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Maximalism

by Ethan Tussey

by Beth Aileen Dillon for IN MEDIA RES

Indigenous music spans beyond tradition and into masterful use of technology and story. Most recently, Skookum Sound System has launched live performances that weave together traditional and contemporary voice and instruments with digital visual arts. Skookum is a multimedia arts and performance collective that includes Csetkwe (Okanagan and Shuswap), Deano (Heiltsuk Nation), Bracken Hanuse Corlett (Klahoose and Wuikinuxv Nations), and culture-bending musician Darwin(g) Frost(wing). Darwin(g) Frost(wing) is also behind Impossible Nothing, whose tracks reach to the stars and back. His chopping style is referred to as “maximalism,” a term he coined to capture the essence of his works.

Remixed Blood, featured here, is an experimental animation cut to “Thank You,” which was one of the last tracks put out by Darwin Frost before his death and transformation into Darwing Frostwing. Impossible Nothing’s unique chopping style brings forward powwow culture and transforms it into a multitude of voices and quick beats. I’d enjoy seeing a Grass Dancer try to keep up with it. His tracks have always called me visually and created their own stories, which ignited the creation of Remixed Blood. I wanted to say thank you for the life of Malcolm and Katherine and to lift them up as individuals. In Indigenous ways of knowing, children are not possessions. Mal is not “my son” and Kat is not “my daughter.” They are life. Impossible Nothing’s tracks speak to these Indigenous ways of knowing. He, along with the Skookum Sound System collective, see music as ever-connected to performance. Indigenous music is tied to characters, stories, and day-to-day representations of ourselves as artists. Whether through live shows, music videos, interviews, social media, or day-to-day life, our words, our clothing, our terms for ourselves, and our art are all connected to Indigenous self-determination. Tracks like “Thank You” welcome a remembrance of tradition (traditional instruments), acknowledgement of contemporary culture (powwow music), and invite technology in to play.

Remixed Blood

experimental performance by Skookum Sound System

from Remixed Blood (2012)
Creator: Skookum Sound System
Distributor: Vimeo
Posted by Ethan Tussey
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