by Daniel Emberg
Peeled straight from his bio: “A longstanding figure in Vancouver’s underground music scene, Joshua Stevenson aka Magneticring has performed, collaborated and toured with numerous artists from around the world such as Von Bingen, Staked Plain, Kemialliset Ystävät, Jackie-O Motherfucker, Jandek and Land of Kush. Working with primarily with analog synthesizers and electrical effects Magneticring’s musical sphere ranges from 1930s Indonesia to 1970s Germany. Tones, Drones and Phase.” You can catch Magneticring in concert during the send + receive festival, as he plays a show on Wednesday, October 9 with Le Révélateur that will also feature screenings of two Jordan Belson films. Stylus recently cajoled Stevenson into spending a few minutes sharing thoughts on what will be his first-ever appearance in Winnipeg.
Stylus: Your bio explains that you work with synths and effects; it also uses the phrase “Tones, Drones, and Phase.” Is there anything you feel is worth adding there to help someone unfamiliar with your work understand it a bit more?
Magneticring: I’ve been interested in esoteric music equipment and tonal music since I was young. Over years of messing with lo-fi and hi-fi equipment I’ve come to a place where I reflect on those worlds. I like to play in a realm between improvisation and composition, where at any moment I may decide to go either way. I keep a palette of compositions and modes in my head but never prepare when they will be executed. I like to play to a space and not impose any preconceived idea of outcome, while at the same time having prepared work to rest on when the moment strikes.
Stylus: The festival theme this year is “transcendence” – how do you believe your performance will fit with that theme?Magneticring: I think the idea of transcendence is always in the back of my mind when performing. I try to get to a place where the instrument and myself are just reflecting off of each other, where the sound is actually leading the way.
Stylus: Have you ever played Winnipeg before? Do you know much about the send + receive festival? Although this is a local magazine, it’s great to get some perspective on how the festival is perceived outside of Winnipeg.Magneticring: I’ve never been to Winnipeg before, even though I grew up in the Prairies. I’ve been aware of send + receive for many years now and am honoured to be a part of it this year with such an amazing roster of artists. Tony Conrad and Charlemagne Palestine are influential artists in my musical cosmos. Performing along side my old friend Roger of Le Révélateur should also be a real treat. send + receive is on an international level of avant-garde music festivals. It doesn’t get much better!
Stylus: Are there any send + receive performances this year that you are particularly excited to see in person?Magneticring: I am very excited to see Tony Conrad and Charlemagne Palestine. Some of the most influential minimalist artists of the 20th Century, well, and beyond!