The Noiseborder Ensemble is hosting a launch party to celebrate the Homstal album of new media works by Brent Lee, professor of music and associate dean graduate studies in the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.
Joseph Glaser of the Centrediscs label will introduce the new recording, and Dr. Lee will perform tracks from the album in the Multimedia Studio of the Alan Wildeman Centre for Creative Arts on Thursday, Feb. 8, from 5 to 7 p.m.
Joining Lee for performances by the Noiseborder ensemble are members Sigi Torinus, Trevor Pittman, Nicholas Papador, Chris McNamara, and Megumi Masaki.
Homstal integrates improvisation with electroacoustic composition, fusing the richness of multilayered sonic textures with the intimacy of chamber jazz.
The recordings that comprise this album are studio productions that mix and supplement the audio materials used in live performances; each Homstal piece exists in a version that can be presented as an audiovisual environment with space for improvisation and site specificity. The titles of the separate tracks largely refer to the locations where the source video material was gathered.
Lee began the Homstal project in 2012 while travelling with a film crew as they shot on location in Europe and western Canada. Director Kim Nelson’s idea was to include shots of Lee playing the saxophone while the saxophone could be heard in the soundtrack.
“While only one of the saxophone scenes was ultimately included in the film, I really liked the combination of soprano sax and ambient electronic textures and began creating a set of pieces I could perform on my own,” says Lee. “The first Homstal performance took place the following year during a stay at the Residency Eina Dance in Norway; since then, I have continued to create more pieces in this vein, occasionally presenting them on my own or within performances of the Noiseborder Ensemble, my multimedia group formed in 2008.”
Homstal is an old English word meaning “home” or “homestead,” says Lee: “I like the ring of the word, and since much of the work on this project has been accomplished at my studio in rural Ontario, the name seems apt.”
Lee thanks friends who have contributed to this project, especially Torinus for her mentorship and encouragement in developing the visual design for these pieces and for her assistance with the album art. Alumnus Martin Schiller plays electric bass on Overtro, and Aaron Eichler plays the long snare drum sample used in DOT 1000. Matthew Rideout contributed additional mastering of the audio tracks.
“Homstal grew directly out of my work with my friends in the Noiseborder Ensemble and I am grateful for their generous collaboration,” says Lee. “I am also grateful to Centrediscs for their support.”
The project was supported in part with a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and with the additional support of the University of Windsor.
Admission to Thursday’s launch and performance is free and open to the public.