I had the honour and privilege of composing an original score for this beautiful animated short doc by Anne Koizumi. The story is one that is personally tied to Anne, but the films themes of shame, guilt, regret, loss, and love are universally relatable and is deeply moving. To me, it reminded me of how racism and classism felt when as a kid, but we don’t have the tools or vocabulary to understand these until later on when we’re adults. You can stream the full video here (unfortunately only available in Canada for the time being, but will soon be on YouTube).

poster by Marigold Santos and Julien Charbonneau

“I think the greatest border we have to overcome is the one that’s stifling our imaginations. We’re taught throughout our lives to accept so many things, whether they’re political boundaries, gender norms, or musical conventions, that we forget how to dream of other possibilities for ourselves and our collective future. For me, it’s really important to learn about and know where I am coming from in order to see how things can change and grow.”

Read the full interview here

photo by Chris Graham Photography

I was completely surprised to be presented with this award and bursary from The Derek Bachman Foundation. This was my acceptance speech on social media the next day:

“So at the Saskatchewan Music Awards presented by @saskmusic this past Thursday, I got completely surprised by receiving the Breaking Borders award and bursary from the @derekbachmanfdn. It meant the world to have it presented to me by my friend and role model @megannashmusic, who I’ve looked up to as both a touring artist and amazingly funny human being for many years. I never got to meet Derek, but I know that the work he did and belief he had for SK artists created the foundation for the opportunities artists like me have to travel and share our music abroad. Hopefully without dishonouring his memory, I’d like to expand on what it means to me to be Breaking Borders.

All borders are fake, including this rectangle we call Saskatchewan. All borders are created by the powerful and are used to control, exclude, separate, and break up communities. We also have borders around ideas, ideology, societal structures. We have borders around gender, bodies, class, and race. Borders limit our thoughts and imaginations. Borders are barriers. They’re maintained by convincing us to believe they are real and accepting them as natural. By buying into the idea of borders we enable, justify, and perpetuate the divisive violence enacted on marginalized communities and cut off our abilities to dream of how things can be different.

I need to clarify that I am Not describing some naive Colour-Blind-We-Are-One-World. We can live in all our complexities without homogenizing ourselves. Freedom of movement already exists, it’s just only available to the rich and powerful.

I’m not one for awards, but I’m definitely receiving this one in the spirit of DESTROYING ALL BORDERS. Whether they’re fake lines on a map or fake lines in our minds, we do not have to accept things as they are.”

“Sometimes I feel like my attention can be all over the place, but when I’m playing that’s the moment when I’m just focused on this very one thing, and that’s all I’m thinking about. And I am not living in the past or the present, but right in the singular moment that’s moving through each sound, and stuff like that.” My interview is at 4:04, you can watch the full documentary below:

“This piece is trying to reflect the listlessness of seasonal depression, when lighter days feel so far away and we feel trapped inside our heads, our homes, and in the unending greyness. But the ending is a reminder that spring will always come again, that the fog we feel stuck in will melt away. There’s a lot of pressure this time of year to be cheerfully celebrating with friends and family and I wanted to honour another side of the season that is so isolating and often gets tucked away and shamed.”

Ho! Ho! Ho! Canada 10 – The Line of Best Fit

Ziibiwan and respectfulchild. (CBC Arts)

“I know I don’t want to make music that people can point at and say, ‘That’s an Oriental or an Asian sound,’ because whatever I make is going to be Asian art. So this is like — break down that idea and give you a whole new thing to listen to.” This is music that pays respect to roots and grows out of them, while grappling with totally new ideas.”

– CBC Arts: Exhibitionists

respectfulchild – Glitter

Bewitching is possibly the only word to describe this calming, Zen-like piece of delicate instrumental music from Canadian-based solo musician respectfulchild’s debut album Searching.

There are echoes of landmark ambient and experimental pieces – the liquid atmospherics of The Irresistible Force’s classic remix of Coldcut’s ‘Autumn Leaves’ perhaps, or the restlessly reverberating plucked strings of Steve Reich – but ‘Glitter’ has a mood and charm all of its own. Gan or 敬兒– whose name, given to them by their grandmother, translates as respectfulchild in mandarin, has been on tour across the UK in recent weeks, appearing alongside former Can frontman Damo Suzuki in one of his live improvisation sessions.

Playing looped up violin and using the character of his breath – a common theme in ‘Glitter’ too – to add to the slowly enveloping sonics, he’ll round off the tour with dates at The Great Escape on May 18 (Unitarian Church, Brighton) and 19 (Green Door Store, Brighton).

Released this week on Coax Records. (BW)

– Tracks of the Week #27 – God is in the TV