TONTO Week At National Music Centre to Launch As Part Of AEMCON 2018

(Calgary, AB — September 13, 2018)  After years of careful restoration, the National Music Centre (NMC) will commission one of the crown jewels of its music and technology collection, The Original New Timbral Orchestra (aka TONTO), during TONTO Week from November 14-18.

To commemorate this milestone, NMC will host a week of music programming timed to coincide with Alberta Electronic Music Conference (AEMCON), running concurrently with TONTO Week at Studio Bell. All AEMCON Pass-holders receive free entry into all TONTO week content. NMC Members receive discounted or free admission to all TONTO Week events (not including AEMCON conference passes), so purchase your membership online today at studiobell.ca/membersIndividual tickets are available at nmc.ca/whats-on. AEMCON conference passes are available here.

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Members of A Tribe Called Red will be the first musicians to create new music with the legendary synthesizer, and they’ll demo TONTO during a public workshop and incorporate the instrument into an evening Studio Bell After Hours set. “After seeing TONTO for the first time back in 2014, I knew that I had unfinished business at the National Music Centre,” said 2oolman of A Tribe Called Red. “I have been waiting patiently ever since to get my hands on that instrument.” 

Malcolm Cecil, one of the co-creators of TONTO, will be in attendance to deliver demonstrations and lectures on the history of the instrument. NMC will also host a screening of the cult classic filmPhantom of the Paradise, in which TONTO appeared, and other activities associated with the instrument. 

TONTO is one of the world’s largest modular synthesizers. Created by Malcom Cecil and Robert Margouleff in 1968, its creation marked the first attempt at making a universal language for different synthesizers to communicate with each other, which was a revolutionary achievement. Under the band name Tonto’s Expanding Head Band, Cecil and Margouleff released the highly influential album Zero Time. The album demonstrated the rich, layered sounds of the massive synthesizer and attracted significant attention.

Used on multiple Stevie Wonder and The Isley Brothers albums in the 1970s, TONTO helped shape albums by a long list of notable artists such as Minnie Riperton, Joan Baez, the Doobie Brothers, Quincy Jones, Randy Newman, Bobby Womack and more, and was prominently featured in Phantom of the Paradise.

“I needed to find a home for TONTO that would survive me and where it could be used,” said Malcolm Cecil after NMC acquired the instrument in 2013.

“We made a promise to Malcom to ensure that TONTO would be used again in the creation of new music and that its legacy would live on,” said Adam Fox, NMC’s Director of Programs. “It took several years to properly restore the instrument, and now it’s finally ready to enter its next chapter. We couldn’t be more excited to hear where NMC’s Artists in Residence take TONTO next.”

Official Tonto Content

TONTO Week content is open to the public as well as AEMCON pass holders. If you wish to purchase a single ticket for a TONTO event, please consult the NMC website. For AEMCON Tickets, click here.

Volunteer Applications Are Open! Apply by September 10th

Whether you are coming to AEMCON as a veteran producer, DJ, enthusiast or general fan of the electronic music scene, volunteering can help you better connect with your community and get you involved in our conference at the ground level. Volunteers receive a full conference pass for their time commitment. Applications close September 10th or until all positions are filled.

We are looking for volunteers in the following areas:

  • Administration / Volunteer Coordination - checking guests in, assembling goodie bags, helping guests with directions, supporting the volunteer coordinator etc
  • Speaker/Artist Drivers - picking up and dropping off artists at the Calgary Airport / Hotel  / Venue, must have own car and clean driving record
  • Room Managers / Helpers - Reset each room after each presentation and support the next presenter’s set-up, work with audio techs to resolve any issues
  • Trade Show Load-In / Clean Up Crew - Assist vendors in loading in and taking out their gear and products to the National Music Centre, answer guest questions
  • Bartenders - Must have Pro-Serve for this position, 
  • Merchandise Booth - in charge of tracking, organizing and selling merchandise during the conference
  • Runners - handles odd-jobs as directed by the AEMCON staff, access to a car is an asset 
  • Venue Aids - handles door entry, setting up the venue, providing information to guests

Questions? Check out our volunteer info page first. If you still have questions, contact our amazing coordinator Vicki Perreault at aemvolunteer@gmail.com.

Friday Nov 17 - AEMCON Meet & Greet at Beat Drop

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Just-in-time to kick off our main conference days, we'll be hosting a private mixer for pass-holders, performers, speakers, and sponsors!

If you're just coming into town, you'll be able to pick up your conference pass and badge right from Beat Drop.

NOTE: this mixer is not open to the public, only pass-holders, artists, and those associated with the conference can attend.

Mixer time: 7pm - 10:30pm
Beat Drop Address: 2nd floor, 1120 17 Ave SW, Calgary

Sponsored by Ticketfly and Steam Whistle

6 things you need to know about Jennifer Cardini

6 things you need to know about Jennifer Cardini

As part of our event series leading up to the conference in November, we’ve joined forces with the HiFi Club to bring you the talents of Jennifer Cardini.

Originating from France, Cardini grew up surrounded by the sounds of American house and techno. Naturally, it was only a matter of time before she herself took to the decks. Almost twenty years later, she’s still pushing the sounds of minimal forward. Read on, and get familiar.

AEMCON at Breakout West: The Electronic Music Showcase at 9910 in Edmonton

Electronic music at Breakout West Edmonton

This week, the BreakOut West Conference takes over Edmonton for a weekend of learning, music, and networking.  As part of the festival showcases, we're proud to support the Electronic Music Showcase that will be happening on Friday, September 15th at 9910.

The line-up features an amazing mixture of western Canadian artists who range from hip-hop to synth-pop. Below you'll find set times and a little information about each artist. Grab a conference pass from the Breakout West website, and you'll get free entry into all the shows all weekend!

Two of AEMCON's co-founders will also be in attendance for much of the conference. Isis Graham (aka Esette) was nominated for the "Electronic/Dance Artist of the Year" award as part of the Western Canada Music Awards and Andrew Williams (aka Dunmore Park) is helping out with the industry 1-on-1s on Friday.

We hope to see you there!

The Electronic Music Showcase features the talents of:

9:00 PM Alpha Toshineza

Alpha Toshineza is a versatile artist: a graphic designer, producer and French-speaking rapper. He is also the founder of record label Jazz Inuit. Born and raised in Luxembourg (Europe), Alpha started his career in the early 90s. He was in different groups before going solo, performing under the name Gospel Emcee. Between 2003 and 2013, he released different projects (2 albums, many EPs), collaborated with acclaimed producers and rappers like Kev Brown and Oddisee, and performed in different countries across Europe. In 2014, Alpha finally moved to Winnipeg (Manitoba) and started collaborating with local recording artists like Kelly Bado, Justin Lacroix, Elessar Thiessen and many more. In February 2017, he finally released his latest album "Jazz Inuit", a project that was critically acclaimed by the French-Canadian media. After being part of 2 major TV shows (Planète BRBR and Balade à Toronto), he was finally nominated for "Francophone Artist of the Year" at the Western Canadian Music Awards. His music (clearly influenced by 90s boombap), his unique poetry and his stage presence make him an ambassador for French-Manitoban hip hop.

10:00 PM Transit22

Transit22 is an Independent Music Award winner and Western Canadian Music Award nominated rapper, a Calgary poet laureate finalist and a winner of a Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Emerging Artist Award. He has released 6 albums which have sold thousands of copies, and has collaborated with Rhymesayers recording artist Grieves, Sims of Doomtree, Astronautalis, Madchild of Swollen Members, and 8-time Juno Award winner Jann Arden. Transit22 has toured as a headliner several times and has also supported tours of Canada, the United States, and Europe with Doomtree, Sage Francis, Swollen Members, Apathy & Celph Titled, Astronautalis, and Zion I, and has shared stages with internationally recognized names like Mac Miller, Tech N9ne, Murs, Hilltop Hoods, Dirty Heads, Down With Webster, Shad, and 54-40. Transit22 has been selected to showcase at prestigious festivals like SXSW, CMW, and Breakout West, and has performed live in front of over 200,000 people with a stint as a featured artist on the Calgary Stampede main stage. He has received national media coverage including features on Global TV, CTV, CBC TV, Shaw TV, CBC Radio One, in Maclean's Magazine, and regular MuchMusic rotation of his music videos, which have also gotten substantial support online with over 1,000,000 views on YouTube.

11:00 PM - I M U R

I M U R (I am you are), is an East Vancouver live electronic act with a hybrid sound influenced by 90’s hip-hop/r&b, electronic, experimental, and soul. The band consists of producer Mikey J Blige on live beat composition and electric guitar, singer-songwriter Jenny Lea on keys, vocals, and looping, and multi-instrumentalist Amine Bouzaher on electric violin and bass. Effortlessly harnessing the emotive interplay between instrumentation and vocals, I M U R displays an intuitive understanding of how tone and texture can evince a myriad of thoughts and feelings leaving their audience infatuated and coming back for more.

12:00 AM Melted Mirror

A synth-pop trio from Calgary, Melted Mirror creates a widescreen vision of dark, radioactive synth-pop, all neon fallout and mournfully ecstatic. Initially a synthesizer & drum machine project between Cian Haley (Catholic Girls, Mt Analogue) and Chris Zajko (Sharp Ends, Soft Option, The Ostrich), the duo added guitarist Jeebs Nabil (Memo, Vivian Maier) in 2015 and produced their sixsong self-titled debut. The band has since released a full length album in 2016 (titled Borderzone) and has continued building a following across Western Canada, with yet another full length record coming in 2017. Years of post-punk experience might seep through, but Melted Mirror is the most slick n’ sunglassed pop project from anybody involved. Zajko’s voice takes to synth-pop like a glove, rounding over contours and melodies with commanding ease. Haley’s synthesizer skirts between the immediate and distantly foreboding, crafting hooks and jagged atmosphere all at once. Nabil’s guitar bounces somewhere in between, with chiming textures punctuating a sound closer to new wave than the more punk-inclined work of any of the members’ previous bands. Together, their sound recalls the stained-eyed drift of Chromatics with the propulsive hypnotism of Harmonia or Neu!

1:00 AM VIKINGS

Holed up in the pop culture hinterland of Winnipeg, VIKINGS has been crafting big melodies and headlining festivals without leaving the walls of their prairie ice palace. It's not often anyone breaks out of here – but VIKINGS has places to be. It's a sound you'd expect in London, Los Angeles, or Atlanta; but Winnipeg? Maybe its true, and there's something in that frozen water that's growing big sounds in a quiet little town. Focusing on those big sounds and the spaces in between, VIKINGS' music is equal parts dance-worthy and expansive synth trip; featuring the earworm vocals of Josh Youngson – long ago punk-singer now falsetto-wielding crowd-mover. Flanked by two brothers, Dave and James McNabb – each manning a bastion of synths – and with Luke Janzen on drums – adding the foundation – VIKINGS step out of the box and onto the dance floor. Animal Kingdom EP was released by Head In The Sand (Apparat Organ Quartet, Les Jupes, Rococode) on March 10th. The lead single Burning Man, and a bunch more you haven’t heard yet, are being mixed by Billy Bush (Tegan & Sara, Snow Patrol, Garbage).

Conference passes for BreakOut West can be purchased here.