Owls In Daylight


Nick Fraser: drums, electronics
Justin Haynes: guitar
Quinsin Nachoff: tenor saxophone, clarinet, flute


(1997, Mutable Records)


Holding A Flashlight

iTunes – Owls In Daylight

“Fraser’s conception is to use pure sound as an improvisational tool… blending electronics, percussion and saxophone to achieve a sustained tension.”
James Hale, Ottawa Citizen

“Owls in daylight, as Nick Fraser’s title would have it, are creatures out of their element. Which is another way of saying that the young Toronto drummer is perhaps a little too progressive for the hidebound Canadian scene, marching as he does to his own beat. And an idiosyncratic beat it is – when there’s a beat at all. Fraser’s a deft and sensitive percussionist with a hint of an enigmatic streak, a feeling for economical gestures and an innate sense of form. His trio here is particularly impressive when improvising freely around the slightest of motifs – the tumbling figure of Bertrand Bertrand, for example or the ascending chords of Having/Moving.”
Mark Miller, Globe and Mail

“Drummer Fraser, just 21 on his debut CD as leader, employs percussion, taped material and fellow Torontonians Quinsin Nachoff on reeds and Justin Haynes on guitar in improvisational gamesmanship, creating new-age soundscapes, spacy dissonance, and free-form sounds at measured pace and little belching excess. The players respond tentatively to this game of musical hide and seek, showing elaborate technique, unusual harmonies, spidery lines and abstract musing.”
Geoff Chapman, Toronto Star

“Owls in Daylight is a collection of pensive and meditative sound pieces by the drummer and percussionist Nick Fraser. Fraser, who is also featured on electronics, is assisted by Justin Haynes on guitar and (briefly) piano, and Quinsin Nachoff on tenor saxophone, flute and clarinet. The twelve tracks seem to be an organic whole. The overall mood is one of somber reflection, but that should not suggest that the album is without variety. The growth and shifts in direction during individual pieces, and throughout, always keep things interesting for the listener. There is a searching quality here. Listen to Bertrand Bertrand, where Fraser’s and Nachoff’s tenor playing bring to mind the reaching that one hears in such wistful Coltrane and Elvin Jones collaborations as “Alabama” and “After the Rain”. There is a wonderful element of exploration present that appeals as much to the mind as to the ears. The eight-minute long Holding a Flashlight goes through a number of changes in time and shifts in direction, some of them quite unexpected. At times it is stark and dreamy. At other times it is nightmarish and distorted.
The appropriately titled Loopy is another longer piece that works well. Atmospheric and noise-y (not noisy), this is an inventive and always interesting soundscape – spacey and otherworldly.
Owls in Daylight is a somber and stark album. There is much to like here. It is clearly a drummer’s feature as Fraser is prominent throughout, at times shimmering and at times crashing. Haynes and Nachoff are also given plenty of room, and they have much to offer. This is music for the wee hours of the morning or the dying hours of the afternoon: reflective and dreamy.”
Chris Fullan, MusicWorks