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Every winter seems to get longer and more difficult, so that when FIMAV, (Festival International Musique Actuelle Victoriaville in Quebec) rolls around, we all seem to look forward to this vacation more and more every year! Considering that I’ve been attending this mighty fest every year since 1987, (thirty years!), I usually think I knew what to expect, but this is rarely the case. At least as far as the music is concerned. There are always surprises in store each year. In advance of this fest, their were six upcoming sets by performers that I knew little or nothing about. So who knows what would be… only the sole curator - Michel Levasseur. Michel is an old friend, someone whose taste I usually trust and who is a consistently positive spirit. He is has been the only MC for most of the sets at every FIMAV and always radiates good vibes from the stage.

This year, my crew consisted of Jason R. & Bob N. from NYC, Kathy & Charles (from Academy Records in NYC), Don W (from Texas) and a new friend, Paul K from Salem, Mass. As is our custom, we drove up on Wednesday, May 16th, taking that long journey to Montreal. We were stopped at the border for an hour (for no good apparent reason) and finally let go. We arrived in Montreal and headed to L’ Oblique Records on Rivard to visit my old pal Luc and had a late dinner at La Sala Rosa. We got into Victoriaville pretty late (around 2 am) and got some much needed sleep. The next day, we had breakfast at Pomme Vert and headed to the Platform, (the Victo office) to pick up our festival passports, purchase some t-shirts & CD’s and speak with Michel Levasseur. I mentioned to Michel that closing the fest with Mats Gustafsson / Merzbow /Balazs Pandi would be a disturbing (loud & noisy) way to bring things to a close, considering how many of us are currently feeling about the current situation in the US & around our troubled world. Perhaps a bit more mellow set might be better way to close the fest. Michel disagreed and said it would be a great way to cleanse our vibes.

After our customary dinner at Mykonos, our fave restaurant in Victiriaville, we headed to the newer performance venue, Carre (once the Cinema). The first night of the fest began at 8pm, with two more sets at the Colisee at 10pm and midnight. For the first time that I can ever recall, all three sets featured bands that I knew next to nothing about. An odd way to begin FIMAV 34, but some great surprises were in store. The first set featured a Quebecois composer named Walter Boudreau. After some research, I realized that I owned an obscure CD from a Quebecois band called L’Infonie from 1971 with Mr. Boudreau as a main member. The set was divided into two long works with two different ensembles. The first group was TouArtBel, a 12-piece ensemble, performing an early piece by Mr. Boudreau called “Paix”. It started with a humorous character in a soft pastel, psychedelic suit directing a vocal ensemble consisting of dada-like vocal fragments. The front man in the suit was often pretty funny and reminded me of Daevid Allen from Gong (tongue always in cheek). This piece evolved through Canterbury whimsy, Zappa-like quirkiness, drawing from various jazz/rock and progressive streams. The second long work, was performed by the Societe De Musique du Quebec, a 15 piece ensemble conducted by Mr. Boudreau. This piece was a more acoustic, chamber work and evolved through a variety of mostly fascinating themes. I thought that this set was a great way to begin this festival, an unexpected delight! Time to search out some discs by Walter Boudreau.

The next set also featured two different ensembles, one from Vancouver (called Proliferasian) and one from Taiwan (Little Giant Chinese Chamber Orchestra). Proliferasian included a few musicians from Vancouver that I was previous familiar with: JP Carter on trumpet and Ron Samworth on el. guitar. The Chinese chamber group featured a quintet with traditional instruments: pipa, sheng (mouth blown free reed), ruan (a 4 stringed lute), dizi (a transverse flute) and zheng (zither or koto-like). The pieces alternated between written and improvised works and both ensembles did a fine job of combining ethnic and jazz elements, weaving the traditional Chinese instruments with the more modern avant-jazz instruments/players. Besides the composed pieces, Ms. Lan Tung, who played erhu (2-stringed bowed instrument), picked several different groups to improvise which different personnel in each one. Everyone on stage got a chance to play at length, solo and improvise in small groups. There were too many great solos and group improvs to discuss here but I most impressed by the entire set. One piece even reminded of an early Mahavishnu Orchestra work.

The last concert of Day One was another large (12 piece) ensemble, from Quebec and elsewhere, called David and the Mountain Ensemble. There were around dozen musicians, some of whom I knew: Sam Shalabi on guitar and Alexandre St. Onge on bass. The drummer, who was also the leader and director, faced the band with his back to the audience, while seated at his drum set. The instrumentation included 4 electric guitars, two bassists, 2 saxes, trombone, voice and drums. The music was one long, drone-like build-up with layers of feedback and electronics. David D. Dion, did a swell job of directing the large group, with tightly entwined layers of spinning lines. The effect was that it took us a long journey as it evolved through different connected sections. Francois Couture, who often writes the notes for FIMAV program, was part of this group, doing weird vocals which fir perfectly. We couldn’t see the members of the group who were in the back of the stage but the music remained a strong blend of rock and avant jamming, taking off for the stratosphere as it evolved.

The second day began at Eglise St-Christophe, a large church on the outskirts of Victoriaville (actually in Arthabaska). This was first of three solo sets. all of which took place in the same church. This set featured Swiss violist, Charlotte Hug. Ms. Hug had already played at Victo on two previous occasions, once in a duo with Chantale Laplante and more recently in a sextet with Urs Leimgruber & Jaques Demierre. The main problem that I have with the (most) church(es) is that the seat are always uncomfortable, with cold, hard wood, often making it difficult to concentrate. Ms. Hug looked and sounded perfect for the part of a sonic sorceress. Thin and waif-like, moving around like a serpent dancing. I dug the way she rubbed and plucked the strings of her viola, making odd vocal sounds which worked with her playing. Midway she switched to a second bow with loose hairs that went over the top of the strings, often creating hypnotic drones, which had a disorienting effect. With my eyes closed, it was hard to tell her voice from the sounds she made on on the viola since they were similar in tone(s). Although I was a bit uncomfortable and tired, visually as well as audibly, being in the center of the stage of a big church worked perfectly to great effect for Ms. Hug.

The next set that day was a trio of Malcolm Goldstein on violin, Liu Fang on pipa and Rainer Wiens on prepared guitar and kalimba. The first time I caught Malcolm Goldstein was at New Music America in Miami in 1988 in a gallery space. I also remember digging a trio he had with Catherine Jauniaux and Barre Phillips in 2010. I hadn’t heard of pipa player, Liu Fang, before now but have heard German guitarist, Rainer Wiens, from a few discs he had on the Ambiances Magnetiques label. Mr. Wiens actually played quite a bit of kalimba, an African thumb piano, mostly to good effect. What was odd about this set was that much of it was on the quieter side of improv. There was quite a bit of dialogue between the three players but it was often low key with rarely had any fireworks. I have seen/heard a handful of pipa players before. like Min Xiao Fen or Wu Man, but Ms. Fang, who is known to be a pipa master, often held back and let the violin and guitar lead the way. It took some time to adjust to the more restrained nature of this set but once I calmed down to a subtle level, I was able to appreciate the nuances of what was going on.

After dinner, it was back to the church for a set by the ROVA Sax Quartet. It seems hard to believe but this year is the 40th anniversary of Rova, bay area legends who I first caught in the early eighties at Soundscape, collaborating with Henry Kaiser. I was and remain a longtime fan who have heard them more than a dozen times through the years. I recall several amazing sets with a larger (sax octet?) version in the round at Victo a while back, as well as an orchestra version playing Coltrane’s classic, ‘Ascension’ at Guelph and a great set with John Zorn added at The Old Stone a few years back. Even with all those guests in mind, it is the original quartet (with longtime replacement saxist Steve Adams), that is and was the focus of this set. ROVA have long held their own, a new music quartet that blends avant-jazz and older jazz with modern classical and ethnic influences. Besides John Coltrane, they have covered the music of Fred Frith, Steve Lacy and Anthony Braxton. The setting of watching and hearing them in a church, actually worked to their advantage. They played acoustically and organically, creating every sound on their trusty saxes. There is a warmth of spirit that grows amongst members of a longtime ensemble and this was most apparent here. Each piece seem to deal with different compositional strategies. At times, one person will solo while the rest of the quartet worked their way though assorted patterns or themes. Similar to some of John Zorn’s game pieces, a couple of pieces dealt with hand signals which allow the members of the quartet to shift through different challenging twists and turns. The more I listened, the more ideas I heard, sometimes buried below the surface, sometimes a bit more obvious to grasp or see. In retrospect, I felt that this was the best set of the fest, it was so focused and thoughtfully organized and well-played. They are master musicians!

Another highlight of this fest was the next set by William Parker’s In Order to Survive, who have been around for 25 years! Although the personnel has changed somewhat since the early days, alto saxist Rob Brown has remained. The original band had Cooper-Moore on piano and Susie Ibarra on drums. This version had special guest Dave Burrell on piano and Mr. Parker’s longtime rhythm team partner, Hamid Drake on drums. Mr. Burrell has been working with Parker in several bands over the last few years and a week after this set, Mr. Burrell would be celebrated for an entire night at the Vision fest, receiving a well-deserved Lifetime Achievement Award. I’ve caught Mr. Burrell live many times over his long career, recalling two amazing sets: Sunny Murray’s Untouchable Factor at Ali’ Alley in the late 70’s and an intense duo with David Murray at an early Victo Fest. The set started off with a long, spirited bass solo from Mr. Parker which set the righteous tone for the entire set. William Parker and Hamid Drake have been working for many years in different contexts, from duo to large ensemble, and are always magical together, one bass driven, rhythmic force. They began with an insistent slow-burning groove, churning over and over, the waves rising and falling. The quartet was pacing itselve, playing with some restraint in the earlier part of the set, slowly building in tempo and intensity. Rob Brown is one Downtown’s most formidable alto saxists and he was the central soloist here. Mr. Brown sounds like he has blended certain elements of Ornette Coleman and Eric Dolphy, and made them his own. A more recent set at the Vision Fest with Whit Dickey & Karen Borca had him playing more like Jimmy Lyons, no small feat. Rob took his time and excelled at each solo he took, pacing himself and finally erupting on the last solo of the set. Mr. Burrell also took his time, his first solo of the set a collection of fragments that were slowly turned inside out and eventually creating a flurry of notes later in the set. The set ended up with a hilarious quip by William Parker who said the song entitled “Rise Up” is what wives would chant to their husbands before Viagra was invented.

The final set that night was by a Swiss power trio known as SchnellerTollerMeier, who have a couple of discs out on the Cuneiform label. Each song was built upon a repeating riff that the trio would play over and over and over. The riffs did have a Crimson-like (early Belew period) sound, but there was no soloing going on. The earlier riffs were like Morse code like patterns but became more complex or dynamic as the set evolved. The overall effect was often hypnotic although the loud volume made it difficult to go with the flow at times. Although the patterns on each songs were somewhat different, it took some time and patience to let those riffs take us on our own private journeys. I had to sit in the back to escape loud volume and found that I do enjoy the discs form this band when I can keep the volume at a more tolerable level. Their guitarist, Manuel Troller, can be heard improvising at length with Gerry Hemingway for a more recent disc on Clean Feed called Tree Ear.

The third began again in the church featured another solo performance by Erwan Keravec on bagpipes. I am a longtime fan of the bagpipes, from Rufus Harley (late sixties), to Paul Dunmall, David Watkins and Matt Welch (in recent years). Aside from their long history of traditional music in places like Scotland, they have rarely been used in jazz or New Music. The church seemed like an appropriate setting for Mr. Keravec, who made his way around the room up front and at the sides. Mr. Keravec took his time and created a wheezing drone, slowly pulsating, wheezing sounds breathing in and out, in and out. As he slowly walked around the room, the sound of the bagpipes would be changing depending on where he was in the church. The repeating patterns sound like tape-loops at times. Mr. Keravec kept repeating certain patterns, weaving a slowly changing layer of droning lines. Keravec would slowly alter certain notes so that the patterns would often shift and mutate into other unexpected areas. I know that some folks dislike bagpipes, but I have always been fascinated by anyone who plays them in different ways and/ or different settings.

Another one of this year’s highlight was the next set by Dalava, which feature Julia Ulehla on vocals, Aram Bajakian on guitar, Peggy Lee on cello, Tyson Naylor on accordion, Colin Cowan on bass and Dylan Van Der Schyff on drums. Guitarist Aram Bajakian and his wife Julia Ulehla are now based in Vancouver. Over the past few years Mr. Bajakian has become a guitarist to watch, working with John Zorn & Sean Noonan, as well as producing his own projects for Tzadik and his own label Sanasar. One of the best things he has done is his band Dalava which is fronted by his wife Julia. Ms. Ulehla’s great grandfather collected folk songs from Moravia in the Czech Republic and published a thick book of these songs. For Dalava, the couple have taken these old songs and updated them with their melodic essence still intact. For their second disc, The Book of Transfigurations” (on Songlines), they have put together a sextet which consists a handful of great musicians from Vancouver, including another couple, Peggy Lee on cello and Dylan van der Schyff on drums. These songs are often haunting to begin with but the sextet add even more of their own magic, a most enchanting setting for Ms. Ulehla’s superb, heartwarming voice. I am a longtime admirer of cellist Peggy Lee, who has a half dozen of her own discs out as well as working in several Vancouver-based projects. Her playing can be most modest, rarely if ever showing off or soloing at length. Her playing in this band was integral to their mesmerizing sound. Although these songs have an eastern European, ethnic sound, Ms. Lee on cello and Mr. Bajakian kept adding their special touch. Mr. Bajakian is obviously influenced by many types of psychedelic and progressive strains, often adding unexpected twists and flashes of mind-blowing licks, even the occasional rave-up. What I felt drew everyone in was the extraordinary singing of Ms. Ulehla, from sad ballads, to heart-wrenching tales of woe to soaring, rocking, intense levels of ecstatic transmissions… At once point she was dancing in circles and I thought the she and the rest of band would start to levitate. It was one of those transcendent performances that will stay in our memories for a long time.

The following set featured another stronger vocalist, Audrey Chen and Richard Scott on modular synthesizer. Ms. Chen is a Chinese-American experimental vocalist, currently living in Berlin. I remember her as a gifted improviser when she was living in Baltimore. I caught her live a few of times back then, playing cello as well as singing is her own distinctive way. I recall a set she once did at CB’s Gallery with Susan Alcorn, Joe McPhee & Tatsuya Nakatani, which was one of those amazing improv sets which I will never forget. Modular or analogue synth player, Richard Scott, is British and has worked with John Stevens and Steve Lacy, so he has great credentials. What I have always dug about Ms. Chen is that she works hard, digging deep and exploring a wide variety of odd sounds with her voice. She can be a scary sorceress at times. although not as brutal as Diamanda Galas. Mr. Scott sounds like a perfect partner for Ms. Chen, since his sounds are more analogue, even organic sounding. He takes different amounts of static and carefully reshapes it. Both of these folks are serious sonic explorers, often covering similar territory so that when I closed my eyes, it was hard to tell them apart. I found this set to be quite challenging and had to take some time to adjust the evolving nuances of what this duo was doing. Was this a natural blend or alien communications or something else entirely? Later that night, I spoke with Ms. Chen at the bar in the hotel where many of the musicians and listeners stay. We talked for a long time with some of my friends and I got to know more about Ms. Chen’s life. This is one of the things about FIMAV that I enjoy the most, getting to know some of the musicians that you admire and remembering that we are all humans struggling to survive in difficult times.

After dinner, we made our way to Carre to see the Swedish band Fire! Fire! feature Mats Gustafsson (from The Thing), on bari & tenor saxes & electronics, Johan Berthling on electric bass and Andreas Werliin on drums. I admit that I am big fan of The Thing, an over-the-top out/jazz power trio who cover rare garage & punk songs, as well as Don Cherry covers. I’ve caught The Thing perhaps a half dozen times, loving every set! Although Fire! have nine discs out, this was my first opportunity to hear them life. The set erupted quickly and intensely with Mr. Gustafsson playing mainly electronics for a long time while the electric bass and drums rocked hard building up the tension and tempo as they erupted. The drummer played some most expressive mallet work throughout the first long piece. The trio got into a strong throbbing, pounding groove, the bassist playing a simple hypnotic line, over and over. Mats finally switched to bari sax and is wailed on top, blasting intensely like there was no tomorrow. The trio kept pounding out that riff, knocking that pattern deep into our skulls. The music was loud and had a most cathartic vibe that washed over us like a tidal wave of sound.

The next three sets featured three Japanese women from very different scenes or backgrounds. The first was by Phew, whose career began in the 1980’s and who once worked with Anton Fier, Bill Laswell, Jaki Liebzeit and Jah Wobble. Phew played solo for this concert, sitting at a table and with electronic devices. She began singing sounds slowly, selectively adding echoes, a chorus, odd samples, never screaming or even emoting too much. She would add layers of vocals sounds carefully, building the lines without ever getting very dense. One had to be patient to appreciate what was going on since things evolved so slowly. I know that some folks were disappointed by this set since there were so few surprises . I had mixed feelings about this set and thought that I might’ve appreciated it more if it was by itself and not surrounded by a dozen other more exciting sets.

One of the strangest and most distinctive bands to come from Japan was/is the Boredoms. Originally an over the top punk/noise band fronted by the lunatic singer Eye. They later turned into a great psych/jam band releasing a handful of great psych records. Their longtime drummer is Yoshimi (Piwi), who later did quite a bit of collaborations and solo work, often working under the name OOIOO. I hadn’t heard much from Yoshimi or the Boredoms in a long while but did look forward to her new trio, called Saicobab. This was completely unique trio which featured Yoshimi on vocals, Yoshida Daikichi on electric sitar and Hamamoto Tomoyuki on frame drums. In the late sixties electric sitars were popular for a short while and were featured on a handful of hit singles. Word is that the once popular Coral electric sitar disappeared pretty fast since they went out of tune quickly making it impossible to take solos for very long. For this set, Mr. Daikichi had a custom made electric sitar that worked the way it should, making it possible to longer solos plus it sounded like an acoustic sitar. The frame drummer played a small tambourine-like instrument on which he created a series of hypnotic repeating riffs while the el sitarist played his licks, locking into a number of short songs which somehow rocked moderately. Yoshimi sang along rhythmically spewing out words and sounds with her mouth. Each song featured another quasi-psychedelic riff or groove with Yoshimi singing on top. Saicobab don’t quite sound like any other band I’ve heard, which made them instantly endearing, jamming to their own wavelength. Their sitarist did gets some chances to stretch out and solo which made the set even better.

AfriRampo are a Japanese female duo who play guitar and drums and both of whom sings. They dressed in strange tribal costumes with some sort of warpaint on their faces. Their music was a unique hybrid of punk/rock/noise, tight, intense, over-the top and filled with a ridiculous, fun-filled sense of humor. Their music was loud, intense, silly, but had a certain charm that was hard to explain. Since they appeared to not to take themselves very seriously, often making fun of themselves and all who listened, the charm and inventive spirit often shown through. Their music sounded both childlike and complex at the same time. Just watching them act like crazed natives at a fifties dance party was almost too much to deal with. Was it punk or prog, primitive or just ridiculously fun?!? I must admit that I really loved this set since it was blast of fresh, funky air. It was if their dared us to find the jewel within the mass of mutant poop. I can’t wait to listen closer to that old Tzadik CD of theirs.

Lori Freedman plays clarinets and once played in a duo/trio called Queen Mab. She was also part of the Toronto scene and is now a member of the Ambiances Magnetiques crew, based in Montreal. I’ve caught Ms. Freedman play both solo and duo with Joe McPhee as well as several AM groups like Ensemble SuperMusique. Her solo set took place at the church on the hill and she played regular clarinet, bass clarinet and contrabass clarinet. She would switch between each clarinet and take her time on each one. She did an entire piece with just the clarinet mouthpiece and showed how inventive she is no matter what she is playing. While playing the difficult contrabass clarinet, she moved around the front of the stage, like a character in a play, moving cautiously while she concentrated on each note/sound. She raised her clarinet up to the rafters, as if she were playing to someone up above, her sound triumphant and consistently engaging. She also walked around the audience coming close to some of us sitting in the pews. Mr. Freedman played a haunting sort-of ballad on the bass clarinet, which I found completely enchanting. This set was also one of the more memorable ones.

The next set was back at Carre and it featured an odd trio: Mette Rasmussen on alto sax, Toshimaru Nakamura on no-input mixing board and Martin Taxt on tuba with effects. A few years back at the Victo Fest, Martin Taxt was part of a tuba trio called Microtub. I recall that it was a relatively quiet set, probably during the days of the Lower Case ultra-subtle sonic explorers (and as I recall somewhat boring). Toshimaru Nakamura, who manipulates soft feedback, was also a part of the Erstwhile/Lower Case crew during that period. Those Lower Case/Onkyo/minimal days seems to be gone by now (hallelujah!). Hence, this set started with Mr. Taxt on amplified tuba, which was then manipulated with effects and played much louder than it used to be. Matching wits and intensity was Mr. Nakamura who also turned up his feedback until it got to the brutal, mind bending volume. Once this two men hit their stride and volume, Ms. Rasmussen entered on alto sax, spewing her own Zorn-like multiphonic squawks, squeals and blasts. I felt that the tuba and mixing board were a great match, since they both dealt with similar textures even though they were brutally loud at times. I felt that Ms. Rasmussen was not quite the right choice for this trio since it seemed to limit her to mostly blasting and I know she is capable of quite a bit more. This set did have some intense and throttling moments but it was too much of the same thing.

Anna Homler is an old and dear friend of mine, a gifted vocalist and performance artist, who has invented her own odd yet charming language. I’ve caught her several times throughout the many years, both at Victo, in New York and even a couple of times at DMG. For this set, known as “Breadwoman”, Ms. Homler was joined by Jorge Martin on analogue electronics, as well as strange looking dancer who had a face made of bread. Ms. Homler sat a long table filled with wind-up toys and assorted objects, like food utensils. Ms. Homler looks like she could be someone’s kindly grandmother, taking her times doing her odd, yet charming invented vocals, manipulating her various toys, one at a time. Mr. Martin did a good job of adding quaint, organic-sounding electronics, which worked perfectly with Ms. Homler’s Mother Nature vocals. A dancer named Maya Gingery sat on the side in a chair and didn’t move for a long while, still looking a bit scary in her own way. She eventually got up and slowly moved around but it was the vocals and music that were the most effective. Some of this reminded of the Residents, who also combine ancient and modern ideas/sounds together, are they women or men or machines making music? What worked best was the combination of Ms. Homler’s alien/ancient/motherly voice and Mr. Martin’s not too-weird electronics. Fractured fairy tales, perhaps?!?

Speaking of ancients and aliens, a trio called Phurba, from Russia were next. The stage was filled with a number of ancient (looking) instruments, two six foot long oversized horns on either side of the stage. All three members of the band wore strange looking black-hooded robes so that we couldn’t see their faces. Once the trio seated themselves, they began slowly chanting in long drones similar to Tuvan throat-singing but far more disturbing and which went on for a very long time. One of the men started burning something underneath his hooded mask which turned out to be incense. I was glad that his hood didn’t catch fire which I thought might just occur early in the set. All three men chanted and howled together like an ancient, ritualistic ceremony and this went on for a long. long time. It was as if I was in someone else’s bad dream and the a nightmare was about to take place. I found this set to be disturbing, too long and a bit one-dimensional. Kinda like our current prez.

The final set of this year’s FIMAV was an all-star trio with Merzbow (Japan) on sampler, homemade electronics & an guitar-like object, Mats Gustafsson (Sweden) on saxes & electronics and Balazs Pandi (Poland) on drums. As expected, the set began with some brain-blasting brutal noise: Mats & Merzbow both on electronics and Mr. Pandi pounding the drums. It was a great opening salvo but could it or should it last for the entire set?!? Eventually Mats switched to bari sax, a different type of blasting was taking place. After what seems like a long eruption, Mr. Pandi finally slowed down, giving Mats and Merzbow a chance to stretch out and create a more interesting less brutal soundscape. Although Merzbow is known for his extreme electronics, he is much more diverse and creative than most give him credit for. The best part of the set was when both Merzbow and Mats worked more carefully with their electronics while Mr. Pandi played some cerebral, shifting currents on his drums. Mr. Pandi sounded like he was the leader during the last section, centering the band with shrewd and ever-inventive playing. Over the last few years Mr. Pandi has turned up many records with a diverse cast: Ivo Perelman & Joe Morris, Roswell Rudd & Jamie Saft… Towards the end of the set Mats Gustasson took a long unaccompanied tenor solo which brought this set to a grand climax, helping us all find a way to get back to the real world which is waiting for us when we return to our homes in the next couple of days. This set seemed like an odd way to send us all off into our current troubled world. I mentioned this to Mr. Levasseur at the beginning of the fest but he explained that it would be a good way to cleanse ourselves, sonically speaking. I am not so sure about that but I did feel a sense of closure, enough is enough.

This was perhaps, the first Victo Fest in awhile where I couldn’t complain about any one set being bad or disturbing or even boring. Overall, what I dug the most is that the entire fest seemed to fit together as one large jigsaw puzzle. Extremely diverse, often challenging and well worth contemplating at length. Besides the music and installations, there is also a social aspect to this fest which I look forward to moreso every year. I believe that I/we are part of a larger family of friends, both the listeners and musicians, who depend on one another to make the world a better place by reaching out, listening closely and discussing our thoughts with each other. This was the perfect opportunity for our family reunion to come together once again. Thanks to Michel Levassuer, Joanne & Jordie, the entire Victo crew, journalists: Mike Chamberlin, Byron Coley & Stuart Broomer, and all of my good friends who keep me sane, informed and inspired throughout the rest of the year. See all of you wise folks next year at FIMAV!!!


Here is my list recommendations for Future FIMAV Festivals:

1.Globe Unity Orchestra

2.ICP Orchestra

3.Plane Crash: Henry Kaiser/ Damon Smith / Weasel Walter

4.Wadada Leo Smith - Najwa or any other project he would like to do

5.Vinny Golia Octet

6.Angles - 8, 9, 10 or more…!

7.Soft Machine (on US tour this year!)

8.Chris Pitsiokos Unit

9.John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble

10.Burning Ghost or Evil Genius (LA’s finest!)

By Bruce Lee Gallanter, finished June 21st, 2018


If you want to see any photos from FIMAV 2018, check out: