It’s hard to pigeonhole Tristan Zaba into one genre of music. The multi-instrumentalist is also a composer. Kind of reminds me of Frank Zappa (hmmm… rhymes with Zaba).
Frank Zappa was also hard to define as a musician. Never mind the fact he would have different genres of music on one album, but sometimes he would use many different styles in one song.
Zappa used to include an Edgar Varese quote on his albums: “The modern day composer refuses to die.”
Tristan Zaba’s press release for the 2nd annual Zabathon includes the ’tags’ crossover, rock, art-rock, avant-garde, chamber, choral, classical, contemporary, crossover improv, opera, post-rock, prog, soundscape. Indeed, he tackles them all.
I first came across Tristan during Culture Days. He was playing guitar with XIE (pronounced Shay- e). The lineup included another brilliant and hard to define musician Sam Selci.
They were playing a live soundtrack to films that were projected on the wall in the foyer of the Manitoba Hydro building. Tristan was playing soundscape-type music which reminded me of Robert Fripp.
Second time I came across Zaba, his guitar playing was even heavier. He was playing songs from his “In The Round” CD. Very heavy, yet melodic progressive rock. I liked it so much, I bought his CD. I just had to write a review to share this wonderful music. Click here for that review.
Third time I saw him perform was at last year’s Zabathon. He composed some pretty amazing chamber music. And as an added bonus, one of the many ensembles that night played Zappa’s “Strictly Genteel”; I was in heaven.
Tristan also played flute in a trio whose instrumentation included prepared guitar and another fellow playing an electric drill.
Now, it’s quite interesting that when I first encountered these musicians a few years ago (most of them being U of M music students), I was really questioning and lamenting the sad state of the music that a lot of the younger generation was listening to (holy smokes, I’m starting to sound like the older generation through the years with their refrain of ’turn that noise down’).
Tristan obviously has an open mind towards music. I ran into him at this year’s WSO New Music Festival. The NMF started something new this year. The WSO’s NMF Composer’s Institute had the WSO record one of Tristan’s composition’s “Paraworld 2”. Quite an honour for this brilliant up and coming composer.
He also played a couple of very unusual ‘instruments’ the Ball-pean Hammer and Crow bar, which he hammered and scraped on the ‘Art Car’ in the lobby of the Concert Hall. The piece was a composition entitled, “Broodmare” by Kerrigan Salnikowski (who also played “Sledgehammer”). The line up also included Gage Salnikowski on violin, Nicolas Pura on double bass and Nathan Krahn on Cello.
See videos here:
Broodmare (car composition) by Kerrigan Salnikowski at Wpg. New Music Festival 2.13.17. part 1
Broodmare (car composition) by Kerrigan Salnikowski at Wpg. New Music Festival 2.13.17. part 2
If that wasn’t enough, Tristan also performed for an hour at the 12 hour Drone Fest hosted by ex-Hole bassist Melissa Auf der Maur. This event ended the NMF this year from midnight to noon at a hockey rink.
According to the press release for this year’s Zabathon, the program looks very interesting. Tristan has written his first opera. The opera “I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon,” is based on the Philip K. Dick short story of the same name. It tells a tale of mental deterioration, Freudian corruption of memories and theological metaphors aboard a spaceship (hmmmm sounds like quite the trip).
Also on the program will be selection’s from Zaba’s upcoming rock album “Mosaic”, a variety of chamber music and the third and final installment in the “Paraworlds” multi-media project.
Tristan seems to fit into the category of “the modern day composer who refuses to die.”
When: Apr. 2 (tonight) Doors @ 6:30 p.m. Show @ 7 p.m.
Where: Crescent Fort Rouge United Church 525 Wardlaw @ Nassau
How much: Admission to Zabathon II is free but donations will be gratefully accepted at the door.
Why: To step out of the ordinary and experience something new and exciting
All photos (except as noted) by Doug Kretchmer
Videos by Doug Kretchmer