazz (Wild & Majestic), electro-acoustic strangeness (Dundas), and lots of ad hoc playing. He also runs Unit Structures Sound Recordings, an excellent label specializing in left-field music from western Canada and beyond. He is currently the music director at the amazing CJSW 90.9FM radio station.

    JEREMY GIGNOUX on violin. Amazingly enough, this will be Jeremy's first time playing at a BI event, and we're remiss to have not made this connection sooner. Aside from his sterling reputation as an excellent and insanely busy violinist who covers a huge amount of ground (classic country tuneage with Liquor Mountain, trad-style folk with Godfrey & Tod, singer-songwriter accompaniment with Ewan Macintyre), we first saw him in action while playing in Decidedly Jazz Danceworks' production New Universe, alongside legendary bassist-composer William Parker and Toronto jazz titan Nick Fraser on drums (he appeared the following year in another excellent, Fraser-led band). Very excited to have him.

    CHRIS DADGE on percussion. Known for operating the Bug Incision enterprise since 2005, playing in various bands (Lab Coast, Chad VanGaalen), and collaborating with a wide variety of people (Joe Morris, Alvvays, Eugene Chadbourne, Theatre Junction, Un Blonde, Peter Evans, Rosanna Terraciano) in a variety of different contexts (session musician, producer, ad hoc improvising partner, composer).

    on saxophone. Colin has been appearing at Bug Incision events with increasing regularity over the last little while, bringing his large vocabulary of saxophone techniques to a variety of ensembles. One such ensemble (with Dadge and vocalist Mark Fleischhaker) will be entering the studio in April to record an album. He can also be seen playing in jazz ensembles across the city.

  • MONDAY, APRIL 16, 2018
    High Line Brewing: 1318 9 Ave SE, Unit #113
    (access via Minh Chau parking lot off 9th Ave SE)
    7-10pm, 18+, $6 cover

    Collateral Trio
    We're pleased as hell to be presenting this supremely choice trio of some of Canada's most unique, highly respected, and deeply engrained musicians from the eastern end of our huge country.

    Montreal/Cairo-based guitarist, oud player, and electronics whiz Sam Shalabi has been at the forefront of forward-thinking music in Canada for the better part of three decades. At one of the earliest free improv shows this humble Bug Incision curator was involved with, the merch table that night included copies of "Warp & Woof", a fabulous CD by Shalabi's guitar & drums duo Detention. Since that early sighting, there was never a moment when his name was not somewhere in the mix, whether it was in the pages of The Wire magazine, on hip label rosters, or at one of the many listings for shows and festivals he plays around Montreal. His groups Land of Kush and Shalabi Effect have released albums on the great Alien8 and Constellation labels, and he's collaborated with the likes of Matana Roberts (in a great trio with Nic Caloia), Michel F Cote, Tom Carter (Charalambides), and more recently has been working with Alvarius B., aka ex-Sun City Girl Alan Bishop.

    Bug Incision regulars will remember Halifax-based pianist/keyboardist Tim Crofts from his killer appearance at the sole Blank Page Studios show a few years back. Crofts has honed an approach that combines not only his passion for and commitment to the art of free improvisation, but also a strong interest in contemporary composition and an extensive background playing nearly any style of music imaginable. He appears regularly with the Crofts/Adams/Pearce trio, the east coast creative music staple Upstream Ensemble, and has collaborated with the likes of Jerry Granelli, Gerry Hemingway, Evan Parker, and Dave Douglas. Crofts is also involved in several key roles with various creative music organizations around Halifax, including the Halifax Jazz Festival's Creative Music Workshop (directed by Jerry Granelli), the Creative Music Lab via the 1313 Music Association, and he is the Artistic Associate and Outreach Coordinator at suddenlyLISTEN, one of Halifax's long-running creative music workhorses.

    Cellist Norm Adams - also based in Halifax - is known to most for his dual roles as Principal Cellist of Symphony Nova Scotia and Artistic Director of suddenlyLISTEN, an excellent and long-running organization that presents an annual series of concerts of improvised music, featuring a broad range of local, Canadian and international artists. The series forms one of the cornerstones of Halifax's scene, and has produced many amazing shows. Adams is performed extensively in the fields of contemporary chamber and orchestral music, and also collaborated in countless free improvising groups and sessions, highlights including work with Joëlle Léandre, Gerry Hemingway, Eddie Prévost, Pauline Oliveros, Marilyn Crispell and Evan Parker.

    We're very excited to present this trio on tour, supporting the release of their new CD.

    Not Now, Hamelin
    Going to go out on a limb here and say that this might be the only group in Calgary - possibly Alberta - that could come close to being called a free jazz repertory group. And this is a fine thing. These three tackle a variety of classic tunes written by some of the titans of the last 40 years of free jazz. The group features Jonathon Wilcke (Dadge/Wilcke Duo, solo, forthcoming Bug Incision release with Joe Morris and Dadge) on sax, Eric Hamelin (Sleepkit, Cryingsnice, Ghostkeeper) on drums and percussion, and Rob Oxoby (Bobby Kork Orchestra, forthcoming duo album with Joe Morris on Bug Incision) on double bass. All three players have highly identifiable sounds, and they've been playing together long enough now (including a monthly run at the now-defunct Parlour in Kensington) that their group moves have some real heft to them, too. This will be their first show at High Line.

    Mary Cleland

    A Bug Incision debut for this artist (who will also be appearing at the next mixed ensembles evening on May 20). Mary has been appearing around Calgary - usually on the keyboards as far as we can tell - with increasing frequency over the last year or so, in a variety of settings. She's a recent addition to the prolifically-performing song-based project Slut Prophet, she operates a duo with Matt Purdue called Reflex Action and another duo called DJ Meat, and also performs under the Trigger Warming. On this evening Mary will be performing a solo set of keyboard-based drone music.

  • THURSDAY, MAY 3, 2018
    Weeds Cafe - back room (1903 20th Ave NW)
    $6 cover, all ages

    This duo is comprised of two bona fide Canadian free music heavyweights, both from the fertile hotbed of Montreal's amazing creative music scene. For the last handful of decades, Lori Freedman has sitting pretty damn near the top of the heap when it comes to avant-garde clarinet music; as an improvisor, composer, bandmember, and group leader, she has covered all manner of collaborative situations and geographic settings for her work. Highlights include writing gigs with Ensemble SuperMusique, Upstream Orchestra, NOW Orchestra, the Queen Mab Trio, and collaborations with the likes of Joëlle Léandre, Mauricio Kagel, Rohan de Saram, George Lewis, and Helmut Lachenmann. Double bassist Nicolas Caloia has been near the heart of the Montreal music scene for going on three decades, and in recent years has been particularly visible thanks to his work with In The Sea, a lithe, flinty string trio with violinist Josh Zubot and legendary cellist/vocalist Tristan Honsinger, and also Ratchet Orchestra, a massive improvising orchestra whose album Hemlock received much critical acclaim. Check out his website for a whole bunch of other goings-on. In their own words:

    "The creative mind has a beautiful and often mysterious way of organizing stimuli. External influences enter the body freely and are subsequently poked, nudged and shoved through a sifting process that feels at times arbitrary. Consciously and with full intention Lori Freedman and Nicolas Caloia have developed a certain "defining" process in attempt to control this phenomenon. They played, recorded, talked and wrote together for about 15 years, then formed Mercury. They decided to develop a singular concert repertoire of music that reflected the idea of the “open form” composition by hoisting a selection of local musicians up, out and into the exiting and unheard world of the“actuelle”. From their immediate community Mercury asked players with whom they play to write music for their duo. This is that music, solicited from Malcolm Goldstein, Pierre-Yves Martel, Rainer Weins, Martin Arnold and Mercury itself."

    Since their debut last year (in a slightly different formation) at the Folk Festival Hall, the composer-musicians comprising this group have been keeping busy with a universe of other projects, and they are excited to reconvene for a smaller engagement, this time presenting just a single piece. That piece - a gripping graphic score that blends quite open-ended interpretations of the score with some engaging formal awareness - belongs to Nate Waters, saxophonist and multi-instrumentalist, known for his own jazz quartet, the dearly missed agitated indie rock of the Cable Knits, and more. Nathaniel Schmidt, a veteran of Calgary's new music, experimental theatre, and classical scenes, who essentially birthed this group, is known for masterful handiwork on a variety of keyboard instruments, and the odd entry on French horn. Percussionist and Bug Incision founder Chris Dadge is known for work across a variety of genres, with artists as diverse as Chad VanGaalen, Peter Evans, Alvvays, Lab Coast, John Oswald, Eric Chenaux, Eugene Chadbourne, and many more. New addition to the group is guitarist Joel Unitinen, who we are excited to welcome into the fold.

    Jack has been working hard to secure his spot as the preeminent musical explorer of non-instrument instruments, and the solo set he'll be presenting on this evening might be reaching a new level of engagement with his ideas. When we heard that Jack was doing solo sets on a brick (now possibly two bricks), our ears pricked up immediately, having been great fans of Derek Bailey's late period masterpiece Limescale and Sonic Pleasure's engrossing brick work within. We are excited to see what Sinclaire offers to this rich tradition of music.