UNBLUR | BLUR

New Forms Digital productions come at a shifting time. Our archives, however, are here to stay.

Available first to our donors via Patreon, the archived episodes will eventually live here.
  • Shifting the focus from Deep Blue as a space known for events to the studios it houses and the individuals who occupy them, New Forms Digital highlights a selection of artists and DJs staying creative during these physically distancing and reorienting times. Scenes from a now vacant space punctuate the performances and sharply contrast with the colourful environments of individual studios.

    Artists — Karl Fousek (live), Slim Media Player & SydWoz, Goo (live), Big Zen & strawbb, Zander

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    Jump to: Karl Fousek | Slim Media Player | Syd Woz | Goo | strawbb | Big Zen | Zander

    Karl Fousek

    1) Introduce yourself and what you do.
    Karl Fousek. Musician and composer. I work primarily with electronic sounds, instruments and algorithms. My practice often focuses on improvisation, generative technique, and the histories of sound synthesis and electronic music.

    2) In the last two months, have you discovered any new music or media you'd like to share
    • Beatriz Ferreyra – Huellas Entreveradas (Persistence of Sound) / Echos+ (Room40)
    • Lil' Jürg Frey
    • 4utechre Twitch.tv
    • Max Eilbacher – Here a Peak, There an Abyss (Anomia)
    • Lea Bertucci – Acoustic Shadows (SA)

    3) It's commonly said that we've entered a "new reality". Can you speculate on how the arts might shape, or be shaped by, this new paradigm?
    The pessimist in me suspects that very little will change in the long run: the combined inertia of neoliberal governments and 21st century capital will drag any trace of a new “paradigm” back into the status quo once there is a vaccine. But at least it now seems possible to imagine new futures again. I would like to see the arts themselves renew their speculative imagination. Less nostalgia and superficial retro-isms; more searching to articulate new forms and affects. More possibilities.

    4) What's a live performance you look forward to seeing if and when events are able to happen again?
    I was planning to buy tickets to Kraftwerk when everything was canceled. The passing of Florian Schneider only makes me feel worse about missing the show (even though he wasn’t touring with the group anymore). Marcin Pietruszewski was another canceled show I was looking forward to. Otherwise, I’m looking forward to seeing literally any live event again.


    Slim Media Player

    1) Introduce yourself and what you do.
    My name is Sam Rutledge. I’m a DJ and producer under the name Slim Media Player or SMP.

    2) In the last two months, have you discovered any new music or media you'd like to share?
    Garage rock from the 60’s, John T Gast’s discography, contemporary British down-tempo and jazz, Stephen King novels.

    • Damon - Don’t You Feel Me John
    • John T Gast - Kids C Ghost (Bankruptcy Dub)
    • Jabu feat. chester giles - Slow Hours

    Read the uncut version of "The Stand." It's a blast, albeit a morbid one.

    3) It's commonly said that we've entered a "new reality". Can you speculate on how the arts might shape, or be shaped by, this new paradigm?
    I think the “new reality” will be reflected by the social conditions that artists find themselves in during this period; whether it’s one of curiosity and unexpected gratitude, or, at the other end of the spectrum, loneliness or claustrophobia. I'm sure we'll see these conflicting states embodied in the media produced over this period.

    Ultimately, though, people adapt, and I'm looking forward to seeing how our culture does so, particularly in the context of live performance. I wouldn't be surprised to see a new level of appreciation on the dance floors once they begin to open. One can only hope that this attitude would persist in the culture at large.

    4) What's a live performance you look forward to seeing if and when events are able to happen again?
    Honestly, the last few months have really kicked my ass to not take for granted any opportunity to catch a live performance, be it a local experimental set or an icon in the sunset of their touring days. Shouts out to Joni - “you don’t know what you got ’til it’s gone.”


    Syd Woz

    1) Introduce yourself and what you do.
    I’m Syd Woz and I’m a DJ here in Vancouver

    2) In the last two months, have you discovered any new music or media you'd like to share?
    Most of the music I’ve included in this mix I had bought off bandcamp recently. Previously I had always gone on knowing exactly what I intended to buy. But lately I’ve been spending a lot more time digging through labels and collections on there. It’s obviously nothing new- but it's a really great way to discover and share new music while supporting artists who are entirely relying on music sales during this pandemic.

    3) It's commonly said that we've entered a "new reality". Can you speculate on how the arts might shape, or be shaped by, this new paradigm?
    I don’t think the climate in the dance music scene will be the same as it once was for quite some time. I can speculate that touring DJs will have a hard time getting international gigs even long after the boarders open back up, as well as venues will have to make many compromises so that things can operate in a safe manner once social distancing orders begin to ease more.

    4) What's a live performance you look forward to seeing if and when events are able to happen again?
    I’m mostly excited to see our locals come together under one roof again! Our little city is so dense with incredible DJ’s, producers and collectives- makes me so proud to go to live events entirely organized and stacked with our local talent! :-)


    Goo

    1) Introduce yourself and what you do.
    I’m a non-binary multidisciplinary artist from Mexico City. I work primarily with illustration, animation and graphic design, but I also started producing electronic music and DJing a few years back. My main project is called Goo, and it is a vehicle for me to explore sound, gender and also themes that I feel are channeled best through a sonic medium. My work in sound tends to veer around sleazy beats, textures and reverberating vocals in Spanish. Once every full moon I get together to play with my friend Emma Tomic as Ultraviolent Light.

    As of 2020 I had the plan to start DJing under “El Angel Exterminador”, a project focused on highlighting Latinx producers, but that has been put on hold as well as “Plasma”, an event series I started with my dear friend CWR.

    2) In the last two months, have you discovered any new music or media you'd like to share?
    • Jasmine Inifinti - BXTCH SLÄP
    • Bergsonist - #565900
    • Desdel Barro - Racimo
    • Hiedra Club de Baile (Argentinian Label)
    • Damon - Don’t You Feel Me John

    3) It's commonly said that we've entered a "new reality". Can you speculate on how the arts might shape, or be shaped by, this new paradigm?

    A lot of the physical spaces we had will be lost… and there are already a lack of spaces, many which are not accessible. A lot of the people who depend on what should be universal infrastructure are also immunocompromised, and this would add a new layer of inaccessibility to the venues and spaces that remain standing. We should (always) be thinking on ways that we can reassemble while making it accessible to everyone, so I really hope that these considerations are taken into account as well as continue to strive for safer spaces and diversity. We are already seeing how our communities are migrating to online platforms (such as this), but I think we will have to be careful in how we do this and come up with solutions to bypass unjust structures that are in place or are about to form as much as we can and also organize against them.

    I do have very real fear of how the work and ideas that people come up with in these efforts could co-opted, stolen, rehashed and resold as original ideas from the people who own these virtual spaces (as history has shown). We really have to work for the benefit of the community and our peers, while communicating and sharing knowledge with others around the world as we are all interlinked. The technocratic overlords are grotesquely feeding from this massive migration of the arts into their platforms, and existing ones have been doing the least to remunerate people’s work before this even started, so I see either a global alliance of artists forming to fight for equity, reforms and to dismantle these structures of power or a bleak assimilation that will render us smaller and powerless as time goes on.

    Traveling in this new age will come with harsher restrictions on top of the existing ones, so artists that already had less opportunities to perform/talk/show their work in other countries will have less chances to reach out to these crowds in that level, so I would like to see these artists being highlighted and invited to the virtual table until these bookings are able to materialize irl. To be specific, a lot of this artists are from the Global South and deserve a seat in the table as much as our Northern-European peers do, so I think we could benefit from re-shaping around that too.

    4) What's a live performance you look forwards to seeing if and when events are able to happen again?
    Pelada, Ambien Baby and Lechuga Zafiro


    Strawbb

    1) Introduce yourself and what you do.
    I’m Haley, aka strawbb. I’ve been DJing for the last few years, but am coming to this world as a music lover and dancer first n foremost. Over the last few months I’ve begun selling custom cakes which has been quite a fun dream come true activity to come out of this time. I’m also planning to move to Los Angeles in the fall to attend grad school for urban planning/social work, but we’ll see how the details of all that work out.

    2) In the last two months, have you discovered any new music or media you'd like to share?
    Like I’m sure a lot of people can relate to, my relationship to media has been fluctuating like crazy over the last few months. I’ve taken a few breaks from music for weeks on end, feeling too full in my head to listen to anything. When it feels right, I’ve been listening to a lot heart-healing podcasts like On Being (I recommend the recent interviews with Ocean Vuong and Ai-jen Poo), and every interview I can find with Bayo Akomolafe on any platform.

    Music-wise, I’ve been super excited about the tracks my friends have working on for an upcoming CUMpilation of sorts. Other than that, it’s mostly been a nice cycle of Nadia Khan, Ulla Straus, and Asa Tone on repeat along with the recent addition of Yoshinori Sunahara’s Lovebeat album, thanks to Pascale’s hot Zoom track ID the other week.

    3) It's commonly said that we've entered a "new reality". Can you speculate on how the arts might shape, or be shaped by, this new paradigm?
    It’s hard to answer this question without getting too dismal. The lack of support for the scene on both a collective and individual level is just so painstakingly obvious right now. There needs to be space for music sharing and production that enables artists to make a living without having to reach millions of fans. Same goes for small venues. Hearing Chip Wilson say that spaces like Index don’t matter because “there’s not enough interest in the product” makes me fume. We are in dire need of revisioning what we value as worthy of our protection and time, and numbers and profit cannot be our only form of measurement. Not only for the arts but for truly everything.

    On a positive note, I had a blast working with Jamie and the New Forms team on this mix, working within the creative constraints imposed by this time. I definitely don’t think a 2 booth/sound card set-up is the new reality of b2bs, but it was a heckload of fun to play around with. I’ve also been enjoying some of the streams that have been happening, especially World Healing, Nowadays, and C-TV. While I don’t think online programming can/should/will replace real-life events, they have made the scene-at-large feel more collective in my opinion. Being in the chat and listening to music with DJs and music lovers around the world has been quite powerful and humanizing.

    For Vancouver, I think that weeknight streaming events could be especially valuable long-term. There’s not much going on during the week anyways and people tend to stay at home during the rainy months. Digital events could offer a fun way for people to socialize and be excited about music without having to leave their basement suites.

    4) What's a live performance you look forwards to seeing if and when events are able to happen again?
    I was really looking forward to DJ Plead coming to Vancouver and am hoping that’ll get to happen again one day. Otherwise, I would so deeply love to see Octo Octo and Eris Drew play together along with Kiernan Laveaux, Beautiful Swimmers, Will DiMagio, Physical Therapy, Kia, DJ EZ, and the whole Imaginary Friend crew. Until then, I'll keep living in my sweet dancefloor memories... <3


    Big Zen

    1) Introduce yourself and what you do.
    My name is Jamie Enns, I'm a producer and DJ here in Vancouver with a studio at Deep Blue, the best venue on planet earth.

    2) In the last two months, have you discovered any new music or media you'd like to share?
    I really enjoyed tuning into "c minus tv" on twitch. Which was a series of 30 minute episodes made with few rules by some of the best in the world. Some of my favourite eps were Aeriform, The Hutchin Crew, and especially "Pontiac Streator & Ulla Straus: "I Want My Rewards" Tour Commentary" but honestly every episode was amazing and I'm looking forward to the next stream on 06/27.

    3) It's commonly said that we've entered a "new reality". Can you speculate on how the arts might shape, or be shaped by, this new paradigm?
    This 'new reality' kinda has an accelerated time aspect that I hope everyone uses to learn new skills. I think quality and quantity will both go UP as we all learn how to catch up to all the technology thats already here.

    4) What's a live performance you look forwards to seeing if and when events are able to happen again?
    Every late night in Vancouver is so special. Looking forward to literally anything 'in real life'


    Zander

    1) Introduce yourself and what you do.
    Hi I'm Zander. I am a carpenter by trade, but that just pays the bills. I think I have been spinning vinyl for about three years now and was first introduced to the rave scene the summer of 2018. Before that I played bass and for years was convinced that all DJs did was push buttons on a laptop and needed no skill to perform. Oh irony, you fickle queen.

    2) In the last two months, have you discovered any new music or media you'd like to share?
    Once the reality of our current situation set in, I took a step back from traditional club music to explore other avenues of sound. One record I've been enjoying is Michael Stearns' Ancient Leaves. It's a very pretty ethereal ambient record from the late 70's. I would definitely recommend checking it out!

    3) It's commonly said that we've entered a "new reality". Can you speculate on how the arts might shape, or be shaped by, this new paradigm?
    In this new era, especially concerning DJing, I think your social media presence will play an even larger factor in your relevance than ever before. Without the ability to physically see artists, the benchmarks that we use to judge success will change. I think it will shift from "Wow, [Local Artist] was just booked to play Berghain" to instead how many stream views and/or followers they have to how appealing their posts are. The broad scope of the internet opens up the opportunity to reach a wider audience and just as easily be swallowed up by its vastness.

    4) What's a live performance you look forwards to seeing if and when events are able to happen again?
    A huge bucket list DJ of mine to see would be Sunil Sharpe. His fast, urgent style of mixing has definitely had a huge influence on my performances. To see him live would be a dream for me. Oh, also Surgeon. I think I have almost all of his records now, I'm a huge fan!

  • Curated by Yu Su, this diffusion centres around the concept of "Ancient To and From The Future", integrating electro-acoustic abstraction and traditional mythologies. Rather than technological innovations in sound, the programming focuses on rhythmelodically driven music rooted in the most raw and ordinary of human perception, creating a world of "sightseeing musics”, in which listeners can reorder their perception of the here and now.

    The program features an event-specific piece from global trio Asa Tone, accompanied by visual synthesis from Nika Milano. This will be followed by a live set from Vancouver-based electronic musician Khotin, while Michelle Helene Mackenzie will close the event with her debut modular DJ set.

    Artists — Asa Tone, Khotin, Michelle Helene Mackenzie

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    Jump to: Intro | Asa Tone | Nika Milano | Khotin | Michelle Helene Mackenzie

    Asa Tone is Jakarta-born Melati Malay and New York based Tristan Arp and Kaazi. In January 2018 the trio travelled to Indonesia during Melati’s annual return home, set up a temporary studio in a house nestled in the jungle’s canopy and recorded a series of improvisational pieces together. These equatorial excursions in voice, mallets and synthesis became the group's first album, Temporary Music, released in January of 2020 on Leaving Records.

    The piece by Asa Tone was spatially arranged by Yu Su at Lobe Studio using 4DSOUND technology. Headphones are recommended to get the most out of this immersive binaural experience.



    Nika Milano is a visual artist originally from Venezuela, who has been living in Mexico City for years. She explores visual abstractions, with a focus on the use of analog and modular video synthesizers as a medium for creating audiovisual experiences.


    Khotin is the recording project of Dylan Khotin-Foote, an electronic artist and part manager of label Normals Welcome originally hailing from Edmonton, who has now become a part of Vancouver’s thriving underground landscape. Pioneering a unique blend of ambient and downtempo electronic storytelling, Khotin’s catalogue oscillates between propulsive and reflective-always pinned to plot points in his wistful compositional style, in which repeated listens reveal deeper layers of emotional complexity.


    Michelle Helene Mackenzie is a writer and artist who works with sound, text and film. Mackenzie’s recent sound works have been performed and exhibited at The Western Front, 221A, Sunset Terrace, and Polygon Gallery. She has upcoming sound collaborations/commissions at Esker Foundation (Calgary) with Vanessa Brown, and at Malik (Hamburg) with Alison Yip. Her debut release All the Little Objectiles (ATLO), was released in the summer of 2018 via IsLa., and she has recently collaborated with Yu Su on a 2019 release on the Second Circle imprint.



  • Yoneda Lemma | Tangle strands of lightning silhouettes in carnival
    Forest Management

    Artists — Yoneda Lemma, Forest Management

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    Jump to: Intro | Yoneda Lemma | Forest Management

    Yoneda Lemma Katrina Burch (b. 1987 in Scarborough Canada) is a visual artist, pianist, experimental producer, and electroacoustic composer. Her primary artistic moniker, Yoneda Lemma (since 2013), is an artistic platform inspired by the eroticcs of abstraction, from surrealist visual arts to contmporary mathematics, and through the poetics of reciprocity in nature.

    Her music is kaleidoscopic; she glues discreet elements from multivariate sources, including sounds from unique field recordings, composed instrumentals, synthetics improvisations, and algorithmic explorations. Between 2016-2018, Katrina studied for a Master’s in Music at the Institute of Sonology in The Hague (NL) Royal Conservatoire.

    For a long period Katrina worked in the Andes as an archaeologist; for a short period she lived in Thailand where she left her heart in the care of an enlightened person. She has an undergraduate degree in Buddhist studies and Indigenous studies, and two graduate degrees in Anthropology and Archaeological Sciences. Katrina aspires to bridge these latter worlds to sounds through her critical writings and poetry, and eventually through subversive 360 audio-visual (sensorial) ethnographies.

    Yoneda lemma is the primary artistic moniker of Katrina Burch, a visual artist, pianist, experimental producer, and electroacoustic composer, who will be introducing her newest performance piece, Tangle strands of Silhouettes, lighting in carnival.



    Forest Management is the solo guise of John Daniel (b. 1989), an American musician and composer living in Chicago, Illinois. Active since 2011, Forest Management has released four full-length LPs and a number of cassette and CDrs on various underground labels (including Perfect Wave, Constellation Tatsu, and No Rent), as well as collaborations with modern ambient artists Celer and David Tagg. Initially a touring drummer for various bands in his hometown of Cleveland, Daniel re-located to the Windy City in 2016 and began focusing on Forest Management as a platform for more intimate, late-night experiments with reel-to-reel tape and computer software. His latest full-length 'After Dark' (American Dreams Records) is a 2LP of software reconstructions, based on turntable audio of Claude Debussy's La Mer.


  • Mepalu Sari Bandcamp

    Gamelan music created by Balinese students, reinterpreted by artists in Vancouver, transcending paradigms of appropriation through collaboration. Co-presented with Western Front.

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    Jump to: Intro | Essay | Participating Artists | Project Team | Acknowledgements

    [Essence of a Collision], is a collection of new gamelan and electronic music compositions by students and emerging artists

    
Developed over a year by Western Front in partnership with Insitu Recordings, this project has seen high school students in Bali commissioned to compose and perform new music for gamelan that would later be sampled and reinterpreted by Canadian high school students and electronic musicians. To this end three teams of high school students were assembled in Bali, each led by an Insitu Recordings team member who supported the students as they developed their compositions. Several months later the groups convened at Antida Studio in Sanur, Bali to record their work. For many of the students, this was their first experience in a recording studio and the first time their music had been recorded professionally. The recordings from that lengthy session, which resulted in fifteen new works, were then sent to Vancouver, Canada.

    
Concurrently, students at Burnaby North Secondary School engaged with the sounds of gamelan music, attending two workshops led by Insitu Recordings’ founders Jonathan Adams and I Putu Gede Sukaryana. Through these workshops the students learned about the history of Balinese gamelan and had a chance to play the instrument. After this, they began working with Vancouver-based composers Brian Topp, Yu Su and Kiran Bhumber, learning the program Ableton Live and beginning the process of creating new works using the gamelan samples. Originally the plan was to premiere these works at Western Front in 8-channel surround sound in early June, but due to COVID-19, the concert had to be cancelled. In April it was decided to make a digital album and extend the scope of the project. The Balinese compositions were then also provided to local and internationally based Canadian artists. 

    
From the outset, the hope was to transcend paradigms of appropriation and create an exchange between the Balinese and Vancouver students and artists. The students and artists on both sides of the Pacific were enthusiastic about the project and the music within this album reflects that.



    Mepalu Sari [Essence of a Collision]  Placed together, the Balinese word “mepalu” and Sanskrit word “sari” translate as “essence of a collision.” It’s an apt title for this new music project, a digital album developed over the course of a year with high school students attending schools in Klungkung and Sukawati, Bali and Vancouver, Canada. At the heart of the project is the gamelan, an Indonesian musical ensemble that features a variety of percussive metallophones (xylophones and gongs), drums and flutes. For Mepalu Sari, this traditional ensemble has been used in unconventional ways, both through new approaches to composing for it and the sampling of it in electronic music tracks. Across the album’s 100 minutes, traditional instrumentation collides with sampled beats; established and emerging artists help to broaden both how we listen and to whom we listen. The confluence of gamelan and electronic music also holds an important place in Western Front’s history through the pioneering influence of one of its founders, the electroacoustic composer Martin Bartlett. In 1990, Bartlett commissioned the creation of a Javanese gamelan ensemble which was housed at Western Front until 2019. Mepalu Sari honors the legacy of gamelan at Western Front, while connecting to the vibrant contemporary music scene in Bali and with electronic musicians in Vancouver and beyond. 

    The initial inspiration for the project came from the composer I Putu Gede Sukaryana (Balot). In 2016, I was shown a video produced by the Balinese label Insitu Recordings (which Balot co-founded) of his composition Anomali - X. Gamelan reyongs (metal gongs) are typically played suspended on ornately decorated frames, as part of an orchestral ensemble with other gamelan instruments. In Anomali - X, Balot took reyongs out of their traditional context, and placed them on the floor in the shape of an X. As he says in the description of the piece on YouTube: “In this unique shape the contrasting tones of the two tunings were then blended into new and interesting textures.” The sense of exploration in the music and its performance was palpable, and I was excited when Balot arrived in Vancouver in the fall of 2018, to begin teaching gamelan and to embark on a master’s degree at the University of British Columbia (UBC). He’s been an active fixture in Vancouver’s music circles, performing in different communities and attending concerts throughout the city.  

    In the summer of 2019, Vancouver-based musician Justin Devries was researching archival footage of gamelan performances at Western Front, and told me about a remix project that Balot was working on with Jonathan Adams, Insitu’s other founder and a PhD candidate at UBC. The project provided samples from Insitu Recordings’ catalogue to electronic musicians around the world, that would then be remixed into new pieces. It got me thinking that a similar remix project would be an exciting opportunity for Western Front’s youth programs. I approached Balot and Jonathan about the possibility of a collaboration, to both support young composers in Bali experimenting with gamelan, and to create a cross cultural musical exchange with youth in Vancouver.  

    Interest in gamelan music by Western composers has a long history, beginning with Claude Debussy and Erik Satie, who, after being inspired by a Javanese gamelan at the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1889, began using gamelan rhythms, scales, textures and melodies in their works. Imagine the wonder they must have felt, in a time before ubiquitous access to recorded music, at hearing ways of organizing sound that were so fundamentally different from anything else in Paris at that time.  

    But now, in 2020, we’re in a different place. What would it mean for a musician to sample Anomali X without permission? Balot, Jonathan and I decided to create an exchange where, in addition to offering the experience to record and remix gamelan music, high school students on both sides of the Pacific would begin thinking about that question. When approaching the Balinese students, we made it clear that their music would be altered and remixed by their Vancouver counterparts, but that credit would be given to both the composers and performers of the samples. Likewise, the Vancouver students knew that the students in Bali had willingly given permission for their music to be remixed and altered. 

    In October, 2019, eight students at Burnaby North Secondary School began workshops under instruction from Balot and Jonathan and the guidance of their teacher Kevin Ault. They were educated in gamelan history and geography through an afternoon-long lecture by Jonathan, and also participated in a workshop in which they were able to play gamelan, instructed by Balot. At the same time, three groups of students in Bali had the opportunity to go to a studio for the first time, recording and performing their original compositions for gamelan.  

    The music that the Balinese students created is both moving and technically inspiring. Performed on gamelan instruments, and without lyrics, the music expresses concerns that are both universal and particular to their day-to-day lives in Bali. Dewa Gede Agung Kayonanda Parikesit Pemayun, says of his piece Bunuh Diri (Suicide), “Suicide is an unusual behavior, carried out consciously.” For his other piece, EKG, he “took the idea from a heartbeat detector, which was being used on someone in a coma.” Several pieces are influenced by rain, including Made Pande Gangga Sentana’s Bandang (Flash Flood), which “is inspired by water that overflowed and became a flood because humans threw away their trash carelessly.” Other works explore technical concepts, akin to Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier, which consists of 24 Preludes and Fugues exploring the keyboard in all 12 keys. Amongst other pieces, I Kadek Bagas Suryadinata’s Faktorisasi Prima (Factorization of Prime Numbers), explores polyrhythms and canons using prime numbers 2, 3, 5, 7, 11 and 13.  

    The original idea was that the Vancouver students would take these recordings and create samples from them, which they would then mix in 8-channel surround sound for a live performance to be hosted at Western Front in June 2020. From November 2019 until early March 2020, the students participated in workshops with composer Brian Topp in preparation. Instructed in Ableton Live, they created new compositions with the samples. It was a simple idea which became complicated by the enforcement of social distancing measures in light of the global COVID-19 pandemic. By mid-April it was clear the concert would have to be cancelled. 

    These unforeseen circumstances enabled us to rethink the project anew and we decided to approach other artists to also submit remixes. All of the artists are either based in Vancouver or have a connection with this city. For example, Ash Luk of the duo Minimal Violence, while now based in Berlin, used to work at a cafe just down the street from Western Front. Sarah Davachi worked for a time at Western Front, helping my predecessor, DB Boyko, with the music program. One of the last events that occurred at Western Front before the lockdown was a workshop led by composer Mauricio Pauly, a professor at SFU, with his students and the Montreal-based duo scapegoat. Some of the artists on this album participated in those workshops, and are current students in the SFU music program.  

    The remixed tracks on the album are preceded by the gamelan pieces that the samples were derived from. In some cases, as with Maria Alvarez’s Light to Grey, you can clearly hear the use of the sample. In others, like Rohini Soedwha’s Tephra, you would never know the samples were derived from a gamelan unless someone let you in on the secret. One of my favorite tracks, by Burnaby North student Ashley Musa, sounds almost like she randomly picked and placed samples behind an 808 drum machine. About two-thirds of the way through, it all comes together, with a meticulously constructed beat. It was so unexpected, and grooved so deeply, that the first time I heard it I laughed. Listening to the album from start to finish the gamelan pieces and the remixes blend together in an impressionistic and ethereal way. 

    One of the beauties of vinyl records is that their technological limitations force the listener to accept the ordering of the music in the way that the artist intended: it’s a real pain to skip over, say, “Octopus’s Garden,” when listening to The Beatles’ White Album (1968). This is one of the great joys of listening to vinyl or tape: the technological medium makes you listen to the whole side. As an educator, one of my favorite things to do for high school students is to play the last song on side A and the first song on side B of a vinyl copy of Abbey Road. Almost all the students have heard “Here Comes the Sun,” the first track on side B, but very few have heard it as it was intended to be heard - after the noise induced Moog-fest and abrupt cut off of “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” on the preceding side of the album. Seeing their faces light up during the first few seconds of “Here Comes the Sun” after flipping the record over is always a great teaching moment.  

    Today’s technology allows for an incredible amount of flexibility on the part of the listener. I remember trekking through the snow on a daily basis to listen to the three vinyl records by saxophonist and composer Wayne Shorter at my university library; now you can access his entire discography with the click of a button. But the negative side of this infinite access, is that music can also be bypassed at the click of a button. It’s so easy to now skip over “Octopus’s Garden,” but it’s also just as easy to avoid other voices whose expression we might not initially gel with. In listening to music, how often do we click the “next” button before a track has completed? How do we silence an artist’s voice when we do this, establishing hierarchies in what we listen to? 

    As a curator, I have the responsibility to break down some of these hierarchies, to help curious audiences to challenge themselves with sounds they may not have been expecting. Or to rethink and reexamine what experimentation even means in the second decade of the 21st century. The music Western Front presents can be incredibly difficult to listen to, but if listened to with open ears, it can also be life changing, as hearing a gamelan was for Debussy and Satie. Western Front’s archives contain recordings by Laurie Anderson, Pauline Oliveros, Anthony Braxton and many, many others. This album, Mepalu Sari, is now a living part of that history. There’s some incredible music on it. Phenomenal music. While some of the artists are more well known than others, every track has moments of magic.  

    Western Front decided to put this album on Bandcamp, a company that has wonderful articles and fair artist remuneration policies. While the tracks are free, any monies given for them will go towards Western Front’s artistic program. The individual artists also have the option to release the music on their own pages, so if you want to support them directly, feel free to do so. Also, be sure to explore the many releases on the Insitu Recordings website, our collaborators in this project, as well as each artists’ individual Bandcamp pages and sites.  

    Thanks for listening. 

    Aram Bajakian
    New Music Curator, Western Front



    Participating Artists
    Aysha Dulong, Ashley Musa, Ben Berardini, Bianca Greco, Denis Petrov, Dewa Gede Agung Kayonanda Parikesit Pemayun, Ethan Lum, Ida Bagus Pradnyananta Arimbawa, I Gede Mei Sutrisna Yasa, I Kadek Anggara Dwianta, I Kadek Bagas Suryadinata, I Kadek Diva Nanditya, I Kadek Hendra Dwiantara, I Kadek Wahyu Baskara Dewangga, I Komang Galang Widnyana, I Made Panji Pradnya Adi Kusuma, I Putu Diva Adi Pradana, I Putu Restu Andika, Kalyan Rath, Made Pande Gangga Sentana, Maria Alvarez, Mela Melania & Jack J, Minimal Violence (Ash Luk and Lida P), Pande Komang Gede Triadi Ditya, Rohini Soedhwa, Sarah Davachi, Scott Gailey and Tegan Wahlgren.


    Project Team
    Producer & Curator: Aram Bajakian 
    
Insitu Recordings Coordinators: I Putu Gede Sukaryana, Jonathan Adams 
    
Insitu Recordings Bali Team Leaders: I Wayan Situbanda, I Komang Pasek Wijaya, I Wayan Ari Widyantara 
    
Burnaby North Secondary School Coordinator: Kevin Ault 
    
Educators: Brian Topp, Yu Su, I Putu Gede Sukaryana, Kiran Bhumber, Jonathan Adams 
    
Mixing: Jonathan Adams, Insitu Recordings 
    
Mastering: Michael Fossenkemper, TurtleTone Studio 
    
Production Assistant: Kate Woolf 
    
Technical Support: Lief Hall, Ben Wilson



    Acknowledgements

    Mepalu Sari is produced by Western Front in partnership with Insitu Recordings, and with support from the Canada Council for the Arts, the BC Arts Council, the Province of British Columbia, the City of Vancouver, and the TELUS Friendly Future Foundation. Copresented with New Forms Festival.


  • Co-presented with Deep Blue, our August 23rd program featured Vancouver based artists Reliquary V, Mela Melania, and Indole.

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    Jump to: Intro | Mela Melania | Indole | Reliquary V

    Mela Melania is a Honduran born, Vancouver based DJ and graphic designer/illustrator. She hosted Vacilando, a monthly show on No Fun Radio, which explored raw and hypnotic sounds, from post-punk to dub to cumbia to kosmische. Her mixes have also appeared on NTS and The Lot Radio.


    Indole/Tom Cameron is a Vancouver based DJ, producer, multi-instrumentalist and percussion teacher who has been eagerly soaking up the fertile sonic environments of Vancouver's finest late night dance floors for years. Equipped with the polyrhythmic aptitude of a seasoned drummer, a keen ear for novel and esoteric sounds, and a devotion to fostering mysterious and miraculous group dancing experiences, he offers a unique musical perspective. Through a relentlessly eclectic approach to his DJ sets, he will confront your ears with what they didn't know they always wanted to hear.


    "A cloak for digital space evolved into a shape to pour my sonic dreams & seek out the pleasures and satisfactions that we're told to deny and hide."

    Reliquary V is a lucid daydream and new production alias informed by the sensory sharpening of meditative practice, nights stretching til daylight, and pockets of collective freedom. Built on artistic foundations in conceptual art, performance and poetry, Reliquary V developed from a period of studio experimentation, creative processing, and alchemy. Now resettled on Canada’s West Coast with the perspective of more than a decade in New York, Reliquary V narrates liminal instincts with a controlled, droning, and rhythmic palette of electronic sounds, hewn into tightly arranged compositions and inner space explorations.



  • Tasho Ishi and Andry Adolphe present a video report from Tokyo.

    The report covers Tasho Ishi’s lost live tour at Aoyama Midi Center(day), and Ebisu Duomo di garden(night). With the following statement: "All sound production by Tasho Ishi themselves, with no sample usage, including any field recording. The musical style and approach are opposed to nuanced, vapour style music or flatten exotic ambient music. It’s a documental reportage which reveals the true shape of this left behind, far-east city."

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    Jump to: Tasho Ishi | Andry Adolphe

    Tasho Ishi is a sound designer and advertisement critic currently working for a major record label in Tokyo. The live set includes some music from his ambitious album ‘Dentsu2060’ released by Lorenzo Senni’s Milan-based Presto!? Label along with some other previously unheard bits..


    Andry Adolphe is a clothing and etc designer living in Tokyo, who also does production work for the conceptual nightwear label Phingerin, on occasion joins the loosely-defined band called 5AM, and also does various things for Floregraphies, a visual project with Cassandre Lefon. Sometimes, he makes mixes or plays at clubs if asked, Andry’s playlist-sharing and mixes can be heard through Libra Mix, Born Free Radio, Cone Shape Top, Motion Cast and few more.

    Recently, Andry collaborated with Deep Blue in Vancouver on Mini-Fest for a celebration of 10 years of Phingerin, which featured Powder alongside Tapes and Globex.

    The selection for this mix was picked from his March ~ Current playlist, with selections accompanied with video collages by Floregraphies and personal footage captured and edited by Andry: reports about the light switch-like new memory structure we are starting to acquire during this time.


    Credits

    Videography and editing by Andry Adolphe.,
    Lighting and kind support by Oshima san from Aoyama Midi Center, Tokyo.
    The video collage is made by Cassandre Lafon, from Floregraphies, Paris
    Embroidery by Konida Kun from AOI Industry, Tokyo

  • For the second installment of Yu Su’s curation for New Forms Digital, she has invited Zaliva-D and Knopha to showcase the hugely diverse music scene in mainland China, and to outline a narrative drawing parallels between contemporary electro-acoustic abstractions and mystical tales.

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    Jump to: Knopha | Zaliva-D

    Knopha released his timeless EP Nothing Nil on Shanghai’s Eating Music last year, and has since been putting out music and mixes of very diverse tastes. His music constructs unique fourth-world soundscapes of new-age futurism, leftfield polyrhythms that touch on downtempo, ambient, jazz and dub. For New Forms Digital, he has created a fun DJ set with CG visuals by artist Mengki Chen.


    Zaliva-D is a Beijing-based electronic music & visual group with members of Li Chao (music) and Aisin-Gioro Yuanjin (VJ). Having previously released music on Shanghai-based SVBKVLT and Amsterdam-based Knekelhuis, they are known for delivering unique sounds of dark orientalism that is psychedelic, deconstructed and dramatic. For this showcase, Li offers an energetic live set from the home studio.


  • “I Want My Money Back” - Jeff Witscher & Jack Callahan
    Presented in Partnership With Deep Blue

    Your time shall be refunded! New Forms and Deep Blue present the bootlegged recording of the worst party on earth. Jeff Witscher and Jack Callahan "I Want My Money Back"

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    Jump to: Jeff Witscher | Jack Callahan

    Jeff Witscher (b.1983, Long Beach, Ca.) is an experimental musician who lives and works in Portland, Oregon. He has recorded under many different names, Rene Hell perhaps being the most known. Recent solo recordings include Approximately 1,000 Beers (2018), Fly Monkey Sisaj Kura (2017), Cob Music (2016), Bifurcating a Resounding No! (2014) and Vanilla Call Option (2013).


    Jack Callahan is an American music artist and sound engineer based in Queens, New York. He frequently makes music under the moniker die Reihe, taken from the journal edited by Herbert Eimert and Karlheinz Stockhausen. His piece “106 Kerri Chandler Chords” recently got endorsed by Kerri Chandler himself. Since 2013, he has run the label Bánh Mì Verlag and recently founded a new label, FLEA, with frequent collaborator Jeff Witscher.


Moving towards our second decade,New Forms looks back at media captured from festivals in past years. We will grow this archive, looking for new ways to look back at the past.
  • SP11032015 is a digital animation by Nicolas Sassoon, referencing a music event that took place at the venue Sweetpup on March 11 2015 in Vancouver BC, Canada.

    Building upon an actual photograph from the event, this 4 minute looping animation re-enacts parts of the settings within the venue, as a subjective archive and as a visual component for Cloudface's live recording from New Forms Festival in September 2014, which took place at the Telus World of Science in Vancouver.