CASCADE

Nuit Blanche 2014 by Fran Schechter, Now Toronto (October 5, 2014)

"Heading east over Wellington, I stumbled on Cascade, a project that for some reason had failed to pop up on my radar.  I'm not sure what the long, narrow, high-ceilinged warehouse is ordinarily used for, but Anandam Dancetheatre made it into a magical space.  Ten or more performers climbed, hung and swung from ropes as a delicate light show played over the dim walls to a slow soundtrack.  There was no reparation between the performers and the audience, who sat against walls or around support pillars or moved among the athletic climbers.  It embodied a hallucinatory, dreamlike state perfect for the wee hours of Nuit Blanche."

Kathleen Smith's Top 5 Dance Shows by Kathleen Smith, Now Toronto (December 24th, 2014)

"I was spellbound and becalmed by this 12-hour immersive meditation featuring stately aerial rope work, stunning projections and atmospheric music in the old Globe and Mail Press Hall.  AD's Brandy Leary is now on my watch list for 2015."

 

DONOVAN WOODS

Donovan Woods - Hard Settle, Ain't Troubled 8.5/10 by Craig Manning, AbsolutePunk.net (February 26, 2016)

"...those new songwriting perspectives, in addition to the album's lusher instrumental textures - the forlorn fiddles and pedal steel, in particular, complement Woods' gentle vocals perfectly - make Hard Settle, Ain't Troubled distinct in the Donovan Woods discography.  Most importantly, the co-writers and extra instrumentation don't detract from Woods' authorial voice...the expansive sonic palette that's displayed on Hard Settle, Ain't Troubled makes the songs feel more welcoming and warm - even when, lyrically, they kind of aren't..."

Donovan Woods - Hard Settle, Ain't Troubled 8/10 by Kyle Mullin, Exclaim! (February 24, 2016)

"...music's most interesting point of contention is the one between mainstream and alt country, which aren't so much branches of the same genre as completely opposed M.O.'s, with detractors dismissing one as twangy pop and the other as rusty traditionalism.  Few artists can pull off straddling that divide like Donovan Woods, but he does it time and again on his new LP, Hard Settle, Ain't Troubled....Woods is not above the occasionally surging flourish that so many of his Nashville pals are known for; he just knows how to use those dramatic shifts to greater effect...By balancing such fringe and mainstream elements so effortlessly, Woods looks poised to finally bring those disparate camps together..."

Donovan Woods : Hard Settle, Ain't Troubled NNNN by Matt Williams, Now Toronto (February 24, 2016)

"Hard Settle, Ain't Troubled is his most solid album in a catalogue full of them...more instrumentation than on previous albums lends weights to Woods' ever-present acoustic guitar, as on the pedal steel breeze of May 21, 2012 or the bells and strings of Parkdale-referencing soft-rock hi On The Nights You Stay Home..."

Ride The Tempo's Top Canadian Albums of 2016 by Jonas Cornelsen, Ride The Tempo (January 15, 2017)

"#08 : Hard Settle is the perfect combination of heartfelt storytelling and world-class production.  Wood's lyrics show his prowess as a country songwriter, but his musical style trades annoying twang for rich bass and palm-muted acoustic guitars."

EVENING HYMNS

Evening Hymns : Quiet Energies 9/10 by Alan Davey, The Line Of Best Fit (October 16, 2015)

"This is a great, poetic, musically ambient postcard from the wilderness that deserves to get Bonnetta's unique voice widely noticed."

Evening Hymns : Quiet Energies NNNN by Carla Gillis, Now Toronto (September 16, 2015)

"Recorded with James Bunton in Bonnetta's rural Perth-area studio, the songs are as reflective and melancholy as ever, still circling around themes of loss and searching, but with even more poignant lyrics and newfound drive.  Sonic details are plentiful and effective: uplifting backup vocals by Sylvie Smith, touches of strings and stately piano, alluringly atmospheric guitar and electronic experimentation."

First Play : Evening Hymns, Quiet Energies by Judith Lynch, music.cbc.ca (September 18, 2015)

"...Bonnetta and Bunton's combined talents make for a gorgeous sounding record that doesn't waste a space, a second or a note.  It clocks in at a smooth 40 minutes without the listener feeling like they're missing a thing."

In Review: Evening Hymns - Quiet Energies by Leks Maltby, Aside/Beside (September 16, 2015)

"...Where Spectral Dusk was characterized by moody, atmospheric production in the spirit of Daniel Lanois, Quiet Energies delivers a healthy dose of four-minute rock songs paying direct homage to Tom Petty, with a handful of Neil Young & Crazy Horse distortion-drenched guitar solos thrown in for good measure."

Evening Hymns : Spectral Dusk 9/10 by Alan Davey, The Line Of Best Fit (April 5, 2013)

"...The album was recorded in a log cabin in Perth, Ontario, with musicians recruited from friends including The Wooden Sky and Timber Timbre, and recorded by sonic genius James Bunton.  The sound is predominantly acoustic, with sparing use of electric guitars and keyboards and the sound of the woods and the lake.  As a work of art it's a memorial and an assertion of the writer's growing awareness of himself as a man.  Drawn from pain, it's a musical and artistic triumph..."

Evening Hymns : Spectral Dusk 8/10 by Tim Angel, UnCut Magazine (March 2013)

"...Spectral Dusk is the sound of pain alchemised into something beautiful and redemptive."

Evening Hymns: Spectral Dusk 9/10 by Rob Duffy, The GridTO (August 22, 2012)

"...What Bonnetta has created is a deeply evocative document of the sheer impossibility of getting over such a profound loss..."

Favorites Of '12 :: Evening Hymns Spectral Dusk by ACK,  Herohill (August 6, 2012)

"...A marked growth from the already fantastic Spirit Guides, the songs find the band introducing new textures that extend past the boundaries of traditional folk.  Electronic undercurrents, cacophonous swells of horns and surprising distortion all add to the pain and anger Jonas felt, but Evening Hymns perfectly pairs that turbulence with moments of beauty, harmony and cinematic instrumentation to lessen the weight of the record as Jonas tries to celebrate life, not just mourn death."

 

FOR ÉSME

For Esmé - Sugar, 8.5 / 10 by Dave Tone, Bucket List (November 13, 2015)

"I need to re-state that the production on this record is stellar.  I can imagine the amount of time it took to mix in the various riffs, vocal lines, harmonies, effects, and more effects.  I'm sure this was a labour of love for the band, mixing engineer / producer, James Bunton, and mastering engineer, Joao Carvalho."

Review - "Sugar" - For Esme by Chris Matei, Grayowl Point (October13, 2015)

"The record is lushly produced...the sonic cues throughout Sugar are planted firmly in dark progressive new wave of a distinctly 80s vintage, while also playing with influences culled from more current electronic production trends...Sugar gives fans of modern electronic pop a lot to like.  With its focused, literate and unironically committed approach to the genre's soundscape, it's as grounded and solid a record as anything that has come out this year from bands who have already graduated to headliner status."

Electro-Pop: Sugar by For Esmé, 4.5 / 5 Stars by Lisa Florilli, Confront Magazine.com (October 21, 2015)

"While everything sot of generally falls under the rubric of synth-pop, the eclecticism on Sugar sets them far apart from contemporaries.  The arrangements are unique, the songs are layered and are unified by Meredith's versatile and strong vocal performance.  If you're looking for an album that's going to convince you to leave your phone at home the next time you head out into the night, this is most definitely it."  

 

THE HIDDEN CAMERAS

The Hidden Cameras - Age NNNN by Samantha Edwards, Now Toronto (January 16th, 2014)

"...Age is Gibb's coming-of-age story, weaving a narrative that shows an experimental side of the frontman we've never seen before... Top Track: Ordinary Over You."

 

IN COMPLETE CYCLES

This Dance Imitates Life by Susan Walkter, The Toronto Star (February 23rd, 2007)

"...James Bunton's original score, with its contrasting textures, from an electronic wall of sound to a steady drumming, to lyrical guitar and violin passages, illuminates the dance."

 

JON HYNES

Man Of Many Bands Goes Solo; Wins Our Big Award by Chad Pelley, The Overcast (December 1st, 2014)

"...James Bunton (Ohbijou, Diamond Rings) produced the album, and really brought Jon's best musical traits alive, methodically, over a two-year period of recording..."

 

JOS. FORTIN

Jos. Fortin - Typewriter by Tyler Butler, Arguejobcom (May 15th, 2012)

"...These songs are rich with texture, warmed and comforted by Fortin's perfect, soaring vocals.  Magnificent production from producer/engineer James Bunton (Ohbijou, Evening Hymns, Diamond Rings, PS I Love You) ensures that a richly layered harmony, a surprising guitar part or a thick note from Fortin never overpowers the landscape of the song, but completes it..."

 

KASHKA

KASHKA - Vichada NNNN by Carla Gillis, Now Toronto (October 4, 2012)

"...teamed up with Bunton’s muscular beats and percussion, dynamic synth lines and smartly constructed arrangements, the result is completely fresh (and fierce)."

KASHKA - Bound NNN by Carla Gillis, Now Toronto (December 5, 2013)

"When Toronto folk-pop band Forest City Lovers disbanded last year, Kat Burns leapt into the electro-pop solo project Kashka, whose promising debut album got a big hand from producer/musician James Bunton..."

 

KELLY McMICHAEL & THE GLOSS

Sound Advice: Liminal by Kelly McMichael and The Gloss by Natalie Zina Walschots, Torontoist.com (July 24, 2013)

"...The production, courtesy of James Bunton (who has recently worked with The Wooden Sky and Evening Hymns) has a thrumming warmth that plays off the EP's enthusiasm and softness perfectly.  The record's sound evokes the way everything holds heat in the summer months, a kind of bodily warmth that makes even inanimate objects seem to have beating hearts..."

 

LEAR

Lear Stronger On Ideas Than Story and Emotion by Elissa Barnard, The Chronicle Herald (June 22, 2014)

"The use of sound by designer James Bunton is excellent and exciting throughout."

 

LIGHT FIRES

Light Fires : Face 7/10 by Luc Rinaldi, The GridTO (August 1, 2013)

"Face is direct and heavy on hooks, in the form of both Regina's one-line earworms and Bunton's instrumental flares..."

Last Of His Kind by Jim Di Gioia Quick Before It Melts (July 31, 2013)

"I hear people describe some musicians as 'the hardest working person' in music, but if you ask me, no one can hold a candle to James Bunton... Bunton, along with the traffic-stopping Regina The Gentlelady have fashioned a forward-thinking electro-pop record that's so in-your-face, they've had to call it FACE..."

 

SHAWN WILLIAM CLARKE

Shawn William Clarke : William 9/10 by Matthew McKean, Exclaim! (September 23, 2014)

"...Clarke, in other words, manages to triangulate past, present and future in songs that feel both close to home and otherworldly, but also remarkably bereft of the weariness or melancholy that tends to permeate the genre.  William is intimate and rich, and one of the finest folk records you'll hear this year."

Shawn William Clarke : William NNNN by Sarah Greene, Now Toronto (December 10, 2014)

"...Bunton's production is warm, the kind of mix that gives the impression of a solo singer/guitarist, but with the spacious, subtle hum of a full band - horns, even - behind him."

 

WAVING IS FUNNY

Review : Waving Is Funny by Madeleine Copp, Mooney On Theatre (October 18, 2014)

"...part of the experience was the fantastic sound design by James Bunton.  It was absolutely beautiful, particularly in the slower moments my guest mentioned.  The brief interludes were very relaxing, and Bunton's work definitely served the performers well."