I have been collaborating with theatre and dance companies, filmmakers, and visual artists for many years, beginning with Imago Theatre in Montreal in the 1980s. I currently have a handful of ongoing collaborations that have been very rewarding and a continual source of inspiration and new ideas.
I co-founded the Noiseborder Ensemble in 2008, an group of musicians, video artists, and composers that create new work and perform several times each year. The ensemble combines chamber music, electronica, and video art; all of our pieces have sonic and visual elements connected in some way on a conceptual, technical, or interactive level. We are currently working on a program of eight-channel audio pieces that also include video projection and some textual elements.
I continue to compose soundtracks for the films of Kim Nelson; I have now done four feature-length scores for her with a fourth in post-production. Kim is currently leading a research-creation project that explores live documentary and issues of historiography; we are in the process of completing both fixed and performance versions of two films.
Below are some older clips from these projects:
I hear your voice in the circling night (2008)
The original bass clarinet part for this piece was composed en route from Vancouver to Beijing in 2001. The entire 13-hour flight took place at night as the plane traveled westward more or less at same speed as the earth’s rotation. This sense of very slowly evolving darkness is reflected in the character of the clarinet line. Years later, Trevor Pittman and I recorded the bass clarinet sketch and some further source material; I then used CSound and Ableton Live software to design timbres and assemble cues and audio processes to accompany the live performance of the work. Shortly after, we started performing the work with video artist Sigi Torinus; she created two video versions of the piece: the first is a palette of still and moving images and processes that, like the audio, can be mixed in real time; the posted version is a fixed video that stands on its own.
Subatomic Time (2010-12)
Subatomic Time is a 35-minute performance piece featuring solo percussionist Nicholas Papador, live audio processing, and live video mixing by Sigi Torinus. The work is in several sections: Small Science, RGBongo, Maquette XV, Marimba Stretch, Particle Zoo, Pin Music, and Zoom Out. The titles of the piece and of the various sections reflect the central notion of extremes of spatial and temporal scale; parallels are drawn between camera-related techniques (zoom, focus, pan, colour saturation) and audio processing (amplification, reverberation and filtering, spatialization, spectral manipulations). Aural and visual material is presented sometimes in parallel, sometimes in counterpoint, and sometimes heterophonically. My contribution to this work includes the sonic design, laptop audio performance, and most of the music composition; most passages of the sound were developed through improvisation with Nicholas Papador. The posted video is a mash-up of audio and video elements put together by Martin Schiller and Owen Eric Wood.
This is What a Feminist Sounds Like (2012)
This is What a Feminist Sounds Like is a portrait of Pat Noonan, the prominent community activist in Windsor associated with so many of the city’s social causes. This feature-length documentary is co-directed by Kim Nelson and Audra Macintyre. The film traces Noonan’s personal history, illuminating the feminist, environmental, and anti-war issues that she has tirelessly engaged. The film benefits greatly from Kim’s deft editing, again underscoring the rich relationships between the film’s participants. As is appropriate, the film was premiered at the 2013 Windsor International Film Festival. I created about twelve musical cues for the soundtrack; the posted video is the official trailer.
Metazombie is a feature-length documentary by Kim Nelson that follows the making of a low-budget horror film. While the production lurches along, a nuanced portrait emerges of the community created among the horror film director, volunteer crew, actors and eccentric extras. Set in Windsor amid the summer heat and a strike by garbage collectors, the city becomes a metaphor for the film-within-a-film, reflecting the energy, determination and occasional frustration of the participants. The premiere screening was very well-received at the Atlanta DocuFest in 2011, and was followed by a screening at the Moving Image Film Festival in Toronto. I created several tracks for the film across a range of styles; the posted video is the trailer for the film.