PRAIRIE WIRES

PRAIRIE WIRES IS AN ONGOING EXPERIMENTAL ELECTRONIC MUSIC AND ART EVENT SERIES AND FESTIVAL IN BRANDON MANITOBA.

Established in 2019 to create live performance opportunities for sound-based artist and experimental electronic musicians, Prairie Wires is strengthening ties between communities and creates space for like minded artists to network, share knowledge and collaborate. 

Prairie Wires Modular 2019
Prairie Wires Modular 2021

Since 2019 Prairie Wires has produced several live and virtual events in Brandon and on-line including International Drone Day (2019, 2020 online, 2022), Prairie Wires Modular Festival of Electronic Sound (2019, 2021), Quiet Concerts Series (2020 online), Spring Sound Series (2022).

We are currently planning the 2024 Prairie Wires Season. If you are interested in performing at Prairie Wires please send an email with a bio and link to a sample of your work (video preferred) to prairiewires@gmail.com with the words “PWM Proposal” in the subject line


Prairie Wires is humbled to exist on Treaty 2 territory, the traditional shared land of Cree, Oji-Cree, Anishinaabeg, Dakota, and Dene peoples, and the Homeland of the Métis Nation. Prairie Wires continues to work towards reconciliation, decolonization, Indigenization and diversification of this art form long dominated by Euro-Caucasian males by striving for inclusivity of Indigenous, BIPOC, Women, Trans and non-binary artists.

UPCOMING EVENTS

DRONESCAPE 2024

To celebrate international drone day, Prairie Wires has invited 8 drone acts from across the praDroneScape is an immersive sound event dedicated to celebrating experimental drone music in all it’s forms. Presented as part of International Drone Day, celebrated annually on the last Saturday in May, DroneScape will bring together artists and musicians from across the prairies to create a unique fusion of sound, art, music and nature. Explore the park, where the ethereal sonic tapestry unfolds, revealing new dimensions of sound with each step and discover sonic landscapes unfolding. Your journey begins at the Kinsmen Pavilion in Rideau Park, Brandon Manitoba at 1:00pm. Don’t miss this one-of-a-kind exploration into ambient soundscapes!” 

Featuring simultaneous performances by:
Bell Dreams (Saskatchewan)
Leanne Zacharias & Jennifer Thiessen (Brandon/Winnipeg, MB)
Koda Maxon & Nora Wilson (Brandon, MB)
Kurtis Johnson (Brandon, MB)
Yoyu (Winnipeg, MB)
Harrumph! (Winnipeg, MB)
Thomas Toews (Winnipeg, MB)
A Moon Shape Noise (Brandon, MB)



ABOUT THE ARTISTS

Koda Maxon & Nora Wilson
Koda Maxon (they/them) is a vibrant Canadian Vocalist, Artist and Composer based out of Brandon, Manitoba.  Their compositional works focus on contemporary techniques and the use of multimedia to explore topics of identity, nature, and connectivity. Koda’s goal as a composer is to explore the art of sound through the creation of sonic works that allow the listener to open up, think deeply, and see the world from a different perspective. They find inspiration in topics of intense emotions, their relationship to nature, spirituality and queer Identity. Koda is a playful composer who loves to explore new harmonies and extended techniques. kodamaxon.ca

Dr. Nora Wilson (she/her) is the Associate Professor of Low Brass at Brandon University. She has performed with several professional ensembles including the Winnipeg and Regina Symphony Orchestras, the Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra, and the Brandon Chamber Players. Although the traditions of classical and jazz trombone will always be important to her, Wilson’s true passion lies in creating new music for her instrument. She has commissioned several new works from Canadian composers, including a new piece for trombone and 8-bit accompaniment by Kenley Kristofferson that she will perform at the 2024 International Trombone Festival. She is also exploring Truth and Reconciliation through a Canada Council for the Arts funded project called Sonic Dreaming. With her collaborators, Peter Morin and Brendon Ehinger, the trio is developing a land-based methodology for music and art making. Their work will result in numerous performances across Canada and a full-length album. Additionally, Wilson is a member of an improvisatory modular synthesizer/trombone duo called wire + bone. Although low brass performance instruction is Wilson’s primary research focus, gender diversity and inclusion has emerged as a personal and important area of research for her. Her presentations on the subject center on the importance of the music classroom as safe space for gender diverse students. She has presented clinics at the Manitoba Music Educators Association Conference and the National Canadian Music Educators Association Conference.


Bell Dreams
is Edie Skeard, Jeff Morton, and Ernie Dulanowsky, an ambient experimental music trio with members in different cities and rural parts of Saskatchewan, Canada, on Treaty 2, Treaty 4, and Treaty 6 Territories. Bell Dreams explores themes of isolation, embodiment, location, and the sublime by creating immersive, experiential sound-scapes. We work in performance to create long, durational compositions in outdoor and public art settings. Our recordings focus on varied instrumentation and concepts as structures for improvisation and experimentation. belldreams.bandcamp.com

Kurtis Johnson
Equally at home in a number of fields, composer and multi-instrumentalist Kurtis Johnson is an active performer and clinician in Western Manitoba. Originally from Winnipeg, Kurtis attained a bachelor’s degree in Jazz Performance from Brandon University in 2018, and is currently a graduate student in Composition at BU. Much of his compositional work centres around reflecting the vast landscapes and rich natural history of what is now called Manitoba. When not writing or maintaining a busy performance schedule on trombone, piano, mandolin, organ, viola, or contrabass clarinet, Kurtis is an avid waterfowler, gardener, and passionate amateur naturalist.

Yoyu
Canadian musical artist Yoyu exists in the space between ambient, drone and sound bath. His art is an original and intriguing blend of electronic music and spirituality, often reminiscent of peaceful forest getaways. Yoyu’s performances are almost always improvised, using live capture, asynchronous looping techniques, field recordings, and generations of sound design. Yoyu’s creative approach relies on deep listening and experimentation at the edge of modern electronics, seamlessly and enigmatically capturing the ambling solace that can be found within nature. With an education in computer science, Yoyu uses digital sound design to create music that inspires wonder, delight and well-being that is rife with positive intention and meaning. His personal recording studio and record label, No More Words, is a virtual lab of sonic exploration.  Technically, he uses a combination of vector synthesis, granular sampling, modular synthesizers, software programming and algorithmic/generative techniques in his process. Though for Yoyu, these technical elements are merely tools to help him and his music travel ever towards meditation, well-being and universal connectedness through the mystery and solitude of nature.  nomorewords.ca 

Harrumph! (Scott Clark, Winnipeg Manitoba). Echos of the winter abyss. Harrumph! performs live improv of noisy grooves using electric upright bass, modular synthesis, sampler/sequencers and drum machines. Expect elements of industrial, psychedelic, doom, noise, ambient, funk, and jazz. Harrumph! has performed at festivals, in-person at Manitoba venues and galleries, and online streaming events, occasionally as a duo in Din CIty with Winnipeg artist Bondegi. As an avid synthesizer enthusiast, he has co-organized community events and helps maintain online spaces. Clark is also an accomplished bassist with hundreds of professional and amateur performance credits, including out-of Province festivals, time spent in university jazz bands and multiple tribute sets. A 20-year member of professional outfit Crackin’ Foxy, Clark has also filled-in with tribute acts to Johnny Cash and The Tragically Hip and opened for Harlequin and Streetheart.  He also plays in original acts HAM, Ogimaa, and The Sleeping Legion. youtube.com/@harrumphnoise

Jennifer Thiessen & Leanne Zacharias
Jennifer Thiessen is a musician, writer, and artistic director based in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Within a multiplicity of artistic adventures, she is grounded in a passion to create meaningful experiences for herself and her listeners. As a creative musician, Jennifer makes music for voice, viola, and electronics for her singer-songwriter project Daily Alice. Park Sounds, her duo with percussionist Ben Reimer, premiered their contemporary Root Systems program in 2019, composed an audio/video work called Time Piece for GroundSwell in 2022, and performed a program of original music for Ottawa New Music Creators in 2023. Toninato/Thiessen, her duo with saxophonist Ida Toninato, was nominated for JUNO and OPUS awards in 2019 for their album The Space Between Us (Ambiances Magnétiques) and premiered their second co-composed project, Winter[City]Speaks, for GroundSwell in 2023. S[ILK]S, her experimental duo with Andrea Young, created For You, Alone for voices and electronics in 2021 (No Hay Banda), and will co-compose a new piece in 2023. Jennifer received the 2022 Roberta Stephen Award from the Association of Canadian Women Composers to develop her skills in score-making.

Leanne Zacharias is a dynamic cellist, educator and interdisciplinary artist who creates unique sound environments in both tiny and large- scale public works within museums, art galleries, chimneys, stairwells, rowboats, canoes, skating trails and other unlikely sites. Known for innovative collaborations with artists of all stripes, across genres and geographies, her project Music for Spaces re-imagines concerts, public and natural space with sound. Her work has been presented by the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, LandMarks2017, the International Cello Festival of Canada, Austin’s New Music Coop, Winnipeg Design Festival, Iceland’s Nes Residency, Open Ears Festival, SappyFest (NB), Sound Symposium (NFLD) and FastForwardAustin. From the National Arts Centre to the Andy Warhol Museum to Yukon Arts Centre, she performs across genres including with the Australian Art Orchestra, the Houston Symphony Orchestra, Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, and songwriters John K. Samson, the Mountain Goats and her long-time collaborator, Christine Fellows.


Thomas Toews is an experimental musician from Winnipeg, MB. He draws inspiration from ambient music, techno, and other abstract styles. He incorporates modular synths, generative techniques, tape loops, field recordings and samples in his work. He has released one album titled “Noise Control”. thomastoews.bandcamp.com

A Moon Shape Noise is the solo electronic project of Prairie Wires founder Brendon Ehinger. soundcloud.com/moonshapenoise

PAST EVENTS

SPRING SOUND SERIES 2022

Drone at the Global Market 2022
Saturday, May 28, 2022 | 2:00 – 6:00pm
Global Market, 1215 Rosser Ave. Brandon, MB

A Celebration of International Drone Day returnED to the Global Market for a participatory community drone concert featuring sursurate + whir, acidbasement and wire+bone.

Jason Kahn
Wednesday, June 8, 2022 | 7:00PM
Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba, 1-710 Rosser Ave. Brandon, MB

Prairie Wires in collaboration with the Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba presented Zürich based touring artist Jason Kahn.

Wire & Bone
Friday, June 17, 2022 | 7:00PM
Chez Angela Bakery and Café, 29C 10th St. Brandon, MB

Electroacoustic duo of Brendon Ehinger and Aaron Wilson on Modular Synthesizer and Trombone respectively


PRAIRIE WIRES MODULAR 2021
FESTIVAL OF ELECTRONIC SOUND
SEPTEMBER 12, 2022

The second PWM festival took place at the Riverbank Discovery Centre all day on September 12, 2021. Featuring a public open house and modular demo in the afternoon, as well as a casual Modular on the Spot style round robin of mini performances. The evening concert featured artists from across Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and the Yukon. Highlights are currently streaming as part of Groundswell MB’s 30 anniversary season.


QUIET CONCERTS V1.0
LIVESTREAMED SUNDAYS, SEPT 27 – OCT 5IVESTREAMED

Prairie Wires partnered with the Brandon Public Library to present Quiet Concerts. Originally intended as a unique in person concert event inviting the audience to bring their own headphones to the Library to relax and enjoy an afternoon of experimental electronic music performance. Due to Covid-19 this event was presented as a series of online livestream mini concerts every Sunday from September 27 to October 25, 2020.


DRONERS IN A DANGEROUS TIME
May 30, 2020

May 30, 2020 Prairie Wires hosted a 24 Hour Drone Playlist featuring over 30 droners, sound artists, musicians and synthesists from across the Canadian Prairies and beyond. Heartfelt thanks to all of the droners who participated. Please enjoy the finalé Drone Megamix below, featuring all of the performances mixed on top of each other.


PRAIRIE WIRES MODULAR MEETUP
Friday June 14 & Saturday June 15, 2019

PWM2019 was a free two day festival of Modular Synthesis hosted in Brandon, Manitoba, Canada.

Events included a free opening concert on Friday June 14 consisting of a electro-acoustic performance of Modular Synth and Trombone, a free ambient morning concert, a Modular Meetup and public open house. A Modular on the Spot improvised concert at the Art Gallery of Southwestern Mantitoba wrapped up the day.


DRONE AT THE GLOBAL MARKET
May 25, 2019

The first Prairie Wires event, Drone at the Global Market was an open air sound art and music concert on May 25, 2019 at the Global Market in downtown Brandon brought together a diverse group of musicians and artists working in sound and exploring their own interpretations of Drone music. Building on the success of Drone at the Global Market, the second event titled “PWM2019” —billed as a meetup for modular synthesizer enthusiasts and artists across the prairies— was hosted at multiple venues in downtown Brandon across two days, June 14 & 15, 2019. This event was to focus primarily on the modular synthesizer as a tool for exploring sound and creating music and art.