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[SONUS Gallery]

60x60 Canada 2008–09

22 September 2008: Press Release English/français [PDF]

If you wish to receive a copy of the selections for concert play, please contact the Project Coordinator of the Canadian edition of 60x60, Eldad Tsabary.

60x60 is an annual project presenting 60 compositions from 60 different composers, each composition 60 seconds or less in duration. Since its inception in 2003, the international 60x60 project has produced over 150 concerts, multimedia and dance shows, and installations worldwide. The project has been regularly broadcast and five CDs have been released featuring works from the project.

Under a Vox Novus initiative, and in collaboration with the CEC, I have had the honour to direct the first all-Canadian 60x60 project. Officially launched with this curated SONUS gallery, the project proceeds with many concerts in Canada and abroad, including concerts in Montréal, Toronto, Halifax, Regina, Vancouver, Mexico City, and others. The project embraces several different juried and curated mixes — each intended for a different venue or medium — including concert mixes, CD mixes, and this online gallery mix. All 60 pieces in this mix were composed by Canadians and artists working in Canada, or are based on a Canadian theme.

In keeping with the 60x60 mission to promote new music, stylistic diversity, collaboration and community, the pieces in all of the curated and juried mixes demonstrate extremely diverse artistic approaches, methods, æsthetics, and messages and were composed by artists of all career stages. Despite this diversity, however, the pieces form a single homogenous hour-long piece that exhibits its own identity, flow, development, contrasts and mood on all structural levels.  The pieces’ ordering process depended on two key elements: a large-scale flow and intensity development, and a small-scale piece-by-piece match-making.  To achieve the first, each piece was given an intensity score that was based on spectral, rhythmical, and textural characteristics, and then an intensity build-up “story-line” was composed, in which pieces were inlayed according to their score.  The small-scale match-making depended on the pieces’ characteristics, such as overall sound, types of sound sources, tonality, metricity, message, etc. and on the manner in which they began and ended: pieces that ended with a fade-out were often followed by pieces that began softly or with a fade-in, and pieces that ended with an intensity build-up or abrupt cut-off were often connected to pieces that began with a sharp transient.  Since some of the pieces were shorter than 60 seconds, silences were inserted strategically to support the large-scale flow and to make the overall duration exactly one hour long. 

Each individual piece, therefore, has a unique identity, while at the same time has an important role in the larger 60x60 entity.  This functional duality is analogous, perhaps, to the manner in which organs function within a live body. In this gallery, you may choose to explore specific works, or listen to the entire one-hour mix, or parts of it. Different approaches will result in different listening experiences.

The diversity of this gallery covers all aspects of sound and meaning. For instance, some pieces use field recording as their only sound source (Pottie, Koustrup, Peebles, Centeno, Ogborn, Piché, Lillios, Girouard, and others), some use exclusively, or primarily, synthesized sounds (Maturo, Gauthier , D. Campbell) while a number of compositions creatively utilize the interaction between electronic and recorded sound sources. In some cases the interaction takes place between a musical instrument and electronics (Palacio-Quintin, R. Campbell, Acosta), in others between natural, rural, or urban field recordings and electronic sounds or processes (Eigenfeldt , Yoganathan, M2, Sinha, Forget) and yet in others between human sounds and electronics (McIntosh, Pas, Ciamaga, Harley, Dirks).

Several pieces are extremely sparse in texture (R. Campbell, Kennedy, Crispo, Minibloc) while others are “drony” (Ward, Desmarais) or can even be classified as noise music (Wicks, Dumas). Some pieces use primarily metric rhythms (Brown, Sinha, Kobayashi, Manouilenko, Shemie), while some derive their irregular rhythms from naturally transient sound sources (Peebles, Ogborn, Minibloc, Girouard). The global shape of a number of the works is characterized by a distinct type of transition over the 1-minute duration: a crescendo in Dhomont, a decrescendo-crescendo in Gotfrit and an evolution from simplicity to complexity in Harley and Masson.

Messages and meanings in the pieces include spiritual subjects (Basanta, MacCormac, Eigenfeldt), science fiction or supernatural subjects (Bundy, Bond, Désilets, Turcotte) and political or cultural themes (Duceppe, Oliver, Farkas, Desmarais). Some pieces explore outward (for instance Maturo’s Planetary Debris which aims “to transport the listener to a less terrestrial location”) while some explore inward (for example Bacchus’s Cellular Activity, which incorporates a recording of action potentials of a single living cell).

Tributes are to be found as well amongst the works: to J Dilla in Wan’s Dillacoustic, to William Gibson in Kell’s Steppin’ Razor, to Wallace Halladay in Staniland’s Stanix60, to Michel Serres in Calon’s A matter of voices, to Robert Mackay in Masson’s Granulated and to Francis Dhomont in Sevcikova’s Minutka.

But should we really know of all this? Do we want so much information on a minute-long piece? I believe we do. Each piece carries an important personal message of some type; each piece is based on a unique idea which must be communicated efficiently in a very short timespan. 60x60 is an hour-long collage of 60 different ideas. It may be perceived as a quick survey of contemporary sonic arts, a panoramic image, so to speak, of the reality of electroacoustics in Canada, but at the same time it is a collaborative hour-long piece by 63 artists (including myself as coordinator and two composers from the duos Minibloc and Dancers).

For more information on the project, visit

List of Works in 60x60 Canada 2008–09

Click on the individual names below for programme notes and composer biographies. You can also click on the titles to listen to the works.

  1. Florence MassonGranulated
  2. Lia PasInterchange
  3. James Harleyre:nude:ty
  4. Cléo Palacio-QuintinGlimpse
  5. Nick MaturoPlanetary Debris
  6. Nimalan YoganathanQuantum Birds for Ron Hallis
  7. Tristan WanDillacoustic
  8. Scott M2Lap
  9. Ambrose Pottiewaterpipe 1
  10. Sarah Peebles10 Below
  11. Andrew StanilandStanix60
  12. Aaron Acosta60 second signs
  13. Philippe-Aubert GauthierCompression study #1 for electronic percussion (DRX-1)
  14. Colin McGuireSharp
  15. Hector CentenoZocalo
  16. David ParfitCrab Legs
  17. David OgbornTransients with Context
  18. Francis DhomontSixtysec
  19. MiniblocGros Dés
  20. Reuben WardOurlady
  21. Claire PichéParis avril 2008
  22. Elainie LilliosToronto Island Contrasts
  23. Roxanne TurcotteIrazu
  24. Zorina BacchusCellular Activity
  25. Daryn Bondsim.bowl
  26. Jennifer Wicks — Dismembering Dismember
  27. Adam BasantaShiva Creates, Destroys
  28. Shawn FerrisDensity 10
  29. François GirouardWorldcup
  30. Gustav CiamagaIt’s About Time Again
  31. Martin GotfritAgnaganga
  32. Jay Bundy JohnsonSpace Eagle 3
  33. David CampbellIndustry 2
  34. Martine H. Crispotouche & dis-moi
  35. Raylene Campbellschmip
  36. Patricia L. DirksRelease
  37. Frank KoustrupAut’ Choses
  38. Thor KellSteppin’ Razor
  39. Arne EigenfeldtRajas
  40. Stacey BrownReciprocal Contamination
  41. John OliverYou Are With Us
  42. Sarah BoothroydLack of Proper Words
  43. Gabriel Duceppe — Happy Holidays
  44. DancersWorkhouse Playhouse
  45. Christian CalonA matter of voices
  46. Jean-Michel DumasByte Minute
  47. Zuzana SevcikovaMinutka
  48. Sylvi MacCormacSmall Boy
  49. Hélène Prévost54_secondes
  50. Pierre DesmaraisEnvironmentally Sound
  51. Suzanne Farkas — Chimera: A diasporic journey
  52. Diana McIntoshPeak Experience
  53. Yota KobayashiAfter the Resolution
  54. Evgeny ManouilenkoStrings in Space
  55. Richard DésiletsTelegram from Space
  56. Debashis SinhaUntitled
  57. Nancy TobinInsist
  58. Georges ForgetEn l’air
  59. Ben ShemiePanorama
  60. Kathy KennedyMini-hmmm

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