The Waste Land – Brutalust
Released by the lable Crow Verses Crow as a limited edition print of 50 cassettes and as a digital download, The Waste Land merges noise with melody, contemporary composition with free improvisation, and esoteric philosophy with Modernist poetry.
We made noise that day, and this was what was most important. Putting forth sound with intermittent interjections. A heap of broken images.
These seven pieces are composed primarily for piano and percussion, accompanied by musical saw, theremin, synthesizers, and voice, and layered with distortion and live electronic manipulations.
Bricolage, in essence, layers of references to high Modernist poetry, masterful works of contemporary solo piano, and esoteric philosophies, shift within expansive juxtapositions of harsh discordance, delicate contrapuntal melody, structured rhythmic pattern, and open, wild improvisation, to form tactile, textural whorls of episodic flux.
From deconstructing Russian composer Galina Ustvolskaya’s 6th Piano Sonata, to mangling doctrines that prize verifiable statements and ego-motivated pleasure, The Waste Land articulates ideas of struggle with saturation, order, and clarity.
…long after time had ceased to be noticed… we shared what we had found and then lost
The Waste Land is released as a Limited Edition of 50 hand-numbered, professionally dubbed, white shell cassettes, with full colour artwork by Andrew Wild, housed in a white-backed clear case, and digital download.
Full press release at: https://crowversuscrow.bandcamp.com/album/the-waste-land and the digital version is available on bandcamp at https://crowversuscrow.bandcamp.com/album/the-waste-land.
Transforming Discarded Objects – A Mural Story
This Mural story considers ways that we can reuse discarded objects for artistic purposes. It speculates on the lives of objects, and on what future anthropologists might think our rubbish.
Sounding the Weight of an Object – Impulsive Habitat album release
This album was recorded over the course of 2018 in outdoor locations across Eastern Canada (Ottawa, Montreal, and the small town of Wingham) and in the town of Huddersfield, in West Yorkshire. At each location I intervened, occasionally alongside friends, with the surrounding sound- scape and location by performing on found or brought objects. The recordings present responses to and dialogues with each site. As a result, the environmental sounds often times blend with those created by the performer(s). Eerily, who is playing whom comes into question – do I play the environment, or does it play me? Each performance is thus heavily entangled with the material conditions of that site, from the microphone technologies used to the physical objects present, from the noises of passing animals to the weather conditions of the moment.
The track titles provide some indication but are intentionally vague. I can assure you that there is, except for one track, no layering of multiple recordings; each presents a performance as it were. There was some light post-production editing, but no additional studio composition. As such, I hope that each improvised performance carries with it an air of mystery, and can let your imagination wander.
Special thanks to Kevin Frank, Vanessa Massera, Cal McLelland, and Kasia Czarski-Jachimowicz for their performances and assistance field recording. Thanks also to the City of Ottawa’s Youth in Culture Pilot Program for support funding this project.
Performing Stuff – Issue 7 of the CeReNeM Journal (December 2020)
Over the course of 2020 I was editor for the Centre for Research in New Music (CeReNeM) journal, a publication from the University of Huddersfield’s contemporary music postgraduate research community. The 7th issue investigates human-entity interactions in contemporary artistic practice. The contributors discuss how stuff influences making in improvisation, composition, installation, and performance. Topics include object agency, sound/movement relations, transdisciplinarity, posthumanism, listening, virtuosity, aesthetics, embodied scores, virtual reality, spatial awareness, freedom, heritage instruments, tenderness, Eurologic mindsets, performer-controlled electronics, and much more. Below is an online interactive version of the journal. Earlier issues, as well as a downloadable interactive pdf of this issue, are available here. Included in this publication are two coauthored articles I contributed to: Collaboration as Contingent on Material Encounters in Making Imitate Elegance Expertly with Dejana Sekulic, Irine Rosnes, and Linda Jankowska as well as Devising Interaction and Improvisation in Motion Studies Project with Cristina Fuentes Antoniazzi, Ilona Krawczyk and Solomiya Moroz.
Meanwhile – film made in collaboration with the Noisebringers, published in their intermedia album Will You Marry Us?
Domains – with Maria Sappho in our ensemble Brutalust, published in The Mass issue 10, Inhuman (October 2020)
Lawnacide, Atrocities, & Grass Slogans – published in The Mass issue 9 Grassroots (September 2020)
These three pieces spread across the magazine investigate the Western obsession with lawn maintenance. Photographs of grass tufts are accompanied by text interogating lawnacide, and living grass is contrasted to non-biodegradable fake turf. There is also footage of a performance wherein I mow my own lawn and plastic squares arranged on it. The video is overlain with quotations of ideologies surrounding why and how lawns should be kept.
Posthuman Performances – Article publication in Comparative Media Arts Journal
My article entitled Posthuman Performances: Giving Attention to Machine Songs in Public Places was published in issue 8, Invisibility (escaping notice), of the Simon Fraser University CMA journal. The journal is open acess and peer reviewed, looking into visual culture, cinema studies, performance studies, and new media arts.
In this article, droning sounds produced from electrical machines are considered as posthuman performances. In viewing machines as non-human agents, they are understood to influence the aural architecture of public places. Despite the fact that continuous hums are typically zoned-out from human listening, these sounds impact our psychological landscapes and the formation of space. A methodology of field recording machines proximately is proposed here, to consider the importance of machine noises in the formation of atmosphere and sociality in public spaces. When a machine is recorded closely, and the microphone moved around it, intricacies of the machine’s standing waves can be uncovered. Through this recording practice, the human becomes with the non-human. This act of field recording machines highlights our entangled living with multiple agents and allows the unheard or underheard to be focused on.
Four sound recordings of machines found in public spaces are presented, alongside their location on an interactive world map. This sonic and visual combination encourages the reader to speculate about those sites and similar ones from their experience. Topics of non-places, noise infiltration into green spaces, mobility through places, and hidden purposes of machines are discussed relative to the four recordings. The sites recorded – gas stations, parks, escalators, and supermarkets – are important landmarks of contemporary life. By considering how machine noises contribute to a sites’ aural architecture, a better understanding of human cohabitation with non-humans may be elucidated.
The article is available in full here: https://www.sfu.ca/cmajournal/issues/issue-eight–invisibility–escaping-notice-/ColinFrank.html
BorderIslands – published in The Mass issue 4, Decolonise (April 2020)
A series of watercolour with handwritten text contemplating maps, islands, borders, and land.
Anthropocene Practices – published in The Mass issue 1 Extinction (January 2020)
My short article Anthropocene Practices: Considering Adverse Impacts by Repurposing Trash investigates the process of making my installation Fill Me (2019). The article suggests that the plastic materials I used inherently reference lifestyle in the Anthropocene and that these materials were key actants which prompted me to construct the installation around that theme. Furthermore I suggest that reusing discarded materials in practice may be an ethical way to make art in an environmentally degrading world.