‘History is written by the victor, but in this case history is written by the doctor.’ For the album Audible Songs from Rockwood, the songwriter and performer Simone Schmidt dug into the archival records of the Rockwood Asylum for the Criminally Insane, operative between 1856 and 1881. What Schmidt came out with are eleven compelling audible arrangements of songs sung as fictional dramatizations of personalities from the Asylum’s patient directory. Hear a recent discussion with Simone about the the process and purpose of creating this collection of songs, as well as clips from a previous conversation on the topic of character journaling, speaking uncomfortable truths, and the impact of work as a speech facilitator on her song writing process.
German-born Newfoundlander Florian Hoefner plays the piano like a puffin diving into the Atlantic. Or at least he can. He can also tell a wordless tale about the extinct Great Auk, a drifting iceberg, or even the motion of the surging ocean itself. On this episode, hear Florian Hoefner talk about his experience composing a series of improvisations for solo piano, Coldwater Stories, that imaginatively narrate his experiences of the intimate motilities of Newfoundland’s living and abiding natural beings. This episode is best experienced while dancing expansively in the privacy of one’s own living room.
The Guelph Jazz Festival and Colloquium gets underway on Wednesday September 13! Listen to this episode of Sound It Out to hear music from some of the intriguing performers scheduled to descend onto Guelph this week. Hear the sounds of Bernice, Bass Drum Bone, Animatist, Matthew Shipp, Barnyard Drama, Pierre Kwenders, and Eucalyptus, as well as some improvised commentary from your host Rachel Elliott.
Click here for the Guelph Jazz Festival schedule for 2017.
Click here for the Guelph Jazz Festival Colloquium schedule.
The paradox in human relationship to wilderness is that despite being understood as a region untouched by human activity, we seek to experience this wilderness at close range. Our quests for wilderness always begin with a human idea about what wilderness is – in cultural signifiers of wilderness. One of the most prominent of these is the Wolf Howl. Hear my discussion with Chief Park Naturalist Rick Stronks of Ontario’s Algonquin Provincial Park, and a talk by Sound Artist and Scholar Erik Deluca about how we can overcome the nature/culture distinction in our engagement with the howling wolf (both within and without).
Many of us have attempted to maintain relationships with loved ones across distance using technologies such as the telephone or video chat; we are able to experience a sense of their presence even though they may be thousands of kilometres away. Jason Robinson and others, such as Doug Van Nort and Sara Weaver, make use of this way of being together while apart to make a special kind of music, variously named telematics, distributed performance, networked performance, multi-site performance etc. One particular feature of this mode of connection (and, it turns out, of all of the ways we connect, even ‘in person’) is latency, the experience of delay created by the distance a signal must travel before it is returned to us. Finding out how latency is explored in telematic music gives us fresh and surprising insights into the nature of human perception and what it really means to be present.
Take in hand this bouquet of strings and let yourself be lead by this cluster of sonic helium balloons. But don’t let your feet leave the ground; today’s exquisitely lengthy musical meandering are interspersed with thought provoking reflections about the the pace of perception and sense-making by Richelle Forsey and Rachel Elliott. Listen and be lulled into serine contemplation!
The philosopher Alfred Schütz points to a ‘mutual tuning-in relationship’ at the foundation of all possible communication. In this episode of Sound It Out we ask you to consider this theme in an audio journey through the Somewhere There creative music festival in Toronto. Explore how relationships of collaborative co-creation occur not only between performers on stage, but also between performers and their audience, as well between musicians considered from a larger angle: what does it take on an arts managerial level to entrench the relationships of inclusivity, exchange, and relationship forged on stage? That is, how do you make these musical relationships last and feed the other points of contact and engagement? Hear discussions with theatre creator Sarah Kitz, drummer and composer Nick Fraser, and a talk by veteran music advocate David Dacks.
This episode originally aired on CFRU 93.3FM in Guelph, Ontario on Tuesday February 28th at 5pm.
Pauline Oliveros was a paragon of improvisation on many levels, embodying the virtues of reciprocity, openness, justice, and perhaps most of all, listening. Hear music and commentary about sonic meditation, deep listening, lesbian musicality, and Adaptive Use Musical Instruments as we commemorate the passing of this foundational figure in experimental music and affiliate if the International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation. Discussion with Ellen Waterman, reflections and poetry by Laura Broadbent.
This episode originally aired on CFRU 93.3FM, Guelph’s college and community radio station on December 20th, 2016 at 5pm.
There are stories, songs, even full movies, woven into the places where we live our lives. Jenny Mitchell and Iris Fraser-Gudrunas were coming-of-age sidekicks entering Toronto’s DIY art scene in the mid-2000s. Themselves gifted and perspicacious creators of music and multi-disciplinary art, their respective trajectories found them seeking out the stories and symbolism in the surrounding rural environments. Hear how Iris Fraser-Gudrunas used improvisation to make Brother Frank, a filmic response to an encounter with a monk on the Niagara Peninsula – part of a self-implicating exploration of the tactility of craftmanship. Jenny Mitchell tells the rollicking tale of her Golden Bus, which she uses as a mobile venue and sound production studio offering a place-responsive platform for the expression of locally embedded narrative arts. Tune-in as Iris Fraser-Gudrunas’ film Brother Frank is screened on Jenny Mitchell’s Golden Bus!
This episode originally aired on CFRU 93.3FM in Guelph, Ontario, Tuesday December 6, 2015.
Do you remember those hot humid days of summer that threatened to explode into thunderous storms and torrential rain? Listening to this week’s episode of Sound It Out will bring you back into those days, with field recordings, performances, and impromptu conversations taking place at the Electric Eclectics festival in Meaford, Ontario at the end of July, 2016. Hear Faun Fables, Lary 7, Maria Chavez, and Jennifer Castle along with other intriguing improvisatory scenarios! The multi-sensorial encounters occasioned by this three day festival extended the improvisational happenings onstage out into the wild landscape around it, fostering extraneous joy and jest in every resounding sentient present. This episode originally aired on CFRU 93.3FM on Tuesday October 11, 2016 at 5pm EST.
Is improvisation a vital constituent of the everyday practices underlying vibrant and healthy psychic life? Marcel Swiboda discusses this idea with me in a detailed look at Of the Refrain by Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari. We consider historical and technological forces that constrain our ability to improvise daily, and whether professional improvising musicians, such as Ornette Coleman, provide the antidote to a stultifying livelihood characterized by repetition of sameness, rather than difference. This conversation is a preview of the talk Marcel Swiboda (University of Leeds) will give at the Guelph Jazz Festival Colloquium entitled “Contingent Comportments: Improvisational Modes of Being and Knowing in Music and Everyday Life.” Not to be missed!
This episode originally aired Tuesday September 13, 2016 at 5pm on CFRU 93.3FM in Guelph, Ontario .
The list of jazz innovators who described Buddhism as central to their music and personal purpose is long – Ernestine Anderson, Herbie Hancock, Buster Williams, Richard Davis, Hamid Drake, and Terri Lyne Carrington are just a few. In this episode, Prof. Tracy McMullen discusses the implications of jazz buddhism on how we think about Black Critical Praxis, which, she contends, has been too caught up in the politics of recognition and the performative vision of the subject, as described by theorists such as Judith Butler with a basis in Hegel’s dialectic of self-consciousness. In this energetic and inspiring discussion, Mullen considers the history of jazz as Black Critical Praxis to recommend an improvisatist account of the subject over the widely accepted performative view. Hear songs from Ernestine Anderson and Herbie Hancock.
This episode originally aired on CFRU 93.3FM at 6pm on Monday September 12, 2016.
The International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation has a number of graduate student researchers working with them at the University of Guelph. In this episode you will meet them! There are seven 3-minute speeches by IICSI researchers detailing their interest in improvisation and how they do their research contained in today’s program. One of these speakers is the host of this show, me! You will hear me speak about my motivation and approach to making this show, and why sometimes I under-explain what the show is about. Please add comments below or on our Soundcloud page (https://soundcloud.com/improvisationinstitute) so that I can get a sense of what you think is working and what you think should be improved! In addition to my ramblings you will hear about Toronto improvised music history, avoiding hierarchies through dialogic pedagogy, the improvised archive, the cinema of improvisation, and the ethics of interspecies engagement. This episode originally aired on CFRU 93.3FM (cfru.ca) in Guelph, Ontario on July 4, 2016. Send me a tweet @Cs_walk_with_me
Here we consider how local music scenarios influence and are influenced by the styles and genres or other times and places using the ‘idea-picture’ of the rhisome from Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia (1980). Scott Henderson of Brock University talks with me about his research into the musicscape of Saint-Étienne France, discussing the influence of geographic contour (the seven hills), community radio (Radio Dio), economic transition, and international networks on the creation of a local music scene. Hear Raymonde Howard (Lætitia Fournier), Angil (Mickaël Mottet), and the Hidden Tracks, as we think through the way that musical recipes, or deliberate artistic constraints (Cf. Oulipo Saliva), can foster just the kind of formative interactions that some of us might naïvely reserve for ‘purely improvised’ musical formats.
Drift through an hour of life with this diffuse and meditative episode, which originally aired on November 20th at 3pm. Hear the latest updates from the International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation, Marcel Swiboda of School of Fine Art, History of Art, and Cultural Studies, University of Leeds, UK talk about “Sun Ra’s Philosophical ‘Spiritual Exercises’ and the Improvisational ‘Permutation’ of the Present”, and the poem Glory, Glory by Canadians Al Neil and Kenneth Patchen.