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It's getting loud in here: Festival explores noise music

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Let's hear some noise.

That could be the motto of Winnipeg's 13th annual Send + Receive Festival, which is taking the theme "noise and disruption."

About 10 international and local artists will give performances or exhibit installations that make, capture or manipulate noise.

The works challenge how listeners experience sound, whether it's a full-blown sonic assault, a minimalist whir or dead air.

The local artists range from "textural audio landscapists" Dusth to "dark drone maker" White Dog, whose works include "sinister soundbombs."

One of the events, titled Hit Parade, is conceived by Toronto experimental sound artist Christof Migone. He has previously staged it in Korea, Quebec and Scotland.

At 5 p.m. this Friday, 15 volunteers will lie on the pavement on Albert Street between Bannatyne and McDermot avenues. Each will pound a live microphone on the cement 1,000 times, in any rhythm or intensity he or she chooses.

"It's a strange happening in the street," says festival director Crys Cole, herself a sound artist. "It ends up being a percussive piece."

The festival of audio art, which opened Wednesday and runs to Saturday, is presenting noise artists for the first time this year, Cole says.

"There's a genre in experimental music that's called noise music," she says. "It has a lot of subgenres of its own. It's a realm that is dismissed by a lot of people, just because it is abrasive and a bit confrontational... but it's a really important field of expression.

"I wanted (to present) a broad philosophical approach to noise. You've got visceral performance experiences, you've got some very conceptual, thought-provoking experiences, and other things that are more playful, like Hit Parade."

Optional earplugs are provided. "At some concerts you won't need them at all. At some, you might," says Cole with a laugh.

Send + Receive has returned to its customary October slot after being held in late November last year. Scaled down from five days to four, it offers artists' talks, performances and gallery exhibitions.

About 120 people typically attend festival concerts, with 10 to 40 people turning out for artists' talks and a hard-to-quantify number attending gallery installations, Cole says.

This year's evening concerts, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. (admission $12) are being held at a new alternative arts venue, the Atomic Centre at 167 Logan Ave. (behind Mitchell Fabrics).

Two of the biggest names in the lineup are the single-named Mattin from Spain and Aaron Dilloway from Ohio, both significant figures in experimental noise music.

Mattin is an anti-capitalist who opposes the idea of intellectual property and publishes his music under "anti-copyright." In addition to performing in Friday's evening concert, Mattin leads a discussion at 5:30 p.m. today at Mondragon about the anthology Noise & Capitalism, which he co-edited.

Dilloway, a founding member of the industrial noise group Wolf Eyes, works with the manipulation of 8-track tape loops in combination with other sounds.

"He really throws himself into his performance," says Cole. "He's not just sitting at a table.... He has microphones in his mouth. He physically gets very into the sound he's creating."

Among the free gallery installations are works by the Swiss artist Zimoun and former Winnipegger Steve Bates, the founder and former director of Send + Receive.

Zimoun's work, opening tonight at Platform Centre for Photographic & Digital Arts, is called 150 Prepared DC Motors, Filler Wire 1.0 mm.

The artist is interested in "acoustic architecture with an organic feel." The piece is a sound sculpture consisting of 150 small motors mounted on a wall, each with an attached wire that spins and hits against the wall.

"It's very hypnotic," says Cole. "When you walk into the gallery space, you will hear the piece before you see it."

Bates' installation, also opening tonight at 7 p.m. at Aceartinc., is called Dead Air. It's inspired by the history of co-ordinated global time, radio transmission, and a text by Walter Benjamin called On the Minute that describes Benjamin's "accidental broadcast of silence."

For a complete festival guide, see

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 6, 2011 E7

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