Sound SpaceDecember 9, 2021
Photo credits: Steve Louie
Presented by New Forms Festival, SoundSpace took over performance Works Theatre on Granville Island in December 2021 to celebrate sonic arts and their creators. The program featured the work of Amir Abby, City & i.o, Alexi Baris, and the Sound Migrations project.
Sound Migrations is a unique collaborative project which began when Meredith Bates, an award-winning violinist, invited interdisciplinary artist and musician Lief Hall and visual artist Josema Zamorano to co-create an improvisational music-video performance as the final part of her artist residency at the Western Front.
Their collaboration converged, looking for a dialogue between aural, visual, and spatial experiences, reflecting on migrations and the living transformations that are part of it: sound becoming body movement, voice becoming ocean waves, music becoming awareness of space, wind becoming texture, the forest becoming cellular copulation, colour becoming mood, perception becoming the environment itself.
The video-performance by Josema Zamorano was created in dialogue with the moment by using a digital camera as instrument to "play" two photomontages that depict abstracted landscapes.The imagery, read via body movements and gestural modulations over the lens, was processed in camera to produce moving colour fields, projected live throughout the venue.
Amir Abbey is a Vancouver-based musician, composer and sound artist working within electro-acoustic and minimalist approaches to sound and composition. His work looks at ways of bypassing conventional approaches to instrumentation as a means to explore the covert microtonal sonic characteristics available from acoustic sound sources. He has released several albums under the alias Secret Pyramid over the last decade with renowned labels such as Geographic North, Students of Decay, and Ba Da Bing.
His latest work (and first under his own name) Dast is a study in minimalism and spectralism that explores the microtonal and acoustic characteristics of an Iranian Santur. Its emphasis is on pitch, tuning, feedback, and resonances that are altered using several electro-acoustic treatments and sound manipulations.
City & i.o.
City & i.o is a live band and recording project from B.C. Their debut record, Spirit Volume came out in June, 2019, on New York-based label PTP. Their second album, Chaos is God Neighbour, was released through Montreal imprint Éditions Appærent in Nov. 2021, and found the duo digging more into murky, noise-inflected dark ambience, harsh, distorted guitars, and both screamed and sung vocals.
Although Spirit Volume was lauded for its “sober, thoughtful, and downright meticulous” compositions (TMT), their live sets are the total opposite -- a full-bore celebration of space, exertion, and volume that leave both performers exhausted and drenched in sweat. Their performances are high-energy and dynamic spectacles, wreathed in smoke and strobe lights, that test every available frequency of the sound system. The combination of City’s industrial electronics and frantic live guitar with i.o’s unbelievably kinetic drumming often invites comparisons to the extremity of black metal or emotive trance progressions, and has been called “staggeringly intense ... a living, breathing ecosystem of textural sound” (SBVRSV).
i.o is a band consisting of Maxwell Patterson; drummer, guitarist, producer, and visual artist. Maxwell lives andworks in Victoria, BC. i.o has currently released over 200 records; including the 104-hour-long album Injecting Logic. City is the alias of Vancouver-based producer and musician Will Ballantyne. He is a founding member of the label Éditions Appærent, and co-ran the s.M.i.L.e. event series in Vancouver. He has released records on Halcyon Veil, Ascetic House, and Purple Tape Pedigree.
Alexi Baris has been creating experimental electronic and ambient recordings for years, blending field recordings with imaginary synthesized sounds. His 2020 release Thema on Montreal-based label Total Stasis, draws on a dialogue between the exterior and interior within found, repurposed, and recorded sound. The album has been described as environmental ambient and micro-jazz played by electronic micro-organisms inhabiting your browser and domestic setting (Boomkat).
Baris’ live performances bring to life this microverse of fidgety sounds and tonal synths with a delivery that’s less abrasive and more soothing than you might expect.
Sound Space was made possible thanks to support from the Canada Council for the Arts, Creative BC, BC Arts Council, and the City of Vancouver.