Songs In The Key Of… Montreal
Canadian eight-piece collective Busty and the Bass select a genre-hopping playlist to represent a vibrant night in their French-infused metropolis
From our perspective, the Montreal scene is really exciting, really vibrant and full of talent. The (for now, at least) affordable cost of living allows a lot of offbeat, oddball, and underground projects to grow and thrive that might not elsewhere. Live bands playing improvised soul and hip-hop are a big part of the musical fabric of Montreal, with great regular events by Kalmunity, le Cypher, and the Shed. Cafe Resonance is a community hub of amazing jazz and experimental music.
There’s a killer scene for electronic music and raves; the Moonshine, Humidex, and Lagom collectives are a few favourites. I love how interconnected the scene is as a whole, with musicians playing many different genres as a matter of course. This playlist represents a genre-hopping adventure that you could experience over the course of a single night out here.
To listen to all 10 tracks in one go, check out the ‘Songs In The Key Of… Montreal’ Spotify playlist.
WAIT (OURI REMIX) – FOXTROTT
A collaboration between two highly creative Montreal electronic producer/songwriters – Ouri provides a banging and percussive dancefloor-oriented remix to this originally wistful Foxtrott tune.
DOUK SAGA – PIERRE KWENDERS
Pierre, one of the architects of the Montreal afro-electronic party collective Moonshine, lends his unique voice to this track: bright, festive, and driven by a mixture of electronic and live instrumentation.
CHANCES – KAYTRANADA FT. SHAY LIA
I just love the wavy vibe of this downtempo cooker from these two celebrated Montrealers. Kaytra’s style as a producer is so personal and quickly recognizable, complementing Shay Lia’s vocals perfectly.
BAD AT LOVE – NORA TOUTAIN
A prolific collaborator in Montreal’s live neo-soul community, Nora’s debut as a solo artist is a fierce declaration, showing off her love of laying into a groove. Produced/mixed/tromboned by Busty’s Christopher Vincent.
NOT WARM NOT COLD – THANYA IYER
In spite of this song’s title, Thanya Iyer brings a deep warmth to all of her songwriting, which defies easy genre description. Combined with a highly quirky sensibility for production and instrumentation, it makes for a very beautiful and unique listening experience.
SHARED PURPOSE – NOMAD
Fitting to the group’s name and Montreal’s transient nature, all six of jazz ensemble Nomad’s members are now living in various other cities across North America. This song is my favorite kind of Montreal jazz: loosely flowing and naturalistic while still being clever and compositional, with deep intuitive group communication. Beautifully emotive improvising by trumpeter Simon Millerd.
STEAL TRAP – POMPEY
Pompey (Alex Kasirer-Smibert) brings a fun, adventurous energy to left-field beat music, combining hardware samplers with his expressive electric bass playing.
SPACE 1.5 – KEE AVIL
Kee Avil fearlessly heads to the outer reaches of songwriting and sound design through voice, guitar, and electronics. Seeing her perform this music live, solo, carried me to a new dimension.
3119 – DEWOLF
Deep minimal techno for crowded spaces in those early hours of the morning. Produced by Busty’s Louis Stein.
DECEMBRE 29 (VARISPEED) – GABRIEL VINUELA, NICO ROSENBERG
Pianist and producer Gabriel Vinuela (aka Vinu-Vinu) and producer Nico Rosenberg provide this peaceful, harmonic, and textural ambient piece.