chik white

chikwhite2-credit-AlexPearson

chik white began in 2004 when I adopted the stage name for my role as vocalist in Halifax crust-punk band The HoldThat project lasted five years and saw two full-length albums, multiple singles/EPs, and several Canadian tours. I kept the chik white name for a few other noisy projects, including Vennt, Attack Mode, and Shitcook. I also use the pseudonym for my work as an actor (Lowlife, Tin Can, The Sinner).

chik white music took a minimalist turn when I moved to Chezzetcook, on the rural coast of Nova Scotia, in 2009. Around then, I acquired a collection of handmade jaw harps and began a regular ritual of improvising on the instruments in natural settings. Over time, my harp project morphed into experimental territory and has come to incorporate preparations and extended techniques that tease uncomfortable noises and vocalizations from my mouth, throat, and lungs.  Though experimentation and improvisation are my musical focus, I also explore melodic, rhythmic, and traditional approaches to the instrument.




As a jaw harp player, I have issued well over a dozen solo albums, including releases on Feeding Tube Records, Kraak, Notice, and Cafe Oto’s Takuroku imprint. I also collaborated with Bill Nace, Xuan Ye, and Colin Fisher. I’ve performed live throughout Europe and have toured in Canada multiple times.

In June 2023, I will be premiering Spore Wind, a new-classical jaw harp concerto written by composer Bekah Simms. The performance will take place in Toronto, Canada with Continuum Music. Tours and new releases will follow.

For all inquiries, email chikwhite[at]gmail[dot]com.

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“A thoroughly unique and brilliant experiment with the instrument that proves less is more.” The Quietus

“Some passages are so glumpsy they are hilarious, others have a darkly industrial vibe, and the bulk is righteously freaked. A fine thing.” The Wire

“Spidle’s wheezing gasps circle around the plastic pops and clicks of his harp in a quizzical dance, a surreal duologue spouting forth like twin streams of organic data.” We Need No Swords

“A jaw harp is a memento mori of instruments, a metal doodad in a head cavity, reminding the thing-ness of your skull of the fact it’ll someday hollow. And a jaw harp’s equally hilarious, a funny little spring making funny little sounds. Instant slapstick. A metal hinge with a Chaplin or a chaplain down the split, and chik white (jaw harpist and writer a.k.a. Darcy Spidle) senses both avenues, combining the jaw harp’s capabilities into something frightening, funny, wild, and weird.” Tiny Mix Tapes

“Darcy Spidle finds a perplexing array of strategies to make what should be a very limited instrument engaging and surprising. With a contact mic on his throat and another sensitive mic capturing the instrument and his vocal tics, Spidle twangs, and burps, and heaves, and breathes his way through a set of short sharp metallic shocks. Acknowledging the humour in the situation, some of the pieces have a cartoonish tinge, recalling Yosemite Sam in the midst of a particularly venomous stream of vocal distress. Other passages take a more menacing, guttural approach, conjuring a beast expressing a warning via low groans and rattles. Through it all Spidle risks injury as he vigorously swipes the instrument, bloodying lips and hyperventilating for our enjoyment, which is considerable, and worth it.” Exclaim!

Discography (select albums available on bandcamp)

Darcy Spidle – Fiona Wind Recordings (self-release – 2022)
chik white – Solo Horn (Soundholes – 2022)
chik white / Hermit – Split (Absurd Exposition – 2022)
chik white – Quarantunes Series N.56 (Feeding Tube – 2022)
chik white – fragmenting (self-release – 2022)
chik white – new moods for antique iron jaw harp (self-release – 2021)
chik white – marshlands (self-release – 2020)
Darcy Spidle – The Thawing of Bayer Lake (self-release – 2020)
chik white – 207 (Takuroku – 2020)
Darcy Spidle – Northern Spring Peeper Chorus – Chezzetcook 2020
chik white / Colin Fisher – our water is fire (self-released)
chik white – interiors (self-released)
chik white – time change (self-released – 2019)
Darcy Spidle – Dorian Wind Recordings (self-released – 2019)
Darcy Spidle – Atlantic Ocean Recordings 2019 – Vol. One (self-released – 2019)
chik white / Bill Nace Eel 7″ (Open Mouth Records – 2019)
chik white / Xuan Ye – Breath Fractals (Notice Recordings – 2019)
chik white – guts magnet sea (KRAAK – 2018)
chik white / Colin Fisher – pacific rim and hastings (Chocolate Monk – 2018)
chik white – their faces closed (Chocolate Monk – 2018)
chik white – stranger calls to land (Feeding Tube Records – 2017)
chik white – raft recordings from economy (Notice Recordings – 2017)
chik white – soft shapes (Power Moves Library – 2017)
chik white – malform (self-released – 2016)
chik white – behind a dead tree on the shore/jaw works (Notice Recordings – 2014)
chik white – i am muck. you are the wind. (Arachnidiscs – 2013)
chik white – winter swell (Scotch Tapes – 2011)
chik white – highest tides (DIVORCE – 2010)

Press

The Wire – Solo Horn review – 2022
Free Jazz Collective – our water is fire review – 2020
Aquarium Drunkard – feature – 2019
Bandcamp – Breath Fractals review (Best of August) – 2019
The Wire – Eel (all parts) review – 2019
Dusted – Eel (all parts) review – 2019
Musicworks – cover story – 2018
Exclaim! – year-end list for top ten Canadian composers – 2018
Stuart Broomer – stranger calls to land review – 2018
Tiny Mix Tapes – their faces closed review – 2018
It’s Psychedelic Baby – interview – 2018
Tiny Mix Tapes – stranger calls to land review – 2017
The Wire – raft recordings from economy review – 2017
Exclaim! – live review – 2017
The Imposter (Canadaland) – malform interview – 2017
The Wire – malform review – 2017
We Need No Swords – malform/soft shapes review – 2017
Tiny Mix Tapes – soft shapes review – 2017
DOMINIONATED – malform review – 2017
The Quietus – malform review – 2016
CBC 2 – video segment on jaw harp (teaser for radio interview)- 2016
We Need No Swords – behind a dead tree review – 2014
The Wire – behind a dead tree review – 2014
Decoder – behind a dead tree review – 2014
The Cookshop – behind a dead tree review – 2014
Cassette Gods – behind a dead tree review – 2014
Le son du grisli – behind a dead tree review – 2014
Weird Canada – i am muck. you are the wind. review – 2013
Weird Canada – highest tide review – 2010