Today, thanks to the generous support of MUCHFact and director Hiep Vu, we pinned $2000 cash in $10 bills on a coat, walked around downtown Toronto, and attempted to give it all away. It was definitely an intense and very interesting social experiment, and we’ll be posting the finished video in the next 2 weeks right here. Keep an eye out!
2013 has been completely insane, and completely awesome.
The always friendly team at Los Cabos very kindly put together this infographic for me showing some of what went down this year -
I also spent the past month finishing up a new record of ambient music called Dance Music : Songs For Slow Motion, and here’s the beautiful cover from Ryan Lake, who has done all the art for my solo records thus far -
The year is ending with me just wrapping up producing records for Dean Drouillard and David Myles, and I couldn’t be more excited for them to make their way into the world. Tons of very exciting things coming up in early 2014 that I can’t wait to tell you about but I unfortunately have to. There’s going to be a new look here on the site for the new year, and I’ll be popping by way more often then I have been.
I’ve been lucky to have some nice people say some very nice thing about Dream Date since it’s release in April, and here’s a few of them…..
“Come for the music, stay for the cyborg fish armies, giant gorillas and Daniel Craig. They all come to play in Joshua Van Tassel’s amazing new album Dream Date”
Laurie Brown, Host of CBC2′s The Signal
“Already being a big contender for Best of ’13, Dream Date is truly an album to keep your attention and have you back for seconds.”
Found Sound Review
“Whether it is the Kid A-inspired sounds of Sneaky Beard or The Warmest Heart, Van Tassel’s uncluttered approach to making music is one that demands your attention.”
Ken Kelley, Music Nerd Chronicles
“Dream Date est une bande sonore qui évoque la nuit, tant dans son urgence que dans sa quiétude, mais surtout dans sa sagesse.
“Dream Date bénéficie de l’instantanéité de la pop, mais se démarque grâce aux arrières-pensées sonores meublés subtilement par les couleurs des climats.”
“..when Van Tassel steps into the spotlight, anything could happen.”
The unpredictable nature of dreams is the basis for his latest offering
When Joshua Van Tassel steps into the studio (which, he can now proudly say, is no longer based within his home) for a day’s work, he checks all connection to the outside world at the door.
“I don’t have any internet in the studio and I turn my phone off the second I walk in,” said the Canadian multi-instrumentalist.
Following suit, anyone else in attendance leaves their cell phone in a neat pile on a shelf near the door so that nobody is tempted to break the golden rule.
“I want to be there, I don’t want to be connected at all,” said Van Tassel. “I want to be present and give 100 per cent of my attention, and I want that from everybody else — if you’re here and you want to do this, let’s do it for real.”
Much like his organic, bare-bones approach to creating art, the content of Van Tassel’s product is heavily influenced by Maritime sonic tradition. Born and raised in rural Nova Scotia, the inclusion of predominantly acoustic instrumentation has always been the law of the land.
“The maritimes have a really strong songwriter tradition and a really strong folk tradition in general, and a lot of really good acoustic guitar players,” he said.
In a triumphant effort to create a marriage between old-world and new-world vibes, Van Tassel takes care to nurture and perfect that balance. “I’m interested in bridging the gap between really pretty, traditional-sounding, earthy folk songs and a more modern recording technique.”
Armed with the acoustic guitar as his auditory weapon and “portable writing tool,” Van Tassel not only composes each of his albums, but produces, engineers and mixes them to boot. Being at the helm of his own projects has allowed the musician to develop and acquaint himself with his medium.
“It’s a way to try out lots of things in a no-pressure situation,” he said. “If I make mistakes, it only affects me.”
True to its name, the content of his latest album, Dream Date, is heavily based in the disjointed nature of dreams. “When I set out to make this album, I tried to picture a really specific scene in my mind, like I’m scoring a movie,” he said. “Let’s say you’re dreaming. Sometimes, it’s almost like there’s no connectivity — you’re in one scene, then you’re in another, and your brain doesn’t really notice. It doesn’t make you go, ‘Okay, why am I now in this spaceship? I was just in a desert.’”
Following this blueprint, Van Tassel constructed the record as if each scene in the album was part of a string of organized chaos, “[blending] it in a way sonically that has that effect — now, [you’re] somewhere else, but it doesn’t feel foreign or strange. You’re being lead.”
“The Warmest Heart,” one of the album’s most acclaimed numbers, was built with a very specific scene in mind: a father and daughter stand on a sunny, picturesque beach, surrounded by water infested with mechanical fish.
Though they’re on a day trip together, she is ignored by her father while he works on his phone. She finds companionship in a mechanical skeleton, which she is intent on showing her father, but he refuses to pay her any mind. Soon, the skeleton begins coming to life, along with the robotic fish, and she becomes master of her imaginary mechanical domain.
Paired with resonating vocals and rolling soundscape of sinister bells and lightly twinkling background details, “The Warmest Heart” is one of many tracks that embodies all that Van Tassel has aimed for.
“I’m trying to make music that is completely respectful of an acoustic tradition, but at the same time recognizing that there are so many tools available to us with technology,” he said. “We can make sounds that we couldn’t really make before.”
The Concordian, by Steph Ulman
We’re coming for you Nova Scotia and we’re very excited. Along with some great ECMA related shows, we’re doing a special hometown early release of “Dream Date”. Come on out!!
Wed March 6th 8pm @ The Old Confidence Lodge – Dream Date CD release party! w/special guests Paper Beats Scissors and Dark for Dark
Friday March 8th 12pm – Argyle Fine Art Gallery – presented by ROLAND Canada, special noon time duo performance
Friday March 8th 10 pm – The Palace Nightclub – ECMA Electronic Music Awards showcase
Saturday March 9th 7pm @ The Khyber – Forward Music NOCASE limited seating available!
Saturday March 9th 10pm @ The Khyber – Forward Music NOCASE second show added!
I’m very excited and honoured to have been nominated for a 2013 East Coast Music Award in the Electronic Music category. I’m in some great company and looking forward to meeting everyone in March.
Also a very big congrats to my good pal David Myles, whose up for a few awards including a Folk Recording of The Year nod for “Into The Sun” which I had the pleasure of recording/playing drums and percussion on.
I’ve been a little dormant on the website front, but not n the music. There’s a whole lot of stuff coming down the pipe, and I’m super excited for all of it. 2013 is going to be/already is amazing!
The good people at Mojito Mastering recently asked me a bevy of questions about playing drums and making music in general, and I did my best to answer them. Have a look here -
Talk Shop: Drummer/Producer Joshua Van Tassel on Drum Tech & Session Work
You basically want to be one less thing anyone has to worry about in a potentially stressful situation. – Joshua Van Tassel
MM: When did you get your start playing drums? How did you get into session work?
JVT: My first introduction to drums was through my older sister. She played in junior high band, and it was always really exciting to see and hear the concert percussion at the recitals.
I joined the school band as well and luckily had super supportive band directors and parents who encouraged me to keep pursuing music post high school. I continued on to study at St FX Univeristy, Humber College, and then also at the Banff Centre for the Arts.
The sound of your drums really goes under the microscope and small tuning details can make all the difference.
Session work came from being in a variety of different bands, and getting to meet a whole lot of different producers and engineers. It also helps that I have my own studio and am able to do sessions by myself. On any session I was on I’d always try and pick up any helpful stuff about sounds, mic-ing techniques, or how to generally improve as a drummer without being too annoying while they were trying to work!
MM: What are some key components of your kit set-up?
JVT: I think my key components are having a small but reliable arsenal of cymbals and snare drums that I feel like I know really well. A cymbal is a super complex instrument and depending on where you hit with what part of the stick/brush/mallet/hand, the sound can vary greatly with every stroke.
I have some instruments that I’ve owned for years now and really feel connected to, which helps convey the ideas that best support the artist I’m playing with.
for the full article go HERE ———
I’m very pleased and excited to announce my new album “Dream Date” is done and being released by brand new Halifax based Label Backward Music in early winter 2013. More details will be coming out as the month goes on, but for now, here’s what I can show you -
It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything here, but believe me things have been busy with lots of exciting stuff coming up in the next few weeks that I’ll tell you all about soon enough.
Just a quick note first to tell you about a very important book that I implore you to read, Bernie Krause’s the Great Animal Orchestra. It’s a fascinating book that speaks of the undeniable connection human music and communication has to nature, and how if we’re not careful we’ll lose what’s left of the world’s most sonically rich sound habitats. Super inspiring and beautifully written.
I’m happy to let you know that I’m co-producing/engineering/making all manners of sounds on the unbelievably talented Christine Bougie’s new record entitled Hearts And Galaxies. Check out an awesome teaser trailer here -
Head to her website for details about the record making process and the humans involved like the incomparable Dean Drouillard.
I’m very excited to be playing with my band at the wonderful Hugh’s Room this Tuesday July 3rd at 8pm and even more excited that it’s opening for Gypsophelia. Please come! No really, please. Here’s an invite! http://www.facebook.com/events/381712321888794/