Last Mountain is the final release of our trilogy featuring piano samples and voice. It is derived from our personal experiences with parental loss, the awakening of memories on the land with our family who were homesteading settlers and the implications of colonization, changing landscapes and genocide.
Album 3 approaches this knowledge carefully and aims to reconcile past and current wrongs, and to remind us to share love with our loved ones openly while they are still here with us. The foundation tracks for this album were recorded by sampling the ambient sound from the inside of the family piano. The piano, a colonial instrument, could represent the failed attempt by the settlers to wipe out a culture already present. This instrument was intentionally reduced down to its’ most basic sounds and then reimagined through sampling and processing. The recorded reverberance is the piano’s main contribution to the project.
Lisa’s vocals were then improvised and recorded using only the first take. Her sound is captured by a ribbon microphone popular during the mid century that is both honest and revealing. Her stories, are improvised from a theme and do not follow a song structure. Imperfection is rampant and intentional in this recording and we celebrate it for its’ rawness, truth and vulnerability. This album is both a land acknowledgement and a personal pledge to participate in the reclamation movement.
Artists: Lisa Butel, Brent Cross and guests Johanna Hauser and G.Scott.
Contributions of raw sound and clarinet playing by Johanna Hauser and 2 of the pieces are sonic collages created by collaborator G.Scott from studio outtakes.
Photo credits: Carol Sawyer (photo of both of us)
Brent Cross (arty photo)
Lisa Butel and Brent Cross are sound artists living and working in Vancouver, BC, situated on the unceded and stolen traditional territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.
They create experimental music using improvised live vocal looping, and vocal sound manipulation, improvised and live sound synthesis and sample sound collage.
Their live performances are energized and directed by their love of improvisational aesthetics that they have absorbed and crafted through years of involvement in the NOW Society workshops. Their music bends and drifts, rages and diminishes, layers and undulates and is original in each performance. Emotional transference occurs with each recording through their explorations of personal and societal experiences.
Butel brings the analog world of live vocals front and centre to the music. Always emotional she often shifts to operatic, guttural or machine-like demonic growls then effected through complex and multiple loop cycles. Cross blends analog and digital waveforms with live vocals that explore the psycho acoustic properties of space and material objects. Most recently they have used acoustic samples from their family upright piano to create lush and ghostly sonic textures that elicit stories from the past.
They have received praise from British, American and Canadian media for their material released on Somewherecoldrecords (US 2021) and Elektramusic labels (Berlin 2023) .
They have performed and collaborated with musicians, artists and dancers in experimental, performative and improvisational venues and events around Vancouver.
Their discography includes: Last Mountain (2023), A Low Lament for Love and Loss (2020), The Feeling of Walking: Songs of 2020, Heavy Drones for Love and Peace (2018), Helispectre (2017).
Instrumental contributions by Johanna Hauser (baritone clarinet) and sound collage by G.Scott