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“possessed of a lyrical gift...This is an artist who bears watching/listening.”

New Music Buff on Songs from the Rainshadow’s Edge

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“a deep unity of music and text.”

The Vital Weekly on Songs from the Rainshadow’s Edge


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a “mysterious landscape of instrumental timbre”

The Wholenote Magazine on Songs from the Rainshadow’s Edge


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“exuberant, light-hearted”, “ardent and soaring”


Arthur Kaptainis of The National Post on The Whisky Opera

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All three excerpts seem to enact one of the wet dreams of opera composers: to find a language that is relevant to context of the story (historically & culturally), especially if it can incorporate popular musical idioms. That the story is also darkly humourous, totally Canadian in its focus and almost irresistibly lurid makes this a project that seems to be a can’t-miss proposition.”


Leslie Barcza of barczablog.com on The Whisky Opera

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“For me, the best piece of the evening is also the longest: three excerpts from Moscovitch and Roark’s The Whisky Opera, about the 19th century Brooks Bush Gang, a group of Toronto outlaws led by the rough-edged Jane Ward.  The numbers include a quartet praising liquor and sex, a solo in which Jane (Szabó) talks about her history and, in one of the funniest Briefs, Jane giving the young Gerty (Huhtanen) a lesson on how to give a guy (Klassen) a handjob.  Performed in a freight elevator whose movement contributes to the action, the scene’s raw and amusing.”


Jon Kaplan of NOW Toronto on The Whisky Opera

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“Clearly, Benton has a rich palette of colours to play with and he’s not content to draw pretty little wild flowers. Instead in almost self-satire, he took his opening material and wove it into rich and divergent shapes that rose above the opening visual imagery like a theme and variations...emotionally penetrating”


Jason Hall of The Vancouver Observer on Mystic Veil

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"mellow-gold folksiness...backwoods-choir elegance...floor-stomping blues...if he keeps making records as good as this one, Roark is welcome to stay here as long as he likes."


    John Lucas of The Georgia Straight on The Return of the Lonesome Coyote Patchwork Pulpit, and Sundry Other Tales from the Rainbow's End   

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"a dark and interior vision...Roark has worked through psychological trauma to become a respected composer and songwriter"

Alex Varty of The Georgia Straight on Songs from the Rainshadow's Edge, or Selflessness                 read the full feature

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"emotionally rich"


    Jon Kaplan and Glenn Sumi of NOW Toronto


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"Roark used such wondrous colours and textures that it truly felt as though you were in a dream-like state while listening to the piece. It was as though viewing the world through a constantly shifting semi-transparent piece of coloured glass, or looking at a Salvador Dali painting with everything just slightly melted around the edges. The music perfectly served to create that oddly detached yet simultaneously connected feeling of a strange dream....a wonderful work"
    

Ryan Noakes of Musetta Stone on Songs from the Rainshadow's Edge, or Selflessness

read the full concert review


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"If it's hard to say exactly what this Vancouver Pro Musica production is, that's because it's largely unprecedented: a 21st-century opera that draws on ancient Japanese Noh theatre..."
    

Alex Varty of The Georgia Straight in a feature article on the chamber opera Shadow Catch    

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"Local history, contemporary music and classical Japanese theatre practices meet in Shadow Catch, a brand new chamber opera that weaves together four stories from the Downtown Eastside. Rich with haunting characters and artistic hat-tips..."


    John Endo Greenaway of The Bulletin in a feature article and interview with the producer and director of Shadow Catch   

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"seriously pretty guitar work and well-written songs...the musicianship and lyrical quality are just too good to deny"


    Nathan Pike of
Discorder on The Return of the Lonesome Coyote Patchwork Pulpit, and Sundry Other Tales from the Rainbow's End   

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"a dense mixture of genres ranging from The Band-like Oh Tallulah, River in My Dreams to tone poems in the style of My Morning Jacket on Blood Sun Rising...This is not an album you can put on as background music"


    John Jobling of
Maverick on The Return of the Lonesome Coyote Patchwork Pulpit, and Sundry Other Tales from the Rainbow's End


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"trippy"


    Tom Graff of The Vancouver Observer on Invocation of Aeolius   

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"an explosive composition"


    Brianna Sloan of The Martlet on The Arcturus Agora


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"some of the best songs I've heard in the last three years."
    

Matt Van Winkle antifolk.net


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"a crafty folk experimentalist with an ear for jazz atmospherics..."


    Creative Loafing

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