Tag Archive: SubZeroArts

The Bailey Sessions

We began work on our fourth album in May 2016 and inspired by the sounds of the “Transmissions” installation, we decided to shake things up a bit. It had been five years since the release of “Fissures” and though we hadn’t released an album in that time, we had gained a lot of experience and ideas for Kalte from steady live shows and installation pieces that we had staged as SubZeroArts in the intervening years.

Dubbing the new album “Kalte 4”, we decided to apply a more abstract sound palette than we normally worked with, moving into a slightly more challenging aural landscape for us to explore. We rethought the previous restrictions we had placed on ourselves about sound sources, blending in some wave patterns and even adding some percussive elements to distinguish our new material from earlier Kalte work. We also decided to add a live element to the recording process that we hadn’t used for past albums. Rather than concentrating on individual songs, we decided to record Kalte 4 as a long form track much like one of our live performances, building a suite of sorts containing multiple movements that would seamlessly ebb and flow together. Not being content to envelop the listener for eight, nine, or ten minutes at a time, we instead opted to create a single forty minute piece that encapsulated the Kalte aesthetic along with all of our new ideas.

It made for an interesting series of recording sessions, forcing us to think in terms of larger scope and broader themes musically. In the end we came up with a Kalte album that was new and fresh and distinct from our earlier releases, but still possessed a shared sonic ideal. We were totally pleased with the results, and decided to name the album “The Bailey Sessions“, in recognition of the recording process we had used on this release and as a nod to one of our earliest supporters, James Bailey, who many of you will know as the host of Electric Sense on CIUT here in Toronto.

We reached out to our friend Mike Morton (aka Displacer), to see if he’d be interested in releasing “The Bailey Sessions” on his Crime League label, and were thrilled to be added to the Crime League roster when the album was released in October 2016. In addition to putting out the album, Mike also got us in touch with Chris Goodenbury, whose stunning photography on the cover of the album perfectly captured the sense of the music we had made.

Prior to the release of “The Bailey Sessions”, Deane put together a short teaser video that touched on many of the ideas that informed the album, setting the stage for a new phase in our musical work.

On the subject of Crime League, we very much encourage you to check out the rest of the label, where you’ll find some fantastic music by some truly amazing artists. In addition to work by Kalte and Displacer, you’ll also find releases by Gnome and Mark Spybey, Dead Voices on Air, Shimmer Crush, and many more awesome musical projects, all very definitely well worth investigating!


In February 2016 we returned to Montreal for another edition of Art Souterrain, this time with a new installation called “Transmissions“. Exploring the question of whether or not noise is art, “Transmissions” exposed the audience to a more natural state of hearing by immersing them in an aural environment defined by super-positioning white noise as received, processed, and broadcast by a collection of antennae-like metal spires. While these naturally occurring aural sources are normally filtered out of conscious hearing, “Transmissions” discretely blended all of those sound sources to create a fluid soundscape defined by audio frequency radio waves that the listener would normally be unaware of.

“Transmissions” differed from other installations that we had presented up to that point in that there was an inherent abstract quality to the aural component of the work. We were a bit concerned that the installation may not be as well received as our past work because we were using more challenging sound sources that might not translate as well in a public setting, but we were also committed and excited about the ideal and theme behind what we were doing so we were determined to see it through, regardless of what people thought. Evidently we were right to stick by our guns, as we found that much of our audience in Montreal thought “Transmissions” was an interesting and engaging display, and it continued to be well received at a residency in South River at the NAISA North Art Space in February 2017, and at 401 Richmond as part of Nuit Blanche Toronto in September 2017.
In addition to being a successful installation, the abstract sounds that were generated in “Transmissions” also served to inspire and inform our next Kalte album. Join us again and we’ll tell you more about that process…
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“!


In February 2015 we staged a new installation called “TouchCubes” at Art Souterrain in Montreal. Building on our earlier “Pillars of Light” piece, “TouchCubes” featured a collection of interactive cubes that illuminated and emitted soft soothing music when touched.

This was our second time working with acrylic plastics and glue. We had learned a lot from our past experiences with the pillars, so construction of the actual cubes was considerably easier this time around, but the project still presented a number of new challenges that took some time for us to solve. This was our first installation in Montreal, and we wanted to make a good impression with a new audience in a new city, so we spent a lot of extra time considering logistics and contingency. The event was scheduled to run for almost a full month in a public space, so we had to make something that was solid and tamperproof that could run unattended and wouldn’t break down over the course of the event.

We’d never really considered that kind of “permanence” in an installation before, even during our past residence at the NAISA space for “The Sound is Watching You” where there had been event staff that could reset the installation if necessary. With “TouchCubes” we had to make something that was entirely self contained and that gets tricky. We spent a long time trying to figure out how to make it all work.

You’re probably wondering how we did it, right? How we made a self-contained installation that was tamperproof. Sorry, trade secrets prevent us from sharing our techniques, but suffice to say that we figured out a way to make everything work and it went off without a hitch for the entire length of the event.

If you’re not familiar with it, we’d like to take this opportunity to tell you about what a fantastic event Art Souterrain is and also give a great big shout out to all of the event organizers who were incredibly supportive and thoughtful in helping us out during the show. Art Souterrain features dozens of installations and artwork that line the underground pathways beneath Montreal, and walking from one end of the city to the other you’ll see an awesome collection of work that spans a variety of different forms and techniques presented in public spaces that are more utilitarian than the typical gallery spaces that you would expect. It truly is an incredible event and we were honoured to be part of it.

While we were setting up the “TouchCubes” in Montreal, we had a short photo shoot with Melanie May Taillon. We’ve always appreciated Melanie’s photographic work and we’re pleased to be able to share some of her pictures of the Cubes with you.

In addition to presenting “TouchCubes” in Montreal over the winter, we redesigned and restaged the installation outdoors as “Cubeism” at the inaugural Camp Wavelength event on the Toronto Island in August 2015. Suffice to say that weather, sand, and fire ants should all be significant considerations when presenting an outdoor installation, but we’re pleased to say that the ‘Cubes were able to withstand it all…

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“!

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“!


Our visual arts project, SubZeroArts, will be presenting our new multi-point sound/art installation Transmissions at 401 Richmond as part of Nuit Blanche Toronto on Saturday, September 30th!

Transmissions creates an aural environment defined by white noise as broadcast by 16 mounted antennae-like metal spires positioned within a contained location. The sounds of cosmic radiation, sun spots, encryption anomalies, and more are all interwoven by the spires to create a unique environment defined by audio frequency radio waves such as tweaks, crackles, and swishes, bringing previously unheard sounds to the forefront of consciousness, inviting participants to acknowledge and experience their aesthetic nature without subconscious filters. Through the creation of this new environment within a previously existing location, participants will be encouraged to recognize the reality of the myriad spaces around them, and the many possible futures that those spaces offer.

We’re very excited about presenting Transmissions as part of Nuit Blanche Toronto, and we’ll be sharing more information with you over the next few weeks leading up to the event. In the meantime, be sure to like SubZeroArts on Facebook or add us on Twitter or Instagram to keep up to date with all the details!

naisa2017-webgraphics-blogpost1Our visual art project SubZeroArts is very pleased to announce that our latest installation Transmissions will be presented by New Adventures in Sound Art at NAISA North Gallery in South River. Transmissions is a multi-point sound art installation that uses a collection of touch-sensitive antennae to trigger abstract sounds and tones, creating a unique sound environment for audience participants to explore. We’re thrilled to be working with NAISA again, and we hope that you’ll come out and see Transmissions if you’re in the area!

NAISA North Gallery is located at 106 Ottawa Avenue, South River, Ontario, and Transmissions will be on display from February 4th to 26th on Saturdays and Sundays between 11am and 4pm. More information about NAISA can be found on their website.

ast2016-webgraphicsSubZeroArts‘ latest sound-art experience “Transmissions” will make it’s debut as part of Montreal’s Art Souterrain between February 27th and March 20th, 2016.

“Transmissions” is a new installation exploring the concept of Noise as Art. Using naturally occurring white noise, “Transmissions” establishes a new space for audience exploration created by naturally occurring white noise and sounds hidden deep within silence and lost radio signals. “Transmissions” exposes the audience to a more natural state of hearing through an aural environment defined by super-positioning white noise as received, processed, and broadcast by a collection of antennae-like metal spires located around the staging area. While these naturally occurring aural sources are normally filtered out of our conscious hearing, “Transmissions” discretely blends these sources to create a fluid soundscape defined by audio frequency radio waves that we would normally be unaware of, providing an opportunity to experience a more accurate representation of the natural sounds that surround us.

We’re both very excited about returning to Montreal, and we’ll be sharing more information about “Transmissions” with you on the SubZeroArts site over the next few days leading up to the event. In the meantime, be sure to like SubZeroArts on Facebook or add SubZeroArts on Twitter to keep up to date with all the details.

wavelength2015-webgraphicsWe’re very pleased to announce that we’ll be presenting the latest installation from SubZeroArts, “Cubeism”, as part of Camp Wavelength at Artscape Gibraltar Point on the Toronto Island, August 28th to 31st. It’s been a long time since we’ve done something in Toronto and we’re really looking forward to seeing you there!

Cubeism is a new installation we’ve created for Camp Wavelength that uses light and sound to inform a location, creating a soothing new space to explore. We think it’s perfect for an outdoor event like Camp Wavelength which sounds to us like the best show of the summer. With bands like Holy Fuck, The Wooden Sky, Do Make Say Think, Loscil and more, Camp Wavelength promises to be a weekend to remember and we’re thrilled to be part of it.

Stop by SubZeroArts.com to find out more details about “Cubeism”, or if you’re interested in finding out more about what’s in store that weekend you can visit the Camp Wavelength site. And if you want to keep up with SubZeroArts, be sure to like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.

Looking forward to seeing you at Camp Wavelength!

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