OBEY X marks ten years of keeping things wyrd in Halifax. To honour this milestone, we’ve invited some close friends of the festival to reflect on what their experiences with us over the years have meant. This instalment comes care of Alex Pearson (aka D/A A/D) a longtime performer and supporter of the fest. Alex played this year’s off-season series AAAANNNDDD the first ever OBEY Convention!!! Continue Reading
We’re stoked to announce that this year’s New Music For The Academy performance will feature a piece by veteran composer Van Penick. Entitled FIRST LIFE, the piece will be performed in Granville Square on Thursday May 25th at 5pm, featuring the insanely talented Andrew MacKelvie, Tim Crofts, Norm Adams and D’Arcy Gray.
Here’s a little insight into Van’s intriguing background :::
“In an effort to beef up his musical skills prior to majoring in music, Van attended the Manhattan School of Music in 1966 to take sight-singing (an abject failure) and a school which pretended to be affiliated with U Cal Berkeley in 1967 to study the sitar (a roaring success). He received his AB (Music) from Princeton University in 1968, having satisfied the degree’s performance requirement by playing the triangle to mild acclaim in Louis Spohr’s Notturno for Winds and Turkish Band.
After a diversion of several decades into the practice of energy law, he received his Master of Arts (Musicology) in 2014 from Dalhousie University. His master’s thesis topic (under the thoughtful direction of Prof. Steve Baur) was Theodor Adorno’s theory of listener regression. In April of 2015 he made a presentation on listener regression and primary consciousness at Oxford University’s Music and Consciousness II Conference.
He is working now on a paper exploring the origin of music and its implications in our lives. He is also working on a collection of songs extolling the virtues of his generation, which includes, so far: “Walking” (an amiable tune encouraging his temporal colleagues to keep moving); ”We’ve Got the Time” (an anthemic call to political grey action); and “Post-Sexuals” (a musical expose of the most overlooked and discriminated against gender group in our society). His composition, First Life, was developed from the section in his masters program on improvisation led by Prof. Jerome Blais.”
Check out the rest of our EverySeeker Programming to find more exciting music and sound adventures.
OBEY X marks ten years of keeping things wyrd in Halifax. To honour this milestone, we’ve invited some close friends of the festival to reflect on what their experiences with us over the years. First up is Alex Zhang Hungtai of Last Lizard (formerly Dirty Beaches). Continue Reading
With renewed spirits and excitement in the air, we’re thrilled to unroll our full programme for OBEY Convention X, the 10th instalment of Atlantic Canada’s premier festival of free ideas in music and art. Happening May 25-28th at alternative and historic sites throughout our coastal city, this celebration of innovative voices boasts over twenty events across four days, many of which are free and all-ages.
In addition to headliners including Indonesian doom-folk duo Senyawa, Philadelphia’s outré hip-hop activist Moor Mother, industrial NYC thrash-metal combo Uniform, legendary new age beacon Laraaji, insurgent acid-house bunker-junkers Pelada, Bolivian-American club deconstructionist Elysia Crampton, Montreal’s new school sonic sculptress Kara-Lis Coverdale, and post-folk power combo Xylouris White, we’ve got these amazing talents:
FET.NAT | Xuan Ye | Jerry Granelli | BUDI | Jay Crocker | New Chance | chik white | Plasmalab | Instant Places | XO XV XT | MAJE | Echo Beach | Colin Fisher | Aquakultre | The Submissives | Geil | Open Borders | Fake Buildings | Rabies | East Of The Valley Blues | Twilight Express | gBloo-BIES | Staying Underground | Shyshaya | The Magic Project | NoiSeCAD | DJ Ron Wolf, CEO
Beyond these kaleidoscopic musical happenings, we’ll also be presenting the EverySeeker Symposium, a series of educational events at the intersections of sound in partnership with The Fountain School Of Performing Arts, featuring David Barclay, Anne Bourne, Chris Murdoch and Laraaji.
And while Art In Fest won’t be happening this year, we’re happy to announce that The Khyber Centre For The Arts will be hosting two excellent events in conjunction with Halifax’s The Magic Project (including the much beloved children’s program OBABY).
Full festival passes (that guarantee you access to all of our ticketed events) and individual tickets are on sale now.
See you this spring at the edges of everything!
Slated to perform throughout the four-day weekend are Bolivian-American club deconstructionist Elysia Crampton, Montreal’s new school sonic sculptress Kara-Lis Coverdale, post-folk power combo Xylouris White, Toronto’s gnarly soma conceptualist Xuan Ye, starchile of the Halifax underground BUDI, Canadian free-jazz hero Jerry Granelli and Healing Power Records’ sensual dub collagist New Chance. These seven wonders will be featured alongside the already-announced roster of Senyawa, Moor Mother, Uniform, Laraaji, FET.NAT and Pelada.
Our musical events will once again be bolstered by Art In Fest, a standalone festival of contemporary art presented by The Khyber Centre For The Arts, and the Everyseeker Symposium, a series of lectures and workshops at the intersections of sound and listening presented in partnership with The Fountain School of Performing Arts. Programming details for these, along with information about our National Drone Day event, a special sound installation premiere, and other collaborative happenings will be revealed along with our full festival line-up in the coming weeks.
A limited number of festival passes are on sale now and can be purchased here while quantities last. Passholders are guaranteed access to all of our ticketed events. People under 19 years of age are admitted free of charge to all of our unlicensed events.
Stay brave, spring awaits.
We’ve got the final show of our inaugural off-season coming up on April 15th. It’s been such an amazing winter thus far with some truly unique talents in our midst. We’re excited to say that this show will be no exception. Vicky Chow, originally from Vancouver and now based in NYC, is a world-class performer.
Chow is here to perform an evening-length piece by buzzed-about composer Tristan Perich (who’ll be offering a free artist talk the same day at Halifax Central Library). Tristan’s work makes an elegant blend of mathematical precision and sensual flux. Surface Image, the piece in question, was written specifically for Chow and makes a perfect match for her incomparable talent. Like the mesmerizing minimalist works of Terry Riley and La Monte Young, it expands in sparkling layers, long form.
Opening the evening is local conceptual poet, Tonja Gunvaldsen-Klaassen, performing an ‘off-grid grass chant’ inspired by quantum theory and written specifically for the evening.
The Spring Sounding.
We’re thrilled to share with you the first few details of our 10th annual festival ::: OBEY Convention X ::: taking place at alternative and historic venues in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Rather than pausing to look back fondly at a decade of exploration, OBEY X promises to continue pushing forward, pursuing the confounding values of intensity, inclusion, confrontation, transcendence, accessibility, innovation, education and auditory onslaught on which it is founded.
As ever, our programming centres around performers who we feel provide a vital and relevant response to the contemporary world. Among those vital voices sounding out at this year’s festival are the operatic Indonesian doom-folk duo SENYAWA, Philadelphia’s outré hip-hop activist MOOR MOTHER, industrial NYC thrash-metal combo UNIFORM, legendary new age beacon LARAAJI, insurgent acid-house bunker-junkers PELADA and Hull, Quebec’s bilingual post-punk powerhouse FET.NAT.
A limited number of specially-priced Early Birds are on sale now until March 28th when we’ll reveal a second wave of artists and other happenings. Passes guarantee access to every event of this gnarly weekend. Don’t delay, snag a pass from Ticket Halifax pronto!
We’re deeply honoured to be hosting the legendary Chicago footwork pioneer RP Boo for the third instalment of our off-season programming. We’ve been so stoked at the enthusiasm these shows have been met with and feel like this could be the biggest one yet! This one may just sell out, so scoop up an advance ticket on our Big Cartel or head to Lost & Found (2383 Agriola St).
Check the FB right here, friend.
A long time friend and participant of OBEY Convention, Lindsay Dobbin, will be DJing during our closing night show with Julianna Barwick and The Halifax Rumi Ensemble. We got in touch with her to get a sense of what her priorities are when it comes to DJing:
What kind of music/musical idea is exciting you these days?
Looping and drumming are exciting to me right now. With both I am
exploring repetition, making patient alterations so the sounds
gradually inhabit new environments, and parallel universes. I love the
moment when you’ve been listening to and/or playing the same pattern
over and over and you begin to hear it in a new way based on your
awareness shifting from the superficial to something deeper.
I’m also really excited about music in general these days. Like, I’ve
always been, but recently my relationship has been refreshed namely
due to teaching a DJ/music program to youth with disabilities. I find
it really rewarding because I not only get to teach something I’m
passionate about, but I learn so much from the students. I’m reminded
on a daily basis how vital music is, not only as an escape, but as an
authentic tool for self-expression, awareness and engagement with the
world. I’ve had students who site specific instances when music saved
Will you be manipulating the music you play at the show in any way?
I will. I am still working out my set, but I do know it will be loop
based, employing the concepts I stated above and combining analogue
and digital technologies to map a sonic transformation.
What should one strive for as a DJ?
Awareness of environment. Deep listening. Fleshing out moments of
transition. Fun. Originality. Creating new sound worlds. Alchemy.
Can you describe a serendipitously soundtracked moment?
My earliest love-at-first-sight moment happened at a fair when I was
five. Otis’ “For Your Precious Love” blared out of the speakers of the
Tilt-A-Whirl ride as it all went down.
Have you ever called into a radio show? Or hosted one? If so, when/why/who?
Both. When I was in grade 9 I called into the local station to request
a Sarah McLachlan song, and dedicated it to the person I liked at the
As for radio hosting, when I was really young I had a boombox and
8-track/record player in my room, and I’d pretend to host radio shows.
My great grandmother and my cat were regular guests. In more recent
history, I’ve (co)hosted shows on CKDU 88.1 FM in Halifax as well as
CJUC 92.5 FM in Whitehorse in the past. Both had a focus on
experimental sounds, field recording, and community engagement,
exploring concepts such as memory and the intangible. Some of the
shows featured audio mapping, fictional guests, a dog that reported
the weather, the death of analogue media, food tasting, and an orb
that chewed bubble gum. I wanted listeners to tune in and feel a bit
confused but curious.
If the show you’re DJing were a novel, where would it be set?
The genre would be magical realism, and the protagonist would be
traversing landscapes in this world, discovering windows into other
dimensions, where time doesn’t exist, space is expansive, and
awareness is unlocked to a sense of wonderment.
Are you really from Halifax? Like, really?
Nah. I grew up in Trana. My mom’s side of the family is all from Halifax, though. My great nan was a butcher in the South End during World War II. Butchery is a skill I dream of acquiring.
Would you describe yourself as an obedient person? Can you unpack that a little?
Hm. I’m very good at breaking rules while appearing obedient. It helps to look a bit cherubic.
What’s it like to make art in Halifax?
Toronto asks ‘where are you going?’ Halifax asks ‘what do you produce?’ Sometimes I feel like I need to make a zine for every one of my pursuits so that Halifax can see I’m doing things. But every time I’ve decided to do something here, I’ve been met with overwhelming support and the immediate flavor of success. This place rewards tenacity and that’s why the very best people live here. Read More