HEIRLOOM BISON CULTURE
Canada 150 Commission
Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra
ABOUT THE PIECE
“Heirloom Bison Culture” was the first of my Canada 150 commissions. The project itself began on Instagram with hundreds of bison-themed pictures. Posters, band logos, bars, trucks, graffiti, etc. As a Manitoban, they remind me of home, and it's fun to find one in L.A. or Europe. When I returned to Manitoba my bison-sensitized perception was completely overloaded. I became aware that Manitobans use the bison brand for everything. From sports teams to telecoms, janitorial services and long-distance trucking, wedding planners, book shops and record companies. Having had many hilarious and harrowing close-up experiences with bison while ultra-lite hiking, there is nothing abstract about them. They are tough, intimidating, cute and terrifying. They also have a habit of hanging out in large numbers. Bison have this particular stare where you know they are working out how to end you if you cross the line. The weight of the bison's evolutionary survival strategy becomes very apparent when one is standing alone on the prairie.
So I wanted to capture something about the humour and tragedy of having these very real creatures transformed into an endless stream of modernist branding and cartoon characters. The piece is for orchestra and electronics. The entirety of the electronic language is made from bison sounds pumped up to cinematic levels. I managed to convince the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra to give me direct access to their massive integrated sub bass system and the results were fantastic. Intimidating, cute and terrifying." - from "What’s a post-digital hipster sci-fi bro-step apocalypse? Meet Eliot Britton – he’ll tell you"
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