FOR EXCLAIM! MAGAZINE
Finishing off a tour in celebration of their latest offering, The Sticks, Mother Mother are finally home.
Vancouver singer-songwriter sweetheart Hannah Georgas started off the night with some of her sugary-sweet tunes, mostly from her self-titled second album. The latest has Georgas singing about what she knows best, heartbreak and the like — though her sound is evolving into a new creature with some beautiful electronic moments, which were also shown off onstage.
Headliners Mother Mother came on and played a generous set of songs from across their varied and almost schizophrenic discography. Hailing originally from Quadra Island, the Vancouver-based quintet have carved out a sonic niche for themselves that’s hard to pin down or describe.
Playing some rockier tunes such as “The Sticks” and “In Verbatim,” Mother Mother displayed they have their finger on the pulse of what makes good indie rock. They were perky and driven by a solid bass and rhythm section, which occasionally left a real hip-hop aftertaste. Transitioning to slower ballad like “Ghosting,” singer/guitarist Ryan Guldemond crooned and belted out lyrics in a pseudo defiant way, happy to be home, his faux hawk bobbing in the strobe.
Jeremy Page’s bass lines propelled everything forward, like their rebelling against much of the dream pop that’s infiltrated the indie soundscape over the past few years. Socially conscious and aware, the group played “Little Pistol” in dedication to Amanda Todd, the BC teen who took her life earlier this year due to bullying. Unafraid of sounding like either a brute or an emotional misfit, Mother Mother spanned a massive emotional gambit lyrically.
The Sticks is an elegant but diverse album — something that was further amplified in a live setting. The fact that Mother Mother don’t really have a definitive or self-referential sound comes to a head in many ways. At one moment, it recalls ’90s alternative staples like the Pixies, Violent Femmes or New Pornographers, but can seamlessly transition to into a soulful acoustic ballad of a different variety altogether, with no introduction needed. And therein rests so much of Mother Mother’s charm.
FOR THE POLYPHONIC PIXEL
prOphesy sun is a a multidisciplinary performance artist and musician who lives in East Vancouver. Her latest offering, Bird Curious, is a collection of songs that weave together elements of vocal improvisation, organic room noises and environmental vibrations to create emotive spaces, exploring the fleeting realm of the time. The kicker? It was recorded entirely on an iPhone. Over the past few years she’s built herself up as one of the main creatives of the vibrant East Side scene, performing with Tyranahorse, Spell and Her Jazz Noise Collective, to name a few. Haunting and surreal, Bird Curious was released May 1, 2012.
The Polyphonic Pixel: What made you decide to record your album on an iPhone?
prOphesy sun: First and foremost, music for me is immediate. In my art, my performance tends to be in the moment. Recording on the iPhone was just another style of working in the moment. I’ll have a tune in my head, and then I’ll just record it. For me, another reason why I chose to use this medium is that something that has that feeling of immediacy has limitations too – sometimes my phone will run out of memory space so I have to make room. Another thing is that if I’m biking, or hearing the rain falling, I can record the space I’m in. In the past I have used soundscapes from recordings with a hand recorder, to capture the space I was in at that moment in time.
PP: You’ve told people you tend to do things in “one go.” Why?
ps: I am an improvisor so it’s really in the moment; its just right there, it’s what comes out of me. There’s a vision in some ways, aspects of altering something, but it would lose some of its originality and I’m interested in the source of things. When I go with that emotion or feeling, it will take me somewhere.
PP: How do you feel about people describing your work? Do you feel like people are constantly missing the mark?
ps: It can be awkward or disconcerting sometimes. I feel lucky that anyone would listen to me because it’s a very personal practice that I’m sharing with the world. It’s interesting to hear people clarify things for me, like when I’m doing things in the moment, I have no sense of how it fits with things. It’s like a reality check. I come back down to reality and have others put it into everyday culture.
PP: Bird Curious is your third album. Were there events, ideas or things you felt especially inspired by?
ps: Things for me tend to run along three angles. I love serenades, in not only present and the past, but potential serenades where I could explore if I loved another person, and how I would love them. My second is a real fantasy; I start to push my limitations on what I feel what my voice can do, and how it can evolve. It’s cool to make sounds I had no idea I could make. Finally, I like being open to just being. I sometimes find where these sounds come from, that it’s like a meditative process. The sooner I work within something, I can transport it somewhere else, like fantasy reality, chaotic ethereal space where I can create a soundscape.
PP: Tell me about your music video, for “Moments Pass.”
ps: The music video was not done by myself; I worked with designer Kendra Patton. Her and I got together and I told her I was putting together some work. Her and I were in contact with another mutual friend who was renting space in an apartment building that was to be condemned a week later, so I lined up everything with one crew and used that same space for the video.
PP: Do you find your style of making music to shift, or change since your first album?
ps: I’m moving more into using text or words; in the past I was so focused on finding the melody but now that’s evolving a lot more into language. I’ve really focused on the voice. In my second album, I was shifting a lot between the instruments I work with: a broken harmonica, a kazoo and some broken electronics and sound samples. My first album used a lot more sound samples and my voice, but this album is really just my voice. The evolution of my music now is really about me really pushing my voice more and more, learning about how it’s an innate tool with endless possibilities.
Check out the music video for prOphesy sun’s “Moment’s pass”:
For EXCLAIM! MAGAZINE
Die Antwoord have been attracting their fair share of attention for the group’s provocative music videos that lend themselves nothing short of viral. The Cape Town originals (whose band name means “the answer” in Afrikaans) boast some of the strangest hip-hop this side of the Northern Hemisphere. With their gritty, Kafka-esque lyrical style and their beat-delivering prowess, they proved to be the best response to a rather grim-looking Vancouver weekend.
The city’s Expendable Youth DJs started off the evening with some turntable delights as the Commodore began to fill with an anticipatory audience, some of which even dressed to resemble DA’s frontman Ninja. While a popular DJ set was not exactly the most appropriate way to usher in an evening of musical weirdness, the Mad Decent team managed to deliver a solid string of catchy dance tunes and smart mash-ups.
Wearing a rather terrifying mask, DJ Hi-Tek began Die Antwoord’s set by baiting the crowd, repeatedly spinning out the threatening slogan that he’d “fuck you in the ass,” while flashes of Die Antwoord music videos revealed a sinister theme. It was almost sensory overload when Ninja (Watkin Tudor Jones) and Yo-Landi Vi$$er (Yolandi Visser) finally exploded onto the stage wearing bright orange sweatsuits for “Fok Julle Naaiers.” Unified by their performance and onstage charisma, the unlikely trio formed a nuclear-type family unit in the strangest way imaginable. No stranger to the notion of being “eye popping,” Visser showed off her midriff, her eyes two black pools, coming off as both terrifying and strangely attractive.
While focusing on delivering rhythms and tunes from their newest offering TEN$ION, the group played some more vintage favourites as well, such as “Beat Boy” and the huge crowd pleaser “Enter the Ninja,” one of their most notorious tracks. With the intent of fully staggering the crowd, Die Antwoord blazed the stage and hit the sweet spot with their blistering rendition of “I Fink U Freeky,” effectively delivering one of the strangest songs in their arsenal.
Gritty, real and yet somehow fantastical, Die Antwoord’s surreal blend of hip-hop, trashy pop culture references and brazen methodology make them one of the most unbelievable acts around, on record and especially live from the stage.
A tale of woe and betrayal.
It was the middle of September, and I was preparing to move to the United Kingdom. Everything had been taken care of. I was finishing up my contract at the Beaty Museum, packing up to move my stuff into storage, terminating utilities and mentally preparing myself for the big move.
At the same time, it had long been my plan to get a new camera. Not just any camera, but a Canon 550D, also known as the Rebel T2i. Sure, I already had a really nice camera, one that I had carried to all my newspaper internships, my concert photography gigs and also my personal life events. It was time to move on though; I needed/ wanted something that could also film. IN HD.
After doing a few weeks of research online and in local photography stores in the Vancouver area, I managed to find the camera I wanted at a sweet, sweet deal. It was too sweet to be true. Too saccharine and ambrosial to be reality, and I certainly paid for that purchase of virginal innocence. (By saccharine I mean $200 less than any other retailer was offering).
I did it. On September 15, 2010, I bought the camera from Daily Deal Digital, the worst online retailer known to the history of civilization.
Six days later, when I hadn’t received my camera, nor a tracking number for the shipment, I called the head office in Boca Raton, Florida. After being put on hold and listening to the most irritating classical muzak for several moments, I was directed to someone who sounded like they were taking my call in a bar. It was noisy, and I strained my ears to understand as the guy explained that they RAN OUT OF THE product I had ordered but were giving me the next package deal at a $300 discount.
Suffice it to say, that was my mistake numero deux. Why did I agree to that? Again, it was the temptation of such a sweet camera, with a 50 mm light-sensitive lens, tripod and carry bag for a ridiculously good deal. It was too good to believe. DDD also offered to pay for the expedited shipping costs, as I explained to them that I would be leaving the country in less than 10 days.
Kevan Funk’s short film toys with faith, the Free World and a matchbox budget
FOR METRO VANCOUVER NEWSPAPER
A Fine Young Man, directed by Kevan Funk, is a dark comedy that has garnered critical acclaim at this year’s Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF), winning the award for Best Short Film in Calgary.
Director Kevin Funk (second from left) talks with actors on the set of A Fine Young Man.
Set during the Cold War era, the film flirts with the fine line between faith and the danger of personal convictions.
My intention with the film was to start a conversation, rather than giving an answer,” Funk said in a video Skype interview. “Most importantly, it’s about belief. When you have blind faith in something, it can be very dangerous.”
Funk, 24, is a fourth-year student of Film, Video and Integrated Media at Emily Carr University of Art & Design. He was born in Vancouver and raised in Banff, Alberta.
With an early interest in the performing arts, Funk later developed a talent in photography which lead him to pursue a career in film. Since 2002, Funk has been involved in numerous independent film projects.
Funk is currently seeking an international opening for A Fine Young Man to showcase his talents.
There’s a lot of humour and unexpected things in life,” said Funk. “It seems more of an appropriate fit, dark comedy, in terms of telling authentic stories.”