Jeszcze Raz – September/October 2003

by Rod Christie

Who: Jeszcze Raz
What: Trans-Atlantic Folk
Where: Montreal QC
To Contact: Heather Kelly, (416) 364-5701,

Led by Polish pianist and vocalist Paul Kunigis, the sounds and influences of Montreal’s Jeszcze Raz (pronounced yes-chay raz, meaning “one more time” in Polish) list off like a Lonely Planet travel guide. On their latest release Balagane, lyrics are supplied by Kunigis in Polish, Hebrew, French and Arabic. Add to that instrumentation ranging from accordion and harmonium (Caroline Meunier), violin (Carmen Piculeata), clarinet (JD Levassuer) trombone (Marc Tremblay), as well as the more traditional guitar (Yves Desrosiers) percussion (Rémi Leclerc and Francois Lalonde) and bass (Tommy Babin), and the listener is left with a whirlwind of harmonic styles. Held together by the rich voice and driving force of Kunigis, Balagane is a passionate vessel filled with themes of triumph, sadness, love, history and politics. Born to a Jewish father in Poland and raised as a Catholic by his mother when the family moved to Israel, Kunigis immigrated to Canada when he was 19, initially setting up in Toronto. A self-taught musician, he discovered that the unique heritage of Quebec allowed him to express himself, and soon combined all of his influences, including American blues and gospel styles, gathering around him some top-flight musicians and forming Jeszcze Raz. Listeners will not be disappointed with Balagane; a unique trip through many cultures that still sounds wholly original.

Jacob Moon – September/October 2003

by Rod Christie

Who: Jacob Moon
What: Spiritual Singer/Songwriter
Where: Hamilton, ON
To Contact:,

After three independently recorded discs, Hamilton’s Jacob Moon decided to treat himself for the recording of his latest, Landing. Selecting Catherine North Recording Studio in Hamilton, a converted church, and filling it with friends and family for three nights in 2002 provided Moon with all the energy and inspiration he needed to capture his sound. A passionate singer and remarkable guitarist, Moon was aided in this adventure by producer Glen Marshall, singer/songwriter Lisa Winn and a miniature gospel choir, as well as a pure, analog recording technique that perfectly reflects the warmth of Moon’s songs. As well as an accomplished songwriter, Moon has developed his finger-picked guitar style sufficiently to include a Lexicon Jam Man, creating loops on the fly and deftly convincing the listener that he is in fact two guitarists in one. Shorn of studio trickery, the joy of performance shines on Landing, which also includes songs by Paul Simon, Bela Fleck and Pierce Pettis. While Moon’s Christian inspiration is evident in several of the songs, his music has a bittersweet joy and energy of its own. Says Moon of his three-night stint at Catherine North, “That weekend was the highlight of my career so far. The fans, the vibe, my collaborators – everything was as good as I could have hoped for.”

Bleep – September/October 2003

by Rod Christie

Who: Bleep
What: Electronic/Techno Duo
Where: Toronto, ON
To Contact:,

Possessed of a strange sense of humour, techno duo Bleep peer soberly out of the cover of their debut CD IMM 0008 dressed in what appears to be Mennonite outfits. Hardly Luddites, Bleep are comprised of British-born singer Robyn Sellman and tech-head Igor Olejar, originally form Yugoslavia. Pushing the electronic envelope at speeds somewhere in between drum n’ bass and trip-hop, Bleep lay claim to a wider range of influences than most of their peers. “We often quote the Twins as our main influences: the Cocteau Twins and Aphex Twin,” says Olejar. “But the range of influence is wide, form dream-pop to techno to bhangra to film soundtracks. Experimentation within the framework of conventional pop songs is what we do.” Ethereal melodies and clattering rhythms are a hallmark of their music, pushed by the technical abilities of both in programming, sampling and recording, as well as a smattering of guitars and keys. Despite the heavy use of technology, the songs transcend mere digital manipulation. “Being intimately familiar with the technology helps you easily translate your ideas into sound,” adds Olejar. “We try not to get lost in all the technicalities and stay aware of the big picture – our job is to produce songs, not administer technology.”