It’s incredible how much has changed in the world in only a couple of months. And what will change for the rest of this year, and subsequent years is anyone’s guess. What I do know is that the surge of art, music and creativity as a result of everyone’s isolation should not be underestimated. It should be applauded and allowed to flourish. Artists around the globe have been stepping up and using inventive ways to share their craft with others, largely through online technology, so we can all be entertained and support each other. Because you know the majority of artists could always use the financial support, in times such as these, especially. Utilizing the internet has never been more important, and not primarily for meme postings or trash talk. It’s now a collected culture and worldwide togetherness at a grassroots level that’s never truly happened until this time, and from here on we should all think about what’s next for our planet and how we’re going to achieve it.
I make music, not as frequently as I’d like. It isn’t my day-job (secure at the moment), and career shifts and setbacks are affecting many, so other musicians have it much worse than I. The purchase of ANY artist’s music will undoubtedly make a difference, so I suggest you explore and dig deep to find and support whatever you love and appreciate, locally or globally, and spend what you feel you’re able to. I just completed another album that was added as another RPM Challenge for the month of April, and it’s pay-what-you-like at the moment because I’ve often issued them that way. Over the years, I’ve mostly thought of my musical contributions to the world as just something to share, as money can’t really buy happiness, however, even small cash influxes mean something today. If anything, just to know some people enjoy it, and I’m doing something right. Either way, it’s there for listening to, and if you want to contribute, you can.
I’ll end with this: the arts are here for good, and although not as inherently essential as health workers these days, they have been vital in humanity’s well-being for centuries and certainly for our immediate future. Whether you’re a creator or a supporter, just keep doing it. It’s what’s needed right now, and through whatever connection you’re making, feeling better is the goal. Let’s start with that.
Ok, here’s the first posting in quite awhile, and it will be brief for now. I freshened my website, and just dropped another new record for February, because it’s my favourite month to do so. This one was recorded from a live performance at The Ship Pub in St. John’s for the monthly Night Music from Sound Symposium. The theme is obviously a chilled ambient one, due to the frigid temperatures and massive snow we’ve had in the area. Lots of randomized arpeggiated synths and granulated shifting over drum loops made for a polyrhythmic frozen feast you’ll let thaw naturally within your earholes. Enjoy, and warm up.
I make music every year, but February’s annual RPM album creation was slightly different for me. After many years, I finally went for a new geographic locale, which is nice. Then there are the thoughts of starting a fresh career direction in life when there’s an apparent recession in the area. So I’ve discovered a few things recently:
bigger cities are artistically exciting and necessary for weird-scene seekers (yours truly)
money, earlier not a priority issue for me, is actually really important to extended survival
at my age, job seeking has become much pickier and more difficult
the need for specialized skills is immense, and I seem to have the wrong ones, or not quite enough of the right ones
Thus the title and inspiration behind my new release, Future Success Stories. A life in flux is scary business for anybody, but also liberating in its freedom to choose whichever path you wish. I wonder how long before I know where mine leads, and how much debt that requires? Ultimately, artistry is a road to poverty, but I rather enjoy making art because I can’t help myself. So for now I’ll just give you that something I love doing, and deal with figuring out my most desirable day job at a time in the not-so-distant future. What a story. Maybe I’ll make my own.
So, January 15th saw lots of movement and music for me with the culmination of many weeks of improv dance rehearsals. The 4th year BFA actors Movement class had a final performance at the University of Alberta, and I provided electronic music to accompany three improvised dance numbers. I was initially invited by my friend Gerry Morita from Mile Zero Dance, who was part of a revolving door of equally awesome Improv Choreographers for the course, including Jeannie Vandekerkhove and Amber Borotsik. I loved the idea of creating evolving compositions for the students to vibe on, as I’d been interested in exploring music for dance. Everyone was really receptive to the idea, and provided some good feedback on the direction I would eventually go with it. I utilized layers of percussion, atmospheric keys, glitchy effects, abrupt playback speeds, and vocal captures from a microphone. Big thanks to Aiden Ware and Andrea Murphy for tech assistance, Dance Choreographer Marie Nychka for the love, and finally to Joe, Maxwell, Dylan, Kabriel, Nikki, Morgan, Natalie, Bobbi, Hunter and Zvon, who kept me on my toes and made it a pleasure every day to be a part of it all. Great show!
Below are a couple of vids I was able to take of two of the improvisations. Enjoy!
Every two years in St. John’s, there’s a week-long summer event that sounds like bliss to my ears and gives meaning to the music I craft — Sound Symposium. If I’m not participating as an official artist on the program, I usually make a point of attending some featured performances and ASSUREDLY get to The Ship Pub for the featured Night Music events. This was the case for my immersion into Sound Symposium XVII, and it began with a scorching free show at Harbourside Park by fusion trio Big Space, with a repeat engagement for the evening’s Night Music. Anyone unfamiliar with the later bar show should know it opens with a set by the featured act, then follows with improvised jams including other musicians in attendance. This is where I like to include myself, and where I switch up my choice of instrument I select to bring each night. Circuit-bent Sound Machine, Spider-Man Voice Changer, Mattel Calliope, Roland sampler and Thingamagoop 2 were the choice standouts for certain! The Symposium is the only way for me to hear anything — sound poetry mulcher Chris Tonelli and Leatherback, jazz versions of Zep’s “Whole Lotta Love” (and nods to Barney Miller) by Curtis Andrews and Friends Like These, the exotic sounds of Boujou Badialy Cissoko‘s kora or Bart Hopkin‘s fascinatingly-built experimental instruments — and still get to freely chat and share company with those taking part in it. The Friday, July 11th Night Music was the tops with local sax quartet Ouroboros with special guest Jessica Lurie, and fuelled a frenzy of jamming afterwards, mostly with prepared guitar mangler Bill Horist. What a spirited (hic!) time had by all, and some friendly music-making made!
Fun with toys and lights…Jesse Stewart’s Reactable.
Big Space blazing hot at Harbourside Park.
Curtis Andrews and Friends Like These play a solid improv jazz set.
Sax groovin’ with Ouroboros and Jessica Lurie at Night Music.