David Parker is a musician based in Kingston/Katarokwi. David draws on experiences and involvement in community radio as well as electrical and computer engineering to develop a unique aesthetic that is grounded in community organizing and grassroots music presentation. His influences include cosmic americana, drone, free jazz, folk, and electroacoustic composition. Since the pandemic David has built a recording studio and developed new styles of improvised music for voice, synthesizer, drum machine, harmonica and slide guitar. He directed and co-produced an art film / music documentary that won the award for Best Local Short at the Kingston Canadian Film Festival (2022). The documentary explores the music community on Wolfe Island and improvised music in particular. He is currently organizing a new concert and workshop series for improvised music in Kingston.
Parker writes, records and performs singer-songwriter material and is known as Slow Man Tofu. He has released two full-length albums with producer Matt Rogalsky and performed dozens of shows around Ontario and Quebec. For 4 years he played upright bass and electronics as part of the experimental duo Fire Moss. Fire Moss released 3 albums, performed at the Tone Deaf Festival and the In The Soil Arts Festival (2016). He has collaborated with Stefan Christoff and released an EP of duets with the Howl Arts Collective. David has done sound and music design for theatrical productions by The Caravan Stage Company and Single Thread Theatre.
David’s digital media artwork uses micro-controllers and audio processing in a collaborative duo with circus aerialist and movement artist Jane Kirby of Lowlit Aerial Arts. Kirby and Parker have performed at the Skeleton Park Arts Festival in Kingston (2015), and the Contemporary Circus Arts Festival Toronto (2014). They were Media Artists In Residence at the Modern Fuel Artist Run Centre in Kingston, ON (2015).
The wide-open form crushes an acoustic Americana piece and reconstructs it into an almost painterly sonic experience. The instruments each have room to roam over a wide, mid-century minimalist canvas. The improvisational nature of the work necessitates dabbling in dissonance when one or more of the musicians does something that cuts against the work of the others. But the dissonance resolves here, not leaving the listener stranded; the piano does particularly good work in grounding the listener with gentle, subtle melodies. It’s a little more gnarly than most “meditative” music, but I found myself able to connect with it in the way I do some more traditionally peaceful meditative work. It’s a fascinating track.
- independentclauses.com, February 2022
The only thing we love more than former DOMINIONATED contributor David Parker's unique insights and distinctive album reviews is his equally idiosyncratic music as Slow Man Tofu. Soft Melody Maker, his second full length under the moniker, is a righteous slab of Parker's unhurried style, allowing the colours of folk and country to run into a lo-fi wash to create a vibrant and wondrous canvas of colliding sounds and styles. Do yourself a solid and play this record from front to back, but play close attention to track two, "Meat Birds": if you're not sold on Slow Man Tofu by the time its coda cascades into the ether, check to ensure you're human and not an emotionless automaton.
- Jim Di Gioia, Dominionated newsletter, May 2020
I particularly enjoyed Parker's bass playing, with his imaginative use of arco techniques and muting to create different sounds, and how he combined the bass with pre-recorded loops. Wellman impressively expanded his repertoire with the baritone (sax), retaining his own style and using the different capabilities of that instrument to create beautiful sounds. And playing together they showed considerable empathy and coordination. They'd be well worth hearing together again.
-Alayne McGregor, OttawaJazzScene.ca
Magicmouth is the latest release from David Parker's multi-tentacled creature called Slow Man Tofu. Where his previous tape, Steer, was anchored in rock and folk songwriting with a occasional forays into freer-form experimentation, Magicmouth abandons all conventions of song structure and instead floats on extended and effected guitar improvisations, layered with synthetic tones and dubby, echoey half-singing. David allows his slow paths to wander uninhibited, resulting in an expansive collection of tracks that moves between drone, doom, noisy free improv, and ambient music. Do you sleep? When you sleep, do you dream? When you dream, do you know that you are dreaming?
Slow Man Tofu brilliantly bottles the cacophonic energy that comes when one person turns to another and says, “Hey, you wanna start a band?” on the aptly named “Starting Bands”. It’s about music as therapy, music as release, music as a way of life. It’s finding kindred spirits whose first reaction to such a question isn’t to laugh, but to dream.
“Do The CEO” with its pounding drums and distorted guitars simply defies any genre classification. “For David Blackwood” is weird folk, with emphasis on the “weird”. “Puke Purple” is pretty enough but is definitely off-kilter, and you begin to realize that Parker’s voice sounds like Eddie Vedder from an alternate universe. By the time “The Bellows” rolls around you are so indoctrinated that the music begins to sound normal to you, despite the fact that it burbles and echoes with electronics.
Hot on the trails of his 2015 EP Calm Me Down, Slow Man Tofu (aka David Parker) has just released his latest project titled Steer. Parker describes Slow Man Tofu as straight-ahead rock, whereas his other projects have him creating experimental music and collaborating with a diverse group of musicians and a poet as well. Interesting note: those looking to snag Slow Man Tofu’s new album will be delighted to learn that they can purchase it on cassette (20 copies available).
From Kingston, Canada we have singer-songwriter David Parker who releases under the name of Slow Man Tofu giving us a folk-rock jam with Hate Crime. Check this melodious slice of gorgeous guitars and confident vocals, pulled from recently released EP Calm Me Down via his Bandcamp.