Radio has always been very important to me. It was where I got my first musical education as a very impressionable pre-teen living in Massachusetts, imbibing the sounds from the various college radio stations my plastic radio could pick up. When I moved to the West Coast, it was both the public radio station in Astoria – KMUN – and picking up the broadcast of CBC’s Brave New Waves that kept me sane during those long dark nights of the tortured teenage soul.
By the time I was out on my own, I kept myself locked into the terrestrial waves, particularly a show that used to be broadcast on Saturday and Sunday nights on OPB Radio. Host Steven Cantor would spend three solid hours challenging my preconceptions of jazz, classical, electronic, and pop. And he had a radio voice to die for. I didn’t know until later that he was someone who had spent a long time in the jazz world, helping produce records by Lyle Mays and Pat Metheny, close with Jaco Pastorius. All I knew is that he was making amazing connections between sonic worlds that spoke to my feverish musical interests.
Cantor has been bounced around quite a bit since OPB decided to get deeply into the music game. His show was at first shuttled over to KMHD but after a few months was cut loose, leaving it without a terrestrial home for the first time in at least 15 years. Fast forward to late last year when I was hanging uncomfortably at a party meant to announce the lineup for the PDX Jazz Festival (and to catch trumpeter Dave Douglas perform) and a nice bearded gent made his way across the room to me, saying, “You look like you don’t belong here. What’s your name?” It took me about 45 seconds to key in on the voice: Steven Cantor, in the flesh.
Through the course of the conversation we had that night, I learned that Steven had done like all industrious sorts do and ported his musical endeavors over to the web, posting regular mixes and shows on Mixcloud for all to stream and enjoy. And boy have I ever been enjoying them. Which is why I’m kicking myself for not drawing your attention to them sooner.
The theme of each installment is the same: a playful bounce around the musical map, making quick stops in varying worlds of melody and mood. The episode featured here starts off with the familiar pulse of Miles Davis before moving along to some Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, a touch of Messiaen, and a closing set that wends in Boards of Canada and Matthew Herbert. Beats + Pieces In The Cloud never ceases to leave me reeling a little bit with each edition. I can only hope it does a little bit of the same for you.