Percussion discussion

Architek Percussion are cool as heck

Montreal’s Architek Percussion want to expand your idea of a drum solo. Combining a “like-mindedness toward chamber music” the avant-garde percussion quartet instantly hit their groove. “We each have our strengths and individual roles in the group but the reason we work well together is because we have common philosophies on making and sharing music,” says Architek member Mark Morton.

One of those philosophies is to make genre-pushing percussion pieces accessible and relatable to various audiences. “We are open to envelope-pushing repertoire but we strive to make even the most bizarre pieces accessible to an audience through spatialization, attitude and presentation” says Morton. “The ideal performance situation for us is when the music is challenging and rewarding both for the players and for the audience.”

Architek (Morton, Ben Duinker, Ben Reimer and Sandro Valiante) come to Halifax to perform "Blips and Beats", a performance that features pieces by up-and-coming Canadian composers Beavan Flanagan and Duncan Schouten, American composers Julia Wolfe and Dennis DeSantis and Danish-American composer Andy Pape.

“This idea of new material on an old medium is what gave life to our project—a program of new and exploratory music played entirely on instruments found in a drumset,” says Morton. “The pieces on the program blend familiar styles of drum grooves (such as rock, funk and metal) with more contemporary, aleatoric, arhythmic styles that are possible on the same instruments.”

But Architek isn’t exclusively drumset-driven. “When we play music with unconventional instruments, we reach an interesting crossroads with our audience which is that most of what we do is completely foreign to them. Everyone knows instruments like the drumset, xylophone and timpani, and some listeners know more exotic ones, but when we make sound with instruments they’ve never seen and objects they never knew could be played as instruments, they are immediately drawn into a new sound world they didn’t know existed,” says Morton. “This naivety is an accessibility bridge perhaps unique only to percussion music.”

Cross the bridge straight to St. Andrew’s United Church on Tuesday, October 8 at 7:30pm ($20/$10) and get a closer look at Architek’s process at the workshop earlier that day (Tuesday, October 8, 12-1pm, free. Contact D’Arcy Gray at for details about the workshop).