Moving into physical forms

By 2013 we had staged a number of variations on “The Sound is Watching You“, and confident with the technology we had developed for it, we decided that we wanted to tackle a new project with a physical element. Where “The Sound is Watching You” had been a reactive and generative multi-media installation, we thought that it would be a logical progression for us to add a material component that people could trigger by touch, moving our work out of the virtual realm and bringing us into a more physical interactive world.

Our first foray into physical interactivity was called “Pillars of Light“, which was initially staged at SAW Gallery as part of Nuit Blanche Ottawa Gatineau in September 2013. “Pillars of Light” expanded on the interactive elements of “The Sound is Watching You” by presenting a series of illuminated columns within a three dimensional space. When audience members touched the Pillars, lights and music would be triggered, resulting in an immersive environment and a more physical representation of SubZeroArts’ foundational concept of art experiences created by audience members.

Despite having similar themes to our past work, putting this installation together was a particular challenge for us. We had worked out most of the technical aspects in earlier projects, but we now had a physical component that we had to make and neither of us had very much experience in that field. After considerable research and a fair bit of experimenting, we decided to make the Pillars using seven foot lengths of acrylic sheet that we would attach together with industrial strength glue.

Putting the Pillars together was difficult to say the least. The glue was hard to work with, and aligning edges proved to be challenging given the length of the sheets we were using. In addition, we had to reevaluate transport to Ottawa based on the size and fragile nature of the completed Pillars, which threw an extra wrench into our plans.

Regardless of the issues we faced, in staging “Pillars of Light” we learned that while physical art has it’s complications, the rewards are well worth it. Seeing the space transformed by the light shining from the Pillars was a magical experience, and the response from the audience was amazing. Successful moments like those can easily make you forget all the hard work that goes into creating something, filling you with an incredible sense of accomplishment. It’s a pretty awesome feeling.

Later that fall, we brought the Pillars back to Toronto and used them as a backdrop for a Kalte performance at The AMBiENT PiNG. Pulsing and throbbing with light in time with the music we were making, the Pillars seemed to take on an almost organic quality that perfectly complimented what we were doing on stage, proving once again that physical art has it’s complications but the rewards are well worth it…

For the entire month of October while we celebrate #10yearsofKalte, if you buy a copy of “The Lanthanide Series” through Bandcamp you can send us your email at info@kaltemusic.com and we’ll send you a free copy of our latest release, “Covalencies“!

Steven Severin

SeverinTorontoHaving established SubZeroArts in Fall 2011, we spent a large part of 2012 planning new work for that project which meant that we took a year off from recording new Kalte material. But despite being busy with new installation work, Kalte was never very far from our thoughts and when we had the opportunity to play an opening set for one of our musical heroes we jumped at the chance.

Steven Severin was a founding member of Siouxsie and the Banshees in the early days of the 70s Punk scene, and together with Siouxsie Sioux and other band members, he shaped a legacy of brilliant music inspired by art, passion, and philosophy that still stands as some of the best work to have come from that era. Following the break up of the Banshees, Severin focused on creating atmospheric instrumental work which was a strong influence on Rik’s solo project mara’s torment.

We had originally made contact with Severin in 2011 while he was touring through North America performing a live score to Cocteau’s film “The Blood of a Poet“, and sent him some links for Kalte to see if he would be interested in letting us open for his show in Toronto.

And he was.

To have one of your heroes enjoy your work enough to share a stage with you is surely one of the best and most validating experiences that an artist can attain, and of all of the things that we’ve done throughout our musical career as Kalte, this was absolutely one of the highlights.

Unfortunately, Severin’s 2011 tour was cancelled due to a family emergency but we were able to connect again the following year, and in November 2012 we opened for Severin at the Toronto date of his “Vampyr” tour where he performed live music for the classic horror film. At a hosted dinner held the night before the show, Severin was every bit the engaging and inspiring artist that we imagined he would be, and at the gig he greeted us like old friends even though we had only met in person less than a day before.

We played a great set that night, and Severin’s soundtrack to “Vampyr” was excellent, a perfect evening spent with one of our heroes…

For the entire month of October while we celebrate #10yearsofKalte, if you buy a copy of “The Lanthanide Series” through Bandcamp you can send us your email at info@kaltemusic.com and we’ll send you a free copy of our latest release, “Covalencies“!

The Sound is Watching You

tsiwy2011Shortly after the release of “Fissures”, we started thinking about doing something new. Inspired by live performances that we had been doing and the desire to find new places to present our music, we decided to branch out and plan an installation-type presentation that could be held in a gallery space. Using everything that we had learned making musical, visual, and conceptual work, we decided to put together a show that would bring all of those elements together at once. We just needed to find a place to present it.

As luck would have it, around that same time we learned that proposals were being accepted for Toronto’s Nuit Blanche event for the Fall of 2011. If you aren’t already familiar with it, Nuit Blanche is an all night art event that happens annually in a number of different cities around the world, and Toronto has been hosting an edition since 2006. Over the course of a full evening from dusk until dawn, people wander the city experiencing art in any number of forms. It truly is an incredible night out, and it seemed to us like it would be a perfect place to try something different.

And that’s when we came up with the idea for “The Sound is Watching You”, an installation art piece where participant movements were tracked using echolocation technology to create a light, video, and multi-dimensional audio environment for exploration. Using computer vision software, generative sounds, and graphic theory, a visitor could enter into the staging space and create their own artistic experience. Based on this idea we put together a proposal and submitted it for consideration, and were thrilled to find that we were accepted to present the installation in October 2011.

All we needed to do was figure out a way to make it work…

What followed was a pretty intense few months of planning, programming, coordination, and trial and error. We had to think of ways to make things work, we had to source materials, we had to consider crowd dynamics, and we had to come up with a musical accompaniment for it all. It was a lot of work and at times it seemed a little bit daunting, but we were up to the task.

One of our earliest challenges revolved around how we wanted to represent the audio element of the installation. Up to that point, the music we had made as Kalte had been abstract, ambient, and a little bit scary, but knowing that Nuit Blanche was a family event we wanted to make our sound more accessible to a wider audience. So we started working with a different kind of sound palette that retained some of the Kalte aesthetic but also traveled along a brighter and more inviting path, opting for quirky instead of abstract, and melodic instead of ambient. It was quite a process but in the end we were able to come up with music that remained both true to the Kalte vision and a little more friendly. We were pretty happy with the end result.

In keeping with the idea of making what we did more accessible to a different audience, we also decided to take on a new name for this project (and any installation work that we did in the future) so we could distinguish it from what we were doing with Kalte. We wanted to give our installation work a name that connected with our musical ideals and concepts while simultaneously setting it apart, and after careful consideration we came up with SubZeroArts, which we thought had an ideological through line with Kalte, but still retained it’s own identity.

In addition to working on the technical elements of the installation, we also spent a lot of time considering the theory behind what we wanted to do with SubZeroArts. Much like we had when we were first starting Kalte, we came up with a vision and a vocabulary of sorts that we could apply to this new project, largely based around an idea that we dubbed “You Are Art”. We wanted to make art where participants were actively involved in the creation process. Rather than passively looking at art from a distance, we wanted to add an interactive element where participants could make something happen, which would in turn define their own unique art experience.

We felt the idea that “You Are Art” was fully demonstrated in “The Sound is Watching You”. By entering the performance area, each participant would appear as a video projection on a screen at the head of the room, and as they moved they would leave a trail of visual artifacts that would create a pattern on the screen. Walking around the room would also trigger a multi-point sound element providing a soundtrack that would evolve depending on where you found yourself in the room. Ultimately each participant’s movement would result in a unique aural and visual display, thus fulfilling the idea that participants were defining their own art experience.

“The Sound is Watching You” made it’s debut at the AWOL Gallery on October 1st 2011, and we’re pleased to say that it was a success in terms of both audience participation and in terms of starting a new stage of our work. In 2012, we successfully pitched a variation on “The Sound is Watching You” called “LightSoundPlay!” which was staged at SAW Gallery as part of the inaugural Nuit Blanche event in Ottawa, giving us our first out of town performance experience. We followed that up in January 2013 with a month long residency of the original “Sound is Watching You” installation at the New Adventures in Sound Arts performance space in Toronto. With these installations we had expanded the scope of what we were doing artistically and SubZeroArts had become it’s own distinct project that allowed us to explore our interests in different directions than we had previously been doing with Kalte.

The years to follow would see us alternating between Kalte and SubZeroArts projects and learning from the experiences of each to further develop the other. Over the next few days we’ll tell you about some of those experiences…

For the entire month of October while we celebrate #10yearsofKalte, if you buy a copy of “The Lanthanide Series” through Bandcamp you can send us your email at info@kaltemusic.com and we’ll send you a free copy of our latest release, “Covalencies“!

Fissures Remix Kit!

FissuresRemixIn recognition of the release of our third album “Fissures“, we’re releasing a third Remix Kit for you to make some new music with!

Link to download (24 Mb)

Featuring raw tracks from the “Fissures” album, this new Remix Kit is sure to inspire you to create new and exciting remixes of Kalte or completely new and awesome music of your own. Be sure to tag your work with #10yearsofKalte to let us know what you do, we’d love to hear what you come up with!

If you haven’t already grabbed them, you can find our first two Remix Kits at the links below;

Enjoy!

Adding a Visual Element

With the release of “Fissures”, we began to think more about the visual ideal of what we were doing with Kalte. There had always been an imagery that we associated with our music, but with our recent live experiences, particularly with Monsters in Your Head, we wanted to go even further and create a more fulsome vision for Kalte.

To start with, Deane made a video for “Fissures”, a dark and abstract collection of images that brought to mind the massive pressures and the arctic depths of the Hadopelagic Zone, and that went a long way to inform how listeners pictured the work on the “Fissures” album.

We also began to add a visual element to our live performances during the “Fissures” shows, using video and dramatic lighting to further convey our vision. You’ve already seen a short clip from our performance in March 2011, and that show and others that followed further developed our thoughts about new ways to present our music that would manifest themselves in our work very soon…

By the way, while we’re speaking about our clip from March 2011, we wanted to give a shout out to our friend Liisa who filmed the footage that we used to make that video. In addition to being one of the best writers we know, Liisa is also an awesome video director and we whole-heartedly encourage you to check out her very impressive collection of Goth Style videos.

For the entire month of October while we celebrate #10yearsofKalte, if you buy a copy of “The Lanthanide Series” through Bandcamp you can send us your email at info@kaltemusic.com and we’ll send you a free copy of our latest release, “Covalencies“!

 

Join us tomorrow and we’ll tell you more about where that took us…

Fissures

FissuresCoverWe began working on our third album (with a working title of Kalte 3) in the fall of 2010, and the recording sessions we had for it were definitely influenced by our experiences playing live. We continued to use the mapping technique we had developed for “Glaciations”, and we also broadened our idea of creating a musical space, moving from between the ears of the listener to filling an actual physical environment with sound. It seems like a very simple shift, but in practice we found it to be a significantly different way of thinking that greatly informed what we were doing.

In addition to thinking about filling physical spaces with sound, Kalte 3 was also inspired by the weather, being our first release that was actually recorded in the winter. So much of what we had been doing with Kalte drew from ideas of cold Antarctic temperatures and deep undersea pressures, but the truth was that we had recorded both of our first two albums in the heat of the summer, where our only actual connection to cold Antarctic temperatures was the air conditioner at Deane’s place. Actually recording in the winter added a level of verisimilitude to what we were doing that pushed our sound to a new level. Long nights and bitter cold did a lot to influence the sounds that we collected to work with, resulting in some of our most fully realized work to date.

Making new music is always a great time, but recording Kalte 3 was particularly enjoyable for us in that we were very comfortable with our vision for Kalte, with our sound aesthetic, and with the processes that we were using. It was a great place for us to be musically, and listening back to what we were doing we can hear that perfect realization of circumstances.

We finished recording in mid January of 2011, and decided to name the album “Fissures”, which refers to the lines found in ice or rock as the result of breaking or cracks. It was a simple choice to make as the idea of new forms and patterns revealed in solid objects seemed to run parallel to our discovery of greater depths within our music.

“Fissures” was released in March 2011 on the Petcord net-label with the artwork designed by label owner Synflict. It’s a really beautiful cover that fully captured our vision at the time, and we’re most grateful to Synflict for his support.

Following the release of “Fissures”, we started thinking about what we wanted to do to let people know about it. Join us tomorrow and we’ll tell you a bit more about that…

For the entire month of October while we celebrate #10yearsofKalte, if you buy a copy of “The Lanthanide Series” through Bandcamp you can send us your email at info@kaltemusic.com and we’ll send you a free copy of our latest release, “Covalencies“!

Make a Glaciations Remix!

GlaciatonsRemixFollowing the success of our earlier Kalte Remix Package, we thought it would be a good idea to post another collection of samples for you to have some fun with, this time from our album “Glaciations“.

Download Link (46Mb):

http://kaltemusic.com/kalte_remix_packs/Kalte_Glaciations_Remix-Package.zip

If you do end up producing some music using our samples — perhaps by writing a new piece or incorporating them into your own material — please post them and let us know because we’d love to hear what you come up with!

And don’t forget to tag them with #10yearsofKalte!

Monsters in Your Head

Monsters in Your Head posterOne of our most favorite shows that we’ve ever played was part of a gallery event curated by our friend David Keyes and the House of Pomegranates, a collection of artists, designers, magicians, alchemists, ne’er do wells, and lovable scoundrels who are among some of the most awesome people we’ve ever met. The event was called Scary/Monster/Beautiful, and it ran from October 7-18, 2009 at Gallery 1313 in Toronto. Bringing together art and fashion and music and writing, it was a truly wonderful and magical event, and we were very flattered to have the opportunity to curate a live performance for one of the evenings.

Inspired by the nature of the event, we decided that we should do something a little more interesting than just standing in front of a crowd and playing our songs, so we decided to present a headphone concert mostly because we really liked the idea of somebody walking into the space and seeing a bunch of people with headphones on listening very intently to a performance that nobody else could hear. It seemed very much in keeping with the solitary elements of Kalte’s music, and there was a sense of humour to the idea that really appealed to us as well.

We billed our evening as “Monsters in Your Head” and invited composer and cellist Nick Storring and L’Ombre to play with us because we really liked their music and we’d never had a chance to play with either of them before. We spent a lot of time trying to source headphones for people to use at the show and figuring out how to make it all work, but in the end it all came together and it was pretty great. As noted above, “Monsters in Your Head” stands as one of the best shows we’ve ever done, and it inspired us to start thinking about new ways that we could present the music that we were doing to new audiences in new spaces.

It would take a little while for those thoughts to fully form, but ultimately they would lead us to start a visual arts companion project to Kalte. We’ll tell you more about that project in a couple of days, but before we get to that we should tell you about our third album, which we’ll do after we share another surprise tomorrow…

For the entire month of October while we celebrate #10yearsofKalte, if you buy a copy of “The Lanthanide Series” through Bandcamp you can send us your email at info@kaltemusic.com and we’ll send you a free copy of our latest release, “Covalencies“!

A Short Video

With all of our recent discussion of live shows, it occurs to us that some of you may be interested to see some live footage of Kalte. Admittedly we don’t have much video of us performing, but here’s a clip from a show that we did In March 2011. In keeping with the glacial musical themes of our work, we chose to wear parkas for this one. Didn’t we look great?

For the entire month of October while we celebrate #10yearsofKalte, if you buy a copy of “The Lanthanide Series” through Bandcamp you can send us your email at info@kaltemusic.com and we’ll send you a free copy of our latest release, “Covalencies“!

Posters

Once we had played our first two shows as Kalte we started doing more shows around Toronto. As stated previously, both of us have always enjoyed playing out so we’re always up for a gig when the opportunity presents itself (in fact we’re playing at Audio Bleed later this month if you’re interested…).

Over the years Deane has designed a number of posters and flyers to promote our events, so we thought we would take this opportunity to share some of our favorites.

Kalte Live @ Supermarket, June 22kalte-poster-08MAR2011-jpglrg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

kalte-poster-29OCT2013Kalte, live July 8 at the Supermarket

 

 

 

 

 

In addition to showcasing some of Deane’s awesome work, we’d also like to take this opportunity to thank all of the awesome artists that we’ve had the opportunity to share a stage with over the years. Playing live is great, but playing live with such talented artists is even better!

Did you make it out to any of these shows? Send us an email at info@kaltemusic.com and let us know what you remember about them!

For the entire month of October while we celebrate #10yearsofKalte, if you buy a copy of “The Lanthanide Series” through Bandcamp you can send us your email at info@kaltemusic.com and we’ll send you a free copy of our latest release, “Covalencies“!

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