Arts

Band takes up one-month residency at Café Nostalgica

Photo by Isaac Vallentin

IT’S NOT OFTEN you find international groups spending a month or more in Ottawa, but Dutch electric duo Dialoog has come to town for a month-long residency at Café Nostalgica, playing every Wednesday evening from Oct. 2–30.

Ottawa isn’t just another stop on tour, but a second home for Yuri Bakker and Michael Powell, who both grew up in Rotterdam, Netherlands. In 2007, Bakker, the man behind the keys, synths, and samples, first came to Ottawa to visit and jam with friends studying at the U of O.

”Ever since, I’ve been coming back once or twice a year for weeks or a couple months at a time,” Bakker said. “Ottawa is perceived to have this weird inferiority complex, that somehow Toronto and Montreal take the cake, leaving Ottawa with little in terms of culture and creativity. That’s just nonsense.”

Bakker and Powell grew up next door to each other in the Netherlands but went to different music schools in the United States—Bakker at The Julliard School and Powell at Berklee College of Music. It wasn’t until after school that they reconnected and started collaborating.

“Mike visited me in New York to catch a Chick Corea concert, and we spent the next day hungover showing each other all kinds of crazy electronic music that we had been discovering,” said Bakker. “Ever since then, we’ve been making some crazy electronic music of our own.”

As classically trained musicians, they aren’t your traditional electronic musicians. Musically, it’s tough to pin down exactly what Dialoog is.

“We like to blur the lines between electronic and jazz in everything we do, and I think the live show reflects that,” said Powell. “The electronic element is like the foundation of our show. It allows us to make the dance floor pump in ways a jazz ensemble couldn’t. The jazz element of our show comes from the fact that we’re both performing musicians at heart, and don’t just want to press play on an electro set and pump our fists in the air for two hours. So we always keep an element of improvisation in our shows. No two sets will be the same.”

The group has already played an eight-hour set at La Petite Mort Gallery as part of Nuit Blanche and has a number of other gigs set up for their time in Ottawa. Both Bakker and Powell will be joining the Ottawa art-rock group Pony Girl for a few gigs, including Sept. 28 at the group’s CD release party at La Petite Mort.

Students can catch Dialoog for free every Wednesday at Café Nostalgica throughout the month of October.