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Tinkertoy - Wroxeter - Toronto, On

Wroxeter - Toronto, On

Michael Panontin
Andrew Wedman and Paul Shrimpton have been working the controls of Tinkertoy for about six years now, melding languid, throbbing baselines and various bleeps and glitches into something vibrant, something warm and, yes, something techno. Now usually I run fast and far at the mere mention of the word - okay, maybe that's a bit harsh, but let's just say I approach the word 'techno' with a degree of caution and trepidation. This evening, thankfully, was far from your average deejay set.

By the time that Tinkertoy took the stage at the tiny west-end Parkdale boite Wroxeter, it was well past midnight and a wave of anticipation among the crowd of indie punters and martini lizards was already palpable. The Wedman-Shrimpton duo took to the cramped stage and dealt a taut one-hour set of ambient techno, flaying the crowd with a seamless set of bouncy rhythms and cool noodlings. Though mostly instrumental, the music was tempered with the occasional vocal delivered through the plainly unlikely - and likely unplanned - combination of muffled distortion from a less than stellar sound set-up and a vocoder, turned down a bit too low.

Even the usually icy Toronto hipsters were warmed over, smiling and chatting, some dancing seriously, others seriously dancing, and still others just nodding. As for Wedman, well he smashed any stereotypes of the slacker-cool techno geek nonchalantly puffing a fag and sipping a coffee, appearing to be merely checking e-mail (think Autechre) while the crowd freaks out to some aural electronic assault. Wedman was nearly organic with his flailing arms and spastic sprockets dance, which more than compensated for the unfortunate lack of visuals - a glass-paned garage door fronting the street behind it took up most of the rear stage.

Unfortunately, Tinkertoy's music is left lacking somewhat in the songwriting department - alas, one leaves the show without any of those vestigial hooks or rhythms lingering in the head. This will be their challenge if they wish to transcend the slog of $5-cover barbanddom.

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