By Emilie Medland-Marchen
Once a month a collective of local artists congregate in Inglewood’s High Line Brewing to refine their artistic palettes. Bug Incision is the city’s best kept secret, a monthly special boasting a packed lineup of improvisational jazz offered by Calgary’s most talented instrumentalists.
The atmosphere of these shows lends itself to the ambience and tone of the sound. Cramped into the intimate space, the smell of yeast and fermentation heightens tension and adds weight to experimental duos, trios, and quartets. The result is an eclectic blend of colourful instrumentation, brewed and distilled over hours of good conversation and the friendly congestion of a tight-knit
Calgary names likes Chad Vangaalen, Jack Sinclaire and Aaron Scholpp are here, although they’re not performing their usual discography. Classically trained flautist JiaJia Li and violinist Laura Reid carry the melody in refreshing ways, invigorating a largely male-dominated genre.
Tinkering with new sounds and conducting enthralling cinematic arrangements, the musicians take to homemade devices and classical mediums to stretch the limitations of sound. They paint pictures for their attentive audience, conjuring visions that provide a soundtrack to surreal encounters — animals traversing a snowy mountaintop, alien transmissions, dog fights, a traffic accident. The crafting of these scenes has a transcendent effect. The slow drip of tap beer is broken up by the occasional burst of applause at the end of each improvised performance, offering
layers of multisensory escape.
Eager locals push into the damp space, and as the crisp improvisations wash over the crowd eyes close and heads bob. Tearing away disciplinary boundaries crafts an experience that is impossible to ignore. The tones make skin crawl, teeth ache and heads swim — but that’s all part of the magic.
Aaron Scholpp, Bug Incision, Chad VanGaalen, High Line Brewing, Jack Sinclaire, JiaJia Li, Laura Reid