Toronto: September 29th at 7:30pm, Canadian Music Centre Chalmers Performance Space [GET YOUR TICKETS HERE]
The creation of Meanwhile would not have been possible without the generous support and trust of the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council. Thank you!
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SHHH!! just got back from an incredible week at Le Domaine Forget in the Charlevoix region of Quebec! We were recording our debut album, titled Meanwhile in the beautiful acoustic of the Domaine Forget Salle de Concert.
We spent November 20th and 21st setting up (LOTS of gear!), rehearsing, and getting comfortable in the space. The next three days were a joyous whirlwind working with tonmeister extraordinaire Carl Talbot recording some of our most beloved repertoire.
While recording, everything had to be considered: the setup (each piece had a unique percussion array, and therefore different mic and instrument placement), the physicality of music (more intense pieces were recorded either at the very beginning or very end of the day), even piano tunings had to be factored in as some pieces were so bombastic and impassioned that a tuning was required before we could proceed!
Here is a sample of our schedule from Day 2:
8h00: piano tuning
9h30: arrive at the hall and warm up while Carl and his assistant Philippe tweak mic placements and settings.
10h30: begin recording Micheline Roi’s Grieving the Doubts of Angels. We start with the very transparent opening when the piano would be at it absolute best… things gradually get more aggressive and crunchy sounding so we save that for the end.
12h55: the very understanding piano technician Michel is called 5 mins before his scheduled tuning to please-please-please come 20-30mins later so we could get a final take or two of the last energetic and wild last section.
13h25: piano tuning / lunch break. Perhaps of interest, perhaps not… meals at Domaine Forget generally consisted of cheeses, breads, preserves, and pâtés from the Charlevoix region… or tourtières from Léon & Lily boulangerie… too good! Don’t worry, we had lots of fruits and vegetables as well! 😉
15h00: meet back in the booth to go over the mornings takes and double check if anything needed to be redone. We were all good, so it was time to move on to Jocelyn Morlock’s Spirit Gradient. There was a slightly different setup for this piece so things needed to be rejigged.
16h30: begin recording Spirit Gradient. We got some great initial takes, but because of our position to get the best sound, hearing eachother was a little problematic (the tuned metal discs called crotales that I, Zac, play ring A LOT, and had to be placed far away from the piano mics… we play in rhythmic unison for much of the piece! So, not easy!). Carl outfitted Edana with some headphones that allowed her to hear me much better. After that it was smooth sailing and we got into a really good flow.
19h30: head back to the booth and check out our progress. After much close listening and debating we agreed that we were all good. A really awesome Day 2.
20h30: Day 2 complete. Back to our apartment to decompress. Edana and I got in the habit of sampling a different beer from Charlevoix each night. Always excellent.
Day 3 proceeded in much the same way, so all in all, things went swimmingly! We really enjoyed the process, working with Carl was a pleasure, and the grounds and the hall at Domaine Forget were beautiful and inspiring.
Over the three days we recorded John Beckwith’s Meanwhile, John Gordon Armstrong’s The Angels’ Share, Noora Nakhaei’s Echoes of the Past, Micheline Roi’s Grieving the Doubts of Angels, Jocelyn Morlock’s Spirit Gradient, Monica Pearce’s leather, and Kelly-Marie Murphy’s Dr. Blue’s Incredible Bone-Shaking Drill Engine.
Following the last day of recording we spent a further two days exploring the region… walks on the beach, some hiking at Parc National des Grands-Jardin, delicious dinners and wine at Le Sainti (a ten minute walk from Domaine), and checking out all of the amazing local producers of beer, cheese, honey, meat, preserves, mushrooms, and more.
Our album will be released in Spring 2022 on the Analekta label! A HUGE thank you to the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council for supporting this project.
We can’t wait to share this incredible Canadian music with you!
On Tuesday last week we received the wonderful news from the Canada Council for the Arts that we were awarded an Explore and Create – Concept to Realization grant! That, combined with our earlier Ontario Arts Council Music Production Grant will allow us to proceed with recording our debut album, Meanwhile, on the Analekta label. We couldn’t be happier!
We will be recording at the beautiful George Weston Recital in Toronto with tonmeister extraordinaire Carl Talbot this fall, with a release date in early 2022.
Meanwhile‘s all-Canadian lineup surveys some of our most memorable collaborations and creative endeavours from the past few years and will include:
Kelly-Marie Murphy’s riveting and virtuosic Dr. Blue’s Incredible Bone-Shaking Drill Engine;
Noora Nakhaei’s Echoes of the Past, based on the remarkable and moving co-autobiography Sister Language by Martha and Christine Baillie;
John Beckwith’s Meanwhile, a haunting, reflective, and at times violent theme and variations, and the first piece written for our duo as well as the namesake of the album;
Micheline Roi’s powerful and expressive Grieving the Doubts of Angels, one of the few previously existing Canadian works for piano/percussion duo;
John Gordon Armstrong’s The Angels’ Share is a loving look at tasting notes from various single malt Scotches;
Jocelyn Morlock’s quirky and groovy Spirit Gradient explores the inner sound world of the horizon determining device through the eyes of a child.
With all of the ups and downs that the last year has brought, thankfully this summer is shaping up to be one of our busiest and most creative! 🙂☀️🎶
That being said, we did allow ourselves a little break last week in beautiful Prince Edward County:
Since our last post:
Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity Evolution: Classical has continued with incredible weekly mentor sessions and EvoFest concerts. Always so inspiring. EvoFest concerts are available for free on the Banff Centre YouTube channel, here.
Episode 3 of NightCAPS w/ SHHH!! Ensemble aired ft. world premiere performances of Monica Pearce’s leather and Patricia Morehead’s Moon on Shimmering Water. You can still watch the performance, here.
On June 20th we had the pleasure of recording Monica Pearce’s leather at Revolution Recording in Toronto for her upcoming Textile Fantasies album.
SHHH!! percussionist Zac Pulak received a City of Ottawa Creation and Production Fund for Professional Artists Grant to complete a new solo percussion work he has been developing since the start of the pandemic (to be premiered this Fall).
Chamberfest released their season lineup! We will be performing three concerts (available online or in person)! Click here for complete details.
New Music Now ft. Jocelyn Morlock’s Spirit Gradient and Monica Pearce’s leather
Bring the Kids! concert ft. some really fun and engaging participatory pieces
Record Centre SHHHuffle recital ft. classical arrangements plus new music by Jocelyn Morlock, Mari Alice Conrad, Noora Nakhaei, and Andy Akiho.
We are honoured to be partnering with the National Arts Centre as artists in residence for the 2nd instalment of the Banff Centre Evolution: Classical program. Thanks to the NAC’s support, we will spend two glorious weeks putting the finishing touches on our new repertoire at the Venturing Hills Concert Studio in Luskville, QC. The new program will be live-streamed from Venturing Hills via the Banff Centre’s EvoFest series.
PLANNING, PLANNING, PLANNING for the Ottawa New Music Creators’ season launch (early September). It’s going to be RAD. 🤙
Despite continued COVID setbacks 2021 is off to a great start! If you are reading this blog you have probably seen, or at least noticed, that we launched our NightCAPS w/ SHHH!! Ensemble series on January 30th! If not, check out Episode 1 (ft. Jocelyn Morlock and her beautiful piece Spirit Gradient), here. If you would like to support the NightCAPS series you can make a donation here.
This Sunday (February 7th) at 2:00pm SHHH!! Ensemble will be the featured artists on CBC Radio 2’s In Concert with Paolo Pietropaolo!
We recorded this special edition of our SHHHuffle concert live-for-broadcast at Music Mondays Toronto (Church of the Holy Trinity) in October 2020. Needless to say, we are thrilled to be presenting our unique avant-accessible performance to a national audience through the CBC.
SHHHuffle includes music by Francis Poulenc, Andy Akiho, and Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco alongside three Canadian works: Album of Old Photographs by Christine Donkin, Echoes of the Past by Noora Nakhaei, and Spirit Gradient by Jocelyn Morlock.