ROUGH MUSIC is the new incarnation of MAMA! and is held every other month at DoubleDoubleLand in downtown Toronto.

Rough music belongs to a mode of life in which some part of the law belongs still to the community and is theirs to enforce.” E.P. Thompson



Cornell University, Society for the Humanities: Sound

From 2011-2012, I was a Fellow at Cornell University‘s Society for the Humanities, as part of a group of people researching and discussing the topic of sound

With my own project, Sound and Popular Discipline, 1950 – Present, I was interested in understanding what kinds of new forms of community emerge around the production of globally distributed new dance musics such as hip-hop or house, and what particular qualities of the sound-world they draw on.

How can people be together through the way they participate in making and listening to sound?  How does this change when digital sound making technologies are used? And how does this change when these sound making and listening technologies are globally distributed to so that anyone might participate in making or sharing them?




THEWAVES is a collaboration between architect/installation artist Christie Pearson, myself and various other folks, with a view to creating installations and events involving sound and light celebrating water.

Connecting to the depths, we explore the historical, ecological and political importance of water in natural environments and neglected local histories in human and non-human communities.

Our first event was the now (in)famous Night Swim, an all-night pool party/festival/installation held at the Trinity-Bellwoods public swimming pool during Toronto’s first Nuit Blanche in September 2007, featuring live pool-side performances and experiments by Raz Mesinai, Marina Rosenfeld, Tim Hecker, Sandro Perri, FM3, Windy and Carl and many others. Several thousand people attended the event, and swam or danced between dusk and dawn.

Our most recent event was Fire on the Water, an all-ages beach party at Sunnyside Pavilion held on August 26, 2012, which included multi-media installations, a swim-in, performances by a world-class crew of global bass DJs including Venus X, Maga Bo, DJ Rupture, Torro Torro, Poirier, Dos Mundos and MAMA,  and several live performances, including a choreographed sunset event designed by Aimee Dawn Robinson, Juliet Palmer, Christie Pearson and others, and a procession by Maracatu Mar Aberto.











MAMA was a club night that ran at Teranga, a Senegalese nightclub in Kensington Market in Toronto on the second Saturday of every month from November 2009 to August 2010.

“We create and/or connect to the global psychedelic dancehall, which equals kuduro, cumbia, dancehall, dabke, Touareg rock, house mutations from Toronto to Johannesberg, naija, dubstep, funky and other new vicious electronic styles. Plus revival sounds from disco to tropicalia to arabesques, as we see fit. MAMA equals Marcus, Andrew, Merike and Alex (also known as Dorian and Dorian), co-conspirators in the sound.”

We stopped doing regular MAMA nights in Fall 2010 but may reappear from time to time when it feels right.  For dates and other details, see our Facebook page or take a look at the MAMA blog.


1326410Yagé Pinta!: Psychedelic Shaman Songs of Santiago Mutumbajoy (2007)

I edited these these field recordings made by the anthropologist Michael Taussig in the 1970s and ’80s in the Colombian Putumayo region of the Amazon. I  also contributed some liner notes.

The recordings capture the Putumayo shaman Santiago Mutumbajoy’s healing sessions, during which his subjects experienced powerful visions after ingesting the hallucinogenic drug yage. The everyday ambient sounds of the jungle are much in evidence, as its teeming life noisily continues around the participants. These include Taussig himself, who, with varying degrees of success, attempts to recount the drug’s effects while still under its influence. These recordings offer a fascinating window into the opaque world of shamanism.

“Mutumbajoy accompanies his low-pitched, buzzing voice with a shaker, its incessant swish seeming to sweep his patient through the door of perception.”

The Wire

“Backed up only by a percussive rattle, the voice wobbles and shakes, tonalities dripping from it like rainwater, making the music as beautiful and fully alive as a mere recording gets.”

Global Rhythm



FLicKeR is a documentary made by Canadian director Nik Sheehan. It premiered in 2008 and is currently showing at theaters around North America.

It’s built in part around the researches of my friend John Geiger, who recently published an authorative biography of Brion Gysin, the inventor of the dream machine.

I make a couple of brief appearances, discussing Gysin’s enigmatic genius. And I was lucky enough to have a dream machine in my house for a day while Nik and his crew conducted interviews and related experiments with Gysin’s machine.