Date: February 22, 2020
Time: 1:00 pm
It’s big. It’s back. It’s Calgary Folk Music Festival’s Block Heater 2020!
1:00 pm – Laura Hickli
2:45 pm – The Auditorium: Laura Hickli, 36?, Geoffroy, Jom Comyn
About Laura Hickli (via Block Heater)
Laura Hickli’s sound is unique to Calgary’s scene: ethereal and mystic, it floats like waves of light through the trees, eschewing bombast in favour of spectral melodies over tightly-arranged ambient soundscapes. Her 2017 full-length debut, Flowstate, is an exercise in atmosphere, understated and dreamy, with the confidence to leave spaces in the music that suggests a wisdom beyond her years.
Having spent most of this year touring Flowstate into the US and playing with 36?, Hickli’s growth and experience as a touring artist has positioned her as a homegrown artist to keep an eye and ear on.
Early in 2019, Taylor Cochrane posted what amounted to an artist statement to accompany the release of his band 36?’s album, Milk Mountain. In it, he both described and wrestled with his creative process and his intentions, and the pharmaceutically confused mindset he created in through his formative years. He had arrived, he said, at a conclusion: “one thing that I have come to need in art to consider it authentic is to feel everything unapologetically”. And indeed, 36? is both “everything” and “unapologetic.” Careening from spikey, prog-psych rock to gauzy, atmospheric explorations to retro tinged Thin White Duke soul, 36? occupies a dizzying number of sonic spaces on stage, on record and within a single song. At one moment Cochrane and Co. shimmy up to the Scissor Sisters, the next they’re bashing out art damaged agit-prop a la Wire, all while remaining satisfyingly honest – ironic winks and nods be damned. Having spent much of 2019 on the road, 36? return to their hometown a tour-tested live machine, none the wearier, though perhaps — just a bit — the weirder.
Raised in a Francophone home, attending English schools, and learning to play piano before he hit double digits, Geoffroy Sauvé has the perfect background to create his un-nameable blend of music. Add a master’s degree in industrial management of arts and music in Spain, music industry work and extensive travel while drinking in sounds and ideas that stretch from tundra to rainforest.
His music rummages through an international cupboard of sounds and time, dipping into throwback ‘80s synths, mixed rhythms, eerie folk-dusted vocals and guitars, and good old-fashioned pop, exploring each shelf and crevice to create smooth, lilting electro-textures and hypnotic melodies. His audience includes over 25 million listens to his 2017 album Coastline, which was long listed for the Polaris prize.
About Jom Comyn
The balance between unpredictability and comfort is a taut line to tread, Jom Comyn walks that wire with aplomb, gently bringing the listener into the songs with low key vocals laying over gentle grooves, before pressing toward the dramatic as the songs lift and turn. There’s an abstraction in Jim Cuming’s words that his voice fits, and his subtlety in delivering those lines amid the churning and meandering musical movement is like Basquiat in watercolour; it takes a moment to comprehend what you see, while it’s bathed in a softer beauty.
Find more information about the timing and lineup here.