Last Lizard king

Alex Zhang Hungtai’s Last Lizard is a conceptual departure from previous iterations.

Aja Emma

Peter Brötzmann, Last Lizard
Friday, May 22, 7:30pm
Fort Massey United Church 5303 Tobin Street

"I like spontaneous collaborations without too much thinking involved," says Montreal's Alex Zhang Hungtai AKA Last Lizard, formerly KA Dirty Beaches. The experimental tenor saxophonist was last in town for the 2013 Halifax Pop Explosion. He did an improv set with members of Moon and Diana, which was one of the grooviest moments ever at The Pavilion.

"Playing with other musicians is a rare treat for me as it challenges me and pushes me further, especially if they are people I admire," Hungtai says. "But mostly I prefer to play alone."

Last fall, Hungtai shed his skin to become Last Lizard, a conceptual departure from his poetic, sample-based jams like on Badlands, an album that earned him a 2011 Polaris Prize nomination. "Dirty Beaches has become a chapter that's associated to the last 10 years of my life," he says. "It's a natural transition to close that chapter and move on and challenge myself with newer artistic goals. And by starting over, it frees me from obligations or even expectations."

Hungtai ushered in his new focus with the track "Detroit" and the 18-minute-long, looped and layered saxophone-drone, "Dickie's Theme," which he recorded live in Lisbon last year. "I just played and played and played and recorded everything, which explains the length of the track," he says. "But I'm hoping to refine this type of playing and recording eventually, over repetition of practice and further experimentation, so it free-flows more naturally."

Hungtai is looking forward to playing new solo sax compositions at OBEY: "It'll be mixed with other experimentations, with a radio and a piece of metal I bought at Home Depot."

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