chik white began in 2004 as my stage name for crust-punk band The Hold. That project lasted for five years and saw two full lengths, multiple singles/EPs, and a number of Canadian tours. I kept the chik white moniker for doom metal outfit Vennt and art-damaged noise rock trio Attack Mode. I played drums in both bands. I also recorded under chik white for my experimental vocal project Shitcook, and I used the pseudonym for my role as an actor in Lowlife and a few short films.
chik white music took a minimalist turn when I moved to West 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, a ritual that continues on a weekly basis. Over time, my harp project morphed into experimental territory and has come to incorporate preparations, techniques, and performative elements that tease uncomfortable vocalizations from my mouth, throat, and lungs.
My latest sound work involves processing locally-sourced field records into sound sculptures and merging them with live vocal and harp improvisations miked at my windpipe. On occasion I also build instruments out of ocean refuse, as can be heard in my work from White Rabbit’s 2016 Artist Residency in Economy, Nova Scotia.
As a jaw harp player, I have released nine albums on various labels, including a recent retrospective LP on Feeding Tube Records and a live tape on Chocolate Monk. My work has been covered by The Quietus, Tiny Mix Tapes, The Wire, CBC, Exclaim!, Canadaland, and more.
For bookings or other inquiries, email chikwhite[at]gmail[dot]com.
“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 – Solo (select albums available on bandcamp)
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)
Shitcook – Part Knife (DIVORCE – 2005)
Shitcook – Run to the Gun (DIVORCE – 2004)
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