What was normal won’t be again, and the only “new normal” is no normal at all.
Welcome to a new year of The No Normal! Our 2021-22 season will once again feature our iconic monthly podcast featuring interviews and music from Edmonton and around the world. Each episode features an hour of newly commissioned works, discussions between the commissioned artists and a roster of guest interviewers. The podcast will also include feature stories, conversations with friends in other organizations, and much more. Scroll down for details about each episode.
Our podcast is free, but please consider donating to New Music Edmonton to help support contemporary sound art in Edmonton! You can make a secure one-time or monthly donation through Canada Helps.
Episode Five (August 2022). Our city is teeming with emerging artists of all kinds, many of them classical composers. This episode of The No Normal focuses on one such artist, Mary Alice Conrad. Over the last few years, her name has appeared with increasing frequency in concert programming, workshops and commissioned works lists across the country. In this interview, you’ll get to know about this compelling artist’s background and we dig into some of her recent works, with lots of great information on the genesis of Mary Alice Conrad’s diverse and prolific compositions.
Episode Four (June 27, 2022).In this episode of The No Normal, we welcome Shawn Pinchbeck. Internationally active as a composer, performer and sound artist, Shawn Pinchbeck has, since the mid 1980s, been a key part of the experimental sonic arts scene in Edmonton. Ian Crutchley’s interview with Shawn Pinchbeck covers the artist’s story from his earliest to latest work, his first electronic gadgets, early local collaborators, mentors, and… bees!
Episode Three (May 23, 2022). Eminent Edmonton composer Heather Hindman is the guest for this episode of The No Normal. Heather talks about her emergence as a composer, influences on her work, the tools of her trade, collaborating with performers, and about some of the gendered biases, barriers and challenges the new music world puts in the way of composers, especially those following unconventional career paths. Interviewer Ian Crutchley.
Episode Two (March 14, 2022). The No Normal turns its focus onto local record label, Pseudo Laboratories, and its co-founder, Parker Thiessen. In this episode, New Music Edmonton Artistic Director Ian Crutchley chats with Parker Thiessen about many aspects of Pseudo Laboratories, about the local scene, and about Parker’s own work. The episode includes selections from the Pseudo Laboratories catalogue, and even includes an unboxing of one of their latest releases!
Episode One (January 2022). Season 2 of New Music Edmonton’s The No Normal podcast launches the week of January 24, 2022. The first episode includes an interview of Mustafa Rafiq by Suzette Chan, and an interview of Mile Zero Dance Artistic Director Gerry Morita with NME Artistic Director Ian Crutchley as the interviewer.
Curated by musician, composer, and sound designer Matthew Cardinal, this episode brings together three newly-created works presented as a complete, uninterrupted set, with just a few moments of ambient sound separating them: Talk, by Eliza Niemi; A Sunbeam Reveals Itself byCîpayak ᒌᐸᕀ (Sarah Houle, Shane Ghostkeeper, and Brad Hawkins); and Late Night AM by Stefana Fratila. Scroll down for episode information. Thank you to Matthew Cardinal, The CNMN, and these extraordinary artists, for making this special episode of The No Normal possible.
Matthew Cardinal is the curator of these works. A key figure in our region and beyond, Matthew Cardinal is well known for his solo work, myriad collaborative projects, and photography, and has brought together a stellar collective of artists for this program.
Talk – by Eliza Niemi
A Sunbeam Reveals Itself – by Cîpayak ᒌᐸᕀ (Sarah Houle, Shane Ghostkeeper and Brad Hawkins)
Late Night AM – by Stefana Fratila
Eliza Niemi is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, singer-songwriter and prolific collaborator. With a background in classical cello and piano, Eliza studied Music and Musicology in Halifax where she jointly formed indie rock band Mauno. After touring internationally opening for Laetitia Sadier of Stereolab and Chad VanGaalen, she landed back in her hometown of Toronto where she launched her label Vain Mina Records. Since her debut solo release Vinegar in 2019, Niemi has released 7 projects on Vain Mina, including her critically acclaimed sophomore EP Glass. She recently completed her debut full-length record Staying Mellow Blows set for release in 2022.
Stefana Fratila is a Romanian-born artist and composer based in Toronto, Canada. She is also a DJ and co-founder of CRIP RAVE™ collective, an event platform showcasing and prioritizing Crip, Disabled, Deaf, Mad, and Sick body-minds within safer and more accessible rave spaces. Stefana has exhibited, performed, and screened her work internationally, including at e-flux (New York, USA), Ars Electronica (Linz, Austria), Kamias Triennial (Quezon City, Philippines), and AGYU (Toronto, Canada). She has also completed residencies at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, Wave Farm Transmission Arts, and CMMAS (Mexican Centre for Music and Sonic Arts).
Matthew Cardinal is an amiskwaciy (Edmonton, Alberta) based musician, composer, and sound designer, known for his work with Polaris Short List nominee group nêhiyawak. Cardinal’s solo full-length album “Asterisms” was released in October 2020 on Arts & Crafts. Cardinal’s music moves from delicate, minimalist pieces to vast drones and sparkling, modular synthesizer beats. He has been performing music across the country for the last few years in various groups, as well as doing soundtrack work in film and sound for museum installations.
This episode includes an interview of Mustafa Rafiq (they/ them), by Suzette Chan (she/ her), a local arts writer. In the interview, Mustafa and Suzette talk about Mustafa’s background and a range of musical projects in which Mustafa has been involved lately, including a recent Pseudo Laboratories release, If I Were A Dance, (featuring Dwennimmen and Bhuyash Neupane), plus their co-operative ensemble sextet, Takleef.
The second part of the show will feature an interview of Mile Zero Dance Artistic Director Gerry Morita (she/her), with NME Artistic Director Ian Crutchley (he/ him) as the interviewer. Our discussion focuses on how Gerry became involved in contemporary dance and music practices, her work at Mile Zero Dance, and some of the interesting intersections and influences relating her practice to ideas and artists also found in the contemporary sound and music worlds.
Mustafa Rafiq explores sound through atonal & left-field guitar tunings. Their work in theatre has landed them as a sound designer, actor and tech for theatre in Edmonton they are also a program curator for Found Fest, and spots for New Music Edmonton, Purple City FKA Up+DT festival among others
Their new group, Takleef Ensemble is a free music group with a shifting group of musicians changing for the times.
Originally from rural Saskatchewan, Gerry Morita (BA Dance/ MFA Theatre. She has lived and worked in Vancouver, Montréal, and Tokyo as a dancer, choreographer, performance artist and teacher before moving to Edmonton and becoming Mile Zero Dance’s Artistic Director in 2006. Her work has toured Poland, Turkey, Estonia, Canada, and Japan.
Morita’s body of work involves continuous inquiry into new ways of seeing movement, the body, and the spaces between us. She studies and teaches contact improvisation, Noguchi Taiso and other somatic-based and improving technique, working with artists from all disciplines in a vast array of both conventional and site-specific venues. She has received the Mayor’s Award for Innovation in Artistic Direction, the Edmonton Salute for Excellence, Edmonton Artists’ Trust Fund and was one of Alberta’s 25 Influential Artists recognized in 2016.
Edmonton-based Suzette Chan has written or spoken about performing, literary, visual, and comics arts for newspapers, magazines, websites, radio programs, and podcasts. Her most recent work can be found on the No Normal Podcast and in LUMA Quarterly.
Ian Crutchley is Artistic Director of New Music Edmonton. He works closely with members of the organization as well as colleagues in the community to help develop NME’s seasons of live events and outreach, and to build and evolve the organization’s equitable approach to programming. Ian’s ongoing education in creativity and in life have been informed by phenomenal teachers, students, and a remarkable menagerie of wise, sharing and loving people he has known at work and at play. A classical composer by training, his practice has broadened in recent years to include improvisation and performances with dancers and other artists.
Parker Thiessen is a filmmaker, sound artist/musician and designer originally from Northern rural Alberta, now practicing in amiskwacîwâskahikan/Edmonton in Treaty 6, with an interest in collaboration, experimentation and DIY. Through his work, Thiessen has explored and propelled the growth of the experimental music scene in Edmonton, initiating the Ramshackle Day Parade noise collective and label, co-founding Pseudo Laboratories cassette label, and performing in Zebra Pulse, Private Investigators, and solo. His film work includes experimental shorts, live projections, music videos and video glitch experimentation.
Eminent Edmonton composer Heather Hindman is the guest for this episode of The No Normal.
Over her career to date, Heather Hindman has produced a really compelling series of acoustic and electronic works, with a particular interest in the relationships between music, culture and technology. Her compositions have been performed widely throughout Canada and in many other countries. Commissioners of Heather Hindman’s music have included UltraViolet, Xenia Pestova, The East Coast Music Ensemble and many more. She is also a dedicated and innovative pedagogue, teaching piano and composition to students of all ages.
In this interview by Ian Crutchley, Heather Hindman talks about her emergence as a composer, influences on her work, the tools of her trade, collaborating with performers, and about some of the gendered biases, barriers and challenges the new music world puts in the way of composers, especially those following unconventional career paths.
Alongside the conversation, we’ve got lot of great examples of Heather Hindman’s music:
Heather Hindman is a Canadian composer based 3 hours from the Rocky Mountains in Edmonton, Canada. She works in both acoustic, electronic and mixed-work mediums and employs elements of recombination, recontextualization and borrowed sound materials as the basis for her work. Her music has been performed in Canada, UK, Europe and New Zealand including the MusiMars New Music Festival, the ISCM World Music Days (Belgium), the Birmingham Frontiers Festival (UK) and have been broadcasted on CBC and Belgian national radio. She is currently an Assistant Lecturer in Composition at the University of Alberta.
In this episode of The No Normal, we welcome Shawn Pinchbeck. Internationally active as a composer, performer and sound artist, Shawn Pinchbeck has, since the mid 1980s, been a key part of the experimental sonic arts scene in Edmonton. With a toolkit that includes analog and digital machinery, expertise in field recording, and wide-ranging performance experience, Shawn has worked with a striking array of artists from sound and music, dance, video, the visual arts and more!
Ian Crutchley’s interview with Shawn Pinchbeck covers the artist’s story from his earliest to latest work, his first electronic gadgets, early local collaborators, mentors, and… bees!
There’s lots of incredible music in this episode, including the following:
Shawn Pinchbeck is an award winning Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and Viljandi, Estonia based electroacoustic music composer, sound designer, audio engineer, performer, media artist, curator and educator. His artworks explore all things that sound, merging elements such as video, computer interaction, multi-speaker environments, sensors and electronics, interdisciplinary performance and installation art. Shawn’s works are presented widely at festivals and exhibits across Canada and Europe. His music and sound design has been used in numerous films and contemporary dance performances. He has eight releases of electroacoustic, film and ambient music. He also regularly performs his works live. He holds MMus and PhD degrees in electroacoustic music composition from the University of Birmingham, UK.
Our city is teeming with emerging artists of all kinds, many of them classical composers. This episode of The No Normal focuses on one such artist, Mary Alice Conrad. Over the last few years, her name has appeared with increasing frequency in concert programming, workshops and commissioned works lists across the country. In this interview, you’ll get to know about this compelling artist’s background and we dig into some of her recent works, with lots of great information on the genesis of Mary Alice Conrad’s diverse and prolific compositions.
Music Included in this episode:
19:44 The Mountains Rend Themselves Apart (excerpt)
Artistic Director and conductor, Raymond Baril
June 3, 2022, Convocation Hall, University of Alberta
Recording Engineer, Mike Malone
29:30 The Peculiar Dances of Shifting Minds (excerpt 1)
FestivELLE Online Concert Series, June 2021, Orpheum Annex, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
41:58 Breathing Room (excerpt)
Live Mix of MacEwan University Music Department “Generations” Recording Project 2022.
Conducted by Raymond Baril
Recording Engineers, Paul Johnston and Padraig Buttner-Schnirer
At the MacEwan University Recording Department
53:24 Twenty-Six Punctographic Preludes (excerpt)
The Edmonton Saxophone Quartet
Kendra Heslip, Alto Saxophone
Charles Stolte, Tenor Saxophone
Ben Whittier, Baritone and Bass Saxophone
Allison Balcetis, Soprano Saxophone
December 2021, Convocation Hall, University of Alberta
Audio Engineer, Russel Baker
Mari Alice Conrad is an award-winning Canadian composer currently living in Alberta. Her works have been commissioned and performed by various ensembles across Canada, United States, and Europe. Mari Alice specializes in writing concert works for chamber ensembles, choirs, soloists, and large ensembles in a variety of genres. Performances of her works have been presented at Ottawa Chamberfest, Vancouver’s Allegra Chamber Orchestra FestivELLE, Été musical de Barachois in New Brunswick, in the Žofín Palace for the World Wind Music Festival and WASBE Conference in Prague, Czech Republic, Toronto’s East Chamber Music Festival, the Banff Centre for the Arts, New Music Edmonton Summer Solstice Festival, and the Toronto 2022 Choral Canada’s Podium Conference as the recipient of the Stephen Chatman Student Award in Choral Composition. Mari Alice’s compositional practice shines an exceptional light on the human condition and fosters curiosity, authenticity, connection, and collaboration, creating a compelling experience for both performers and audience alike.