working with sound

i’m sound designing a play for theatre passe muraille right now, which happens to be written by (and stars) my sister pamela.  the sound design is quite complex, by which i mean building the running cues for the sound involves many abrupt cuts and changes of audio state, let alone making the actual audio.  and in rehearsal today i got to thinking about how the internal pulses and arc of the sound itself can be magnified by movement and text, how it can become stronger even though it serves and is played in tandem with other elements.

it’s a beautiful dance.  i hope you can come see the show.

new solo set

update:  a very nice review is here.

as you may know if you are a facebook connection, i will be opening for colin stetson at the perimeter institute for theoretical physics on march 31.  in honour of that occasion, i have been working on finally making a live set for anudrutam, something i have been wanting to do for a long time.

i am happy with what is happening so far—a re-visiting of the works on the cd in a way that keeps to the ideas and intent behind the original tracks but also refreshes them for live performance.  have a listen, and see you in kitchener on the 31 of march.

nuukoono in wire magazine

very happy to have learned that knuckleduster received a great review in wire magazine in the upcoming april 2012 issue by none other than clive bellrobert and i are thrilled to have this going out to the world.  hit us up on twitter to stay on top of news from the duo, including info on a show at berlin’s haus der kulturen der welt in june and our upcoming european tour.

don’t forget to visit the knuckleduster website for video, links to purchase the cd, and other news.


Canada Council funding new works in 2012

I’ve just received notice that the Canada Council for the Arts will fund the creation of a new text/audio work in 1.1 (mono speaker + subwoofer) entitled hati.  the piece will have life as a static installation/playback work, a performance and who knows-what-else.

conceived as a piece that looks at the infrasonic communication of elephants and the re-imagining of the Hindu god Ganesh, hati has been brewing in my mind for close to 4 years now.  i am thrilled to be able to put aside time to work on this piece thanks to the council.

stay tuned…

knuckleduster toronto cd release date confirmed

good news!  the duo knuckleduster will be doing our cd release for nuukoono, our first cd on november 11 in toronto.  the illustrious garrison is the venue, and we will be welcoming music lovers from far and wide.

9pm is the start time, with an opener tbc.  knuckleduster hits the stage around 11.  tix a very affordable $10.

hope to see you there, and stay tuned as always.



the light

i’ve been working on text for a new long form audio work, and thought i would share some here.  production begins in august.  let me know what you think, i’d be happy to hear from you.

Curve (2)
Space is curved.  Somewhere, in a library, probably in on one close to where you are sitting now, the math is there to prove it.  I tried to read the equations once, pages and pages of symbols that curve and slash.  It’s beautiful.  Pictures of the universe, approximations of matter, of heat and black holes, exploding stars.  The math necessarily imperfect, but approaching perfection.  Infinity expressed with integrals, Greek letters.

I wish I knew this language.  How to bend my tongue and shape my mouth around these words—are they even words?  What would be a vowel, a consonant—a star, a comet, a galaxy?  What are these symbols saying to us?  How do I take this page of curves and explode it outward to the far corners of an expanding universe?

It goes that far.

Each summation, each equation and set has a sound, a hum, a kind of vibration that finds resonance in matter.

There are languages that derive their sounds from the harmonics of planets moving, that are based on the path of stars and the resonant hum of the universe.  To err in its pronunciation is to be in dissonance with the pulse of reality, to be a parent who pushes his child’s swing too soon, before it reaches the end of the parabola defined by the length of chain from which it hangs.

For one who speaks this language, who was born into it, the shape of lip and tongue is easy, defying explanation or parsing.  It takes an outsider to break it down to its component parts, to expose the secrets of how air is shaped to give meaning.

What, then, are we, when we try to speak the language of planets, of particles?

sound and art: peggy baker, henry moore, brian jungen, and me

monday morning and i find myself at the AGO, surrounded by new works by brian jungen and gigantic plaster casts of henry moore works, doing a soundcheck for the peggy baker dance projects 2011 season.  in the moore gallery baker and dancer larry hahn will perform armour, a duet choreographed by new york’s doug varone and premiered in 2010.

my music is playing back in 4 channels, and the speakers are spread out evenly over the giant gallery.  baker and hahn are at one end, and as i watch them i can feel at my back the sound cascading around the space behind me, reflected by the huge and heavy moores and the smaller but equally powerful jungens.  the new jungen works are a 2011 counterpart to the moore pieces, raw and visceral in the same way as the moores, but different—of the land, more canadian, hides stretched over discarded car parts.  as with all of jungen’s work, simple and powerful in a way that really makes us see reality.  not in a different way, but in the way that it really is.

i am so blessed to be here.

catch the show in toronto—my music accompanies the above mentioned armour and the dance installation in walker court, move (which i am listening to as i write this post, a new 72 min score for 16 dancers).  details here:

Goodbye, Are You OK / Peggy Baker @ the AGO

aaaaaaaaaaand……i’m not done.

i am honoured to be providing music for 2 works in peggy baker dance projects’ 2011 season at the art gallery of ontario: a new one hour score for move, with 16 dancers (or thereabouts), and a remount of the duo Armour, (choreographed by doug varone), which premiered in the 2010 show confluence, which was, if you recall, a full evening show of works that i had the honour to score (in 6 channels!) as well.

it promises to be a special event.  to quote from her site: Peggy Baker Dance Projects invites to you a special performance of “interior with moving figures” at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Four works from the company’s repertoire will be simultaneously and continuously performed in four different galleries throughout the AGO for 70 minutes, allowing patrons to wander between the galleries to discover the next dance.

Showtimes are irregular, so be sure to double check the links above:
Wednesday May 11, 7:00pm
Saturday May 14, 2:00pm
Sunday May 15, 2:00pm
Wednesday May 18, 7:00pm

Wednesday night shows are free admission, and the other shows are free with ticketed admission.

are you ok, with michael healey, peggy baker, and daniel brooks has closed, and it was a great ride.  the audience reaction was palpable, every night, and national post critic robert cushman called it a “perfect jewel”.  i am honoured to have shared the stage with such great artists.

stay tuned, as always, for more…

Are you OK.

a short trailer for “are you ok“, an upcoming show running march 4-11 @ factory studio theatre.  featuring the inimitable peggy baker, the stupendous michael healey, the illustrious daniel brooks, and myself.

like a genius, i’ve decided that the soundscape will be enhanced by my playing vibraphone, among other things.  not the smartest decision i’ve made but hopefully it will result in something good.

hope to see you there.