THEWAVES is a collaboration between architect/installation artist Christie Pearson, myself and various other folks, with a view to creating immersive vibratory environments of many kinds, often involving sound and light and celebrating water. Connecting to the depths, we explore the historical, ecological and political importance of water in natural environments and neglected local histories in human and non-human communities.
Our first event was the now (in)famous Night Swim, an all-night pool party/festival/installation held at the Trinity-Bellwoods public swimming pool during Toronto’s first Nuit Blanche in September 2007, featuring live pool-side performances and experiments by Raz Mesinai, Marina Rosenfeld, Tim Hecker, Sandro Perri, FM3, Windy and Carl and many others. Several thousand people attended the event, and swam or danced between dusk and dawn.
Our second event was Fire on the Water, an all-ages beach party at Sunnyside Pavilion held on August 26, 2012, which included multi-media installations, a swim-in, performances by a world-class crew of global bass DJs including Venus X, Maga Bo, DJ Rupture, Torro Torro, Poirier, Dos Mundos and MAMA, and several live performances, including a choreographed sunset event designed by Aimee Dawn Robinson, Juliet Palmer, Christie Pearson and others, and a procession by Maracatu Mar Aberto. The event explored the histories of Sunnyside, one of Toronto’s working class pleasure zones in the 1920s, but currently a neglected jewel leased by a corporation who rents it out for weddings and corporate events, and reimagined the space as a free, open (counter)public one.
More recently, we gave a talk/experimental meditation at C Magazine’s Sauna Symposium at a rural sauna in the hills north of Toronto in November, 2015 — the first of what will be a series of events at public bathing spaces around the world.
MAMA was a club night that ran at Teranga, a Senegalese nightclub in Kensington Market in Toronto on the second Saturday of every month from November 2009 to August 2010. It later mutated into Rough Music, which took place once in a while at DoubleDoubleLand and other locations in Toronto in 2012-13. We’ve played with Native Canadian dubstep crew A Tribe Called Red, self styled dooombia crew The Huelepaga Sound System, and participated in Lido Pimienta’s BRIDGES series.
“We create and/or connect to the global psychedelic dancehall, which equals kuduro, cumbia, dancehall, dabke, Touareg rock, house mutations from Toronto to Johannesberg, naija, dubstep, funky and other new vicious electronic styles. Plus revival sounds from disco to tropicalia to arabesques, as we see fit. MAMA equals Marcus, Andrew, Merike and Alex (also known as Dorian and Dorian), co-conspirators in the sound.”
The recordings capture the Putumayo shaman Santiago Mutumbajoy’s healing sessions, during which his subjects experienced powerful visions after ingesting the hallucinogenic drug yage. The everyday ambient sounds of the jungle are much in evidence, as its teeming life noisily continues around the participants. These include Taussig himself, who, with varying degrees of success, attempts to recount the drug’s effects while still under its influence. These recordings offer a fascinating window into the opaque world of shamanism.
“Mutumbajoy accompanies his low-pitched, buzzing voice with a shaker, its incessant swish seeming to sweep his patient through the door of perception.”
“Backed up only by a percussive rattle, the voice wobbles and shakes, tonalities dripping from it like rainwater, making the music as beautiful and fully alive as a mere recording gets.”
It’s built in part around the researches of my friend John Geiger, who recently published an authorative biography of Brion Gysin, the inventor of the dream machine.
I make a couple of brief appearances, discussing Gysin’s enigmatic genius. And I was lucky enough to have a dream machine in my house for a day while Nik and his crew conducted interviews and related experiments with Gysin’s machine.