Ruby Singh’s creativity crosses the boundaries of music, poetry, visual art, photography and film. His expressions engage with mythos, memory, identity, justice and fantasy; where the surreal can shatter the boundaries of the real. As a composer and sound designer he has worked with theatre and dance companies across Canada, as well as creating numerous scores for the National Film Board and other independent films. Singh’s personal and collaborative works have been presented across Turtle Island, India, Germany and the UK.
In this blog post, he talks about the roots, process & presentation of the music of Vox.Infold, which will be presented at LOBE studio as a co-presentation between Coastal Jazz & the Indian Summer Festival.
Sometimes I have to pinch myself and see if this living dream is real. I listen to this music co-created by this amazing crew and feel entirely grateful to have had the chance to be surrounded by this much talent. Covid has been rough on musicians and the larger industry to say the least and I honestly can’t believe we pulled this off.
Last fall Dawn Pemberton, Inuksuk McKay and Tiffany Ayalik of PIQSIQ, Russell Wallace, Tiffany Moses, Shamik Bilgi and myself gathered together to create an a capella album. There were many questions as to how it would be possible. Is it safe? How can we pull this off? Thankfully Tiffany Ayalik was artist in residence at the Western Front and they graciously opened up the space for us to use. We spread ourselves 20ft apart, wore masks and shields, opened all the doors and windows and used microphones and loopers so we wouldn’t have to project as much. The trust and space we all held for each other was a healing balm amidst pandemic isolation, and as a BIPOC crew, we were sitting with the violence that white supremacy has inflicted on the world. So much injustice in this world and as many of us know, music can provide a space that can help us process, heal, reflect and at the very least, help us hold the weight of all this hurt.
Once this initial creation phase was done it was time to head into AfterLife studios with John Rayam and finally these voices were able to shine in their full glory. We couldn’t have all of us recording together, so we created a round robin schedule, where we would each create impulses and respond to each other throughout the week on compositions we had individually and collectively brought to the squad. I was in awe of what these artists allowed to come through them, the virtuosity, skill and command was enthralling to record.
We, of course, wanted to perform this album live for the world but until that’s possible I think we found the next best thing. I am currently in a residency at LOBE studios working in 4D spatial sound. An array of speakers across the ceiling and under the floor, in conjunction with custom-designed vibroacoustic floor panels, will entirely surround the listener in an immersive and haptic listening experience. Using 4DSOUND technology, sound ebbs and flows, to form sonic environments holographically and without perceivable sources. This is easily one of the best listening rooms I have ever experienced; what is possible in this space is absolutely ripping the ceiling off of what I thought was possible with presenting sound. I am currently immersed in all of our voices creating this installation, co-presented by the TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival and the Indian Summer Festival.