A NEW LANDSCAPE
In honour of Earth Day, the following is an ongoing manifesto of sorts that reflects my creative practice.
Sound is a material, and the universe is made of it.
It’s a slow, sustained, arduous process, the universe.
Let it inspire and guide the process. Honour the material. Recognize it’s life. Sustain its energy. Carry it on. And on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on.
The most significant experiences of my life have happened internally. In this landscape, all is unknowable.
"Every event leaves a record in the land." - Australian Aborigine worldview
I walk that terrain. I sing the landscape. I find a space to take me, manifested.
According to artist Roni Horn, “each place is a unique location of change… no place is a fixed or concluded thing.”
The closer I get to my marrow, the more I’m immersed in the faraway.
It’s a land of stories, and these stories are slow, delicate, gangly, and passionate. These stories speak without making a sound. These stories are in me. These stories are in you. These stories are alive. These stories are subtle. These stories are like good food.
"We are the ones that tell the stories. That’s why we are here."
Many ideas, thoughts, circumvent the need for desire, the need for food, the need for voice. The mind rushes off, forgetting the need to remember, the need to stay. In every cell is our story, and our minds must navigate that place ‘cause I think it’s the source, universal consciousness, or whatever you want to call it.
Without the conception, without the increase, without the swelling, without the thought, without the remembrance, without the consciousness, the desire, we don’t have us.
Moments of transition. Merging of worlds. Discovery. Process. Shift, inspire, lift, move, forward, backward, up and down.
Repetition takes you beyond the surface. It’s takes you to yourself.
Ground breaking. Breaking ground. Ground works. Afterimage of sound. An impression. An imprint, embossed.
Rather than flesh, I like to think my brain is made up of earth. Raw material.
I want to embody myself, like the earth.
I’m going to start with the things that sustain life, first.
"Everyone needs one untranslatable song." - Juarroz
Each of us, a whole world. All of us, worlds upon worlds.
All dies over time, not in a moment.
Always make way for softness, and embrace the little deaths.
I’m interested in the confluent processes of creating in our image, and becoming what we make.
"Give mysteriousness to the common, give the dignity of the unknown to the obvious, and a trace of infinity to the temporal." - Novalis
Everything is alive.
This springing time dismantles and dissolves the hardness. Light cracking open shells, the pattern remaining a form of divination. Here, things open wide, and I listen, close and faraway. I can hear the source, revealing itself, but not in the form of some larger-than-life event, or near-death experience. It can be heard in every breath — those little deaths, opportunities to remember the songs. - Field Notes, April 2014
Spring is here, and with that, there is a lot of movement and new artistic directions emerging in my life. This past Winter was a good one creatively, with lots of space to explore new ideas, sounds and mediums.
Since my last update, a few noteworthy things have taken place:
I have continued collaborating musically with Jesse Frank Matthews and Evan Cardwell (Journeys). We set-up a Bandcamp and a Soundcloud where you can hear some improvisations and sound we’ve created for dancers and plants. We will be playing our first show-show on June 14, 2014 at the Bus Stop Theatre. It’s all-ages. Called the Making Spaces showcase, its organized by a group of students at Charles P. Allen High School who “address diversity and accessibility-related issues faced by artists from underrepresented minorities through discussion, advocacy and action.” This past month I presented at the high school, and had the opportunity to talk about some of my creative work and lead a discussion. I was super impressed and inspired by the group, so please come out to support them (and us!) in June.
Also, Journeys performed an improvised set at Danspace in March for some dancers, and we’re hoping to make this a monthly event. If you’re interested in doing authentic movement with improvised music, even if you don’t consider yourself a dancer, please come. Its pay-what-you-can. I started a Facebook group here to announce the sessions.
This Winter I began musically collaborating with artists Elizabeth Johnson and Kira Daube. Our band, Gift From God, is something I’m really excited about. It’s fun to explore sound with those two. We’ll have a song on the next Khyber Compilation, and will have a Bandcamp set-up soon.
I have been working on new music, focused on creating longer pieces for deep listening, journeying and healing. My “remix” of Moonlight Sonata is featured on the first Phinery compilation (Denmark), and I will be releasing some of this new music with them within the next few months. I also intend to start performing again once I have a set worked out with these new sounds and songs.
Finally, I participated in a transformative workshop at the Tatamagouche Centre in March. Called the Arrivals Personal Legacy Project, it’s a process designed for artists wishing to explore their ancestry. Created by the visionary Diane Roberts in Vancouver, the workshop is a “skill building technique and a language for participants to tap into deep and powerful sources of creativity and expression, in themselves and others.” I have been exploring my ancestry for the past few years, but since this experience, I have gone even deeper, particularly in looking at my aboriginal ancestry. Thanks to APL I now have tools to not only continue this investigation, but to also begin translating what I find into art. I am beyond grateful for this experience, and feel incredibly inspired by the process and my Arrivals village. I’m excited to be working on developing art that is challenging me in new ways.
In closing, I intend to update this website soon, to capture more of what I’ve done, what I am doing, and what I will be doing (some exciting things on the way). It’s a work in progress. I also intend to post more often, but we’ll see. The Summer is on its way, and I’ll be at the beach or in the woods a lot.
Thanks for reading.
PS - Here’s my remix of the Moonlight Sonata, heavily processed with tape.
REFLECTING UPON A YEAR
It’s been a long time since I’ve updated my website! A lot has happened since July, and I’ve been neglectful of this little node in the WWW. So here’s a list of what has taken place artistically/creatively in the past year!
1) SHAMANIC DRUMMING - I received a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts to research and study shamanic drumming for six months. I investigated questions such as how the drum reflects the environment it was made in and, how it, when played, creates altered states of mind, how the drum represents the journey, and can be used as a tool to indicate the passage of time and the movement through space, how the drum changes over time, physically becoming how it was played, by who, and where, and the relationship between the drum, dreaming, storytelling and shamanism. While the six months of study is now complete, this project and my relationship with the drum is going to be a lifelong journey. In the short-term, I hope to create something in the new year, incorporating what I’ve learned so far. More to come on that soon.
2) BROKEN DEER - This has been a memorable and productive year for my lo-fi field recording/audio art/experimental folk project. I self-released two records: Polaraura on cassette wrapped in birch bark and Unseen World as a zine of water(colour)world dreams. I also played some notable festivals/shows: OBEY Convention VI in June, got to open for old friends Tasseomancy in August, and shared the stage with friend and collaborator Evan Cardwell (Double Vision Quest) at Saint Matthew’s Church for my performance in the Halifax Pop Explosion. For all three shows, artist and friend James Gauvreau projected footage of whales from a video he is working on for a song from Unseen World (to be released in 2014). Speaking of videos, two were released this year: Heather Rappard's sublime video for “My Heart is in the Highlands" and Cheryl Hann’s out-there video for "Saddest Song in Outer Space.”
3) COLLABORATIONS - Last year I began collaborating with Double Vision Quest (Evan Cardwell) and JFM as Journeys, and this past Winter the three of us really delved deep, exploring the frontiers of our sonic universes. We also improvised music for a group of improvising dancers at Halifax’s DANspace in March, and then improvised for a group of plants at Halifax’s Common Roots Urban Farm in June for OBEY Convention IV. In the new year, Journeys will continue to delve deep. Plans are also in the works for me to collaborate with some other musicians, dancers and visual artists. More on that soon.
4) VISION AND NEW DIRECTIONS - I feel I’ve developed a more genuine, strong, clear artistic vision in 2013, and I’m excited to see how it continues to manifest. I have been so inspired being by the ocean after moving back to the East Coast from the Yukon. I swam so much this Summer, that I actually got swimmer’s ear for the first time, but I composed a deep listening song that healed it. This composition actually gave birth to a new music project, called Unseen World for now. I’ll be producing music for healing, meditation and deep listening under this moniker.
5) PEOPLE - I’ve been lucky to witness a number of my friends and people in my community find success in their creative worlds this year. By success I not only mean that they’ve created new works and/or received positive attention; Success, to me, also includes the changes, the difficult times that have inspired new directions, clarity and discovery of voice. I have a number of friends, including myself, that have gone through or continue to go through difficult excavation processes over the last couple of years. And while it’s a very tough, life-altering thing, it also gives birth to magic for those willing to let go of the life they knew and delve deep. As someone who went through a life/health crisis/breakdown/spiritual awakening in 2012, the residue of which has continued into this year, I can thank the difficult times and what has died for giving birth to the New. Thank you to everyone who has supported me in this past year — friends, family, collaborators, mentors, healers, teachers, listeners, readers, writers… And thank you to those who’ve given me the privilege of supporting them. We’re all in this together.
May 2014 be a time of continued growth, support and inspiration.