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We had originally made contact with Severin in 2011 while he was touring through North America performing a live score to Cocteau’s film “The Blood of a Poet“, and sent him some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“!

Playing Live

kalte_live_18aug09Following the release of “Glaciations” we were ready to do some shows, and given that they had been the inspiration for our working together in the first place, it seemed only natural that our first gig should be at The AMBiENT PiNG. We got in touch with Scott and Jamie about booking something and they offered us a spot as part of their 10th anniversary in August 2009, along with their own project dreamSTATE, and our friend Wally Jericho.

Having mapped out what we were doing with “Glaciations” we were ready to play the new material but we hadn’t been using the mapping technique during the recording of “The Lanthanide Series”, so we had to go back and figure out how to play everything from that album in a live setting. It was an interesting process, and required us to take apart the album and study each of its component parts individually, which gave us a new appreciation for what we were doing and some ideas about how we could develop and even further improve upon our processes, which would benefit the recording of our third release “Fissures” (more about that one later).

Once we had mapped all of the earlier songs out, we had to come up with a set list of what we wanted to play, and while we had no illusions that we had a beloved back-catalog of hits that we needed to roll out for the fans, we did want to make sure that we touched on highlights from both albums that we thought were relevant in terms of who we are as Kalte, and we also wanted to play some stuff that would sound good live, because you always want to sound good live. We opted to start with “Shallow Approach” because it’s the first song from “The Lanthanide Series”, and it seemed like a nice way to build up a set and create a tone for the performance. From there things started to fall into place nicely and pretty soon we had come up with about 40 minutes covering both albums that was properly mapped and ready for live performance.

Of course, mapping and choosing a set list, while still an integral part of the live process, is not the only thing you need to get ready for a gig. You also need to rehearse and practice and make sure that you know what to do. You have to identify any cues and you have to know where there are any sweet spots to stay in and any rough spots to be careful with. And even though our mapping technique allowed us to recreate our music live, we also had to work in space to be spontaneous and improvise as well, because when you’re feeling in the groove you really want to be able to keep groovin’, right?

Ultimately you have to know pretty much everything about your set to get the job done, and that takes a lot of planning out. One decision we made early on was to play a continuous set with no breaks rather than individual songs, as it would create a more consistent mood and it would also save us from any potential disasters as we loaded different songs. Even in those early days we were thinking ahead! We also had to figure out what to wear, and we cannot express how very important wardrobe is when you’re playing live. For the record, at our first show we both went with black jeans, white shirts and black ties. We looked great.

kalte_live_21aug09To make things even more interesting while we prepared for our first show, we were also offered a gig with the Akin Collective for three days after our spot at The AMBiENT PiNG. Neither of us are the kind of person to turn away an opportunity to play a show, so we said “Of course we’ll do it!” and we set about preparing for a second show while we were getting ready for our first. And you might think that would be easy, we could just play the same set and everything would be fine, right? Not quite. We decided that it would be more fun to come up with a completely new and different set for the second show. And it was fun, but it was also a bit of a scramble too. In the end we were able to get everything done in time for both sets, but we did have to make fast decisions about wardrobe for the second show. We opted for hoodies and sneakers, and we looked great at that show too.

You’ll be happy to know that both shows were well received and came off with no technical issues. We played some music, people enjoyed it, and we had fun doing it, which is pretty much the goal for any live show. They were both great experiences that pushed us a little bit further ahead in terms of what we were doing with Kalte, and they inspired us to do more shows in the future.

Which we did…

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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