Bring the noise

From the third of July to the thirteenth, there will be more than sixty (!) events at over ten different locations for this year’s Sound Symposium. That’s a fair bit of ground to cover. Alex Pierson and Sarah Smellie offer up day by day rundowns of some of their top picks in hopes of helping you navigate your way through.

Thursday July 3

Black Auks host Night Music, The Ship 10:30 pm
Unless you’re been living down a hole, you know that The Black Auks is an experimental group made up of three giants of the St. John’s music scene, Wallace Hammond, Craig Squires, and Neil Rosenberg. Any event featuring this level of musical experience and knowledge deserves your attention, and if you are up for it, you’ll have the opportunity to share the stage with these fine gents. GO!

Friday July 4

Lisle Ellis: Bass + Circuitry: Electracoustic Interference, NIFCO 10am
Lisle Ellis is an active musician, composer, visual artist, as well as a lecturer on the history of jazz, and the creative process. This workshop will focus primarily on his electro-acoustic interface he calls bass & circuitry, a project he has been developing since the late 90s. An opportunity to learn something new like this is all too rare. You’ll be glad you fought the urge to sleep through this one.

PED demonstration, Eastern Edge Gallery, 2pm
Millie Chen and cohorts have outfitted bikes with pedal-activated speakers which play pre-recorded lectures. Think of this as the unofficial fleet of Sound Symposium limos. Check out the PED website at

Saturday July 5

Extreme Centre, Arts and Culture Centre, 1pm
Millie Chen and Warren Quigley have constructed a labyrinth out of walls that whisper to you. Thankfully, they’ve left out the part where a spandexed David Bowie shows you his crystal balls.

Petro-Canada Hall Concert, 7pm
While in junior high, I was fortunate enough to attend a performance at the D.F. Cook Recital Hall at MUN. One of the performers was a young percussionist who’s playing inspired me to the point where the snare drum was all I could think about for weeks. I had already been in piano lessons for quite a while, but from that moment on, I knew that percussion would be it for me. That percussionist was Gina Ryan. She has returned home for a performance that will probably make you want to take up the marimba if you haven’t already. Then, Karen Bulmer will be giving a demonstration-style performance on the many sonic possibilities of the tuba. By the time she is finished you will have taken up the tuba as well.

Arts and Culture Centre Concert, 8:30 pm
Two of the best showmen in town, Mark Bragg and Andy Jones, have joined forces and the freaking Wonderbolt Circus is opening for them. ‘Nuff said.

Sunday July 6

Debashis Sinha: Kolkata Garden, Fluvarium Grounds 12:30 pm
Some of you may know of Debashis Sinha from work with the group, Autorickshaw. He has since embarked on a solo career as percussionist and sound artist. His Kolkata Garden is a sound-installation which recreates the intensity of that city in a distant context. Today, Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) is an enourmous urban sprawl, with a population of over 15 million. Debashi’s installation brings you there, jetlag-free.

Cook Recital Hall Concert, 8pm
Francois Houle, a virtuosic clarinet player/improviser who is currently at the helm of a burgeoning experimental music scene in Vancouver, is performing with percussionist Mark Duggen. We’ve also got the poetry of Dorothy Parker set to music (YES!) and performed by local soprano Jane Libel with Ed Squires and Tom Gordon.

Monday July 7

Kevin Patton, Duane Andrews, Curtis Andrews, Pat Boyle host Night Music, The Ship, 10:30pm
Holy smokes! Composer and guitarist Kevin Patton, with obsenely talented brothers Curtis and Duane Andrews, and ‘perennial’ multi-instrumentalist Pat Boyle!?!…Whoa! What are those wierd rumblings? Oh, that’s just the Earth shifting it’s weight from too much awesomeness in one room. Don’t worry, it’ll pass.

Quiet Music Concert, Secret Location T.B.A, 11pm
Okay, so the city is full of people on talking bikes (PED) and at 12:30 every day, a great droning cacophony blasts its way from the harbour to your skull (Harbour Symphony). Bill Brennan understands. Let his solo piano performance relieve your buzzing ears.

Tuesday July 8

Petro-Canada Hall Early Concert, 7pm
Tell the truth: when was the last time that you got to see a Harpsichord played live?

Cook Recital Hall Concert, 8pm
Joseph Malloch has built himself an instrument called the T-stick, which he describes as a “gestural musical controller.” It senses where and how it has been touched and emits strange noises accordingly (The T-stick does, not Joseph), which vary according to how you wave it around. He’ll be playing it alongside Brazilian percussionist Fernando Rocha. Check out videos of the T-stick in McGill University’s Digital Orchestra at

Wednesday July 9

LSPU Hall Concert, 8pm
This concert has it all: music, dance, and theremin! What’s a Sound Symposium without a little theremin?

Thursday, July 9

LSPU Hall Concert, 8pm
Bruce Alcock’s three and a half minute long film, At The Quinte Hotel, is based on Al Purdy’s poem of the same name. Now Purdy was a sensitive man and his poem about art and the perils of trading it for beer lends itself wonderfully to the vivid, shapely animations Alcock created for it. Also of note is Father Daughter, a Whitehorse based duo consisting of banjo playing vocalist Kim Barlow and guitar experimentalist Jordy Walker. You can catch Kim on her own at the Ship for Wednesday night’s folk night too. She’s awesome.

Friday July 10

Petro-Canada Hall, Early Concert, 7pm
Duo Schfifty-Five, with Andrea Lodge, piano, and Brian Nesselroad percussion will perform Unsafe Speeds —hard-driving music for percussion & amplified piano. I have heard excerpts from this, and it is definitely unsafe to drive while listening to these two.

Cook Hall Concert, 8pm
This is the John Taylor (almost legendary jazz pianist) show. You know, the one you’ve been told to go see numerous times by this very paper. Remember?

Saturday July 11

Cape Spear Project VII, 9pm
Ahh, the Cape Spear project. Here is a chance to see many of the Sound Symposium artists performing together, in interesting combinations, with surprising results. The weather and the venue often play a key role in this event as well. Prepare to have your mind (and hat) blown.

Sunday July 12

Closing Party, The Ship, 10:30pm.
An posting on Debashis Sinha’s blog reads “oh, and I have to dj a party at the sound symposium. I hope they know what they are in for…” It’s not just any old party, it’s the closing party. And Debashis, sweetheart, bring it on! After a festival like this, I think it’s pretty clear that people will be up for anything