One of the benefits I saw when debating my move to Winnipeg two years ago was that Winnipeg had prominent music and arts communities. I had never been to Winnipeg so I hypothesized that thriving arts and music scenes were catalyzed by long, cold winters that forced many to turn inward, to withdraw themselves publicly and possibly, focus on some sort of art form.
While speaking with DJ Hunnicutt this weekend I was reminded of the music of my past. Here is the Winnipeg connection that takes me back to the future.
Growing up in Lethbridge, Alberta there is a natural rebellion against country music and the domineering adult contemporary radio station in the sleepy city. In my teens I dreamt about leaving the big-boxed community and was able to do so by sneaking out at night and trekking 200 km north to Calgary. Sweating at all-night-dance-parties was my escape. Hardcore and gabber usually dominated the main rooms at the time but it was like nothing I had ever heard before – fast, angry, dark, and loud – but still enlightening. The raw hostility of the music amplified by twinned ten-metre high speaker towers created freedom within.
Winnipeg’s Venetian Snares (Aaron Funk) hammers out breakcore with such force he shakes (electronic) hardcore movements worldwide. He maintains a high profile on Michael Paradinas’ (µ-ziq) Planet µ label, playing dance music at 200 beats per minute that would pound most speed metal into thin sheets of aluminium foil. Funk and his fans have Winnipeg to thank – he lists Langside, Furby, and Spence as his influences. One of his EPs titled, Winnipeg is a Frozen Shithole, features some derogatory Winnipeg statement in every title (like “Die Winnipeg Die Die Die Fuckers Die”). It’s pretty happy material you can check out at http://www.myspace.com/venetiansnares.
Venetian Snares – Die Winnipeg Die Die Die Fuckers Die.mp3
Doormouse – Skelechairs [Venetian Snares remix].mp3
At the same all-night-dance-parties mentioned above, the smaller rooms featured DJs playing ambient techno. Through the magic of musical connect the dots I developed a taste for minimal techno. Its deep, echoing, dubby bass lines took me to outer space – it’s the most futuristic music I know of. Rhythmic bleeps could equally be found in space stations, in high-tech factories or on dance floors.
Suz (Suzanne Szmilek) was one of the first DJs I heard in Winnipeg. She plays robot-friendly dance music every weekend on the bottom floor of the Empire. Running nearly three years now, Suz and Oxide have one of the longest-lasting club nights in the city. Suz puts her mechanical precision to work arranging the annual Winnipeg DJ festival and for fundraisers. Independently, as well as with Darren Layborn, Suz produces bubbly, underwater, dance floor friendly music.
David Last – Where it All Falls [Suz's rip up the rug remix].mp3
Suz – Montreal Jones (DJ set).mp3
- Warning: the DJ set is 89 Mb – please right-click -> save target as.