BRENNAN GREEN with FELIX & GANI and JOHN KONG at Supermarket (268 Augusta), Friday (April 8). www.milkaudio.com. Rating: NNNNN
Brennan Green's come a long way since he was part of the late-90s deep house scene in Toronto, just before he left for NYC in 1998 to try to make it as a producer.
He's been making a name for himself with a strong string of weirdo dance records on such labels as Peacefrog, Paper, Nuphonic, Modal and Balihu (among others).
Now he's embarking on his first bout of serious touring - he'll be hitting Japan and Australia after Canada - and launching his own label, Chinatown Records.
"The first release is something I'd been working on for a while after getting this Chinese opera singer from Taipei to sing the vocals. He was in town and looking for something different to do, so we translated the lyrics to Chinese and just let him do his thing," a sleepy Green explains from somewhere in Texas, where he's been stranded for the night after a gig the night before.
If you're scratching your head wondering how Chinese opera singing fits into house music, you may need to be warned that Green's approach to dance music has become much more open and eclectic than anything he would have gotten away with in Toronto back in the old days. Expect bits of rock, new wave, jazz, disco, post-punk and all those other influences that have been reclaimed in recent years.
"House music has gotten kind of boring. Too many people who are making it are just listening to house music and then trying to imitate it. That never sounds as good as someone who listens to a lot more music, who brings all of that into what they do.
"I still consider what I'm doing a part of house music, though. House music is just about a dark room, sweaty bodies and dancing. It's a medium, like clay or plaster or paint - you're making a sculpture, but you're making it out of house."
It really is fascinating how the genre can keep on changing its parameters every few years, just as critics are about to write it off as irrelevant. Some are going to claim that this new chapter in dance music sounds a lot like 20 years ago, and to be accurate, many of the records Green is DJing these days are from that period.
The big difference, though, is that DJs are looking back at underdeveloped branches of underground music that were never really explored properly during their time. It's the best kind of historical revisionism.