Yesterday I ventured out to Chester, Nova Scotia where I, with the guidance of a wonderful mentor, brought my first drum into being. Made from local white-tailed deer hide, this drum is a manifestation of my vision for the next phase of my life. A tool to help me understand the inner and the outer. A traveling companion. A teacher. A source of strength.
The drum-building represents the beginning of an intensive project where I will be studying shamanic drumming. Through self-directed study, drumming, journeying and learning from mentors, I aim to understand this ancient form of drumming — the first healing modality and tool to understand one’s place in their community, found in all cultures throughout the world. I will also be doing personal ancestral research during the process, namely focusing on my Mohawk ancestry and the life of a particular great grandmother of mine. It is my hope that this deep investigation will lead to new music, incorporating all of these elements.
It’s the day after the first day, and my drum is drying, the hide finding its place on the hoop, and my whole body is sore. Drum building is a physical process. Very physical. But I’ve never felt so satisfied. In three or four days, I get to play my drum for the first time.
Finally, I must say thank you to the Canada Council for the Arts for having huge hearts and supporting me in this endeavor. And also a huge thank you to Carla for your guidance, patience, support and strength in helping bring my drum into being.
A short, shadow-animated film that I made with Edward Westerhuis in Whitehorse, Yukon is currently touring the country as part of the Sci-Fi Double Feature, a creation of Yukon’s own Ramshackle Theatre (Brian Fidler and Edward Westerhuis). The film Edward and I made is called Zoobee Zoobak’s Unregistered Inventors Summit, and it features a naively confident, duck-billed host guiding the heckling audience through three inventors’ creations. We witness the downfall of the event, and Zoobak’s blind enthusiasm.
In 2011, Zoobee won top honours at the First Annual Shadow Challenge, hosted by ED Videoin Guelph, Ontario. I’m really happy it’s part of this event with Ramshackle. Now for a sequel! How about, Zoobee Zoobak’s Animal Wonderland Show? Or, Zoobee Zoobak’s Journey to Saturn. So many possibilities.
Often, when discussing the merits of lo-fi recording, there is an emphasis on how the sound is made beautiful by restriction. Either there is a sense of immediacy (time restriction) or a sense of triumph despite limitations…
I’m organizing/curating this event for the OBEY Convention in Halifax, NS. It’s free. Be sure to come on out!
COMMON ROOTS URBAN FARM PRESENTS – Music for Plants and Food Wolf Brunch June 9th – 1pm | Common Roots Urban Farm
Improvised music. An urban farm. Springing plants. Locally-sourced brunch. All these elements will come together on Sunday afternoon’s Music for Plants – a performance of improvised music where artists will create soundscapes and textures inspired by their interactions with the plants at Common Roots Urban Farm. Inspired by her love of nature and sound, Lindsay Dobbin wanted to create an environment where the connection between the two could be explored, and she has invited her collaborators Evan Cardwell (Double Vision Quest) and Jesse Matthews (JFM), who call themselves JOURNEYS, to go on that quest. Tim Crabtree of Paper Beat Scissors will also be performing his more ambient, improvisational sounds. Other artists TBA.
Commons Root Urban Farm aims to deepen the connection between people and nature, and OBEY is thrilled to be part of that adventure by offering sound as a modality to grow food and community.
Above is the newest song I’ve created, along with footage of Loie Fuller’s Serpentine Dance, as featured in many different films from the late 1800s to early 1900s.
As part of this project, I will also be releasing a tape with the newish Halifax tape label, Clocks & Daggers. I’m really excited to be working with Jon (label operator) and James (visual art), and thrilled to have great label-mates, including Former Selves from California and mpala garoo from Russia. Below is a preview of the Unseen World record, Dreaming (excerpts from four tracks).
‘Dreaming’ is comprised of sound journeys inspired by actual dreams of Unseen World - the new project by Lindsay Dobbin (Broken Deer) - during the summer of 2012. She’d spend a few hours each day creating a new song based on the dream from the night before— relying heavily on improvisation and shamanic methods to capture its space and feeling. What results is an album that sounds like a radio station receiving transmissions from typically unseen places: the ocean, the underworld, inside your body, and outer space.
Also, this mid-to-late summer will find me releasing some new and old pop songs under the Unseen World moniker on a VHS split with Halifax’s Organ Magic. Silent Shout recently premiered a couple of those tracks.
A few weeks ago we improvised a hour-and-a-half set for a group of improvising dancers at Danspace in Halifax. I must say, it was one of the most rewarding artistic experiences of my life thus far. I don’t hear music, I see it, especially in terms of movement, colour and shapes. So collaborating with dancers is a match made in heaven!
We hope to have a JOURNEYS Bandcamp up soon and play some shows for you. Also, Jfm has an amazing record coming out soon, and you can pre-order it here.
The film Heather Rappard made for “My Heart’s in the Highlands” will premiere this Thursday via Hartzine. Also, it was selected to screen at the Halifax Independent Filmmakers Festival as part of the Atlantic Canadian Experimental Works + Chamber Shorts screening. Called a “gothic love ballad” by HIFF, the film has so much textural depth, light mixing with dark. I can’t wait until everyone gets to experience it!
There is now a Broken Deer Tumblr, for all things Broken Deer. Also, Polaraura is going to be released in less than a week. It will be available Tuesday, March 27 via Bandcamp in limited edition cassette/zine format and/or digital download.
Broken Deer is the low-fi field recording/experimental folk project of Canadian Lindsay Dobbin. Through combining sounds of exterior and interior environments, Broken Deer explores forgotten wildernesses and unearths tender histories to create highly personalized sonic landscapes.
Broken Deer’s next album, Polaraura, will be released independently on March 27, 2013. Recorded on analogue tape recorders in a cabin outside Whitehorse, Yukon, Polaraura is a sonic journey of spiritual longing in a beautiful but undiscerning landscape. Featuring sounds of frozen rivers, wolves, snow, wind, forest spirits, owls and, even, northern lights, Polaraura takes the listener on a journey to another world - a forgotten wilderness - within themselves.
At long last, here’s a mysterious teaser for the new Broken Deer album, Polaraura. The video, created by Heather Rappard, reveals the album release date: March 27, 2013! More details, including a full-length music video for the song “My Heart’s in the Highlands,” coming very soon.
The following is a DREAM MIX I created this Summer that I just realized I haven’t posted here!
We’re nearing the halfway point between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox, so I think we can definitely start dreaming about Summer. Or, at the very least, break a sweat dancing around in our cozy homes to this rhythm-filled mix of music and joy!
And a special shout-out to Evan for introducing me to a couple of these songs.