PRESS PLAY Episode 41: Spore Wind

Episode 41: Spore Wind
November 23, 2023
Spore Wind* (2023)

Bekah Simms (CA), composer
chik white (CA), jaw harp
Dan Tapper (CA), digital artist and technical director

Aaron Schwebel, violin
Carol Lynn Fujino, violin
Sheila Jaffe, viola
Paul Widner, cello
Ryan Scott, percussion

* world premiere

Programme Note:
“spore wind” is conceived as a jaw harp concerto for the prolific improviser and film maker Darcy Spidle, who performs under the moniker chik white. After seeing a solo performance set of his at the Canadian Music Centre in Toronto, Darcy and I were introduced via our mutual friend Nick Storring. I was enamoured with Darcy’s outrageous and idiosyncratic sound: ancient and tiny instruments closely amplified to the point of grotesquerie, filled with bodily subnoise and percussive mouth sounds. The music was hard, heavy, noisy, and big: the small amplified into the brutal. After connecting with Darcy, I was intrigued with his various interests as an artist: Darcy is also an accomplished film maker and visual artist, and in addition to his strikingly avant-garde approach to the jaw harp, he was also interested in the jaw harp concerti of 18th-century composer Johann Georg Albrechtsberger. All these things considered, a shape of the piece emerged: the poisoning and decay of familiar sounds, moving from the “classical” contextualizing of the jaw harp into something entirely alien to its source. The sounds “beneath” the musical sound – the sounds of tone production, the body moving to articulate – would be amplified and turned into musical material. Sounds travel and mutate and become increasingly “distant” from its home source – spores floating in the toxic wind. As such, the work starts with a string quotation from an 18th-century Albrechtsberger concerto alongside fixed electronics and eventually devolves into extreme signal processing and amplification on the soloist.

Seeing Darcy’s work as a filmmaker inspired me to also invite visual artist Daniel Tapper to collaborate on the work, taking a three-pronged approach: the creation and indexing of Darcy’s sonic vocabulary and improvised segments; the composed element for Darcy as well as the small instrumental ensemble; and the live and reactive visuals and spatialization of the sound.” – Bekah Simms

Bekah’s commission is funded by the Canada Council for the Arts.

PRESS PLAY Episode 41: Spore Wind

production sponsors

Dr. Peter Burns

The Mary-Margaret Webb Foundation