Collaboration over competition

The vapidity of the winter months in Montreal can drive you to the brink of madness if you’re not careful. Musicians especially can be subject to this, when crummy weather, combined with an equally crummy touring van, forbids them from rounding up their gear and fleeing the city for a few months.

To remedy this potential quandary, the individuals behind jazz-funk band Parkside Jones have created Moondata Productions and are using their name to promote a series of shows under the title Live Improvised Ambience and Beats. Every other Saturday, beginning Jan. 25 and ending Mar. 8, Matthew Lederman and Ryhna Thompson will be collaborating with other local artists, including DJ P-Love (Kid Koala, Medeski Martin & Wood), Leon Kingstone of the Planet Smashers, and Marcus Paquin (Dr. Noh, Sienna), to provide audiences with four nights of experimentally charged and sonically distinct music.

Although structure will be sparse, each show has been designated a different theme that will be carried out according to the types of instruments being used. The first night, for instance, will have a more organic feel to it, featuring instruments such as drums, guitar, bass, trumpet, keyboards and the like. Two weeks later, expect to see a more electronic-oriented amalgamation of musical toys, including samplers, synthesizers, turntables and an electronic drum machine. The final show has taken the form of a jam-off between two bands, Parkside Jones and Ark of Infinity, where the result will be both bands on stage in a giant roistering of dub, funk, jazz, hip-hop and rock. “It’s mostly people and their toys, making noise,” says Lederman, guitarist and vocalist of Parkside Jones.

Lederman created the series not only for the sake of staying put in Montreal (“No one wants to tour in the winter”) but also as an opportunity for local musicians to converge and share their sounds and suggestions with one another. Lederman explains that Montreal has an ever-expanding pool of talented musicians where each is connected, either directly or indirectly. He sees this series as enabling musicians to network with their peers and possibly forming a more collaborative music community in Montreal.

This collaborative, rather than competitive, spirit is something Lederman insists upon. “It’s not going to be people just trying to outdo each other soloing wise, it’s in the spirit of going somewhere together. . . The people we’ve invited don’t have ego trips,” he says.

In similar spirit, musicians are encouraged to bring their own ideas to the table. “I want everyone to feel that everyone’s got a say, so we’re asking people for ideas,” says Lederman. “If it works, that’s amazing. If it doesn’t, it’ll be one glorious mess.”

The Live Improvised Ambience and Beats series occurs Jan. 25, Feb. 8, Feb. 22, and Mar. 8 at OPATROVYS, 356 Mont-Royal E. Tickets available at the door. For more info check out


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