Send + Receive Winnipeg, MB - October 17 to 25

Send + Receive Winnipeg, MB - October 17 to 25
By Jill Wilson and Rob Nay Absent Sound Capping off an evening of performances by local Winnipeg artists, Absent Sound supplied one of the festival's more colourful concerts. The band's two guitarists and violinist were joined by a masked stilt walker who stalked the venue, while a dancer offered inspired physical accompaniment to the music. A film projector draped the performers in a range of images as they created rising parapets of sustained melodies and looped samples. RN Adhere and Deny Winnipeg's Adhere and Deny, an object/puppet theatre troupe, rose to the sound/art occasion in grand, compelling style. Forgoing physical performance altogether, their production of "Clouded Trousers" took place offstage, while onstage, a single red light bulb glowed. The work revolved around Russian poet Vladimir Mayacovsky, who, unlucky in love, betrayed by his country and denied a visa to travel, killed himself playing Russian roulette in 1930. The words of the revolutionary poet, said to have "the voice of a searchlight," mingled with the voices of his friends and contemporaries. JW Duul_Drv's Duul_Drv's computer-based sounds featured swelling tones and subtle glitch-based noises that created a striking contrast, alternately lulling and jarring. The use of disparate elements created elaborate layers of sound. During the conclusion of his performance, Duul_Drv's S. Arden Hill departed from the stage and delivered a spot-on handstand, adding a touch of humour and surprise to a strong ambient performance. RN Famished Amerika Famished Amerika (Toronto's Susanna Hood and Nilan Perera) fiddled with radio receivers and sound processors to create a collage that was unique to the moment. When it all came together, there were great moments where bursts of static resolved themselves into moments of coherent sound bites, which were then further stretched, repeated and manipulated, but it often sounded like two radios being played simultaneously. Despite a few shared smiles, the two performers created no sense of a collaborative enterprise. JW Fanny As Fanny, one-time Exploited guitarist and current Winnipegger Fraser Runciman showed how far he's strayed from his Scottish punk band's past. Fanny's set commenced with sounds that resembled an Alfred Hitchcock soundtrack dismantled and rebuilt into something more caustic and anxious. His set proceeded to offer a range of hectic beats and fevered samples, occasionally making transitions into subtle, sparse piano notes before resuming the restless pace once again. RN I8U Montreal's I8U fashioned expansive electronic tones, forming spellbinding textures that resulted in a very impressive set. Frequencies gradually and adeptly reached tall crests of sound before descending to subterranean reverberations. Shifting from lulling minimalism to resonating noise, I8U sculpted sound with the utmost precision and talent. RN Philip Jeck Britain's Philip Jeck created sublime reverberations. Using turntables, a mini-disc loaded with looped noises and an old Casio, Jeck shaped a riveting set. Hypnotic waves of sound were intermittently joined by the faint ringing of distant bells. Occasionally more discordant sounds crept into the mix, establishing a solid contrast to the sedate tones. The overall sentiment was one of mesmerising repetition in the midst of gently cascading soundscapes. RN My Kingdom for a Lullaby Featuring the Austrian artists Michaela Grill, Christof Kurzmann, Billy Roisz, and Martin Siewert, My Kingdom for a Lullaby fashioned an enchanting piece of audio/visual art. Their performance blended improvised guitar, oboe, Theremin and electronics with shadowy visuals projected on a large screen. At times, My Kingdom's performance seemed like the broadcast of a satellite's decaying signal, presenting flickering images and haunting sounds. RN Not Half Not Half presented a range of varying beats, shifting rhythms and constantly changing samples. As front-man for Not Half, Allan Conroy's improvised set harnessed a range of elements, adeptly managing to fuse extensive rhythms and noises to create a continuously absorbing auditory experience. With remarkable ease, Not Half dispersed multiple samples and beats to form a highly creative juxtaposition. RN Tim Hecker Montreal's Tim Hecker removed the performance element from the evening by dimming the lights and setting up his equipment behind the audience, who had to project their own images onto the bare walls and darkness of the gallery in front of them. His face, bathed in the glow of his laptop screen, remained perfectly serene as he created a soundtrack that was at once urgent and dreamy, industrial and pastoral, harsh and liquid, and always evocative. JW Negativland Presented concurrently with Send + Receive, VideoPool's "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" seminar on copyright brought Negativland's Mark Hosler to town. Hosler, an affable, low-key speaker, recounted the history of the California culture-jammers and presented a number of short films and songs that demonstrated the groundbreaking group's use of mass media and its twisting of corporate sloganeering to their own ends. An eye-opening evening, it also included a performance of the infamous U2 cover "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For." JW Polmo Polpo Polmo Polpo initiated the festival with extended versions of a few songs from his most recent release, along with a range of further captivating material. The live versions of songs from Like Hearts Swelling featured augmented rhythms that fused the beat-oriented textures from his early singles with the harmonious cascades from his latest recordings. The middle of Polmo Polpo's set removed the rhythmic aspects and presented soothing, extended drones. The union of melodic soundscapes and somnolent beats supplied an excellent evening of music. RN Gert-Jans Prins Using his distinctive self-created electronic system, Amsterdam's Gert-Jans Prins manipulated tones to create a range of disruptive and transfixing noises. A small television placed nearby cast discontinuous images of static, resembling miniature blasts of lighting. Towards the end of his performance, Gert-Jans Prins gestured strongly at the soundman for the volume to be turned up as he cajoled further resounding noises from his electronic system. RN Vitaminsforyou A former Winnipegger now living in Montreal, Bryce Kushnier provided the most accessible portion of the evening. As Vitaminsforyou, he makes laptop performance absolutely engaging, which is no easy task. His song-based compositions have sweet, piercing melodies, with Kushnier often adding his own voice to the tunes, and with their pulsing beats, they could be called IDM. JW Otomo Yoshihide Otomo Yoshihide began his set with restrained sounds; he manipulated two turntables connected to a pair of Fender Twin amps, the turntables' needles running on upended cymbals. In the blink of an eye, Otomo wrenched piercing noise from the turntables, yanking the needles down, coaxing out wall-shaking feedback. As the set progressed, he held pitched noise until the floor almost cracked open before releasing the tension and lowering the volume. Otomo Yoshihide provided a superb, raucous conclusion to the festival on its closing night. RN