Musicworks 132 - Winter 2018
On the cover: Darcy Spidle
Nova Scotia writer Darcy Spidle played in punk bands, ran the Divorce record label, and founded the annual OBEY Convention in Halifax. At the same time, he developed a parallel music career as a performing and recording artist of the jaw harp (aka Jew’s Harp) under the moniker chik white. In "Trauma Of My Mouth," his Musicworks feature-writing debut, Darcy introduces readers to the thousands-year-old history of the jaw harp, then plunges into his own experience. With passion, humour, and intimate, jaw-dropping detail, he describes how he became instantly taken with the simple, hand-held instrument, takes readers on a tour of his personal collection, and explains his avant-garde style and the wear-and-tear on his body: “Flesh morphing metal. Metal morphing flesh.” Photos by Heather Rappard.
Inside Luke Nickel’s A Hushed Workshop
Over the course of almost two months in 2018, clarinettist and writer Heather Roche worked with composer Luke Nickel to create his new piece for solo bass clarinet, A Hushed Workshop. In a diary-style feature, Roche explores this fascinating and unusual creative journey in a composer–performer relationship by following their process and charting her various reactions, challenges, and emotions as the piece developed. Every two weeks or so, Nickel would upload an audio file, which he would delete after Roche had listened to it once. These audio transmissions contained instructions and important information related to the work: poetic descriptions, playing techniques, or notes related to the structural integrity of the work. Roche regularly sent recordings of her work to Nickel, and after the piece was assembled, the performer and composer came together for a rehearsal, and the piece was recorded. Photos by Sam Walton.
Lina Allemano, freaky as she wants to be
Lina Allemano first developed an interest in modern jazz in her family home in Edmonton, then made a youthful discovery of the expressive possibilities that the trumpet held for her. That path led to Toronto, where she has become a key figure in the city’s free-jazz community, along with regular collaborators like saxophonist Brodie West and drummer Nick Fraser. She currently leads two Toronto bands: her longstanding acoustic Lina Allemano Four, and her more recent Titanium Riot, which is devoted to free improvisation with an electric slant. Since 2013, following studies with German trumpeter Axel Dörner, a master of extended techniques, Allemano has been dividing her time between Toronto and Berlin, immersing herself in the city’s intense creative music scene. Story by Stuart Broomer.
André Cormier, composer and chocolatier
Moncton-based composer André Cormier is a self-professed formalist with a unique and open-ended vision of what that entails. Cormier started as an autodidact but through happenstance ended up in the University of Victoria's exploratory program. He later studied at CalArts before pursuing the first-ever private mentorship under Wandelweiser founder Antoine Beuger. His work is an idiosyncratic reflection of his pedigree—spacious, expansive, permeable to performer-input but carefully framed, and all stirred together with a fiercely individual spirit. He and his partner Robin Streb (a contemporary-music-oriented violist) recently cofounded meticulous artisanal chocolatier BerNard, making taste more than a mere metaphor in his case. Story by Nick Storring, photos by Claire Harvie.
Discover saxophonist Joseph Shabason’s conversational modes . . .
. . . the sonic collages of Thanya Iyer
. . . and the mind-blowing effect of a field of competitive bagpipers on artist and writer Josh Thorpe.
Learn about the historic graphic score, performance, and recording project in memoriam . . . , which was initiated by Edmonton’s Ociciwan Contemporary Art Collective and saw collaboration between local musicians and Navajo composer Raven Chacon.
Read reviews of new music from: Clarence Barlow, Sarah Davachi, Christopher Fox, Kyle Gann, Julius Eastman, Pierre-Yves Martel, Megumi Masaki, Jessica Moss, The Necks, The Oakland Elemetary School Arkestra, and Bekah Simms