[[ INDEX TO ARTICLES ]]
Eve Egoyan and Paul Dutton will
appear at the Musicworks concert
[[ May 2, 2002, Toronto ]]
Musicworks Celebrates 24 Years
The internationally-distributed new music quarterly, Musicworks, has been independently-published out of Toronto, Canada since January 1978. Subtitled 'Explorations in Sound,' its scope ranges from new electronic and orchestral music to historical perspective, stopping along the way to notice underrepresented musical cultures like native Canadian, non-Western, and women artists, and examining music as it relates to theater, dance, architecture, and in the case of the latest issue, balloons.
In 1983, Musicworks became the first magazine to include a recording (then cassette, now CD) with every issue. It's a simple yet ingenious concept -- you read about a piece of music or sound art, and there it is. And now some of the early recordings are being reissued in honor the upcoming 25th anniversary.
The magazine's official mandate, notes editor Gayle Young, "is about articulating to an adventurous listener what's going on in contemporary sound work." Young herself is a composer-performer. "I performed in a lot of fairly out of the way places where you wouldn't expect a lot of sophisticated listeners," she recalls. "And I found the response to my music was very strong; people really were interested, and so it kind of broke down the myth that it's a music for people who already know all about music."
In 1987, after writing a book about Hugh Le Caine and his pioneering work in building electronic instruments, she went to work at Musicworks. The magazine has been artist-run from the beginning -- virtually all contributors and editors were and are sound artists. The critically acclaimed sound-singer Paul Dutton (one of the founders of the poetry performance group, the Four Horsemen) is the magazine's copy-editor, keeping the pages clear of misplaced apostrophes and dangling participles.
But he'll put down his pen when he and other artists from the last three issues take part in an upcoming benefit concert celebrating 24 years in print and raising money to move onward and upward with an improved web presence.
With Peter Lutek on percussion ("And I don't mean a drum kit," warns Dutton), and Tomasz Krakowiak on saxophone, Dutton's trio will perform an improvised set employing bows, balloons, egg beaters, overblowing, and harmonics -- "This," he says, "is the stock and trade of free improvisation." He describes his own technique as "using the entire range of oral utterances," including overtones and multiphonics, something he says can be heard in the songs of blues legend Howling Wolf and rock icon Janis Joplin.
Chris Twomey, usually confined to the DJ booth in his musical life, will take the stage for his 'Drone Mix,' based on a recreation of 16th-century German astronomer Johannes Kepler's measurements of the planets' orbits. "That's really cool, because it has nine tones, from low to very high," he explains. Twomey last did the piece at Toronto's CN Tower, where it was billed as the "highest concert ever." And now, for the first time, he'll perform with a live improvisational singer, Susannah Hood, who'll use chant, a variety of reverb-processed sound-makers, effects pedals, and dance.
Linda Smith's 1979 'Play' will get a rare Canadian performance by the Madawaska String Quartet. "It's almost like a form of early baroque counterpoint, but instead of a theme being passed around the quartet, it's notes and gestures," explains violinist Rebecca van der Post, "almost like a game of catch . . . like a very delicate game of relay."
"I think that the arts, particularly in Canada, are in desperate need of people who are prepared to communicate them to a wider audience," says van der Post, who is British. "Journalism plays a major role." Musicworks, she says, "is really vital ... it's a way of keeping people plugged in."