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JUNO-nominated The Weather Station, Afrofuturist Saul Williams, and more to complete Chan Centre EXP series

The Chan Centre for the Performing Arts unveiled today its full programming for its newest series, EXP. Four new concerts complete the season, which showcase innovative artists on the frontier of sonic creativity, as selected by Chan Centre curator-in-residence Jarrett Martineau.

“I’m thrilled that the inaugural EXP Series will bring such an electrifying group of creative visionaries to Vancouver. Each artist I’ve programmed is giving musical form to the current moment and our experience of living through it. From navigating climate grief and traveling toward Black Quantum Futures, to experiencing visceral, improvised performances and vocal traditions spanning geographies and generations, EXP is more than a shorthand for ‘experimental’ music ­– it’s about exploratory expressions, expansive visions, and experiencing the power of story, song, and sound to connect the ancient, the present, and the future.”

Jarrett Martineau, curator-in-residence

On January 21, JUNO-nominated experimental folk band The Weather Station will give a special performance for the EXP series. The Weather Station is the project of Toronto’s Tamara Lindeman. The latest albums, Ignorance and How Is It That I Should Look At The Stars, which were released in the last two years, have propelled the Weather Station to new-found fame and praise. Alongside major tours in Europe and North America, the records have landed in the year-end top ten lists of The New Yorker, Spin, The New York Times, Pitchfork, The Guardian, and several others. Most notably, these albums were written during a period when Lindeman was experiencing intense grief due to the climate crisis. Her lyrics poignantly and achingly lament the loss of the planet instead of lost love.

For this concert, The Weather Station will be joined by a 10-piece orchestral ensemble featuring members of the UBC Contemporary Players. They will perform new arrangements of several songs by The Weather Station, including “Robber” and “Tried to Tell You,” composed by award-winning Canadian composer Darren Fung and Mark Marinic, UBC School of Music PhD candidate.

The EXP series celebrates Black History Month on February 25 with Saul Williams, Moor Mother, and Irreversible Entanglements. The concert brings together three dynamic Afrofuturist visions. Saul Williams is a spoken word poet, singer-songwriter, actor and director. He has performed his poetry at institutions from the White House to the Louvre, as well as prisons across the globe and collaborated with artists such as Allen Ginsburg, Nas, Erykah Badu, and Tanya Tagaq. His music crosses the genres of hip-hop, punk, acid house, and rock, charged with social and political commentary. His directorial debut Neptune Frost has been praised as a “dazzlingly inventive drama” (The Guardian) and will screen at The Cinematheque on February 23 ahead of the concert. Moor Mother, the stage name of Camae Ayewa, is a poet, musician, visual artist and workshop facilitator, as well as the co-lead and vocalist of Irreversible Entanglements. Her debut album Fetish Bones was named third best album of the year by The Wire and best album by Jazz Right Now. Her latest, Jazz Codes, grapples with Black musical history, memorializing the artists that came before her while blending the sounds of hip-hop, blues, and jazz. With Irreversible Entanglements, Ayewa, alongside bassist Luke Stewart, drummer Tcheser Holmes, trumpeter Aquiles Navarro, and saxophonist Keir Neuringer, stun audiences with their free jazz and longform improvisations. Their “fearless music takes to task the police, American politics, capitalism, and racism,” (The Nation) with their debut self-titled album landing on the best album lists of Stereogum, NPR and Wire Magazine.

Experimental saxophonist Colin Stetson astonishes with his circular breathing, a technique which allows him to play seamlessly without interruption. Stetson has mastered the ability to breathe through his nose while simultaneously blowing air out of his mouth. This, combined with microphones placed on his throat and on various parts of his saxophone, allow him to create gripping, hallucinogenic sounds that redefine the possibilities of the saxophone. On March 3, Stetson will give a genre-defying performance. The Montreal-based musician has worked with icons such as LCD Soundsystem and Bon Iver, and composed for television, video game, and film including the scores for Red Dead Redemption 2, Hereditary, and the newly released film The Menu, starring Anya Taylor-Joy and Ralph Fiennes. His new record, Chim​æ​ra I, released in November 2022, collects a series of extended drone works for saxophone that push Stetson’s physical abilities, in his body and as a player, to a new terrain at the boundaries of timbre, harmony, and geologic ‘sonic strata’. Stetson will be joined on stage by Michigan composer and trumpeter Justin Walter, whose experiments with the Electronic Valve Instrument, a wind-controlled analog synthesizer, create a hypnotic fusion of ambient music and jazz.

Catalan duo Tarta Relena reimagine oral traditions from centuries past. Comprised of Marta Torrella and Helena Ros, the pair perform on April 9 in a co-presentation with Vancouver New Music. Together, they transform Gregorian songs, Mediterranean folk, works by 12th century abbess and polymath Hildegard von Bingen, and the traditional poetry of Pashtun women from Afghanistan with their powerful voices and minimalist insertions of reverb, electronic bass, and synthesizer. Tarta Relena have released three acclaimed albums, Ora Pro Nobis, Intercede Pro Nobis, and Fiat Lux, in which they sing in multiple languages ranging from Catalan to Latin, and even the Judeo-Spanish language of Ladino, also known as Sefardí. Though the origins of their songs can be millennia old, “their vision of folk is no museum piece; it is contemporary, alive, and buzzing with portent.” (Pitchfork)

Tickets for the shows listed above go on sale at 12PM on Friday, November 25.

The EXP series debuted in October with a sold-out show by Vancouver-based electronic ambient sound artist Loscil and New Yorker Rafael Anton Irisarri. The series concludes with the previously announced Nils Frahm concert on April 26, co-presented with Timbre Concerts. Tickets for the series finale are currently limited.

To view the full EXP series, click here.

Thu Nov 24, 2022