New Forms Festival Canadian All-Stars Showcase
When: Sept. 27, midnight-late.
Where: Open Studios, 200-252 East 1st Ave.
Tickets and info: newformsfestival.com
Jodie Cook, a.k.a. Overland, is having a rare moment of down time in the midst of the kind of summer touring that an in-demand DJ can expect.
Having established her brand over the past decade, the Albertan relocated to Vancouver in 2017. Her music represents a sound that isn’t as common in B.C.’s often airy, house-heavy electronic music scene. Overland’s pulsating techno is a delightful change from what could be considered the more blunted beats common to this region.
Her latest release, the Forever in Transit EP, is out on Portugal’s Naive label and packs four tracks of hypnotic, fairly minimal music. It should put a smile on the faces of anyone who can get into seven minutes of sparse mechanical percussion and hissing industrial washes that characterize cuts such as Virtuous.
It comes as no surprise that Overland is regularly featured on stages at festivals in Europe.
“Oh yeah, I have been to Berlin, Barcelona and London already this year as well as playing at BassCoast,” said Overland. “I love playing events like that and New Forms Festival which are really well thought out and considered in terms of who they bring in to reflect a diverse creative bass of cutting-edge talent that is pushing the boundaries. It’s not the whole ‘Oh, we should book a girl, too’ last-minute thing.”
Overland hosts a regular showcase series called Freak Hour during the year, which is noted for a great vibe and often amusing titles given to each edition. The Aug. 31 event was the Spoiler Room Edition with Jennifer Loveless (Melbourne, Australia), Jean Pierce (Portland) and Golden Donna (Portland).
“Freak Hour usually takes a bit of a hiatus over the summer because I’m touring and a lot of the time would just rather be outdoors camping or what have you,” she said. “But it’s mostly a showcase for Canadian talent to create an event that I want to see in Canada which is raging, late night, monster techno. Vancouver is special in that there is a fair amount of that here, but you go to a lot of other cities in the country and it’s a lot of other styles that are the focus.”
The techno bug bit Overland after a trip to Detroit when she was 21. She has been playing variations of the style ever since even in the face of a scene that embraced varying degrees of what this critic has dubbed “cannabis house,” which tends to be easy-flowing, pretty tracks with plenty of glossy orchestration rather than sharp, metalloid grind.
Overland’s sound isn’t harsh noise, but more of a minimalist techno type that artists such as Ritchie Hawtin first championed in the early 1990s. She builds her tracks such as Trance Dream or Anxiety right from the bass line on the Roland TB-303, a synthesized bass guitar tool that was embraced by DJs the world over.
“I’m pretty obsessed with acid (the genre, not the hippie drug), so I start with the 303 and then make a driving drum pattern and write over top of that,” she said. “It kind of depends on how Virgo I’m feeling that day. In my sets, I’m usually playing really weird, trippy techno that’s kind of dark, hard and driving in, and it doesn’t usually have clear beginning, end or moods.”
Overland noted she’s more likely to bring the audience around to her sound by force of will and quality tracks. Don’t come expecting a chill section at her turn at the console at the New Forms Festival Canadian All-Stars Showcase.
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