New Music From The Academy ::: Update

Penick, Van_2016We’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-Web-LargeWith 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 | ShyshayaThe 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!

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Web-IG-03With less than two months to go until OBEY Convention X, we’re excited to reveal a second wave of artists who’ll be filling our coastal city with wyrd vibes and sonic wilding.

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.


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OBEY-OS-04-WEB 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.

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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!





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OBEY-OS-03-WEBWe’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).

Local power-troop EDDY / BUDI, Dartmouth emcee Thrillah and dance floor ruler DJ Goldilocks in full effect.

Check the FB right here, friend.

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OBEY Convention X – Dates and Submissions

This Spring, OBEY Convention turns 10 years old. Once again, our annual festival will consume the coastal city of Halifax with a sonic portal comprising some of today’s most subversive and forward-thinking musical acts. Mark your calendars, friends: the dates are set for May 25th-28th, 2017.

As ever, we’re dedicated to representing a wide array of performers across genres and identities. Each year, we do our very best to find a particularly intense and potent set of acts at a local, national and international level, to be woven into a narrative that plays out all weekend long at alternative and historic sites across the city.

If you’re interested in performing at our 2017 edition, you’re more than welcome to apply:

Send an e-mail with the subject line ‘Submission – (Artist Name) @ OBEY Convention 2017’. In the e-mail include a few links to your web presence. Recent releases/activities are best. What impresses us most is good quality video footage of recent live performances, though it’s not essential. Whatever you feel best represents your current practice is what we want to see. 

E-mails can be sent to


Please help us spread word of the upcoming portal. We look forward to hearing from you and hope to see you this Spring!



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OBEY-2016-IconNovember 20, 2016

 There’s so much to celebrate! Let’s attempt an overview:

 With this year’s festival (OBEY 9, 2016), Darcy and our amazing team assembled yet another provocative line-up of diverse, often under-recognized, highly talented and radical artists; built our membership base; attracted new partnerships; offered the most free, all-ages events that we’ve had to-date; received acknowledgement by Music Nova Scotia (nominated “event of the year”); established our largest Art-In-Fest to date (with thanks to Coordinator/Khyber Director/OBEY Board Member, Hannah Guinan); initiated the EverySeeker Symposium with great success (in newfound collaboration with Dalhousie University, thanks to Coordinator, Dave Ewenson); received recognition by international publication/long-time OBEY muse, The Wire; and developed an exciting off-season program, providing intermediary opportunities for all of us to tap into the spirit of OBEY, sooner, rather than later. Thank Goodness.


Now entering it’s tenth year, we bid farewell to OBEY visionary and Creative Director, Darcy Spidle, with endless respect and gratitude for his efforts, dedication and ultimately, imagination, in building this festival to what it has become–a landmark, one-of-a-kind experience in the Canadian arts and culture community––and furthermore, what I believe many would agree is one of the most (if not the most) special music festivals this country has to offer.


Comprised of a very small budget and a DIY ethos, Darcy launched OBEY in 2006 to fill a void in the Halifax music scene, to provide an opportunity for “weirdos” to congregate over unusual music and performance art and to establish a supportive platform for the “underdogs” among us. Ten years later, his vision has led OBEY to grow and grow and grow, drawing more people every year, despite many of them not knowing most of the artists on the bill, nor the non-traditional sites in which they may experience the performances, whether it may lead them to an urban farm, or alleyway, or to one of the most historic properties in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Our audience is willing to trust in the unknown–a rare feat, indeed–knowing that by opening their minds they will walk away from the experience in what can only be easily described as: revitalized,

whether it be sonically,



or, all of the above.


And now we enter a new chapter, with long-standing OBEY contributors, Andrew Patterson and Kat Shubaly taking the helm, carefully curating plans for what will be OBEY’s tenth anniversary year, and continuing to build the sustainability, reach and support for this treasured festival. As Jesse Locke noted in one key piece of follow-up press following OBEY 9, “For OBEY’s 10th year and beyond, the future is in good hands.”


And it’s true. In many ways, this is the natural choice of successors for the latest iteration of OBEY, and I trust that the festival’s spirit will continue to be well-nourished as we explore this new paradigm.


Congratulations to everyone involved in this extraordinary experience.


With love and respect,

Lucia Stephen

OBEY Convention President


P.S. Do you also look forward to OBEY 362 days of the year? Show your support and please consider joining/renewing as an OBEY Member to receive a series of joyous perks and to provide integral and much-appreciated assistance for our efforts!  

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Tashi Dorji

As you may have heard, we’ve decided not to hibernate this year: we’re presenting our first ever Off-Season Programme, which means you’ll be able to keep your ears sharp and your spirits invigorated all winter long.

Starting November 19th we’re bringing five gnarly, forward-thinking artists to Halifax to expand the minds of the curious. The season is designed to introduce new sounds into the local soundscape while also offering insight into where those sounds originate, and where they may be headed next. Each artist will be performing a ticketed show coupled with a free-to-the-public artist talk or workshop.

First up is the ear-tangling improv guitarist Tashi Dorji (Asheville, NC) exploring the contours of the Khyber Centre for the Arts on November 19th. On January 14th, we’re presenting disruptive sound-harsher James Hoff (New York, NY) at a special late-nite engagement in the Garrison Brewery. February 25th is the deep winter jump off: legendary footwork producer RP Boo (Chicago, IL) will be rippin’ it up live and direct at Menz Bar. Finally, on April 15th, concert pianist Vicky Chow and composer/sound artist Tristan Perich (New York, NY) will be gracing us with an epic, evening length piece at the Maritime Conservatory.

If you’re interested and excited by what we do, please consider becoming a member of The OBEY Convention Society! We’ve designed a few packages that get you access to our events, plus a few sweet perks and invites.

We hope you’ll join us over the winter to celebrate and explore new ideas in sound.



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