Maybe it's just me - I really don't know - but interest in noise in Vancouver seemed to peak maybe around 2008-2010. There was a sense of an oppositional alt-cultural movement pushing back against the Olympics, the Iraq war, and so forth; there were startling developments like the reformation of Tunnel Canary, playing the Shitstorm noisefest in 2008; and there was a thriving above-ground component to the scene in the form of the Cobalt's Fake Jazz Wednesdays, where everyone knew the address of the venue and that, reliably, cool weird shit would be happening one night a week. Vancouver New Music had an active role in promoting some local noisesters, too, inviting units like the Her Jazz Noise Collective to perform at their Festival (and whatever happened to that entity, anyhow? Last I heard they were working on an anthology of past performances, but it seems not to have materialized).
Then what happened? People got older, some left town, some moved on to other projects, and life got more complex all-around. The Cobalt-as-we-knew-it (and many other cool venues like The Emergency Room and the Sweatshop) died their inevitable deaths, the scene got pushed back underground, and the Olympics steamrollered through town heedless of any dissent. Fake Jazz tried to stay alive for awhile at other venues, but eventually fizzled. Vancouver New Music seemed to move towards a more highbrow/ middle-aged model of presentation, and... I moved away from the city and scene, which might have something to do with my feeling that things changed; maybe if I was still in Vancouver I'd feel more connected?
But there's still a noise scene, and what's interesting to note is that there are a ton of familiar names from that old scene - harsh noise survivors, drone addicts and black metal diehards - who will be performing at the upcoming Vancouver Noise Festival on May 3rd at the Remington Gallery (108 East Hastings). Show supposedly starts at 6pm sharp. It's nice to know that the tradition continues - that despite all its setbacks and challenges, the underground still persists in making a joyless noise unto the Lord.
I caught up with organizer Anju Singh about what to expect. Her email to me is as follows - she answers a few question which I won't replicate. Sadly I did not ask what a Throbbing Continuum of Fuck might entail:
The night will contain 4 "sets" with intermissions between them. Each set will contain a curated group of noise artists that will play seamlessly from act to act. During intermission, drone project DEAD WEIGHT will be creating drones in an ambient space to give your ears a break.
The night will get more and more punishing as it progresses. This is an opportunity to see what some of the most respected West Coast Noise and Harsh Noise artists are currently doing. The night allows for a condensed peek into what is happening in noise, experimental music, and harsh noise in and around this area. We have acts from LA, Seattle, Montreal, Kamloops and Victoria.
The night is $15 and there will be food, drinks, and tea available all night. I would consider it to be more of an event than just a show. It begins at 6pm and we will be done by 1am. The Remington Gallery is an excellent gallery space that is very conducive to performances and nights of this type.
Now your answers:
1. BLUE SABBATH BLACK CHEER is a highly respected Seattle based noise project, UNEXAMINE is Charlie's project (drummer from Knelt Rote), GRIEFER is very well known noise/power electronics from Victoria BC, WORKER, RUSALKA are well respected local acts, BT.HN is The Rita and Sick Buildings Collab, SISTRENATUS is highly respected dark ambient.
2. I'm collaborating with Spencer Davis and doing a project called BENEVOLENT SOCIETY. We are playing before the final intermissions before WORKER/GRIEFER/RUSALKA/BSBC/UNEXAMINE/BT.HN play.
3. I'm mainly doing AHNA, we just released a split 12" with Cetascean (winnipeg crust), a split 7" with Contorture (swedish d-beat) is coming out this week, and we have a split with Grotesque Organ Defilement (canadian goregrind) coming out in the summer, we are also recording our next LP which is called CRIMSON DAWN and due out soon.
I'm also doing my solo project, THE NAUSEA which is sometimes funereal violin and sometimes harsh noise depending what I feel like.
I'm playing drums in a powerviolence band called WASTE AWAY with my friend Bryan from Six Brew Bantha.
I'm starting a new project where I finally will play guitar and I'm writing all the songs with my friends Scott on drums, Blair on vocals, and with Graham on bass. It will be primitive grind/black metal stuff.
The lineup in reverse order (headliner first):
BLUE SABBATH BLACK CHEER (Seattle)
BT.HN. The Rita/Josh Rose (Sick Buildings)
BENEVOLENT SOCIETY (The Nausea/Nervous Operator)
POISON WAVES (Calgary)
BURROW OWL (Montreal)
SICK OF MY SELF (Kamloops)
WHIP OF THE UFO
NIGHT TIDE (Victoria)
NIGHT MOTHER (Victoria)
THROBBING CONTINUUM OF FUCK