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!
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?
RPM Challenge 2014 has got to be some of the most prolific work I’ve crafted thus far, but has it been challenging? I did get an early start in February working with Ableton Live and the Launchpad Mini/LaunchControl in set preparation for Prototype 5, which I deemed productive idea creation for the album. There was, however, plenty of downtime for birthdays, family visits, nights out to party, watching the tube, etc. Instead of being stressed about being behind in the recording process, I took time out on a couple of weekdays (mostly in the last week) to finish up some working projects and polish the mixes. I also managed to record a Robot Scout session for RPM submission, too. Does it mean I like to procrastinate until the final possible minute? No, but it does seem to end up close to the wire most of the time. It’s always challenging to create under a deadline, but these days I’ve streamlined the process to make it easier to operate quickly and efficiently. Hence, I can afford to take my time with some things or choose to break from it with the knowledge that it’s simple to come back to. I’ve done the RPM Challenge for a number of years now, and likely would have made yearly records anyway, even if no challenge existed. We make our own challenges, and I consider this one to be more of a necessity. I make art, and that doesn’t change. The challenge is making art you’re happy with. And even though I endorse a certain amount of improvisation in much of my work, it’s satisfying when it sounds composed.
A friend and electronic producer who performs as MssngMrblz has been organizing a series of shows called Prototype to showcase local electronic artists playing original material. I made my second appearance at the most recent show, Prototype 5, held at The Rockhouse in St. John’s on February 15. Not only was it a larger venue this time around, but the lights and sound were spectacular to behold. Flat screens, man! I opened the night with some harder-hitting tunes I’d been working on this month (being RPM Challenge season…more to come), and sporting another fun animal mask. The laid-back giraffe. I tried a rushed Mixlr broadcast, and was pleased with the enthusiasm I got for my set offstage. The rest of the evening was stellar, especially when I was able to snap some of the action using my new Fuji X-A1. Awesome performances by all, and a vibrant, excited crowd on the floor.