CEC 25th Anniversary Tour in Edmonton
Sea of Sound Festival 2011
Friday, 18 November – Sunday, 20 November 2011
Edmonton’s Sea of Sound Festival (18–20 November 2011) came about as the result of a collaboration between the Music Department of the University of Alberta, the Boreal Electroacoustic Music Society (BEAMS) and Tonus Vivus (now NME — New Music Edmonton), held in conjunction with and complementing the CEC’s 25th Anniversary events.
This weekend-long festival offered a range of electroacoustic and related activities in the downtown core of the city. The Friday and Saturday evening concerts featured new electroacoustic and sound works by Alberta-based artists, with a late-night “lounge” concert on Saturday featuring Trio Latitude, the BEAMS Allstars and Wijit. At the Ortona Armoury, an exhibition of sound installations was mounted and open during the day on Saturday. Kevin Austin’s seminar “Some Recent Trends and Practices in Electroacoustic Studies across Canada: The CEC at 25,” prepared especially for the Anniversary Tour, with Gary James Joynes / Clinker, Shawn Pinchbeck and Scott Smallwood giving presentations in the second part of the seminar on their own backgrounds and recent work. The public was invited to attend open rehearsals and an informal Meet & Greet to chat with people from the CEC and JTTP before the Sunday evening concert, which featured JTTP 2011 winning works.
The early evening concerts of the Sea of Sound Festival, the Edmonton stop on the CEC’s 25th Anniversary Tour, were held at the Catalyst Theatre (8529 Gateway Blvd.), with the exhibition of sound installations in the Ortona Armoury (9722 102 St.), where the closing reception was also held. The New City Compound (8130 Gateway Blvd.) was the venue for Saturday’s late-night concert.
FRIDAY, 18 November
20:00–21:30 Concert 1: New EA Performances from Alberta
SUNDAY, 20 November
12:30–13:45 Seminar: Kevin Austin — Recent Practices in EA: The CEC@25
14:00–15:00 Seminar guests: Gary Joynes / Clinker, Shawn Pinchbeck, Scott Smallwood
19:00–20:00 CEC Meet & Greet
20:00–21:15 Concert 4: JTTP 2011 — Prize-Winning Works
22:00–00:00 Closing Reception
Biographies for individual participants, guests, associations and institutions can be found below.
Two of the four concerts presented during the Sea of Sound festival were mounted in order to showcase composers, performers, dancers, sound artists and more who either work in or are from Alberta. The festival opening concert on Friday featured performances and collaborations exploring noise, bent circuits and DIY instruments, as well as electroacoustic works, dance and even “voyeuristic anthropology”. Not even temperatures around minus 30 (not counting windchill!) — the coldest November 18 on record! — could discourage Edmontonians from filling the hall for the opening concert of the 2011 Sea of Sound festival!
- Jacek Sobieraj — Morte di Procri (video — 12:30)
- The Dada Police — Schismogenesis (video — 13:54)
- Gene Kosowan — Komarov (video — 11:03)
- MUGBAIT — Funnel Suit (video — 13:31)
- Klas Torstensson — “Solo” from Licks & Brains Triptych (1987), performed by Allison Balcetis (9:00)
- Zachary Polis — Sarah Jessica Parker: Bent Glamour (5:48)
- Wayne Defehr — Ghost Writer (video — 13:46)
- Shawn Pinchbeck and Gerry Morita — Premonition (video — 14:14)
Programme notes for the concert can be downloaded here.
An exhibit in the Ortona Armoury was open on Saturday afternoon and featured sound installations by Shawn Pinchbeck, Scott Smallwood and Ken Gregory.
Two of the four concerts presented during the Sea of Sound festival were mounted in order to showcase composers, performers, dancers, sound artists and more who either work in or are from Alberta. The Saturday evening concert featured a diverse batch of performances, with electronics, electroacoustics and live cinema / analogue synthesizers, sound objects and found objects, accordion, the t-stick and music theatre. These two “Alberta” concerts provided an excellent model of collaboration between different institutions in the city working together on a diverse programme that reflected both the experimental and the inclusive nature of the Edmonton scene.
- Jeannie Vandekerkhove, Jodie Vandekerkhove and Adam Tindale — For amplified dancers and laptop (video — 9:29)
- AgapeRaygunexperiment — Stations of the Lost (8:09)
- Philip Dickau and Ryan Sowiak — Oceanic Feeling (video — 12:24)
- Raylene Campbell — Untitled (video — 11:48)
- Clinker — Wave Drifting: Diaspora [live] (video — 14:46)
- Will Scott — Bottle Deposit (10:42)
- D. Andrew Stewart — With Winds, for soprano t-stick (video — 10:47)
Programme notes for the concert can be downloaded here.
It was a blistering cold night but the events continued at the nearby venue New City Legion with Trio Latitude, BEAMS Allstars and Wijit taking the stage in this late-night concert.
Kevin Austin — Some Recent Trends and Practices in Electroacoustic Studies across Canada: The CEC at 25
Everything old is new again. Kevin Austin’s presentation (at ten venues in nine cities) considered historical precedents and provided a useable map of the background and context of recent trends within the larger discipline of electroacoustics. Among the trending topics in EA these days are “live EA” and “visual music”; as discussed in the first part of the seminar, current and exploding technologies have allowed these areas of EA to develop very rapidly and proliferate widely.
With more than 40 years of history in EA, Austin looked back at the historical path and presented detailed views of some of the newer manifestations of EA. Some of the historical perspective was provided by his own experiences with live EA, which started in 1971 (MetaMusic, later CECG/GEC), and his use of visual elements as of about 1975.
In the second part of the seminar, invited local artists — active in the 1970s through today — contributed their own perspectives on regional activities to help articulate the unique flavour of EA practice in the various distinct areas that together form the diverse electroacoustic community in Canada, from Victoria to St. John’s.
At the Sea of Sound Festival in Edmonton, the northernmost stop on the tour, Gary James Joynes / Clinker presented his work in “visualizing sound”, Shawn Pinchbeck spoke about his work integrating EA, interactivity and dance, and Scott Smallwood looked at the dialogue between nature and composition in his creative work.
With a background in the visual arts and performance on the bass, for a decade or so Clinker’s interests have focussed increasingly on the correlation between visual and sound. His interest in cymatics came about after discovering Dr. Hans Jenny’s 1960s experiments with the visualization of sound (Cladni patterns): analogue tones excite metal plates on which particles form patterns related to the frequency content of the acoustic signals. This visualization of tones is a key element in Clinker’s recent work in the live cinema genre: abstract narratives are created live by “sculpting with resonant frequencies” generated by analogue synthesizers.
An extraordinarily vibrant electronic and experimental music scene in Edmonton during the 1980s was the backdrop of Shawn Pinchbeck’s youthful exploration of circuit-bending, performance art, dance and film. Directing Edmonton’s Boreal Electroacoustic Music Society (BEAMS) through the 1990s provided a new creative outlet for him; concert curation was not only a tool for putting his own creative process in perspective, but also offered the opportunity to support and build the community. More recently, a PhD in acousmatic composition has provided new impetus to his work, which has evolved into a shifting mixture of acousmatic composition, live performance, interactive sound installations and dance.
Already at an early age, and in parallel to piano lessons, Scott Smallwood began experimenting with what he later discovered were the foundations of electroacoustic composition. Complementing these parallel interests, and alongside composition studies, he continued to broaden his interests, exploring improvisation, acoustic ecology and field recordings. The unique nature of found sounds has provided inspiration for instrumental compositions that were in a sense literal imitations of nature. More recently, the process has been reversed, as he has been taking “indoors” sounds back outdoors, developing solar-powered devices and environmentally controlled instruments and installations.
The tour also provided members of the CEC Board, CEC administrators and JTTP 2011 guests with some time to meet and chat with the local communities of composers, performers and friends of electroacoustic practices. It was a great opportunity to not only reconnect with old acquaintances, but also to meet and hang out with new acquaintances! CEC Admin and Board members and JTTP guests had the chance to experience first hand the incredible diversity of electroacoustic practice across the country, from Victoria to St. John’s.
The CEC’s annual Jeu de temps / Times Play (JTTP) project is comprised of: a competition for young and emerging sound artists from (or living in) Canada, with cash and prizes awarded to the top five placing composers, as selected by an international jury; a focus issue of eContact! featuring all submissions to the project; a CD compilation (Cache) of the top works; and international radio and concert play of the top works.
Each stop on the tour featured a concert of the winning works from the 12th edition of Jeu de temps / Times Play. Those curious to know what the next generation of electroacoustic composers in Canada “sounds like” came out and joined us for performances of works by David Arango-Valencia, Guillaume Barrette, Guillaume Campion, Maxime Corbeil-Perron, Jullian Hoff and Marc-André Perron.
For each of the JTTP concerts at least one JTTP 2011 winning composer was present as an invited guest, and these guests diffused their own works as well as the works of their colleagues. Guillaume Barrette joined us on many of the stops on the tour, including Edmonton and Calgary.
Programme (in alphabetical order):
- David Arango-Valencia — Canción de Otraparte / « Chanson d’ailleurs » (2011 / 12:04)
- Guillaume Barrette — Parasite (2011 / 10:00)
- Guillaume Campion — Neige cendre (2011 / 11:22)
- Maxime Corbeil-Perron — Fragments (2011 / 10:00)
- Jullian Hoff — Scratch (2011 / 12:06)
- Marc-André Perron — Effervescence / Somnolence (2010 / 10:24)
Visit the JTTP 2011 page in this issue of eContact! for video montages of performances of each of the works, as well as biographies of the composers.