We had the chance to do a little Q&A with our next Opus: Testing featured artist SlowPitchSound! Check it out:
MR: When did you start to make music with turntables? How have you developed or augmented your performing/improvising on turntables? What are some of the extended techniques you use?
SPS: I started making music with turntables in 2004 after DJing at bars and events for a number of years. I was losing interest in playing late night bar settings but was still fascinated with the turntable as a musical instrument. Around that time I discovered artists like Kid Koala, Birdy Nam Nam, John Cage and Christian Marklay. Their approach to using the turntable inspired me to use it in its entirety as a source of sound. Because I had been improvising through the art of turntablism and producing music for a while before that, improvising with other musicians wasn’t a far stretch for me. Some things I enjoy doing with my instrument are tapping the stylus with my finger for percussive sounds, placing the stylus on my finger and then rubbing it along the side of the turntable platter for deep thunderous bass… it’s pretty much a signature technique. I also really enjoy live sampling and looping. Because of my background in DJing my sense of rhythm is pretty good but at the same time I really enjoy sculpting sounds to create a bit of organized chaos.
MR: You describe your sound as “scifi-turntablism”. What inspires this label for your music?
SPS: I imagine strange new worlds when I’m creating a new piece of work. It’s kind of the reason I coined my style SciFi-Turntablism, part of it is because I’m a fan of science fiction films and the other part is from what happens when sounds are slowed down to a crawl, flipped, twisted and layered to create something hard to describe, in a sense once my sounds have been treated they become extraterrestrial. The many textures and almost liquid like compositions create a glimpse into another dimension.
MR: Is your music, or your thinking about arts in general, informed by afrofuturism?
SPS: Afrofuturism is such an interesting label. I sometimes wonder if I weren’t black and making the music I make then what would it be called. When artists like SunRa or George Clinton who are widely known now as afrofuturists were making music they didn’t call themselves afrofuturists. It was actually a label coined by a writer in 1993 named Mark Dery. Labels/genres are a tricky thing when it comes to being a creative person but sadly they’re kinda necessary in a way. sigh.
MR: You are originally from Grenada. There are countless musical connections between Toronto and various countries in the Caribbean, are you aware of musical directions in Grenada that connect with what you are doing?
SPS: There’s no connection but I think it would be interesting to explore in the future. Maybe scifi-calypso-turntablism lol.
MR: Tell us more about the Emoralis EP, and your own imaginings of travels in the universe?
SPS: Emoralis started off as a curiosity for snails. Their liquid alien type movements filmed up close with hand crafted backgrounds opened up a universe of ideas. The project with collaborator and life partner Vanese Smith made its way to being presented at top notch festivals including Images Festival in Toronto and Mutek in Montreal. Originally made as a live audio visual performance I was inspired to make an EP which included some re edited tracks from the live show as well as new ideas. It’s really an amazing ride around the universe.
MR: What is the weirdest or most unique sound you have ever incorporated into your music to date?
SPS: Rubbing a mic over my beard.
MR: What soundscapes inspire you most in your day to day? Do you have a favourite place/source (in the physical world or online) to seek out new ideas?
SPS: Nature, Industrial, Public spaces
MR: For those interested in pursuing turntablism and composition with turntable, are there any resources you would recommend?
SPS: http://offcentredj.com It’s where I teach 🙂
MR: You’ve worked with a lot of different musicians from many different genres and media. Can you name one of your favourite collaborators?
SPS: Really all too amazing to pick just one.
SlowPitchSound recommended listening and viewing
Christian Marclay mini documentary
Bobby McFerrin – Live in Montreal
Kid Koala – live – (Switzerland)
DJ KENTARO LIVE
otomo yoshihide Tokyo Experimental Performance
Birdy Nam Nam – Abbesses
DJ Krush – Kemuri
to name a few.
Check out SlowPitchSound’s website for more info! http://www.slowpitchsound.com/
Musica Reflecta and the Canadian Music Centre (CMC) are pleased to present the final edition of Opus Testing for the 2014-15 season. On June 4, audiences are invited to a music writing workshop-concert hosted at the CMC. Each edition of Opus Testing begins with a unique musical assignment, and the NASA Remixed edition is our first effort to focus entirely on electronic music.
From decades-old radio transmissions to the ringing of ionized matter, NASA’s audio archive has a ready supply of compelling and otherworldly sounds. Artists from around the world have been making use of the material, especially in music projects. We invited composers to use sounds downloaded from NASA’s archive to create an electronic piece or soundscape. On June 4, the Opus Testing event will feature discussions with the participants facilitated by musician-composer Rose Bolton, and a performance by SlowPitchSound who will present his own music alongside a playlist of star-bound creations. The music will be accompanied by live, improvised projections by Damian Lebiedzinski. We are also delighted to welcome Dr. Duy Cuong Nguyen, member of the Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics (based at the University of Toronto), an organization committed to sharing astronomical discovery with the public. Nguyen will join our discussion to provide greater context for the sounds in NASA’s archive.
In the same way that literary fiction allows writers to imagine other worlds, electronic music composition in the 20th and 21st centuries has enabled far-flung sonic explorations. Opus Testing is an opportunity for audiences to understand the compositional process, and the relationship between the composer and sources of inspiration, and the NASA Remixed event will feature fascinating discussions. Join us as we contemplate our place in the universe!
Canadian Music Centre (20 St. Joseph Street)
Date: Thursday, June 4, 2015
Time: Doors at 7:30, event begins at 8:00pm
Admission: Pay What You Can
Rose Bolton: Based in Toronto, Rose Bolton creates music for documentary films. She is also well established as a composer who creates and envisions new sounds in the areas of classical and electronic music. In 2011 she was commissioned by the Canadian Music Centre to create a sound and video installation for Toronto’s 2011 Nuit Blanche. The finished work, The Crown of the Bell, was produced in collaboration with film artist Marc de Guerre, and over 1000 people experienced the piece during the all-night event. Her concert music has garnered awards and grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council and the Toronto Arts Council; and her work has been performed across Canada by the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, the Vancouver Symphony, the Esprit Orchestra, among others. For more info on Rose, click here!
SlowPitchSound: Using the turntable creatively to explore sounds has been at the forefront of Cheldon Paterson aka SlowPitchSound’s entire adult life. Turntable composition, live performance and improvisation have been key elements whether performing solo or with culturally diverse musicians stretching from Gamelan to jazz to western classical and beyond. His unique style of turntable performance has made its way around the world touching down in Sweden, Great Britain, Netherlands, Australia and America. He is a sound artist who often incorporates unconventional functions of the turntable as well as field recordings in his compositions. Using the turntable as an instrument, sounds are captured, looped and further brought to life by numerous filters and effects in tandem with Paterson’s hypnotic tribal rhythms. Away from the stage, Cheldon stays busy teaching the art of DJing at Off Centre DJ & Electronic Music Production School. For more info on SlowPitchSound, click here!
Musica Reflecta Chamber Orchestra is calling for players (flute, piccolo, oboe, clarinet and recorder) to audition to play in R. Murray Schafer’s multi-orchestral, multi-choral epic oratorio Apocalypsis to be performed as the grand finale presentation to close this year’s Luminato Festival at the Sony Centre. With a cast of over 1000 singers, actors, dancers and musicians, this event is being called “one of the most spectacular events in Canadian music history” by the Toronto Star, and a once-in-a-lifetime performance opportunity. Honorarium of $200 provided. Musica Reflecta is sourcing players to comprise the High Instruments ensemble, to be conducted by Musica Reflecta artistic director Anastasia Tchernikova. Apocalypsis’ executive music director is David Fallis.
More information: https://luminatofestival.com/festival/2015/Apocalypsis
Application: Please submit a one page CV to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than Wednesday April 22nd, 2015. Once you have submitted your application, Musica Reflecta will send out information regarding your scheduled audition time no later than Thursday April 23rd. If you have a preference in time for your audition, please indicate so in your email and we will try to make accomodations.
Audition information: Musica Reflecta will be holding auditions on April 25th and 26th from 1pm to 6pm at the Canadian Music Centre 20 St. Joseph St, Toronto, Ontario M4Y 1J9. The purpose of the audition will be to meet you in person and to go over the dates and times for the rehearsals. At the end of your audition you may be asked to sign a contract. This contract will outline the rehearsal schedule and expectations for your involvement, as well as your compensation. The audition will be approximately 10 minutes and will consist of a performance and interview. We ask that you prepare a solo piece of your choice, which will adequately display your capabilities. An accompanist is not required. You may be asked to sight-read a small excerpt which will be provided at the audition.
Please review the following dates before submitting your application:
Players are REQUIRED to be at all of the following call times, though select absences may be excused if arranged ahead of time, particularly pertaining to rehearsals before June 17:
Sun, May 17 14:00 – 17:00 *UPDATED!*
Sat, May 30, 10:00-13:00, 14:00-17:00
Sun, May 31, 14:00-17:30
Sat, June 13, 10:00-13:00 + 14:00-17:00 OR 13:00-17:00 (TBC)
Sun, June 14, 13:00-16:00 + 17:00-20:00 OR 14:00-18:00 (TBC)
Wed, June 17, 18:30-21:30 (Wandelprobe)
Sat, June 20, 10:00-13:00 + 14:00-18:00 (Stumble through)
Wed, June 24, 19:00-23:00 (Tech Dress)
Thurs, June 25, 18:00-23:00 (Dress rehearsal)
Fri, June 26, 19:00-22:00 (Performance #1)
Sat, June 27, 19:00-22:00 (Performance #2)
Sun, June 28, 13:00-16:00 (Performance #3)
We had a really interesting and laid back evening on Wednesday reading through nine new works (a new record!) submitted for our Opus:Testing community composition workshop. This session’s ensemble consisted of Amely Zhou on erhu, and Musica Reflecta team member Evan Lamberton on cello, and co-director Anastasia Tchernikova on piano.
A big thank you to the beautiful and incredibly wide-ranging music from Samuel Bayefsky, Darlene Chepil Reid (joined us live from Thunder Bay), Jason Doell, Jonathan Moir (PhD student in physics), Matthew Tran‐Adams (feat electronic effects for erhu), Nicholas Tristan, Matthew Van Driel (joined us live from Taiwan, early morning for him!) and Humber students Brenden Varty and Adam Filaber. Photographs of their every-day which informed their music were projected behind the musicians.
OUR NEXT ASSIGNMENT is a call for remixes of NASA’s public domain space sounds, played with live VHS tape manipulation of your favourite sci-fi films. All are welcome to participate – or join us for the listening session on June 4th!
Amely Zhou is a Toronto based erhu player, and featured performer in the next installment of Opus: Testing. We asked Amely a couple of questions about the erhu and her life as an erhu player:
MR: When did you start playing erhu? What attracted you to the instrument?
AZ: I started learning Erhu when I first entered Shenzhen art school in grade 4. My first instrument is actually the guzheng (a zither instrument), but as my teacher Lei Zhang recognized my musicality on the Guzheng he promptly asked if I would like to become his pupil and learn erhu. During my studies with Lei Zhang, I was always inspired by his music and the sweet tone that he can achieve from this simple looking instrument. The soulfulness of erhu takes away my feelings and emotions with the vibrations of the strings.
MR: Who are your erhu-heros?
AZ: My teacher Lei Zhang is my hero for sure. He has not only taught me how to play erhu but he also taught me how to bea good person. Music teaches a person patience and kindness. You will have to be able to inspire yourself before you can inspire others with your music. You will have to be persistent if you want to make good music. Aside from my teacher, I listen to a lot of Mingyuan Liu’s Recordings. They are so fun to listen to because of the variety of ornamentations.
MR: What contemporary pieces for erhu have you played?
AZ: Most recently I have premiered some contemporary works written for erhu and other instruments by University of Toronto Composers such as Roydon Tse, Tse Yueng Ho, Chen Ke, Lin Yuting, and Adrian Ling. Some notable new works are Chan Ka Nin’s Double Happiness and Alice Ho’s Four Seasons. In 2014, I also commissioned a solo erhu piece, Wind Chaser, by Matthew Van Driel.
MR: When it comes to music for the erhu, is there some particular style or type of music that you find yourself attracted to or that you wish to be explored more in new erhu music?
AZ: Personally I find myself really into the ornamentations of different regions in China for erhu repertoires. I think that represents the core part of erhu music. For contemporary works, I look for exploration with new techniques, the special usage of some of the ornaments and most importantly, can these techniques or ornaments help achieve the specific sound effect that the composers are looking for. When it comes to writting for Erhu, I wish to see different ornaments explored and used to composer’s own advantage.
MR: Can you share a few of your favourite pieces for erhu?
月牙五更–中国中央民族乐团 板胡 刘明源( 劉明源 ): http://youtu.be/vTHAviiMpuY
Shadow Tune 影調: http://youtu.be/PFHQGvswPRo
陸軼文 – 油紙傘下的回憶: http://youtu.be/9jZA_STfY9w
The Blue Planet Earth 二胡～藍色星球: http://youtu.be/6-vOEzLpWok
Woooweee! We are so thrilled to announce our first ever composer in residence, the wonderful Joseph Glaser! We are commissioning him to write and present a very special and exciting interdisciplinary event this summer featuring our chamber orchestra collective. Stay tuned for the announcement, and in the meantime we invite you to ravage his soundcloud starting with this string quartet:
In December we threw a party at the Holy Oak Cafe in Bloor West Village to celebrate one of the greatest dudes to ever shake his proverbial fist at us – none other than Herr Ludwig himself. The night featured a wonderful array of draft beers as well as the Horn Sonata Op. 17 played by our co-director and horn virtuoso Will Callaghan with the help of the wonderful Wesley Shen on piano, who yearly enjoys the distinct pleasure of sharing his birthday with Beethoven as well. We wrapped up the program with the Septet Op. 20 played by Jessica Tse clarinet, Will Callaghan horn, Kevin Harris bassoon, Aysel Taghi-Zada violin , Brenna McLane viola, Evan Lamberton cello and Wesley Brenneis double bass. The piece was rudely interrupted with Beethoven trivia between movements, and topped off with a birthday cake!
More birthday celebrations coming this year, stay tuned!
We are very excited for our upcoming composition workshop meeting! Taking place this Sunday, we have works submitted by Cory Latkovich, Pouya Hamidi, Patrick Arteaga, Lin Yuting and Sammy Bayefsky. Audience engagement welcome – each reading will be followed by an open discussion with the composer and performers.
All proceeds go towards the performers. Beers at the pub to follow. See you Sunday night!
September Assignment: Four-play
Performers: Wind and the Water (female vocal quartet)
Biography: Coming together in Toronto from different corners of Canada, their shared love of voice, harmony andimprovising brought the four ladies of The Wind and the Water together. Aimee Butcher, Belinda Corpuz, Danielle Knibbe and Laura Swankey all front their own various projects but also have deep roots in choral tradition. As they switch lead, each unique voice brings its own flavour while they deftly support each other vocally, with body percussion,
and the occasional instrument. These varied sensibilities create an eclectic sound that range from lush sound scape, to deep gospel groove. Each of these ladies are accomplished writers, and bring distinct voices into their arrangements for the group. You can check out their music here and here!
Assignment: Arrange or write a song that will mirror the soulful sounds of the Wind and the Water, keeping in mind the group’s artistic sensibility and style. Have fun with it!
Vocal range: F below middle C to G above the treble staff.
Short proposal deadline: Friday, August 22
Music submission deadline: Monday, September 8
Public Reading Party: Sunday, September 28 @ 3:00pm
The Canadian Music Centre, 20 St Joseph Street, PWYC.