Soundasaurus musical arts festival at Epcor Centre

Soundasaurus, a yearly musical art event, brought a quirky mix of sounds and musical noises to the Epcor Centre in November.

The artists at this event are not the average musicians you would normally come across here in Calgary.

While most musicians would play instruments like the violin, trumpet, or piano, the artists of Soundasaurus use objects like a cow’s uterus, rat cages, and human skulls to produce a plethora of rich and, to some, odd sounds.

Kerri Savage, communications manager for Epcor Centre, says that the audience in Calgary was introduced to the unique experience of viewing and listening to a genre of music they might not have been aware of.

“Sound art has a long and diverse history. Soundasaurus at Epcor Centre is a platform for local, national and international sound artists to come together in a festival atmosphere to create and share work in a professional venue supported by exceptional technical staff,” Savage explained.

Although the electric noise scene in Calgary has not had as much exposure as its mainstream counterpart, it has garnered a following throughout the years, said Savage.

“Calgary artists have been exploring sound art/multimedia for decades and they have a very diverse and dedicated following as early as the late ‘70s and early ‘80s.”

One of the artists headlining Soundasaurus was Matmos, an internationally recognized noise band based in Baltimore.

Matmos, whose core members are Drew Daniel and Martin Schmidt, uses objects like fetish latex clothes, snails, and gallons of oatmeal in their performances to create a visceral array of musical noise.

“Everything’s already musical, if you want to look at it in that way” said Daniel.

They define their music as electric noise. It comes from using different objects that they have found, and amplifying the sound they generate with electrical devices, to produce a sound that some describe as pleasurable noise.

“We’re attached to this other world with other sets of expectations which is more of an avant-garde noise freak out scene” said Daniel.

For Matmos, events like Soundasaurus attract a certain type of people to the venue.

“We’ve got a reputation for using weird and unusual sound sources, so I think there’s a certain set of people that just want to know what’s the next weird thing going to be,” said Daniel.

“When you lead something like the sound of plastic surgery, blood, skulls, there’s like a certain expectation of you that you’re going to bring something freakish,” he said.

“It’s really about playing with everything that’s around you in your life.”

About Ian Panganiban 5 Articles
As a writing and communications major in the journalism program at SAIT, Ian Panganiban worked as a reporter for The Press during the 2012-2013 academic year.