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August 18-31
VOL.14 ISSUE. 26

Whirling Dervish

Chris Morin
Published Thursday December 13, 11:00 am
Indie Rock Chamber Music? Well Sure!


Thursday 13

The Bassment

It’s an unlikely pairing.

Montréal’s Warhol Dervish has crafted a live performance that is a unique marriage of chamber music and indie rock compositions. Sort of. It’s complicated.

Capping off the Ritornello chamber music series for 2012, Warhol Dervish (which, for this particular concert, is made up of three violinists and a cellist) is tackling works by several indie rock giants, including Richard Reed Parry of Arcade Fire and Bryce Dessner of The National.

But don’t expect the quartet to stay true to those bands’ sounds — or anything you’ve heard before, for that matter. Consider the fact that, along with their take on chamber music, the group uses stethoscopes to play along with their individual heartbeats.

Violinist Carissa Klopoushak says that Warhol Dervish is using this program as a launching pad in hopes of attracting an audience that isn’t typically associated with the chamber music world.

“The concert we’re playing now is more of a reflection of what’s going on in classical music today. There are a lot of meldings of the indie rock world and the classical world, although I don’t want to say that so much because people will overstate what that means,” she says.

“A lot of people who write music find that what they’re doing falls into multiple categories,” she continues. “The bass player of Arcade Fire, Richard Reed Parry, is a trained classical composer who happens to write music for indie rock bands. He also writes music for Belle Orchestre, which is more avant garde, and he also composes a lot of classical music that falls outside of those realms. This also holds true with someone like Sufjan Stevens or Owen Pallett — are they classical composers or not?

“The concerts that we’re playing can be appreciated by more people because it takes on a certain style of music, but comes at it from different angles.”

Warhol Dervish first came together in Montréal in 2006 as a collective of musicians and a rotating cast of collaborators. Klopoushak says that the members saw the need for something different within their musical circles, and that they compose their own music in addition to taking on other compositions. Individual members are also associated with both the indie rock universe, having played with Patrick Watson, as well as the traditional music world, making appearances with Montréal Symphony Orchestra.

With this collective experience, Klopoushak says that groups like Warhol Dervish will continue to bring national attention to events like Ritornello in Saskatoon.

“In Saskatchewan we’re very lucky to have a vibrant arts scene and there are so many different kinds of music going on,” says Klopoushak, “but chamber music is something there could always be more of, which is why we started the festival in the first place. And Part of the idea behind the festival was homecoming, and to bring these talented musicians back to Saskatchewan. But what’s really important to us is that we have a new take on classical music. The things that are going on now with that world are great. But there is a need to diversify and to catch the attention of people who don’t think that they are classical music fans.

“A show like Warhol Dervish, we hope, is enticing to different people.”


Distance Makes The Heart…


Thursday 13


It’s been one hell of a year for Regina hardcore trio Kleins 96.

First, the group put out two releases — a split 7” and a split 10” EP — on their own Harvest King record label, which is run by band members and brothers Justin and Dylan Ludwig. Now, they’re about to launch a winter tour to support a new compilation CD entitled Shredded Wheat Vol. 2, which features a handful of up-and-coming prairie punk groups.

Everything seems to be coming up aces — so why is Kleins 96 taking a break in the new year?

“Kleins 96 isn’t a full-time thing, and we all have a lot of things on the go — I work in film, so it’s tough to plan in advance and book tours,” explains bassist Justin Ludwig. “I’ll be moving to Vancouver soon to work on a new television show.”

Despite the heartbreaking reality of the dearth of film-related jobs in the province, Ludwig says that the band will continue on as a long-distance project — which is nothing new for them.

“I lived in Victoria for a full year before, and we still played as many shows in Regina as we ever did,” he laughs.

Formed in 2008, Kleins 96 started off as a skate-punk trio before taking on a more aggressive thrash/hardcore stance. Since then, the group has maintained a prolific studio output, with several split records and EPs as well as their full-length LP, Modern Fortune.

Despite the upcoming distance issues, Ludwig says that Kleins 96 is already planning on several releases for the new year.

“We love putting out records, and I would love to be able to just hide out in the studio and release records Beatles-style,” he says. “We have a few more songs left over so we might do another 7” soon, and then we might go the compilation route.”


Growing The Kult


Saturday 22


Saskatoon’s underground rock scene has always been a ferocious place, but over the past couple of years it’s become even more reckless, thanks to local duo Vulture Kult.

Formed in 2008, the group features Hans Bielefeld on guitars and Brad Friesen on drums, with both members sharing vocal duties. Live, the pair thrash and shimmy through some seriously aggro tunes, sounding five times more thunderous than groups double their size.

With the release of their second full-length album, Don't Let Rock N' Roll Ruin Your Life, the band has finally captured that muscularity on tape, says Bielefeld.

“I wanted to make a record that would come off as raw as we could play live,” says Bielefeld. “There’s nothing to hide and everything is recorded live off the floor, with a couple of really minimal overdubs.”

Although that live energy is definitely present on the disc, Don't Let Rock N' Roll Ruin Your Life is balanced by solid songwriting, with influences running the gamut from The Stooges to the Stones.

Despite the newness of Don't Let Rock N' Roll, Vulture Kult is planning a short hiatus in the near future. While the duo plans on being productive during that time, Friesen says that there aren’t likely going to be any more shows until spring.

“We just did a western Canadian tour for this album, and basically we’re going to do this last hometown show and then we’re shutting it down,” he says. “We’re working on a couple of videos, and we’re also going to be writing for our next album, which we’ll be doing in the studio this spring.

“Our focus is always on new material,” says Friesen. “We’re getting a lot of reviews from all over the world, so our technique seems to be working. And when we put on shows, we try to bring the roof down and we put everything into it.”

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