Lisa Butel and Brent Cross are sound artists living in Vancouver, BC. The couple create experimental music using live vocal looping, vocal sound manipulation, improvised and live sound synthesis and sample collage and prepared guitar.
Their live performances are energized and directed by their love of improvisational aesthetics that they have absorbed and crafted over years of involvement in the NOW Society’s improvisational workshop series. Their music bends and drifts, rages and diminishes, layers and undulates and is original in each performance. Butel brings the analog world of live vocals front and centre to the music and delivers vocals from operatic to guttural and machine-like to demonic growls through complex and multiple loop cycles .
The music is a juxtaposition of vocal acoustic sound and analog and digital wave forms. Their sound explores the psycho acoustic properties of sound and attempts to create tension, release and structural fruition via changing and evolving, additive and subtractive synthesis and the affected vocal performance.
Quiet City #54 (Nov 8/2018), Trading Places Marathon 2018(Western Front), Weird Canada Drone Festival (Remington Gallery), Drone Day 2017- Vancouver Game of Drones (Red Gate Revue Stage), Art for Impact with dancer Jay Hirabayashi (CBC Plaza), In the House Festival with dancer Olivia Shaffer (East Vancouver), Connect Electronic Music Festival (SK), NOW Workshop performance finale (Scotiabank Dance Centre), Vancouver International Dance Festival (the Roundhouse), Sistahood Festival, Car Free Day (Grandview Park MainStage), Parade of Lost Souls (Parker Street Studios loading ramp) , Make Music Festival (Gastown).
HEAVY DRONES FOR LOVE AND TRUST is the latest release (2018) highlighting their most vulnerable and emotional offering of music thus far with themes of yearning, fighting personal demons and committing to love and trust through difficult life experiences. Lyrics are sparse, delivered with deep emotional intent and beautiful, haunting melodies and mesmerizing and ambient soundscapes.
The previous album, Helispectre explores the relationships that we have with inherited fears. This theme came to the forefront as the couple traveled through northern Europe and Berlin. Confronting these fears led to the sounds that were improvised and recorded on the train to Berlin.
Live performance of HEAVY DRONES FOR LOVE AND TRUST and Helispectre uses sound in the performance space as a tool. Speakers and amps, sometimes distorted and placed in unconventional places during the performance allows the audience to experience the physicality of the sound in a new and revealing way.
HEAVEY DRONES FOR LOVE AND TRUST 2018, helispectre 2017, Lbs 2015, Her X and the Wildman 2014, audio-lava. dark hum of the butterfly 2010, audio-lava.embers and icicles 2005, Mudlarks 1996
Lisa is passionate about the power of voice, communication and movement. Her initial training came through years of private classical vocal lessons and a social work degree in Saskatchewan. For Lisa singing is a form of communication that affects both body and mind on a subconscious level. She commits fully emotionally and physically when performing .
Improvisation is an integral aspect of Lisa’s performance background as well. She has been involved in Now Society’s Performance Workshop series for several years where she has learned to develop her extended vocal techniques and has become increasingly comfortable creating and performing with other improvising artists often in real time without traditional musical scores.
Her involvement in community dance performances include; Le Grand Continental as part of PUSH 2015 (Playhouse Plaza), Joe Ink with Move It (Firehall Arts Centre) , Kate Franklin (Dusk Dance Performances/Dancing on The Edge) and Mountain View Solstice Dance have led her to develop and fuse movement into her ever evolving live performances.
The totality of her vocal, body and movement work has helped her develop a captivating and inspiring performance repertoire.
Currently Lisa is utilizing computers and electronics to shape, affect and loop her vocals. By layering vocals and altering the textures of those recorded loops she is able to preserve, shape and transform her vocal sounds in real time.
Lisa performs with the improvising choir – VOICE OVER mind choir conducted by DB Boyko participating in inspiring and radical projects for many years. A recent extension of this choir was to join with conductor Christine Duncan’s choir to back up Tanya Tagaq at the Vogue Theatre in 2017.
Her influences include Bjork, Nina Simone, Kate Bush, PJ Harvey, Beth Gibbons, Mary Margaret O’Hara, Jonsi Birgisson, Tricky, Lou Rhodes, and many classical artists.
Brent is currently obsessed with bending, time stretching, pitch altering, raw audio samples in real time during his improvised musical performances. He’s exploring the relationship between digital and analog sound and is fascinated with developing a more compassionate use for his musical talents through composition, community and heightened physical awareness. Artists who expand physical and technical boundaries are of upmost interest to him.
Classical piano informed Brent’s early musical training but he quickly switched to electric guitar. He studied Guitar and Electronic Music Production at VCC College in east Vancouver. Advancing into artistic sound production rather than commercial song production has been a natural transition for Brent as he moves easily between audio production formats like Ableton Live, Logic audio and Max.
Brent scored the feature length film “Cellmates” directed by Douglas Thomson and featuring Ian Tracey. Brent’s productions regularly receive nation wide radio and internet exposure. He was the songwriter, guitarist and bandleader for FACTOR award winning Roots rock group ‘The Mudlarks” which played in BC and were featured at Seattle’s Bumbershoot festival.