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!
Shawn Pinchbeck, Gary James Joynes and Scott Smallwood
Making the connections.
Scott checks the mix.
Broken Sound Series, new works from Gary James Joynes.
Upon arrival in Edmonton, I vowed to jump into the city’s music life, and the experimental/sound art scene in particular. I’d contacted my earlier acquaintances in the area, Shawn Pinchbeck and Gary James Joynes, to let them know I was here for any future happenings. So when I found out about SONAR, at the University of Alberta Museums Enterprise Square Galleries, it was a sonic treat I couldn’t refuse. The exhibition featured sound projects through recordings, interactive environments, and installations referencing noise, electroacoustic, experimental and minimalist sound art practices. And Shawn, Gary and Scott Smallwood were performing as Trio Latitude for the opening! I brought my camera and took some pics and video of the show. I didn’t get much time to view the artwork on display, but it did fuel some excitement for what kinds of inspired projects are being made – like cassette tape work from Parker Thiessen and accordions in various environs by Raylene Campbell. Afterwards, I went for celebratory beer and food with Trio Latitude and I spun a few Newfoundland tales. They all said they were glad to see me in Edmonton, and I couldn’t agree more.
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.
So now I’ve composed some “new music”. New, as in recent AND in genre. Musicworks magazine has this annual contest for Electronic Music compositions, and I decided to give it a shot. I’ve always enjoyed piecing together found sounds into music, so why not toss one of my monsters into the arena?