“A Day in the Life” with Fall For Dance North composer Eliot Britton

Eliot Britton is a composer and media artist obsessed with creating new sounds and transformation of acoustic materials. From thundering orchestral dubstep built from a bison’s exhale and 12 subwoofers, to percussion works that celebrates retro recording culture, Britton digs deep into the 21st century’s rich sound environment.

Armed with an instrumental composition background and fuelled by a DJ producer mindset, Eliot Britton is able to create expansive textures and grooves from the most unlikely materials.

Looking at some hoodoos in southern Alberta. Doing some field recordings in the area.
Looking at some hoodoos in southern Alberta. Doing some field recordings in the area.
2 Out in the field, collecting sounds in southern Alberta.
Out in the field, collecting sounds in southern Alberta.
Eliot Britton - Making sounds with new vintage equipment! Modcan B Series synthesizer.
Making sounds with new vintage equipment! Modcan B Series synthesizer.
4 Sketching Sounds for orchestra and throat boxer.
Sketching Sounds for orchestra and throat boxer.
5 Hunting for sounds in a fiddle passed down to me from my great uncle.
Hunting for sounds in a fiddle passed down to me from my great uncle.
6 Learning to use mono-clusters at Roy Thomson Hall. Looking up during rehearsals for Adizokan.
Learning to use mono-clusters at Roy Thomson Hall. Looking up during rehearsals for Adizokan.
7 My favorite Drum Machine. The MFB Tanzbär. From Germany with love.
My favorite Drum Machine. The MFB Tanzbär. From Germany with love.
8 Recording Sessions in Montreal with ARchitek Percussion.
Recording Sessions in Montreal with ARchitek Percussion.
9 Micro Animation 2
Micro Animation
10 Dakota Sound Capture
Dakota Sound Capture

What ‘hood are you in?

I live near the intersection of College st. and Spadina. A vibrant spot right at the edge of Chinatown, UofT, Kensington Market and College Street. There is never a dull moment. Is it normal for there to be this many shootings in the summer? I’m new to Toronto and still trying to figure things out.

What do you do?

When I’m not making music, hiking or building strange sounds, I work at the University of Toronto as a researcher and composition teacher. I’m cross posted between the Composition and Music Technology & Digital Media programmes. I am also an artistic co-director of Cluster New Music + Integrated Arts Festival in Manitoba.

What are you currently working on?

I’m usually working on a few things at the same time.

A theatrical percussion piece featuring soloist, video projections and digital microscopes (repurposed dermatology equipment).

A re-building of a collaborative work for orchestra, throat boxer, dance, video and electronics

A chiptune album

Dance grooves that blend organic sounds and digital sounds.

Where can we find your work?

Band Camp: https://actuellecd.bandcamp.com/album/metatron
My personal Website: www.ebritton.com
With Red Sky and the Toronto Symphony Orchestera Adizokan
Festival http://clusterfestival.com/

Adizokan Suite Collaboration:

Adizokan is a mixed work for orchestra, vocals, dance, video and electronic processing.
It was a collaboration with choreographer Sandra Laronde from Red Sky Performance, and much of the musical materials and ideas were created through collaborations and contributions from throat boxer Nelson Tagoona and singers Gabriel and Marie Gaudet.

During the creation phase for Adizokan my role was composing the orchestral score and electronic elements. It was an interesting challenge because some artists get inspired, can react quickly and can create in the moment, others (like myself) take months to build a work from tiny components. As the composer, I was working to manage two different time scales, creating an orchestral score that was be solid and performable by the orchestra but also flexible and open enough for different creative directions from the rest of the artists.

The orchestral sounds are build up from a combination of instrumental, vocal, animal and sounds from the natural world. Wind, a bison’s exhausted exhale, Nelson’s throatboxing and traditional singing were all fused together using technology to create rhythms, melodies and colossal waves of sound. It was really fun to discover different ways of working. For example, Nelson and I collaborated mostly by sending audio back and forth between Baker Lake (Nunavut) and Toronto (Ontario), with a few phone calls, dominated mostly be throatboxing rhythms. It has been a life changing experience and working and creating with Red Sky’s collaborative team has been a privilege.

 

 

Joel Levy
About Joel Levy 1320 Articles
Editor-In-Chief at Toronto Guardian. Photographer and Writer for Toronto Guardian and Joel Levy Photography