Land Song

Clark Ferguson and Troy Gronsdahl

I created a video and sound installation comprised of a woodwind quintet playing in the Northern Saskatchewan wilderness. I filmed their individual performances and layered them to create a harmonic media installation.

The location of the performance has personal resonance. In 2020, I purchased a small parcel of land on the cusp of the boreal forest in the northern parkland region. It is located on Treaty 6 territory bordering the Prince Albert National Park, delineated by a meandering, slow-moving river. There is abundant animal life in the area: the Sturgeon River plains bison herd, deer, elk, black bears, coyotes, and the Amyot wolf pack. I’ve encountered fox, porcupines, skunks and squirrels and frost fringed boroughs where little creatures dwell.

The site is located at the bottom of a valley and sound reverberates great distances. I have heard an eerie chorus of wolf voices carried on the wind and elk bugling in the night. I have captured audio recordings of these animal voices which provide a reference point for the development of the musical performance. The melody is in tune with these more than human voices and I consider it a kind of human response to call of the land and animals.

I have developed a score around on a simple structure that alternates between played notes and rests based on the length of each performer’s breath. The musicians are directed to hold a note for one breath, rest for one breath, before playing again for one breath. They are directed to increase the rest period between notes by one breath increments, until it reaches 5 breaths, then the cycle reverses. I suppose it could be considered as much a breathing score and a musical one. The variation in the individual’s rate of breathing creates an organic composition where individual instruments fall into or out of synchronization. There is no musical progression as such, rather each player contributes a single note in a cord building a layered harmonic composition.

Project Credits
Music Consultation: Stephanie Unverricht
Sound and Consultation: Darren Miller
DOP: Clark Ferguson
Photo Documentation: Carey Shaw
Woodwind Quintet:
Bassoon: Stephanie Unverricht
Clarinet: Celestino de Pedro
Flute: Rowan Froh
Horn: Samuel Dmyterko
Oboe: Tyrell Hardlotte

The artist acknowledges the support of SK Arts.

Saskatchewan Arts Leadership Award

I am pleased to be the recipient of the 2022 Saskatchewan Arts Award for Individual Leadership.

Presented by SK Arts, the Saskatchewan Arts Awards celebrates the achievements of individuals, groups and organizations in all arts disciplines. The Leadership Award recognizes and celebrates an individual engaged in the arts in Saskatchewan who demonstrates outstanding leadership and commitment to the advancement of the arts and artists in the province through exemplary management, presentation, production, distribution, marketing, research, collection or curatorial practice.

Endemik Remote Ensemble: They Fired With Their Lives

The Endemik Remote Ensemble is a long distance collaboration between six experimental hip hop producers: Deadly Stare (Montreal, QC), EMC (Halifax, NS), Hermitofthewoods (Halifax, NS), Maki (Kamloops, BC), sign one (Gahanna, OH) and soso (Saskatoon, SK).  Each composition on this album started with a drum track with additional elements and embellishments added by each successive artist. After each artist made their contributions, the tracks were returned to the original artist to finalize the arrangement. The final product is album of truly unique collaborations that pack a heavy punch.


All songs written and arranged by Deadly Stare, EMC, Hermitofthewoods, Maki, sign one and soso

Mixed by Scott Da Ros
Mastered by Maki
Artwork by Troy Gronsdahl

Track List
1. The Timberline Station Event
2. Yesterday and the Day After
3. Spokes/October
4. Standard Siren
5. Leave Your Drums
6. Water Hemlock

Available for download at :

soso and Maki – If and Only If

If and Only If is the latest project by Canadian indie hip hop stalwarts and long-time collaborators, soso and Maki.

Over a period of two decades, soso and Maki have been charting their own unique course, operating at the edges of the hip hop genre to develop a distinctive and personal body of work that helped define the prairie hip hop ethos.

On If and Only If, their first album in seven years, Maki has crafted a delicate and evolving backdrop for the contemplative lyrics that established soso’s reputation as one of the most unique voices in alternative hip hop. Drawing from noise, drone and other forms of electronic music, Maki sets the tone for an album imbued with the pressing political issues and social tensions that have characterized the past five years. This album was certainly not rushed. It is well-considered, deliberate in pace and intent. This is winter walking music.

If and Only If will be released on limited edition vinyl through Canadian label Endemik Music in partnership with Mism Records (Switzerland) and Audio Recon (USA) and on cassette through Hello.L.A. (France).

Track Listing
All the way to the world’s edge, all the way home
And Yet
Not Tomorrow but the Next Day
Wolf Willow
Sweet Little Nothings
Boil Water Advisory
A morning more or less like this one
All In

Credits & Acknowledgements

Words by soso (Troy Gronsdahl). Music by Maki (Maki Kypriotis). Produced, mixed and mastered by Maki. Artwork by Breanne Bandur. Design by Troy Gronsdahl. All the way to the world’s edge, all the way home and A morning more or less like this one is comprised of excerpts reconfigured from Beyond Remembering: The Collected Poems of Al Purdy. Wolf Willow draws from Wallace Stegner’s prairie memoire Wolf Willow: A History, a Story, and a Memory of the Last Plains Frontier.

Purchase VINYL in Canada
Purchase VINYL in USA
Purchase VINYL in Europe
Purchase CASSETTE Hello.L.A.

soso and Maybe Smith Podcast

Check a special edition of the ugsmag podcast featuring soso and Maybe Smith reminiscing about their classic album Tinfoil on the Windows.

Originally released in 2007, Tinfoil on the Windows was a highpoint in the creative output of prairie rapper, soso. Produced by his tour-mate, collaborator and Canadian indie-rock icon, Maybe Smith, the album paired his layered, sprawling instrumentation with soso’s confessional lyrics and fragile vocal melodies. 

In addition to the podcast, soso and Maybe Smith have also put together a Spotify playlist featuring some of their musical influences from around the time of the album’s recording and other collaborations they’ve done.

soso – Tinfoil on the Windows Limited Edition Vinyl

Originally released in 2007, Tinfoil on the Windows was a highpoint in the creative output of prairie rapper, soso. Produced by his tour-mate, collaborator and Canadian indie-rock icon, Maybe Smith, the album paired his layered, sprawling instrumentation with soso’s confessional lyrics and fragile vocal melodies.  

His most musically ambitious release to date, soso, Tinfoil on the Windows, is now available on vinyl for the first time through Canadian label Endemik Music in partnership with Mism Records (Switzerland) and Audio Recon (USA).

Purchase in Canada
Purchase in USA
Purchase in Europe

01. Rubber Rings
02. Company of Chairs
03. All The Useless Things These Hands Have Done
04. The Names of all the Trees
05. Your Mom is in the Next Room
06. Floorboards and
07. One Eye Open
08. For a Girl on a Faraway Hill

From Saskatoon to Winnipeg 2000-2008 Rap V1

Released by the collective, Saskatoon Folk Rap Records this limited edition 10” features a selection of essential prairie rap songs appearing on vinyl for the first time including soso, The First of A Thousand Goodbyes.

Track Listing
01. Nolto & Factor – Loman’s Lament
02. soso – The First of A Thousand Goodbyes
03. Factor Chandelier – One Record
04. Epic – Ah Hemsky
05. Yy & The Gumshoe Strut – Great Season’s Hurt

2020 Podcast

In this episode of the P&C 2020 Podcast, soso sits down with mcenroe to recount the early days of Clothes Horse Records, the ups and downs of life in independent hip hop and the great music and relationships made along the way. Presented by

soso – Drink (feat. John Smith)
Epic – Thought Process
Pip Skid – All Up In This Piece (feat. Epic)
soso – Pretty Mound of Dirt
Pip Skid – Pip Skizzy Demo
soso – Hungover for Three Days Straight
Nestor Wynrush – So High (The Richardson)
soso – Not For Nothing
Yy – Mess of a Man (Rough Mix)

Ligatures Suite 1

Ligatures Suite 1
Artist portfolio in Solander museum case
25.5 x 31.3 inches

The moment when the cosmos aligned, if only briefly and largely unnoticed.
Total Solar Eclipse, August 21, 2017, 11:34 AM local time.
Cyanotype on acid free & archival paper

a continuous potentiality, 2017
Letterpress impression on acid free & archival paper

Ways of Looking, 2011-present
Three Black and white photographs

The same as the shape of an object [Specific Objects], 2016
Hand-bound book, 28 pages, offset and digital print

Ways of Listening – Performance



Troy Gronsdahl & Darren Miller
Ways of Listening, Performance
October 20, 2018
AKA artist-run centre

Photo documentation by Carey Shaw


Ways of Listening was performed by Troy Gronsdahl and Darren Miller on October 20, 2018. During the performance, audience members were invited to explore the resonant properties my unfired clay vessels. The performance culminated with an interpolation of “Tijuana Taxi” written by Evran Coleman and recorded by Herb Alpert and The Tijuana Brass (1965).

One Once on Which Whatever What – Exhibition

Troy Gronsdahl
One Once on Which Whatever What
September 14 – October 20, 2018
AKA artist-run
List of works
When the cosmos aligned, if only briefly and largely unnoticed.
Total Solar Eclipse, August 21, 2017, 11:34 AM local time.
Cyanotype on paper
When the cosmos aligned, if only briefly and largely unnoticed.
Solstice, June 20, 2017, 10:24 PM local time.
Cyanotype on paper
39 x 50 inches
When the cosmos aligned, if only briefly and largely unnoticed.
Equinox, March 20, 2018, 10:15 AM local time.
Cyanotype on paper
45 x 60 inches
When the cosmos aligned, if only briefly and largely unnoticed.
Aphelion, July 6, 2018, 10:46 AM local time.
Cyanotype on paper
When the cosmos aligned, if only briefly and largely unnoticed.
Equinox, September 22, 2017, 2:01 PM local time.
Cyanotype on paper
Ways of Listening, 2018
Unfired clay

Ways of thinking (exhibition essay)

An essay written by Rose Bouthillier on the occasion of the exhibition One Once on Which Whatever What at AKA artist-run September 14-October 20, 2018.

Download the PDF

Ways of thinking

  1. just enough

Troy Gronsdahl used these words to describe one of his chosen materials to me. This phrasing stuck in my mind, becoming a broader notion for thinking through his practice. While at first it might appear to imply offhandedness, or even a lackadaisical work ethic, neither is the case. There is a fine edge between not enough and too much. This tension is often apparent in Gronsdahl’s work; underscored, regarded and worried about. Whether through process, form, historical reference or sentiment, arriving at this edge is a delicate undertaking. It wavers constantly, impossible to hold.

This enough sits on the surface of Gronsdahl’s ongoing series of cyanotype prints, When the cosmos aligned, if only briefly and largely unnoticed. The series started on March 20, 2015, marking the transition from winter to spring. Each print in the series corresponds with a cosmic phenomenon: most often an equinox or solstice, though recent additions include a total solar eclipse and an aphelion (the point at which the Earth is farthest from the Sun). The results range from soft, atmospheric gradations to semblances of crumpled bed sheets and haphazard sun bleaching. They alternate (often on a single surface), between evoking celestial expanse and stressing their own obstinate, unpredictable materiality.

Making the cyanotypes requires patience and attention to details: carefully mixed chemistry, cleanly taped edges and an even coat, free of debris. The prints are exposed in the artist’s Saskatoon studio, absorbing ambient light for a 24-hour period, roughly from midnight to midnight. Gronsdahl meticulously sets the conditions, but the medium is hard to control, moving from wet to dry to wet to dry, with all of the attendant molecular and material shifts. A number of variables affect the outcome fluctuations in temperature and humidity, proximity to windows and other objects in the studio, clouds and particulates. In appearance, the cyanotypes echo the spare ambiguity of monochrome painting, repeating like exercises in looking at blue. Minimalism starts from a point of austerity (even as imbued with a range of aesthetic, philosophical and spiritual propositions). Reductive. Rigorous. Clear. Gronsdahl takes a genre rife with repetition and control, and floods it with happenstance and sensitivity.

While the series is driven by cosmic events, only the artist knows if the exposures took place when their titles claim. Other than large shifts in the intensity and duration of sunlight, there is little to indicate the season of their making, let alone the precise day. There’s humor in this futility, but also romanticism. If photography is a way of gathering or affirming knowledge of the world, what do these proto-photos relay? They are pictures of not knowing, of diligent longing and passing time. Here “brief” and “largely unnoticed” apply to order in the stars, but they also hint at the fleeting inconsequence of one’s own actions and life.


  1. on and on

As an ongoing series, When the cosmos aligned... provides a methodology but doesn’t make promises. There is no strict rhythm or set duration. The cyanotypes will be made when they are claimed to be until they no longer are. Such open-ended repetition often plays out in Gronsdahl’s work, as a way of continuing and concentrating.

Ways of listening (begun in 2015) consists of hundreds of humble wheel-thrown ceramics.[1] The smoothly curved surfaces remain unfired; fragile and useless for the functions their forms imply. Instead, they offer aural experiences. Held up to an ear, each reveals its own tenor of void, like a distant rushing wind. As with the cyanotypes, there is an element of absurdity. The series presents objects that work against utility and logic, requiring hours of effort at the potter’s wheel to form perpetually empty vessels. In countering expectation, in presenting next to nothing, the vessels ask for deeper consideration of their objecthood, the poetics of their making, and the value of attention paid. They operate not only as individual pieces but also as an undertaking, a volume.


  1. close readings

The on-going-ness of Gronsdahl’s serial productions also finds expression in his “remediated texts.” For these he alters the writing of other artists, critics and theorists, erasing most of the originals in order to carve out new compositions.  The series began with Donald Judd’s “Specific Objects” (1965), followed by Michael Fried’s, “Art and Objecthood” (1967), and has continued on a slow, anachronistic path through art theory since minimalism.[2] Gronsdahl describes this undertaking as a “fractured, disorienting compendium that sits in contrast to orderly historical narratives.”[3] The altered texts read like poems, fragments of introspective language that float on mostly empty pages. From the first book, The same as the shape of an object [Specific Objects] (2016), this page stands out as a personal annotation, an apt reflection on the manner and process of Gronsdahl’s own work:


Once again/though it would make/no difference/It is as though one/has no duration—/no time at all/to speak/as only partly present/if only one were/more/acute, a single infinitely brief instant would be long enough to see everything.


Even if one is familiar with the sources, and tries to read through understandings of them, there are too many blanks to fill in. Reading them feels like going over the memories of a long-ago day, words smattered on the page like a series of impressions, bits of clarity drawn from a cloud. The remediated texts are personal and idiosyncratic, and in this way emphasize something essential about reading. It is always experiential, a link in a chain, cohering in a moment and dissipating over time. In creating one path through each text, Gronsdahl’s compositions also imply the myriad other paths that could be taken, in a way that “unmediated” texts rarely invite such conjecture. In paring down, they formalise one of an infinite series of possible un-writings/re-readings.


  1. hardly

Gronsdahl’s approach to art history aligns with his material investigations; both convey a deep curiosity about knowledge, understanding and the ways that we parse meaning from what seems insignificant. Even as these subjects (aesthetics, our place in the universe) are complex and often overwhelming, Gronsdahl broaches them with levity. There is a certain lightness to his work; lightness of touch (the artist’s hands very involved but not in evidence), lightness in material (reduced, responsive), lightness from means to end (spare parameters). This airiness leaves room for soft focus and speculation—even inviting doubt—but it doesn’t equate to effortlessness. There is striving in the repetition and restraint, along with recognition that some things can’t be rushed or overly determined. Reflecting back to the viewer, there is an invitation to take time and care, and a caution—not overlook or over think, less something essential be missed.

– Rose Bouthillier


[1] The title invokes John Berger’s iconic television show and book Ways of Seeing (1972), which explored how people derive meaning from art and images, guided by context, technology and culture. There is a contrast between Berger’s forceful, structured arguments and the quiet reiteration of Gronsdahl’s vessels.

[2] So far other source texts include “Death of the Author” (1967) by Roland Barthes, “Grids” (1979) by Rosalind Krauss, “What Is a Minor Literature?” (1975) by Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, and “The Poetics of the Open Work” (1962) by Umberto Eco.

[3] Email to the author, August 15, 2018.

Six poems about love whispered to the night sky

Performance from the series, Six Poems About Love Whispered to the Night Sky. Images from top:

Le front aux vitres by Paul Eluard (1929) Recited on April 28, 2016 at the childhood home of American writer, Wallace Stegner in Eastend, Saskatchewan.

My Life Summed Up In Three Photographs (Thus Far) by Gregory Scofield (2005) Recited on October 2, 2016 near the Queen Elizabeth Power Plant, Saskatoon.

The Visit by Robert Creeley (1981)Recited on June 17, 2016 at the original summer cabin of English landscape painter and educator, Augustus Kenderdine at Emma Lake, Saskatchewan.

The same as the shape of an object, Exhibition

AKA artist run centre
Members’ Project
Exhibition & Performative Reading
September 1, 2016

Troy Gronsdahl, The same as the shape of an object, Exhibition documentation Troy Gronsdahl, The same as the shape of an object, Exhibition documentationTroy Gronsdahl, The same as the shape of an object, Exhibition documentation

List of Works

The moment when the cosmos aligned, if only briefly and largely unnoticed. Solstice, June 20, 2016, 4:34 PM local time, 2016

Untitled podium, 2016
marine grade fir plywood

Peony root, 2014
bronze, ink

The same as the shape of an object [Specific Objects], 2016
hand-boun­d book, 28 pages, offset and digital print

This project was supported by the Saskatchewan Arts Board. I am grateful for their support.

The same as the shape of an object

Troy Gronsdahl, The same as the shape of an object Troy Gronsdahl, The same as the shape of an object Troy Gronsdahl, The same as the shape of an objectTroy Gronsdahl, The same as the shape of an object Troy Gronsdahl, The same as the shape of an object Troy Gronsdahl, The same as the shape of an object

The same as the shape of an object [Specific Objects], 2016
hand-bound book, 28 pages, offset and digital print

The text in this book is derived from Donald Judd’s essay, “Specific Objects,” first published in 1965. Each paragraph of the original essay has been transposed to a single page and unused sections of text removed to reveal a composition of words and phrases. This work fits within a larger series of remediated text works I’ve produced from historically-significant texts about art. This book has been created with the support of the Saskatchewan Arts Board. I am grateful for their support.

When the cosmos aligned, if only briefly and largely unnoticed

Troy Gronsdahl, The moment when the cosmos aligned, if only briefly and largely unnoticed Equinox, total solar eclipse & perigee moon, March 20, 2015, 4:45 p.m. local timeTroy Gronsdahl - The moment when the cosmos aligned, if only briefly and largely unnoticed Equinox, total solar eclipse & perigee moon, March 20, 2015, 4:45 p.m. local time Solstice, June 21, 2015, 10:38 a.m. local time

When the cosmos aligned, if only briefly and largely unnoticed.
Equinox, total solar eclipse & perigee moon, March 20, 2015, 4:45 p.m. local time
Solstice, June 21, 2015, 10:38 a.m. local time

Troy Gronsdahl, The moment when the cosmos aligned, if only briefly and largely unnoticedTroy Gronsdahl, The moment when the cosmos aligned, if only briefly and largely unnoticedTroy Gronsdahl, The moment when the cosmos aligned, if only briefly and largely unnoticed

In an ongoing series of cyanotypes, I draw on the historical associations of monochrome painting while playing in its ambiguous zones of interpretive possibility. By exposing paper treated with a cyanotype solution to natural light, these photographic prints are a record of an cosmological event, yet the claim made by the title cannot be verified by the contents of its image.

Ways of Looking

Troy Gronsdahl, Ways of Looking
Black and white photographs, 2.5 x 3.5 inches

An ongoing series of self-portrait photographs conceived around notions of travel, disorientation, and the search for meaning. The photos are taken in a variety of locations, including architectural landmarks, tourist destinations and cultural spaces. By giving equal treatment to historical sites and more generic tourist destination, I aim to expose gaps in understanding across historical and cultural contexts. The title refers to John Berger’s book, Ways of Seeing.

the fact that they are not / insisted / reveal something [Art and Objecthood]

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Troy Gronsdahl, the fact that they are not / insisted / reveal something [Art and Objecthood]

42 letterpress sheets, cloth-bound hardcover case with metallic foil print


As part of an ongoing series of text-based works, I have transformed historically significant texts about art through a process of remediation to create new forms. Stripping the source material of its semantic integrity, my texts are deliberately ambiguous, contradictory, and indeterminate. I aim to challenge the primacy of the text while pointing to the contingency of knowledge through artistic play.

Using a subjective method based on free association and the rhythm of language, I select phrases and words from the source material to create new forms. The unused sections of text are removed to reveal a composition of words and phrases distributed on the page. I strictly adhere to the original word order and do not make further amendments to the the organization of the words. The spaces between are as important as the words themselves; what is removed thus activates the composition and creates a critical resonance integral to the work.

nice little rap show

soso with Rob Crooks, Nestor Wynrush & Lonnie Ce

Thursday, April 23, 2015
The Cavern, Winnipeg

soso accompanied by Maybe Smith and economics
with Nestor Wynrush, Rob Crooks & Chaps

Friday, May 22, 2015
Amigos Cantina, Saskatoon


For my first solo show in Saskatoon in more than a year, I have solicited the contributions of venerable duo Maybe Smith and economics. This has been my favourite incarnation of my live show with reverby guitars, beats, turntable noises and other electronic gadgetry. I’m also bringing in two Winnipeg artists who I greatly admire: Nestor Wynrush and Rob Crooks. Chaps will be flipping records to get us all fired up.




Born in Winnipeg, and raised in Mississauga, Nestor Wynrush taps into his West Indian roots. His music is personal, sincere and unvarnished. It’s storytelling music informed by love, sorrow, and the overall immigrant experience in Canada. His live performances are nothing short of cathartic. In 2009, we worked together on the release of his album Trinnipeg !78. It’s a project I am proud to have been connected to and I’m pleased to say that he has an incredible new record coming out soon.


Rob Crooks (real name) makes unconventional hip hop music. Despite his credentials as a battle mc, within the ultra conservative rap genre, Crooks use of live electronics, rapping and singing puts him in weirdo territory. By any other standard however, his creative hybrid approach is super fresh. Download his newest project for free!


Another Year In The Books

Swiss label mism celebrates their 5th anniversary with an ill weirdo rap compilation. Another Year in the Books was produced by Maki and reflects on the year that was.

A1 Papervehicle – The Unmaking Of Numbers
A2 Bleubird & Babelfishh – Money Grinder
A3 Tenshun & Jamesreindeer – Wound Treatment
B1 The Beastmaster, Mildew & Babelfishh – California Richmond
B2 Glen Porter – Dark Place
B3 Maki & soso – Another Year In The Books

The artwork is hand made by the Tika Thek. Limited to 200 hand numbered copies.

Sympathetic Magic

Left to right:  Adad Hannah: The Russians, 2011  HD video (Courtesy of Pierre-FranÁois Ouellette art contemporain, Montreal and Equinox Gallery, Vancouver);  Kevin Schmidt: A Sign in the Northwest Passage, 2010 LightJet print, cedar frame (Courtesy of Catriona Jefferies); Raymond Boisjoly: a relative position and direction, 2014 Acrylic vinyl (Courtesy of Catriona Jefferies) Photo: Troy Mamer

Sympathetic Magic
June 27 to September 14, 2014
Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon, Canada

Canada has cultivated and maintained a strong symbolic connection with the northern landscape. The production of the Group of Seven and their progeny has both defined artistic practice at home and Canada abroad. As art historian John O’Brian observes in Wild Art History, “The land and its representations are knotted together, not unlike two other words with an affinity to landscape in contemporary thought – nation and nationalism.” The country as promoted by the authors of the Canadian landscape tradition is a pristine, untamed, and unpeopled place. Popular depictions of the landscape are telling: Canada is rich in natural beauty, abundant in resources, and ripe for development.

In recent years, changes to Canadian domestic and foreign policy have reconfigured the political landscape. Aggressive resource development has radically altered the physical environment. Yet Canadian landscape tropes of northern wilderness are incredibly difficult to displace. Why is it so?

Sympathetic Magic is an exhibition about the Canadian landscape that does not strictly operate in the recognizable idioms of the genre. Visitors to the gallery will not see the familiar snow-capped peaks of Lawren Harris’ iconic work*, but it’s most certainly present. There are no pristine vistas painted en plein air, nor will anyone see a twisted pine, a rocky outcropping, or a lake. Yet they never seem far away. The exhibition seeks to maneuver through the complex terrain of “the north” through the work of four contemporary Canadian artists – Raymond Boisjoly, Adad Hannah, Ken Lum, and Kevin Schmidt – to expand on concepts of territory, nationhood, and identity.

The exhibition title is derived from a term used by anthropologist James George Frazer in his seminal treatise on magic and religion. First published in 1890, The Golden Bough had a profound influence on then-emerging fields of anthropology and sociology, and enduring influences on psychology and literature. Under the umbrella of Sympathetic Magic, Frazer identified two foundational principles: the Law of Similarity and the Law of Contact or Contagion. The latter stipulates that “things which have once been in contact with each other continue to act on each other at a distance after the physical contact has been severed.” He makes another compelling statement: “things can physically affect each other through a space which appears to be empty.” There is poetry in this text that resonates throughout the exhibition.



List of works:

Raymond Boisjoly
a relative position and direction, 2014
Acrylic vinyl
Courtesy of Catriona Jefferies

Adad Hannah
The Russians, 2011
HD video
Courtesy of Pierre-François Ouellette art contemporain, Montreal and Equinox Gallery, Vancouver.

Boy Sitting on a Tire | 4 min 17s
Russian Woman at Home | 8 min 57s
Cyclist Stopped on a Path | 5 min 09s

Soldiers Resting | 5 min 41s
Two Russian Couples | 5 min 57s
Six Russians Eating Ice Cream | 4 min 27s

Ken Lum
Cheeseburger, 2011
Chromogenic print on archival paper
Collection of the Mendel Art Gallery. Purchased with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts Acquisition Assistance program 2012.


Kevin Schmidt
Wild Signals, 2007
HD video
9 min 42 s
Courtesy of Catriona Jefferies

A Sign in the Northwest Passage, 2010
LightJet print, cedar frame
Courtesy of Catriona Jefferies


Here to There

I’ve contributed a nice little lithograph to Access Gallery‘s annual fundraiser auction. This year they are raising money for a truly innovative and potentially insane artist residency. 23 Days at Sea will enable selected artists to book passage aboard a cargo ship and sail across the Pacific Ocean from Vancouver to Busan, Korea and Shanghai, China. Artists will be considered “in residence” for the twenty-three days aboard the vessel. Here are the details:

Here to There: Access’ Annual Auction Fundraiser
Works on view November 8-15, 2014
Preview night, Thursday, November 13, 2014, 7:00 pm
Auction evening Saturday, November 15, 2014, 7:00 pm
Preview the works here:
Tickets: $20 at the door. Members Free


Swiss label mism celebrates their 5th anniversary with an ill weirdo rap compilation. Another Year in the Books was produced by Maki and reflects on the year that was.

A1 Papervehicle – The Unmaking Of Numbers
A2 Bleubird & Babelfishh – Money Grinder
A3 Tenshun & Jamesreindeer – Wound Treatment
B1 The Beastmaster, Mildew & Babelfishh – California Richmond
B2 Glen Porter – Dark Place
B3 Maki & Soso – Another Year In The Books

The artwork is hand made by the incredible Tika Thek. Limited to 200 hand numbered copies.

economics album release party

Economics is celebrating the release of his upcoming album, THE WASTES, at Amigos on October 25th. For the first time, Economics will be performing as a full band with many special guests who also appear on the album, including Maybe Smith, yours truly and The Karpinka Brothers!

Screening @ Videofag

I’m taking part in Unscene: “A pleasantly amorphous screening of work from the real centre of Canada (if you don’t include the Maritimes),” curated by Amber Christensen.

Saturday June 28th, 8pm
@ Videofag
187 Augusta Avenue, Toronto, Ontario

co-sponsored by Videofag, Saskatchewan Filmpool Cooperative and PAVED Arts.

The names of things

Names of Things installation crop

The names of things
Terry Billings, Zachari Logan, Stacia Verigin
September 28 to January 6, 2013
Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon, Canada

In their diverse mixed media works, drawings and sculpture, Terry Billings, Zachari Logan, and Stacia Verigin explore the complex relationships between human experience and the natural world. Their work engages with natural forms and imagery to challenge assumptions about nature and consider the beauty and mystery of the world around us.

Terry Billings’ mixed media works sit in the charged space between knowledge and intuition. Billings has created works of art using wasp nest paper and plumage to explore the contradictions between the established scientific understanding of biological life forms and her personal experience of the non-human world.

Zachari Logan’s provocative drawings investigate masculine representation in contemporary society. The large-scale chalk pastel drawing from his Eunuch Tapestry series is based upon a number of remarkable, 15th-century textile works featuring unicorn subject matter. Logan extrapolates on the historical unicorn narrative to explore notions of sexuality, desire, domesticity, and love.

Stacia Verigin’s sculptures are inspired by her enchantment with the beauty and diversity of nature. Through a process of experimentation, discovery, and play, she eloquently transforms materials such as sawdust and glue into natural looking forms. Her work invites curious inspection; the viewer is challenged to resolve the tension between natural and unnatural, fiction and reality.

The human perspective on understandings of nature is a tangle of historical perspectives, personal experience, public and private interests. The names of things aims to tease out some of these issues through the poignant, humorous, and imaginative works of three Saskatoon artists.

Download the e-pub (PDF)

Terry Billings detail  Verigin pile Verigin_Polydactyl1

Zachari Logan detail2

List of works:

Terry Billings
Revealed Wasp Drawings, 2011
wasp nest paper and acrylic medium on canvas

Reassembled Moult, 2007
gathered molted Sandhill Crane feathers and acrylic medium on burlap


Zachari Logan
Eunuch Tapestry One, 2012
pastel on black paper


Stacia Verigin
Polydactyl, 2012

Taxon 01, 2003 – present
glue, sawdust, plastic

Taxon 02, 2003 – present
glue, sawdust, plastic

Taxon 03, 2003 – present
glue, sawdust, plastic

In its present shape it is not the only possible world

Troy Gronsdahl, In its present shape it is not the only possible world, 2014

“’In its present shape it is not the only possible world.’” (Critical black)
Stone lithograph on paper, 2014
Variable edition

Text and title from Paul Klee, On Modern Art, a lecture delivered in 1924, first published in 1945 and compiled in Modern Artists On Art: Ten Unabridged Essays edited by Robert L. Herbert 1964.

Forced Perspective

Forced Perspective
March 30 to June 10, 2012
Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon, Canada

Drawn from the Mendel Art Gallery permanent collection, Forced Perspective employs the dynamics of scale and vantage point to develop themes related to culture and place. Working in scales ranging from the miniature to the monumental, artists in the exhibition represent diverse aesthetic traditions that have helped shape cultural life on the prairies.

The interplay of contemporary and historical paintings, sculptures, and photographs activate the exhibition. Fred Moulding’s expressive carvings that depict homesteader life animate the pastoral English landscapes of pioneer artist Augustus Kenderdine. Modernist abstract painting connects international art movements to homegrown art production, while contemporary works by Douglas Walker, Bill Burns, and Janet Werner turn art on its ear. Forced Perspective brings together diverse works in the permanent collection, including sculpture, photography, paintings, and mixed media. They present a multiplicity of viewpoints to contemplate the Saskatchewan experience.
Forced Perspective installation view

Forced Perspective installation view


The Framework Series

Troy Gronsdahl, Framework Series

The Framework Series is a conceptually-based performative sculpture. It is assembled by curatorial staff or a designate using an ambiguous sketch for reference and according to the following instructions:

Using the materials provided, compose a framework based on the diagram. Trust your hand. Using a hot, dry iron, remove the creases from a tissue. Drape it over one component of the structure in the most pleasing manner. Feel free to make small adjustments to the structure if it makes sense. It only has to look nice. Place the work in an obtrusive or unobtrusive space in proximity to other works. The framework performs best under flat white light. Spotlights should be avoided whenever practical to do so.

The structures are prone to collapse; if this occurs during the exhibition, the components may lay on the floor. The structure should be reassembled prior to opening each day and documented with photography. The diagram and instructions may be exhibited with the sculptural work.


The Champagne Trio® is coming together to delight your ear holes and uplift your spirits! Join yours truly with Chaps and Maybe Smith on December 5th at Sushiro Sushi Bar for a delicious knock off Japadog and an icy cold beer. All proceeds go to the Canadian Red Cross to help out the Philippines.

Interview with Verb Magazine (CA)

Not For Nothing: soso mines personal and family histories for meaning on his latest record by Alex J. MacPherson

Not For Nothing is the latest record from Troy Gronsdahl, a Saskatoon-based artist and curator who makes hip hop music under the name soso. Conceived as a catalogue of personal and family histories, Not For Nothing is an attempt to assess the present in terms of the past. Drawing on moments both profound and banal, Gronsdahl paints a vivid picture of his childhood and adolescence that is as earnest as it is compelling. Gronsdahl has always been an unorthodox hip hop artist, and Not For Nothing casts his disarmingly sincere vocals against a sombre tapestry of atmospheric sounds and cardiac drums. I caught up with Gronsdahl to learn more about Not For Nothing and his notion of radical sincerity.

Alex J. MacPherson: You’ve written about how your last record demonstrated that what we call the music industry was an illusion, or at least not what you expected it to be. It feels like this record is a response to that, and a new way of looking at your music.

Troy Gronsdahl: I feel like I have a more mature perspective on that than I used to have. It can be easy to get caught up in certain ideas about what it means to achieve success as a musician and what a music career should look like. In the past few years I’ve given that more thought and arrived at a place that works for me. I feel like I can have a music practice and I can make art and I can have a job, and those things don’t have to compete with each other for my attention; they can all complement each other in some way.

AJM: And by stripping away all the excess you’re able to write an intensely personal record.

TG: I was sort of thinking about my position in the independent hip hop landscape, and I feel like I’ve established myself through this radical sincerity. When I was thinking about hip hop when I was younger a lot of it was about posturing. It was very macho. I liked the idea that sincerity could be radical in some ways, so I try to write from a personal place and use my experiences as a starting point for writing my songs. It’s a way for me to understand my experiences and place myself in the world.

AJM: It seems that Not For Nothing is an attempt to examine your past and prove that life is not for nothing, that it actually matters.

TG: I think that’s fair because it’s searching for meaning, not only on the cosmic scale but also on the micro scale. The experiences we have, the failures, there’s a hope that it’s not for nothing. It is easy to be disillusioned about certain things. I guess I’m trying to be reflective and maybe hope that it was not for nothing, that some growth comes out of setbacks and you learn through disappointment.

AJM: You’ve written that “there are no real hooks” on the record, yet the beats seem to match up with the songs – tension, unresolved figures, stress.

TG: I worked with a producer named Maki. He currently lives in Kamloops and we finished the record together in Victoria. I’ve known him for quite a long time and I really respect his work. He makes these brooding atmospheric beats that I think really complement what I was thinking about for this album – he would share beats with me and it was more of a process of writing to certain songs, sort of feeling which ones would work the best. In some respects, it was me responding to the beats that he was sending me, picking ones that resonated with me or ones that harmonized with the lyrics I was working with

AJM: I’m curious how you feel about the idea that life is not for nothing now, after making the album.

TG: It was kind of cathartic, I think. Somehow putting words to this experience and naming it in some way, or even alluding to it, had given me sort of a place to move forward from. I guess maybe that’s the cathartic moment with the album. It’s something you can work with then. Sort of like once you can articulate that there’s something and you don’t know what it is, it gives you a place to move from.

Not for Nothing, Pop Revue Express

Un peu comme celle de Buck 65, la musque de Soso à autant à voir avec le folk, l’electro qu’avec le rap ; et c’est ce qui fait tout son charme et sa particularité.
Très habitées, les 11 chansons qui figurent sur “Not for Nothing” renvoient à des images de campagne perdue, évocant même par moment des ambiances de film fantastique ou de western, avec ces boucles lancinantes et cette voix étrange et affectée du chanteur, presque triste, mais qui fonctionne parfaitement et qui colle bien aux sonorités et aux musiques mises en place par Soso : beats lents, bass lourde, piano triste, sonorités électroniques, arpèges de guitares fantomatiques.
Sorti sur label auvergnat Kütu Folk, l’album de ce producteur  canadien est une vraie réussite, un disque très beau, très intimiste, très touchant.


Not for Nothing, Dead Magazine

Sechs Jahre sind seit „Tinfoil On The Windows“ vergangen. Sechs Jahre, in denen es insgesamt sehr still um den kanadischen Künstler wurde. Denkbar konsequent tritt dieser nun ein – wenn man das so betiteln mag – Comeback der ruhigen Art an, ein grandioses obendrein.

„Not For Nothing“ wirkt in seiner Gänze wie eine durch elf Tracks geformte Stille. Behutsam nimmt Soso seine Hörer an die Hand und führt diese mit seinen ruhig artikulierten und ebenso poetischen Worten durch glasklare Welten. Wunderschöne Landschaften sind es, welche man durchquert.

Die außergewöhnliche Schönheit erlangen die Songs natürlich auch durch Makis makellosen Produktionen. Ihm gelingt es, die Emotionen an ihre äußersten Grenzen zu treiben ohne jemals in konturenlosen Kitsch abzudriften. Dank dieses Spagats ist die Aufmerksam- und Empfindsamkeit der Hörer durchweg gewährleistet.

Den nötigen Respekt den Produktionen gegenüber erweist auch Soso selbst. So hört man ihn häufig nur in der ersten Hälfte vieler Songs und die Musik den restlichen Rahmen für sich selbst sprechend ausfüllen.

Bei „Not For Nothing“ kamen zwei Künstler zusammen, die zur wortlosen Verständigung fähig waren und es vermochten, sich breitflächig ausfüllend zu ergänzen um am Ende einen der hochkarätigsten Outputs des Jahres hervorzubringen.

– Markus Matt, Dead Magazine

Not for Nothing, 3 Million Cheers (JP)

寂寥感あふれるヒップホップ。ポエトリー・リーディングなラップで、Arab Strap っぽい感じ。

その上に重なるポエトリー・ラップは、トラックとは別々のものとして流れているように聞こえる。「歌」のように一体的に噛み合ってる感じがしない。かと いってバラバラというわけでもなく、もっと上位のレベルで相互作用しているような。リズムやトーンといったところとは違った部分での作用。あるいは、抑制 的な単独モノローグが終わったあとにうっすら昂揚するメロディが静寂から立ち上がって引き継がれる、っていうのとか。




Troy Gronsdahl によるユニット。カナダのサスカトゥーンという地方都市を拠点にしている。ヴィジュアル・アーティストとしても活動しているとのこと。

Not for Nothing, Christophe (FR)

“SOSO” Sorti le 10 juin dernier voici donc “Not For Nothing”, album, très attendu par le petit noyau de fans Soso a le mot juste, sobre et beau du hip hop lent des textes fort qui ne sont pas là pour rien …

“Not for nothing” et notre petit canadien,discrète icône de l’alt rap, à sa grande et juste valeur. Soso réalise la parfaite toile de fond, lumineuse et triste, pour porter ses mots. Des mots sous forme de chant ou rap auxquels la production apporte la juste dose de beats, de cordes et de sons minéraux, délicate et onirique, mélodies rêveuses et éthérées et d’ambiances tristes,il n’est donc pas venu pour rien voici un lien en dessous où l’album est a écouter avec rien dans votre assiette, juste un casque sur les feuilles de choux…

Christophe, August 17, 2013

soso – Not for Nothing

soso Not for Nothing soso Not for Nothing soso Not for Nothing soso Not for Nothing

soso Not for Nothing

On the title track of his fifth release, soso wonders aloud: all this for what?

In a calm, resolute voice the Canadian rapper grapples with “seemingly obvious but elusive truths.” He wanted to write a record about god, the hunger for myth, benign cruelty, and acceptance. He wanted to explore the complexity of life through an assemblage of personal reflection, contradiction, and observation. I can’t put my finger on it, not to stop the bleeding, not to tie a perfect bow… (Pretty as a picture)

This is a record about trying to figure shit out. It’s not pretentious, but it is edging rap lyrics into somewhat unfamiliar territory. It is contemplative. There is yearning. There is vulnerability and frustration. What is the distance between resignation and surrender? (If I ever knew you, I don’t know you now)

soso is an unorthodox hip hop artist best known for songs that explore family and social histories, personal experience, and place. His latest album is a culmination of the creative strides he has made over the past decade. The writing is more wordy than previous efforts and is laced with idioms, double negatives, and nuance. There are moments of off-kilter crooning. It’s a bit obtuse, but certainly sincere.

The album was produced by indie hip hop stalwart and long time collaborator, Maki. Best known for his melodic, brooding sample arrangements and a strong no-nonsense drum program, Maki has been quietly killing shit from his desert valley home in western Canada. After a string of 7″ releases on European bespoke labels Luana and MISM, he returns to where it all began. It is a homecoming of sorts. Embracing obscure shades of progressive rock, folk and rap sensibilities, he has created the perfect backdrop for soso’s best moments. Not for Nothing is forthright, aching, haunting.

I will listen for your voice in every empty cup. (The blushing bride)

Track Listing

01. The wait
02. Things started out so pretty
03. Pretty as a picture
04. The rain barrel
05. If I ever knew you, I don’t know you now
06. Choke
07. The extermination of a raccoon, first part (Revelation)
08. The extermination of a raccoon, second part (Epiphany)
09. The blushing bride
10. Not for nothing
11. A map of all the constellations I can see from my kitchen window

Not for Nothing, Exclaim

Soso makes sad, depressing music, and nothing much has changed in the six years since his last solo album, Tinfoil on the Windows. On his fifth solo record, Soso asks, “What is it all for?” touching upon topics of loss, loneliness and a reluctance to accept change. Oh, and also pesky but cute baby raccoons. His lyrics are heartfelt and honest, rhyming as often as not, and his delivery is much more spoken word than traditional rap flow, although he does attempt earnest, off-kilter crooning on “The Blushing Bride” and the title track. With long stretches of songs without words, the music is equally as important and Maki’s beautifully melancholy production is a perfect match for Soso’s sorrowful subject matter. The downtempo beats are intricately crafted, layered with hard-hitting drums and a preference for piano, violin and acoustic guitar — the simple guitar progression and accompanying violin and twangy guitar on “The Extermination of a Raccoon, Second Part (Epiphany)” is an album highlight. Like Buck 65, Soso’s style is rooted in hip -hop, but it’s just a starting point to explore music and story. Those looking for unique, beat-based music with heart would do well to check out Not For Nothing.

Thomas Quinlan

Not for Nothing, SURL Magazine (FR)

Quand une amie m’a demandé « Tu connais l’artiste Soso ? », je ne me doutais pas encore de ce qui manquait à ma vie. De son vrai nom Troy Gronsdahl, Soso est un artiste canadien, révélé lors des Trans-musicales de Rennes. Bien qu’inconnu à mon répertoire, l’artiste n’en est pas à son premier coup d’essai puisqu’il sortira lundi 10 juin son cinquième album Not for Nothing.

Continue reading “Not for Nothing, SURL Magazine (FR)”

Not for Nothing, Hartzine (FR)

Icône très discret de l’indie rap blanc post-anticon, le canadien Soso  inventa au début des années 2000 avec son premier album Birtday Song une manière originale et toute singulière de faire « hip-hop »; une sorte de folk-rap brumeux et ascétique teinté de références sonores à sa contrée natale – la province du Saskatchewan – le tout habillé d’un spoken word toujours introspectif mais jamais prétentieux. Soso n’avait pas totalement disparu de nos têtes malgré sa longue absence discographique et ce  grâce notamment à l’excellent travail du label Kütu Folk qui, en 2010, eu la bonne idée de rééditer son dernier album, Tinfoil on the Windows (lire), initialement paru en 2007 et de le faire jouer l’année suivante aux transmusicales dans le cadre de leur collaboration avec le festival rennais. Il semblerait que cette coopération ait porté ses fruits puisque sort aujourd’hui via la structure Clermontoise,  Not for Nothing,  son 5ème album…


Not for Nothing, Freezeec (FR)

J’ai découvert Soso, figure du rap indé canadien, avec l’album Tenth Street And Clarence sortie en 2005, et ce fût une véritable claque pour moi ! Ce rap minimaliste ou intimiste avec ce penchant mélancolique inspiré des hivers canadien me parlait ! Depuis cet album je n’ai pas lâché les albums de Soso, plaçant même l’artiste dans mes artistes fétiches.

Malheureusement il avait un peu disparu de la circulation ces dernières années, mais voilà qu’il y a quelques mois il lâche un teaser annonçant un nouvel album.

Continue reading “Not for Nothing, Freezeec (FR)”

Not for Nothing, Gaîté Live (FR)

On reconnaît sans mal un album de Soso, jeune musicien originaire de Saskatoon au Canada, ayant déjà semé derrière lui une poignée de petits disques visionnaires, parus pour la plupart sur son propre label, Clothes Horses Records. Cela tient d’abord à cette atmosphère qui, grâce en particulier au soin apporté à la production, constitue un des principaux signes distinctifs du travail de Troy Gronsdahl (le véritable nom du garçon). Cela résulte ensuite de cette très louable ouverture d’esprit qui lui permet de mêler dans un même geste post-rock contemplatif, soul diaphane et hip-hop patraque. Cela s’explique encore par un travail remarquable sur les mélodies, les arrangements et les guitares.

Continue reading “Not for Nothing, Gaîté Live (FR)”

Not for Nothing, Fake For Real (FR)

Depuis 2007 et son dernier véritable album, Tinfoil on the Windows, on pensait que soso avait disparu avec Clothes Horse, son label. Il y avait bien eu All They Found was Water at the Bottom of the Sea, en 2009, un disque sorti en commun avec DJ Kutdown, mais cela n’avait été qu’un projet instrumental sans lendemain, disponible uniquement chez les fétichistes japonais de Hue Records. En 2013, cependant, soso est toujours là. Comme d’autres artistes importants de la vague rap indé, il a trouvé refuge chez l’un des rares labels à entretenir encore la flamme, en l’occurence, ici, le Endemik Music de Scott Da Ros.

Continue reading “Not for Nothing, Fake For Real (FR)”

True, Not True

True Not_True

True and Not True are a pair of laser etched prints that take playful liberty with the notion of artistic truth. Based on the colloquial definition of “true” as absolute perpendicular or vertical as may be measured by a plumb, I prepared two paper works that are, in a matter of speaking, true and not true. Using graphics software, I prepared a version of “true” – a perfectly perpendicular line etched on paper with laser accuracy. I also prepared a version that is “not true” by rotating the line half a degree out of perpendicular.

AKA Gallery, Artist Feature

Chances are you know Troy Gronsdahl in one of his various incarnations. You may have seen him perform under his moniker soso, an internationally touring rap artist who has graced the stages of Saskatoon’s Mosofest, Les Transmusicale de Rennes, France, as well as multiple venues in Europe and Japan. Perhaps you’ve browsed the websites of various art organizations, this gallery included, not knowing he set up the interface, or, as in the case of PAVED Arts, designed their branding. In all likelihood you’ve visited the Mendel Art Gallery where he serves as Associate Curator and whose programming has included The Name of Things, which featured work by local artists Zachari Logan, Terry Billings and Stacia Verigin. Most pertinent to this article, however, is his internationally exhibited art practice, which spans multiple mediums and synthesizes his various other cultural contributions. If multidisciplinarity is the de facto obligation of the contemporary artist, and I think that is becoming more and more the case, then Gronsdahl has certainly lived up to it by seamlessly moving from one practice to another while maintaining an impressive level of quality and criticality in each undertaking.

His recent solo show at the Frances Morrison Library (Saskatoon) More of the Same, and now part of a group exhibition at the Dunlop Art Gallery in Regina, utilizes his self-described “museological fetish,” as a strategy to unpack two romantic proclamations found in the revolutionary manifesto titled Le Refus Global: “Make way for magic! Make way for objective mystery!” Written in 1948 by Quebecois painter Paul-Émile Borduas and signed by fellow members of the Automatistes group, the manifesto was a challenge to the traditional values of Quebec and a call to incorporate international thought into an otherwise provincial discourse. Gronsdahl’s lifting of two seemingly innocuous phrases, however, pays little heed to the manifesto’s original revolutionary fervour, and favours an absurdly earnest approach to fulfilling its more whimsical imperatives. To this end, Gronsdahl created a series of letterpress prints embossing the barely perceptible words “magic” and “mystery” onto manila sheets. He also melted the letters used in the process to produce seductively mercurial shapes that were presented under vitrines.

The show’s presentation gives it an analytic appearance that is undermined by its decidedly lyrical content. Elegantly framed, impeccably presented, the subtle works only ever present traces of the magic and mystery that is so carefully catalogued, and put on display. What is highlighted instead is the apparatus by which these traces are archived. Gronsdahl admits there is an irony to the museum’s archival role, which is to preserve and present important documents for future generations, and consequently undermining the urgency of the original artefact, which in the case of Le Refus Global is a call to resistance. He notes, citing examples from his experience as a curator, that the institution has a remarkable talent for “owning dissent.” Yet the tongue-in-cheek mode of presentation utilized by Gronsdahl in More of the Same also highlights how elusive that ownership may be. While we may own a set of objects, the ideas they were intended to embody may perpetually evade us and be exceedingly difficult to actualize.

But ambivalence about art’s political efficacy is not what is at stake here. There seems to be a cross-disciplinary concern with the creation of context and meaning that unites Gronsdahl’s various practices. In his studio, his works in progress continue to explore the layered meaning of the word through typeface, text, erasure, and its visual representation. His current use of literary metaphors seems to hint at a convergence between his role as a lyricist and as a visual artist. Moving through the various incarnations of the word, from spoken, to written, to spatial (as in the case of the melted “magic” and “mystery”), Gronsdahl alludes to the ways in which meaning is created but simultaneously eludes us. His incursion into mystery, metaphor and ultimately the unknown, is also an incursion into the space between the signifier and signified (or lack thereof), where meaning gets lost, remade and recycled.

-Dagmara Genda


On Surrender as an Act of Infiltration

On Surrender as an Act of Infiltration
Troy Gronsdahl’s The Knot
by Lee Henderson

Troy Gronsdahl’s short video The Knot opens in the middle of a forested landscape; a young tree trunk appears in focus among older trunks, small saplings, the stumps of fallen trees, and clusters of leaves, all blurry. The sharp trunk is slightly off centre, leaning towards the edge of the frame, and two or three soft fingers of bright green leaf peek in from the top.

We, as observers, are given time to absorb all of this, as the uninhabited vista lasts for 16 seconds of the 70-second work. Eventually, a blurry figure emerges from the background, navigating the undulating terrain on foot. In jeans, plaid shirt and glasses, the artist approaches the trunk—and us—and continues just off-camera, from whence he ties a clean white cloth around what we now realize to be a branch, perhaps an inch or so in diameter. A knot is formed by the artist’s hands, and they disappear, leaving us with the scene in which we started, save for the addition of the small, white banner.

An art historical context of imaging the Canadian landscape springs readily to mind, and one could easily be tempted to think of Gronsdahl’s gesture as Thompsonesque: the artist is a lone wanderer who emerges from and disappears back into the forest, leaving only art-tokens behind, or so goes the mythology. But the quietude of the artist’s performance—and, indeed, his overall avoidance of the camera’s lens—implies both purpose and resignation. This figure is no ecological flâneur, no enviro-tourist; he is on a mission.

That mission is one of surrender. Gronsdahl marks the young branch with a white flag, and retreats. The solitude of the location and the lingering absence of other bodies suggest that, perhaps, his surrender is to us, an anonymous citizenry—the body of the observer occupies this territory only virtually, by means of the apparatus of the camera. Gronsdahl’s camera, in this case, becomes a paradoxical witness… paradoxical because the camera is always placed, and captures nothing by accident. But if the camera is the ultimate, universal, secular confessor to whom the artist submits—a stand-in for any and all potential viewers of its public record—then the artist operates from a position of abstract guilt, or culpability, or complicity. The white flag of surrender is placed before us, but not for us.

What, then, are the stakes of this surrender? They must be high, for no protest is made, no ceremony nor complaint issued (silence is, after all, reserved for the most profound of sentiments). The work’s title, and indeed the knot itself, suggest an ambivalent binding—neither tight nor loose, the band is formed efficiently but gently around the tree, and the branch bows in submission to the hands’ ministrations. It continues to sway, tentatively, after the hands have left the picture entirely and it has been left alone with the camera, bowing in a subtle response to its context and its use as collaborative performer. The white handkerchief, for its part, is a personal object made semi-public, or at least unleashed into the landscape, and the tying of a marker on a branch is a way of sectioning and owning a part of that landscape.

We should not be lulled too easily, however, into thinking of this work as an expression of abject shame; it is far more ambivalent than that. Invoking Canadian landscape as he does, and given his position as a white, male, Canadian artist, Gronsdahl is, perhaps, surrendering to Canada, as construct or context or concept, without apologizing for it. His hoser-hip costuming suggests middle-class North American privilege, while he engages in a nearly anonymous declaration of reclamation and relegation—a thankless and, dare I say, almost pointless action that refers to larger political narratives of race, belonging, and Grand National Identity (if only with tongue firmly in cheek). The ambivalent elegance of Gronsdahl’s gesture is that it is as much a literal marking of territory as it is a signifier of surrender; the swatch with which he binds the tree is itself the indication of his giving it up.

Becoming Book, 2013

Becoming Book - Dunlop Art Gallery. Jan 19 - March 17, 2013


Becoming Book - Dunlop Art Gallery. Jan 19 - March 17, 2013Becoming Book - Dunlop Art Gallery. Jan 19 - March 17, 2013

Troy Gronsdahl, Lee Henderson and Éve K. Tremblay
Organized by the Dunlop Art Gallery
November 3, 2012 to January 10, 2013
Curated by Blair Fornwald

Dunlop Art Gallery, RPL Sherwood Village Branch, 6121 Rochdale Boulevard
Opening Reception and Artist Talk: Saturday, January 19 at 1:00 pm

Held in conjunction with Freedom to Read Week (February 24 to March 2) Becoming Book investigates the relationship between readers, writers, publishers, and censors as embodied through the physicality of the book. Each artist in Becoming Book engages in an active dialogue with the printed word, assuming a role more “writerly” than “readerly.” The artists’ subjective readings of classic literary and political texts in turn create new “texts” that assume various forms. The artists draw upon the contents of the published text, its interpreted meaning as applied by the reader, and social and political circumstances surrounding its writing, publication, dissemination, and effect on a social body of readers.

The exhibition features the work of three artists: Troy Gronsdahl from Saskatoon, Lee Henderson from Toronto, and Éve K. Tremblay, who is based between Berlin, New York, and Montreal. Troy Gronsdahl’s Make Way for Magic! Make Way for Objective Mysteries! cites Refuse Global, Les Automatistes’ anti-establishment and anti-religious manifesto. The emphatic call to political action present in this text is absent in Gronsdahl’s eloquently simple, if not melancholic gesture: the words “magic” and “objective mysteries” have been lifted from the manifesto and embossed and debossed on stacks of white paper. Gronsdahl then melted the metal letterpress type, forming a “magic” blob and a blob of “objective mysteries,” as if these properties are inherent in the words themselves. Lee Henderson’s Refinement Pavilion series is comprised of books that were published posthumously, against the author’s wishes. The artist has acquired rare and valuable first editions of classic literary texts, including Vladimir Nabakov’s Laura and Franz Kafka’s The Trial. Refusing to read them, Henderson has had the books cremated, sealing their ashes in urns, in a poetics attempt to fulfill the deceased’s wishes. Finally, Éve K. Tremblay presents excerpts from an ongoing project titled Becoming Fahrenheit 451, where she has been attempting to memorize Ray Bradbury’s famous anti-censorship text in its entirety, thereby becoming one of his fictitious “book people.”

More of the Same (Installation)

Rooted in a conceptual art tradition, More of the same is a text-based project developed in response to the manifesto Refus Global. Written by French-Canadian artist, Paul-Émile Borduas and published in 1948, Refus Global called for a rejection of stifling conservative values and is considered a contributing factor for the Quiet Revolution. A number of Québécois intellectuals and artists signed the manifesto including members of the abstract painting movement, Les Automatistes. The manuscript has since become part of the Canadian art canon.

The manifesto is intriguing. The document is earnest; from an admittedly privileged contemporary perspective, it now seems almost quaint. Yet the author’s courage and sincerity is admirable. Reading the English language translation, the complications of translation across languages and spans of time are striking:

“Make way for magic! Make way for objective mysteries!”

Taking Borduas’ urgent appeal at face value, I created a suite of letterpress prints to fulfill the challenge issued by the manifesto. The exhibition includes a series of paper works, objects and ephemera related to the letterpress printing process. With a dry wit, More of the same considers ideas closely related to art and the creative process. The viewer is invited to reconcile expectation and promise with the quizzical artworks. Make way for magic! Make way for objective mysteries!

The Gallery At Frances Morrison Library
November 22 – December 27, 2012
Saskatoon, SK


Not for Nothing

In October 2012, I traveled to Vancouver, BC for a week of family, good food, art and music. I finished the week in Victoria with an intensive recording and production session with my collaborator, Maki. This is a single entry rap diary.


I have just awoken from an impromptu post-dinner nap on the floor of Maki’s bedroom studio in Victoria, BC. I have been taking full advantage of lunch and dinner breaks gorging myself at some of the must-eat restaurants in the city — wood fired pizza from Prima Strata, pulled pork and deep fried mac and cheese from Pig, chicken liver pate from Stage, and a fish taco AND fish and chips from the wharf-side spot, Red Fish, Blue Fish. Unadulterated gluttony in conjunction with long sessions of in-studio inactivity (lots of sitting, pacing, thoughtful listening) have been wrecking havoc on my energy level. At any rate, I don’t think Maki noticed I had dozed off as he has been engrossed with a bass line for the past hour or so. We are entering our second day of recording melodies, moving bits around, dropping snares, re-ordering kicks and the like. It’s kind of a tedious process but absolutely essential. We review our progress periodically and are reinvigorated. The coffee and other caffeinated beverages also help.

The new record has been taking shape over some time. The earliest of tracks were written upwards of four years ago with the newest material finished just days before recording. I was hoping to conjure a sweeping epic exploring the human experience — things about god, the hunger for myth, benign cruelty, acceptance. Of course songs about love and personal failure have inevitably found their way into the mix diluting an otherwise brilliant opus into more of the same old soso. Next record I guess.

Following up on Tinfoil on the Windows has been a bit of a challenge for me. The production was really quite something. Maybe Smith scored a special record of such scope I was unsure how I could ever make another “regular” record. At the same time, however, I’ve found new optimism in a less goal-orientated music making process. Gone are the fool-hardy notions of independent success through well-penned one sheets, radio service, key markets, media campaigns, and other nonsense. If the Canadian independent hip hop scene scratched out a niche in its formative stages through innovation and determination, it had been being quickly undermined by the false promise of the “music industry.” I was not immune to the BS. I had poured everything into my last album and as the fall of 2007 gave way to the winter of 2008, I was feeling downright burnt out and slightly bitter. I was someone with absolutely nothing to lose and I felt that I had somehow lost. Looking back, it was the most incredible time in my young life and I found a way to feel like I had been wrong done by.

Fast forward to the uncomfortable carpeted floor of Maki’s home studio. I am listening to him hone his beats with a weird feeling of pride. Maki has been dj-ing, making beats and organizing shows since the early nineties. In fact, he promoted a show on my first Canadian tour (I was tagging along with my Saskatoon rap pals on a tour with Awol One and Busdriver). Over dinner, Maki confessed that he  slapped some kid in the face for making disparaging remarks about my music. Good to know your rap homies have your back. Though I had worked with Maki in the past, a full length project had never really been in the cards due in no small part to my sluggish work pace and the geographical distance that separated us. The timing was right for this record though and after a couple of years of starting and stopping, sending beats and vocals back and forth, we finally reached something that had the makings of an album.

And it’s a great album if I do say so myself. Maki has hit his stride. Blending his brooding melodic sample arrangements with a strong no-nonsense drum program, he has created a cohesive collection of beats for this record. The writing is more wordy than my previous efforts and I’ve enjoyed playing with idioms, double negatives and other nuances of the English language. There’s a bit of off kilter crooning. It’s a bit dense at times and, of course, there are no real hooks. I think it’s a nice progression. The record is called Not for Nothing. The details of the release haven’t been entirely resolved but should be in place in the next couple of months.


Modern Fuel Artist Run Centre

Square Pegs is Modern Fuel Artist-Run Centre’s fifth annual screening of video art in Kingston’s Market Square. Modern Fuel has partnered with AKA Gallery to exhibit the experimental vanguard of film and video. AKA is contributing a selection of works from the Prairies and Modern Fuel is showcasing work from Kingston and Eastern Ontario.

Square Pegs
August 15, 2012
Modern Fuel Artist Run Centre
Kingston, Ontario

MoSo Festival, 2012

June 16, 2012
MOSO Festival
Broadway Theatre
Saskatoon, SK
w/ Shuyler Jansen & Damien Jurado

MoSoFest is Saskatoon’s premiere music festival, which features over 50 artists and musicians. Having captured both local and national attention, MoSo is aiming to become one of western Canada’s most promising up-and-coming festivals.

Transmusicale Tour Diary

The following is a recount of my experiences at Les Transmusicales de Rennes, France. Originally published by my homies at, I’ve compiled the series for equal parts posterity and vanity.

—- Part 1 —-

Maybe Smith and I spent the past couple weeks crafting our set and practicing comical French phrases. I’m hoping to string together charming, semi-coherent sentences using my rudimentary high school French vocabulary. Colin is threatening to bring out his creeping Quebecois jargon, but I expect he’ll be nothing short of diplomatic.

An uneventful flight to Toronto and one predictable, expensive and kinda shitty meal in the airport later and we’re airborne once again. I capitalized on a temporarily unsupervised drink cart parked dangerously close to my seat. With stealth and cunning beguiling my otherwise gentile appearance I slipped two little plastic bottles of red wine into my storage pouch. I’m a rapper. We steal things. While a plane load of sleepy travellers nodded off, I sipped from one slightly pathetic little plastic bottle of wine and then another as I watched a Will Ferrel movie about a drunk who’s life goes to shit. (Movies are so fake.)

“France is beautiful,” our driver, and trumpet player, Julien quips. Piloting a tour van through a particularly unattractive area in the city of Renne, we eventually find our way to the venue, Aire Libre. A proper concert venue, the space is ballin’ hard with three chandeliers and almost too much red velvet. I left a nauseous, post vomiting Maybe Smith in the the hostel style lodging just steps away from the venue to meet one friendly French musician after another and tour the new home I will share with twenty of my new best friends. Kütu Folk has pulled together an ambitious one week program of collaborations and rehearsals with members of its roster culminating in soso performances on Saturday and Sunday (that’s what I’m telling everyone at home anyway).

I’m amped up and exhausted. No sleep yet. I need to brush my teeth.

Communal meal at 7pm. A bien tot.

—- Part 2 —-

Kütu Folk is like the little label that could. They’ve parlayed a series of limited edition, hand sewn releases into major European distribution,  mainstream press coverage and an unprecedented week long run at the Transmusicale Festival. They’ve arranged for exclusive use of the performance space for the week, including a full service kitchen, a staff of audio and light technicians, and have assembled a cast of eighteen or twenty musicians for a collaborative set featuring songs from each of the participating bands. This extraordinary feat of organization requires a bit of strict scheduling and well-meaning ball busting. We’ve spent a couple of very long and weary days of rehearsal, performing for school children, festival organizers, invited media. My sweaty pits have been diligently documented by a hired photographer who has been shooting hours and hours of video and still photography. There is one particularly unflattering picture of me in the local paper bellowing out gang vocals. In the meantime, however, we’ve sorted out a lovely live interpretation of Hungover for Three Days Straight with Hospital Ships, Maybe Smith, and the Delano Orchestra. They also brought in a small string section, I assume, to make my music sound more credible. It’s a very sweet rendition.

The venue, though perfectly equipped and staffed with the most hospitable folks I’ve met, is a bit out of the way. During short breaks from the dark (and smoky) performance space, we’ve explored the immediate area on foot — a neat little suburban development located adjacent to the Rennes airport. After two very full days of rehearsal, Colin and I happily took the opportunity to bus into the city centre with our new pals, Taylor Holenbeck from Hospital Ships and Jonus and Sylvie of Evening Hymns. We gawked at cathedrals and ate churros in the square, returning in time for one more pre-show rehearsal.

—- Part 3 —-

The first few days here felt like I was in a performing arts school, like the movie Fame, or the famous school in New York where Tupac honed his acting chops. After consecutive days of twelve hour rehearsals, the first show was nothing short of cathartic. The cast was excited and there was a real camaraderie developing. We celebrated into the wee hours, drinking and dancing to Motown classics. The following day everyone was physically drained and more haggard looking than usual. Our performance that night suffered as well — I counted at least a few cringe worthy fuck ups and technical problems. I was the first to take the stage and I think my less than elegant entrance set the tone for the evening. Trying to pick my way through a maze of guitars, pedals, stands and other gear, I tripped over a monitor and staggered into centre stage in a hilarious, slap stick kinda way. The crowd applauded. Post show commiseration evolved into more revelry. I invented what became the official drink of the festival — a cup of beer foam mixed with Irish whiskey. I call it the parfait parfait.

—- Part 4 —-

We made amends for Thursday’s spotty performance with a perfect performance on Friday. Once again the musicians were in a celebratory mood and the party moved to an offsite festival venue. With a full day of scheduled rehearsals, sound check and performances, Colin and I (and my petite ami, Carleigh, who just arrived) decided to turn in and catch up on some desperately needed sleep.

The novelty of living and working with 20-odd artists in such close proximity is beginning to wear a bit thin. The house is ripening and the air is getting thick from the humidity of ten thousand showers, sour towels and cigarette smoke. An uninterrupted night’s sleep is impossible with the constant banging of doors, drunk giggling musicians, and angry outbursts from the most senior of artists (the otherwise affable and incredibly versatile drummer, P). Needless to say, the fake enthusiasm is getting difficult for old soso to maintain. Colin and I dragged our extremely tired bodies out of bed for a scheduled 11am rehearsal, first postponed for another band, and again for piano tuning (do pianos really need to be tuned everyday? Jesus Christ). We had just enough time to plug in our gear, figure out which guitar to use and run through two and a half songs when we were abruptly stopped so some skinny teen hipster band who I haven’t met could sound check. I don’t care if they’re the nicest teenagers in France. Colin and I hate them and their moustaches look stupid.

As I write down these last few bitchy remarks, one of the organizers passes me an envelope stuffed with euros. My mood has improved considerably. Sound check is at 3!

—- Part 5 —-

All the anxiety that accumulated over the day was alleviated during the the show. The venue was filled to capacity and I think my clumsy French was sufficiently charming. French audiences seem particularly well suited to my slow, melodic songs — they are respectful, engaged and seem genuinely interested in music. Getting them to jump around or clap along to a song is a bit more of a challenge but I’ll take a patient and curious listener over a rowdy crowd any day. I inadvertently did an encore fake out when I walked back on stage to grab my jacket. I’ll have to remember that trick. I had a quick interview with a French journalist between sets and took the stage for the finale. I channeled Band Swap type energy into our Kütu group set, bruising my thigh with an over enthusiastic sleigh bell performance (rookie mistake). Champagne and still more beers followed; the venue was incredibly hospitable. We were spoiled all week with quiche and roast chicken and lamb and gâteau aux poires and the most delicious cheeses and breads. I’m gonna miss this place.

Sunday was our last scheduled performance. The collective energy was pretty low following the success of our previous evening. I was not expecting much from the show and was pleasantly surprised by another great turnout. I did my best to grind out a meaningful performance. A couple of small fuck ups thankfully went unnoticed. Colin really killed it. We mingled with fans after the show and signed a few autographs. I made amends with the aforementioned band (they are very, very nice). We sold out of my CD at the merch table. I said farewell to most of my new music pals and retired to my little suite in the attic feeling content and very proud.

The next morning I said my final adieu to the few staff people still kicking around and the primary Kütu organizer, Alex. He gave me a copy of the popular French daily, Libération–in the festival recap I received props for the best performance in the festival. Incroyable!

I’d like to thank my homie, Maybe Smith, for lending me music cred and patiently enduring the first world hardships of tour. I’d like to thank all my new pals at Kütu Folk, the skilled and friendly cast of musicians, and the Saskatchewan Arts Board who offset my travel expenses through their appropriately named Travel Grant program. Merci beaucoup!


Les Transmusicales Music Festival

I’ve been invited to join my label-mates at the ambitious and adorable imprint, Kutu Folk at Les Transmusicales de Rennes. This is a prestigious music festival held annually in Rennes, France. Over the course of a week, I will be working and performing with the band, interpreting some of my material. I will be accompanied by my tour pal and long time collaborator, Maybe Smith. Many thanks to the Saskatchewan Arts Board for supporting this performance opportunity through the Travel Grant Program.

Venue: L’Aire Libre
Saturday, December 3, 2011
soso with The Delano Orchestra, Kim Novak & Kutu Folk Records, The Band

Venue: L’Aire Libre
Sunday, December 4
soso with Pastry Case & Kutu Folk Records, The Band

Soso – Tinfoil on the Windows (Kütu Folk Records) from Kütu Folk Records on Vimeo.

Creative Residency

I have a complicated relationship with the place of my birth. I vacillate between polarized and seemingly incompatible points of view — trying to reconcile the deep emotional attachment to this place with a creeping sense of trespassing. I was hoping to explore this at a creative residency at the Emma Lake Kenderdine Campus. A fitting context, the school was founded in the same English imperial enterprise that informs most present-day institutions in this province. The campus was envisioned as a prairie oasis created to nourish pursuits more noble than the mundane affairs of labour and sustenance of self. The school flourished and sketching trips and painting en plein air gave way to a modernist art movement that is so closely associated with historical art production in the province. The campus has since returned to less intellectually rigourous (and perhaps pretentious) artistic concerns, primarily consisting of amateur painters and nature enthusiasts.

The surrounding lakeside area is a site of intensive development — a mish-mash of tiny summer cabins in various states of disrepair and large, featureless vinyl-clad dwellings transplanted from subdevelopments in the south. In this recreational netherworld, building bylaws and standards of decorum deviate wildly and folks seem to embrace a small town congeniality. The stores sell bait and booze and pre-foiled baked potatoes and I am the only person the cashier doesn’t know by name.

Beyond the improvised network of dirt roads lies the vast boreal forest of the Canadian Shield; a forest with a rich visual legacy in the history of Saskatchewan and Canadian art. I am interested in playing with familiar depictions of the forested landscape to destabilize the patriotic, heroic landscapes of the Group of Seven and the serene, beautiful imagery also typical of the genre to consider a more nuanced and complex relationship with the land. The week long residency yeilded some interesting results that I will be further developing in the coming weeks and months.


Back and Gone, Blackflash Magazine

Troy Gronsdahl’s installation “back and gone” is, as David LaRiviere describes in his essay on the work, a pursuit of the sense of vulnerability. It is true that the work continues Gronsdahl’s exploration and exposure of human frailty and vulnerability, with himself and his family and friends as the common subject of the exploration. Both as a visual artist and rap artist Soso, Gronsdahl pushes the audiences’ limits of comfort in their exposure to human imperfections, vulnerability and loss. In the work “back and gone” Gronsdahl takes this exploration to a new level by putting the viewer into a controlled environment that has the potential to elicit comfort or distress.

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Back and Gone (essay)

For some time now Troy Gronsdahl has pursued a sense of vulnerability in his artistic practice, the kind of visceral reckoning that establishes eye contact, and one in which the interlocutor is forced to acknowledge and deal with the compromised state of his subject. the generosity of mechanics (is not well documented), for example, is a short video work from 2008 in which we encounter a man standing quietly before the camera exhibiting forbearance in the face of persistent tremors endemic to Parkinson’s disease. The key word here may well be “encounter”, which generally connotes an unexpected meeting, one that may even entail a confrontation of sorts. The particular character of Gronsdahl’s preferred encounter is important because it is not constituted out of a confrontation with the subject so much as it is an internal confrontation with our own attitudes and insecurities. As we find this man standing before us, with no soundtrack to offer narrative refuge, we must deal with the humanity of the situation in a manner that transfers and thereby implicates our own, human condition. This dynamic resonates in Gronsdahl’s earlier work as well, such as the 2003 video installation We always thought that she would be the first to go, and, in every measure as intimate and direct, the artist’s 2005 hip hop video project under the MC alias soso, entitled hungover for three days straight (don’t matter). These formative projects variously draw the spectator into an unarmed proximity that clearly raises the stakes of our dealings. Hence the vulnerability that is engendered is our own, drafted from a chance encounter with a subject that propels us into unexpected yet deeply reflective territory.

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Back and Gone

Beginning in the the fall of 2009, I was engaged in PAVED Arts new media production program, Throughput II: Speculative Video. I produced a video installation that considers the relationship between moving image and sound and continues my exploration into themes of vulnerability.

The element of sound, specifically the lack thereof, has figured prominently in my video work. The absence of audio distinguishes my video from traditional cinema or documentary genres and is intended to enhance the intimate qualities of the subject matter. The activity supported by Throughput II has enabled me to extend my investigation of the formal qualities of sound through the research, development and production of an acoustically treated viewing environment.

As this project will be on view for an extended period of time, it required an installation space that was accessible to the public yet did not occupy or interfere with the gallery’s regular exhibition schedule. I proposed the narrow service space that separated PAVED and AKA Galleries as it met certain logistic requirements and provided an opportunity to pursue a number of ongoing conceptual and aesthetic interests.

I have been interested in the poetic potential of the passage way and it has figured into my previous installations. The location for this installation introduces notions of an “in between space” neither here nor there. The space determined to a great extent the size and scale of the design and it narrows to a possibly uncomfortable or unmanageable width. The dark space is intended to exacerbate a sense of possible unease.

I’ve treated the interior to minimize echo within the space and create an unexpected auditory experience. By significantly reducing the acoustic stimulus, I hope to envelop the viewer in a conspicuous silence. Materials I have used for this project fulfill utilitarian and conceptual functions. I have finished the space with black felt. Its function is to suppress echo, reduce ambient light and provide a familiar or pleasurable tactile surface that may suggest warmth and comfort.

Through an increased awareness of the space, I hope to create a sense of solitude or isolation. This environment informs the reading of the video component. Shooting in low light and providing minimal information, the viewer is challenged to interpret the video image – an encounter with a figure, appearing into the light before receding again into darkness.

Tinfoil on the Windows, La musique à papa (FR)

Cela commence toujours un peu de la même manière : par quelques bidouillages électroniques, puis viennent petit à petit quelques notes de guitare d’abord assez éparses puis plus resserrées. L’ambiance est plutôt post-rock, mais un post-rock tranquille, pas si éloigné finalement du bricolage d’un DM Stith par exemple. Ensuite, la voix de Soso se fait enfin entendre (les morceaux sont en général assez longs). Troy Gronsdahl, puisque c’est ce canadien seul qui se cache derrière ce drôle de pseudo, chante d’abord à la façon d’un rappeur avec un flot particulièrement lent (The Streets?). On pourrait aussi rapprocher cette façon de chanter (ou plutôt de parler) de celle d’un Tom Yorke sur le “Fitter Happier” du fameux “OK Computer”. Mais les morceaux n’en restent souvent pas là et évoluent vers quelque chose de plus mélodique, de vraiment chanté et quelques fois, de profondément bouleversant. On pense alors à Mark Linkous ou Jason Lytle pour ses jeux de micros trafiquant la voix. Et quelques chansons finissent même à l’unisson, dans une sorte de communion proche de ce que peut faire Arcade Fire.

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Tinfoil on the Windows, MuzzArt (FR)

Kütu Folk Records est un label indépendant basé à Clermont-Ferrand. Créé par un collectif d’artistes, KFR tente depuis 2006 de conjuguer ambitions esthétiques et musicales. Au travers de pochettes cousues, conçues et réalisées par les artistes eux-même, KFR remet, à l’heure de la dématérialisation, l’objet disque au centre du discours . C’est ainsi que se dégage du label une identité et une cohérence forte malgré l’étendue des horizons visités par ses artistes.

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Tinfoil on the Windows, Voluume (FR)

Septième album du canadien Soso, vient à peine de sortir que, déjà, chacun crachote son avis : Essoufflement d’un artiste? Album répétitif?. Et si, nous prenions cet album comme une entité indépendante? Sans vouloir négliger l’immense carrière de Soso, concentrons nous plutôt sur ce projet là.

Tinfoil on the Windows, Hartzine (FR)

Si on pouvait labelliser les genres comme on labellise certains de nos breuvages favoris, pour sûr l’indie rap canadien mériterait une Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée tant il nous apparaît depuis l’éblouissant Vertex de Buck 65 singulièrement différent de ce que nous catégorisons de coutume sous le terme “hip-hop”. En effet au pays des caribous, l’idéal-type du b-boy est à mille lieux de l’iconographie hiératique du bad boys Angelinos. Aussi, de ce côté-ci des Grands Lacs, dans la province du Saskatchewan, là où l’ennui des prairies sans fin remplace celle des quartiers sans horizon, le rappeur est souvent blanc, peut avoir comme modèle Johnny Cash, porter des chemises en laine en plus d’être à carreaux, détester le Moët, les blunts, les putes au fessier aussi rebondi que les suspensions d’un Monster Truck en action et leur préférer le whisky sans âge, la clope sans filtre et les femmes sans seins ; écouter le Wu-Tang les pieds vissés dans la boue, une canne à pêche dans une main, un livre de Burroughs dans l’autre ; sentir la paille humide plutôt que le bitume froid et croire encore que sa musique à une âme.

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