In the early 2000s, under the starlit dome of the H.R Macmillan Planetarium, a unique movement in Canada’s electronic music community was born. Vancouver’s Listening Room events were a platform for emerging artists to explore new tools, techniques and technologies in electronic music composition and creation, providing a stellar venue in which to perform, experiment and entertain a new generation of connoisseurs and enthusiasts. This was a uniquely fertile time when electronic music was still largely unknown, such was Seattle’s influence on music in the region during the ‘90s. During this period, while Europeans were embracing an explosion in dance music culture, becoming accustomed to the pounding, repetitive rhythms of acid, techno and jungle, the Pacific Northwest’s musical consciousness was ever-focused on grunge, rock and punk music, utilizing the traditional instrumentation and sonic aesthetics of decades of contemporary music that came before.
Not to be confused with a DJ playing pre-mastered records, this medium of musicians performing their own material is known as live PA.
By 2007, the Listening Room series came to an end. Electronic music events have always had a precarious relationship with the indoor spaces necessary to bring its culture to life, and due to a change of management, the planetarium once more fell silent. Out of this vacuum emerged a new platform for expression in live PA – Sequential Circus. The man responsible was Drew Smith, a savant-level software engineer and pioneering talent for Vancouver’s small but burgeoning techno scene. The name of the series pays homage to Sequential Circuits, a line of synthesizers developed by Drew’s namesake, the legendary Dave Smith, and offers established and developing artists the opportunity to perform their own music to a knowledgeable and enthusiastic audience, in Vancouver’s most prestigious underground venue, Open Studios. Twice a year, for the past ten years, six local and international acts would gather in that hallowed space to deliver the finest performances of their careers. They would compose and perform all-original material, accompanied by projected visuals, lasers and lights, hanging artworks and performing artists, to the delight of an enraptured crowd.
Twice a year, they created an utterly unique and unforgettable experience, unmatched anywhere in Canada.
Previous iterations of Sequential Circus have seen performances from: 1800HaightStreet, Amos Hertzman, Andrew Van Hassel, Aristotle Punk, Bastet, brp, bryface, Chaotic Grey, Comaduster, Computer Controlled, Daega Sound, Dark Arps, datataste, Devin Dirt, Dialectic, DJ Lace, Domtron, Entorwellian, Fictitious Facts, Filip Gorecki, Haagen, Hitori-Tori, Inkwell, Jade Statues, Jay Zoney, Jeff Griffiths, Jesse Bru, JGarrett, John Tennant, Jonnay, KAFKA, kimlett, Kinetic Diction, Kir Mokum, Knautic, Komega, Longwalkshortdock, MA/AM, Max Ulis, Mick Wildleder, Moldover, MUX, Neighbour, noCore, Quest, Ragdoll, Ricardo Almeida, RiDylan, Science of Defiance, Scott Riesterer, Self Evident, Taal Mala, Tarekith, Texture & Light, The Automatic Message, The Phobic Trust, The Square Root of Evil, Thegn, Thought Photography, Tracerburn, Vespers, Villain, Vincent Parker, and X41.