“their faces closed is a collection of live recordings from my fall 2017 cross-Canada tour. I didn’t sleep well and my thoughts were uneasy for much of the trip, yet the beauty of the country, especially the mountains out West, put me in a reverent and contemplative mood. I had a lot to work through each night on stage. The tracks I chose for this release all felt earnest and whole when they spewed forth—a mix of comedy and confusion for the spectator, no doubt. But know that I tried my best to acknowledge what was flowing through me in each moment. I was attuned to the jaw harps as well.
The sounds at the end are from a cassette of ocean recordings that I had buried in a salt flat for awhile. It’s a bit gnarled. I took this recording of my home with me on tour and used it as part of my set only once—when I reached the Pacific in Victoria, BC. Eventually it’s all washing over.
Thanks to the folks across Canada who indulged me during this time. And thanks to Dylan for giving these weird introspections a home.”
In other news, my raft recordings from economy cassette on Notice Recordings made Wire Magazine’s Size Matters 2017 Top Ten. The cassette is long sold out, but you can stream/purchase the digital version on Bandcamp.
Also, for those of you interested in the ruminations of chik white, I did a fairly extensive interview with Slovenian magazine It’s Psychedelic Baby. Check it out here.
And that’s it for now. I am firming up a European tour for later in the year, and there are a few Canadian dates in the works as well. So check back soon for details. Thanks!
I have a new chik white LP out on the mighty FEEDING TUBE RECORDS! The label has released albums by so many of my favorite artists — Joshua Abrams, Kim Gordon, Chris Corsano, Michael Hurley, Thurston Moore, Tashi Dorji++. An insane roster.
stranger calls to land is a compilation drawn from past tapes and unreleased material. My favorite music writer, Byron Coley, curated the track selections and wrote the liner notes. The LP is available now. I’ll be touring Canada to support it. Dates below.
chik white – stranger calls to land LP
Over the past few years, we started hearing solo jaw harp cassettes by a Canadian musician who called himself chik white. Some of them were straight-forward somewhat-folky blasts of righteousness, others used studio effects to emphasize the psychedelic qualities of the instrument (or so it seemed), and others were nature-based explorations of the jaw harp’s drone possibilities. Heard individually they were striking, but listened to as a group, they went way beyond that.
We got in touch with chik (the soubriquet for Darcy Spidle when he’s playing in this format) and suggested doing an LP that would provide a thorough overview of the work he’s done thus far. He sent tapes of material that had been out previously, as well as a bunch of never-before-heard work, and we dove straight in. stranger calls to land is the quite amazing result.
The jaw harp is such an ancient, basic and humanistic instrument it has a strangely organic quality no matter how it’s played. But many of chik white’s sessions take this essential element in extreme directions. This is particularly true for the two tracks we lifted from raft recordings from economy (Notice Recordings MC), which was taped while floating on a homemade raft-cum-instrument in the Bay of Fundy. The sound, the concept, the whole gestalt of this project defy logic so utterly we’ve found it impossible to not be swept along by the waves, the wind and the weirdness of the entire process.
While operating in Spidle mode, Darcy played in punk bands, ran the Divorce record label and founded the annual OBEY Convention up in Halifax. But we like to think his heart belongs to chik white. There is, after all, something ineffable about a man and a jaw harp. If you don’t agree after giving this LP a spin, we will eat a shoe. And that’s not something we ever plan to do. -Byron Coley/Feeding Tube, 2017 – ORDER VINYL OR DIGITAL
Canadian tour fall 2017
Nov. 7 – Montreal, QC @ Casa del Popolo w/ Skin Tone
Nov. 8 – Ottawa, ON @ General Assembly
Nov. 10 – Toronto, ON @ Less Bar w/ Smomid
Nov. 11 – London, ON @ 42 Adelaide (Upper)
Nov. 13 – Calgary, AB @ EMMEDIA Screening Room w/ Colin Fisher
Nov. 14 – Kelowna, BC @ Kettle River Brewing Co. w/ Colin Fisher
Nov. 15 – Vancouver, BC @ Selectors’ Records w/ Maskara, The Nausea
Nov. 16 – Nanaimo, BC @ private event w/ Colin Fisher
Nov. 18 – Victoria, BC @ James Bay United Church
Nov. 23 – Halifax, NS @ The Khyber Centre for the Arts w/ Kira Daube
Last summer I wrote a feature-length screenplay for The Crescent, an existential horror story conceived by my partner Seth Smith. A few weeks after I finished the script, Smith and producer Nancy Urich shot the movie, using their two-year-old son as the lead. Our film premiered last month at the Toronto International Film Festival and the next week screened at FIN in Halifax, where we won three awards–Best Atlantic Original Score or Song (Seth Smith), The Joan Orenstein Award for Outstanding Performance by an Actress (Danika Vandersteen), and The Michael Weir Award for Best Atlantic Screenwriting (Darcy Spidle).
The Crescent has recently earned praise from The Globe and Mail, The Film Stage, Screen Anarchy, Cinema Axis, among many other international outlets. It screens this month at VIFF (CA) and Sitges (ES).
Portland, Oregon’s Notice Recordings just issued a 100 cassette edition on my latest offering, Raft Recordings from Economy. The album is comprised of field recordings and improvisations completed during my 2016 residency at White Rabbit. For more information and to stream/purchase, visit the Notice Recordings Bandcamp page. And while there, make sure to peruse the label’s entire catalogue. Notice is releasing some of the most interesting new music being made right now.
In other news, I’m heading on a short tour. My first stop is at at the ten year anniversary installment of OBEY Convention. The festival lineup includes Moor Mother, Senyawa, Laraaji, and so much more. Well worth checking out. After OBEY, I do four dates in Quebec and Ontario with Slow Attack Ensemble.
May 26 – Halifax, NS @ OBEY Convention X w/ Instant Places
June 7 – Montreal, QC @ la plante w/ Slow Attack Ensemble+
June 8 – Ottawa, ON @ Record Centre w/ Slow Attack Ensemble+
June 9 – Kingston, ON @ St. Mark’s Lutheran Church w/ Slow Attack Ensemble
June 10 – Toronto, ON @ Ratio w/ Slow Attack Ensemble+
I’ll likely take a break over the summer to work on scripts, but I hope to tour Western Canada and Europe this coming fall and winter. I also have a retrospective LP in the works with Feeding Tube Recordings. More details on that soon.
Since I currently find myself navigating through a number of disparate projects and artistic personalities, I thought it would be wise to put together a website, a digital space where all my pursuits can be housed. So here it is. Check out the chik white page for background on my musical work. For more general information, head to my about page. It covers my time with DIVORCE and OBEY Convention. It also gives information about my current work as a screenwriter at CUT/OFF/TAIL. I’ll use this blog to post about things that are happening in all these facets of my career.
As of late I’ve been spending a lot of time on my chik white jaw harp project. In November I released Malform, a full-length album chronicling my recent work recording jaw harp and voice through my throat. The album sold out quickly and has been reviewed by a number of outlets, including The Quietus and We Need No Swords. In February I released an EP, Soft Shapes, on Toronto’s Power Moves Library. The album sold out in days and has already been covered by We Need No Swords and Tiny Mix Tapes. I have two new releases on the way (cassette and LP), and I hope to tour later this year. More details to come.