OBEY Convention goes off

A series of off-season showcases gears you up for this spring’s tenth OBEY Convention.

James Hoff visits Halifax to wreak audio havoc. - CONTRIBUTED
James Hoff visits Halifax to wreak audio havoc.

James Hoff w/D/A A/D, Nylon Tarps
Saturday, January 14, 10pm
Garrison Brewery, 1149 Marginal Road
$15 suggested donation

The Air You Breathe is Metallic
To January 21
Anna Leonowens Gallery, 1891 Granville Street

Brooklyn artist and musician James Hoff is a disruptor. Case in point: His album Blaster features beats infected by the Blaster virus that wreaked havoc on Microsoft computers in 2003. This month at the Anna Leonowens Gallery, his visual exhibit The Air You Breathe is Metallic is on display, including a live video stream of a walking tour of Yosemite park. A soundtrack Hoff created and sounds from visitors at the gallery modifies the video. He's a visiting artist at NSCAD and on Saturday, January 14, he'll perform at Garrison Brewery as part of OBEY Convention's off-season programming.

The 10th edition of the experimental, fringe art and music festival takes place May 25-28, but OBEY has a collection of performances and workshops to bridge the gap between festivals. Improvisational artist Tashi Dorji played in November and Hoff headlines the second of four off-season shows.

"The goal of the off-season is the same as the festival—bring music that would otherwise not be brought to Halifax, to Halifax," says Andrew Patterson, creative director of OBEY.

Chicago's RP Boo, a producer best known as a pioneer of the footwork genre in the '90s, performs on Saturday, February 25. New York via Vancouver pianist Vicky Chow comes to town on Saturday, April 15 to perform "Surface Image" by composer Tristan Perich.

"We wanted to showcase artists who were, in our mind, moving modern composition forward in some way," Patterson says. "Experimental composition is the umbrella we're putting on the off-season."

Along with performances, the off-season programming is paired with a free, all-ages artist talk or workshop earlier in the day. It's an important part of OBEY, allowing people who might not be able to afford shows to come out and take part in the OBEY experience. Last year, all unlicensed events were free for those under 19 (with ID) and the Vicky Chow performance also follows these parameters. It's also helpful to get a chance to hear an artist such as Hoff talk and get insight into what goes into creating experimental, harsh noise music.

"We just hope people from all communities, all identities and all income brackets are able to experience some of what we're bringing here," says Patterson.

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