NAW with DENISE BENSON and ANDREW ALLSGOOD at Andy Poolhall (489 College), Friday (November 19). 416-923-5300, www.noisefactoryrecords.com.
NAW with ANDREW DUKE , AKUMO at Tequila Lounge (794 Bathurst), Sunday (November 21). www.stainedproductions.com.
Techno goes in phases. A few years ago techno people were trying to portray themselves as serious composers making modern academic music, denying any relation to the hedonism of rave.
These days, most of the hip techno producers are doing everything possible to make it look like they don't take themselves too seriously. They're encouraged to flaunt any punk rock influences they might have and to recycle gleefully the acid house sounds of days gone by.
Not everyone is caught up with the changes in techno fashion, though. Naw (aka Montreal-based Neil Wiernik) has just released a new minimal dubby techno album, Green Nights Orange Days, that contains no wacky song titles, no squelching 303 acid lines, no techno-punk vocals and still no concessions to traditional song structure. It's just pure watery abstract grooves that fluctuate and progress patiently, punctuated by reverb-drenched synth stabs.
"Electronic music has been labelled as a very sterile, very precise form of music," Wiernik carefully explains.
"When I first started writing music under the name Naw in the mid-90s, I wanted to take the idea of this sterile electronic music but make it in an organic manner. I try to capture that live feeling.
"To me, using the idea of random situations, including improvisation and building software that generates random patterns, can create an organic feel to something that's normally very strict and boxy. My studio and live performance are one and the same. When I'm recording, I do it in exactly the same way as I do it live".
This, of course, means that it's impossible for him to reproduce the album, as the intertwined systems of randomness and hands-on manipulation guarantee a new performance each time. Unlike most techno producers, he's never resorted to DJing as a substitute for a live performance.
"I actually DJed on campus radio for almost 10 years, but I've never been a club or rave DJ. I was a radio DJ, who was sometimes asked to play at events, but I was never the kind of DJ that you associate with electronic music. My perception of my music is that it's very different from how a DJ writes electronic music."
Over the past few years, many Toronto-based techno producers have relocated, some to Europe and others to Montreal like Wiernik, who was raised there but spent a lot of his musical career in Toronto.
He doesn't see himself relocating to the larger electronic music market of Europe any time soon, though, even though he's freshly home from a small tour of France and Germany.
"It's crossed my mind, but I quite like living in Canada and I feel quite lucky to be Canadian. To be honest, I don't really see the importance of living in Europe. We live in a global culture, and if I need to get on a plane to perform, I can. If my entire fan base and label were over there I might consider it, but for now I'm happy here."