Modular & semi-modular synthesis happenings in Central Canada
Prairie Wires was established in 2019 to create live performance opportunities for sound-based artist and experimental electronic musicians with a strong focus on modular synthesis. Events are a mix of curated and open-call participatory, strengthening ties between communities and providing opportunities to share knowledge, network and collaborate.
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.
A STATEMENT ON DRONE DAY 2021
(and the future of live events in general)
And we thought 2020 was a dumpster fire. Well here we are almost half way into 2021 and things ain’t much better. While some parts of the world are slowly emerging from the fog that is COVID-19, we here on the Canadian prairies are still reeling in on-again more often than off-again pandemic restrictions with no real end in sight. Any way you slice it, this has made it nearly impossible to plan ahead for, well, pretty much anything. Even more so, it has been extremely difficult to stay motivated to produce arts events, virtual or otherwise. At this time last year, the notion of livestream concerts being broadcast to the comfort of your home was still a novel thing. The possibilities of reaching a global audience was alluring and exciting and new. After a full year though, I would be surprised if I was the only one feeling tired and done with it all. Right now, I do not wish to be tied to a screen or immersed in my headphones for one more long form virtual live event. I AM holding on to great hope that we will get through this and one fine day emerge on the other side. Intimate gatherings and live events will resume where we can indulge and share our passions for art, music, sound and knowledge. Live and in person. But for right now, Prairie Wires will be refraining from producing virtual events – until we don’t have to any more.
With that, it is with regrets that Prairie Wires will not be presenting a Drone Day event this year. Myself, I will be going outside. If I choose to create a drone it will be with the wind in my face and the sun in my eyes. It will be short, ephemeral and enjoyable to me.
As for what lies beyond. Stay tuned. As soon as we can meet in the field, we will. And it will be sonic. Stay wired.
Brendon Ehinger Director, Prairie Wires
Prairie Wires Modular – Festival of Electronic Sound Date TBA – Multiple venues, Brandon Manitoba It is with great hope that an in person modular meetup and performance series will proceed in fall of 2021. Expanding on theme of PWM2019, the PWM21 performance series is being billed as a “Festival of Electronic Sound” and open to all artists and musicians working in that medium with an emphasis on modular synthesis. The festival performance schedule will be a curated series but in keeping with the community tradition, the Modular Meetup and Modular on the Spot remain open-participation. If you are interested in participating please contact us with “Prairie Wires EOI” in the subject header at firstname.lastname@example.org. To be considered for curation into the programming please send a letter of intent, proposal and suggested project budget to email@example.com
QUIET CONCERTS V1.0
Sundays Sept 27 – Oct 25 @ 7:00pm Livestream
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.
Sunday, September 27, 7:00pm Mutable Body (Winnipeg, MB) Mutable Body constructs hyper-real soundscapes using spectral analysis, various forms of synthesis, computer assisted composition techniques, and a feverish thirst for chaos. These otherworldly planes exist as bridges between the realms of physical acoustic perception and the ephemeral world of the digital. Her performance and composition practice is informed by years of improvisational electronic work in the studio, composition studies at the University of Manitoba, electroacoustic/sound art festival shows, a deep connection to DIY community spaces, and creative expression as a means of Queer survival. Mutable Body lives and dreams on Treaty 1 territory in Winnipeg, Manitoba
Sunday, October 4, 7:00pm Shotgun Jimmie (Brandon, MB) Shotgun Jimmie is a much loved Canadian indie-rock troubadour known for his catchy power pop and endearing charm. His blistering one-man band live show incorporates fuzzed out guitars, a modified drum kit, harmonica, and a magic bag of tricks. Jimmie is a road-tested indie-rock veteran, having toured North America and Europe extensively on his own and with seminal Canadian bands like the Constantines, Julie Doiron, Ladyhawk, and Attack in Black. A prolific collaborator, his backing bands have included members of Feist, City & Colour and Do Make Say Think, he appeared on John K. Samson’s Provincial, touring North America and Europe as lead guitarist and opening act.
Sunday, October 11, 7:00pm No Concert. Enjoy Thanksgiving 🙂
Sunday, October 18, 7:00pm Yoyu (Winnipeg, MB) Yoyu is a Canadian Prairie ambient musician, drawing on the themes of open space, deep listening and nature. Yoyu’s performances are wonderfully intuitive, using live capture, asynchronous looping techniques, sound decay, field recordings, and generations of personal sound programming. The simplest of waveforms evolve into a wall of sound through resampling and customized granular synthesis tools. This is a modern electronic musician’s sound space. With sound, tiny (and not so tiny) vibrations alter consciousness.
Sunday, October 25, 7:00pm Jeff Smith (Brandon, MB) Hailing from Victoria British Columbia, Jeff Smith is a Brandon Manitoba based musician and music therapist with an interest in modal experimentation and free improvisation. He has performed with jazz combos and rock bands including the Southern Time Rock Opera, and East Vancouver Community Band. Jeff’s primary instrument is guitar and he is currently experimenting with sound demonologics using a cornucopia of guitar effects and looping pedals.
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.
Synthesists visiting Brandon for this event included Winnipeg ambient musicians Yoyu (Ali Khan) and Bondegi (Chris Harder) and modular duo Cactus Practice (Grant Partridge and Denys Gareau) also of Winnipeg. Prairie Wires Modular founder and Brandon-based electronic musician Moon Shape Noise (Brendon Ehinger) also performed.
FRIDAY JUNE 14 6:30PM MODULAR IN THE EVENING Moon Shape Noise & Dr. Aaron Wilson Chez Angela, 29C 10th St.
SATURDAY JUNE 15 10 – 11AM MODULAR IN THE MORNING YoYu, Bondegi Fraser Sneath, 1031 Rosser Ave.
12:30 – 3:30PM PATCH & TELL Public open house and presentation featuring modular synth demonstrations, discussion, and Q&A Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba, 710 Rosser Ave. Entrance and parking off 8th Street parkade
4:30 – 6:00PM MODULAR ON THE SPOT: Bondegi, Cactus Practice, Moon Shape Noise and YoYu Stanley Park 15th St. at Princess Ave.
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.