What Do We Do and Who Are We?
The Absurd Collective is a loose collective of Edmonton-based artists. Born four years ago when we somehow got our hands on a grant to have a mixtape release party and gallery that showcased our friends' art, it has since become a passion project through which we've worked with local venues, artists, charities, and friends to share our work in a meaningful way with one another. Our artistic vision has been, since the collective's inception, one that privileges a community based, D.I.Y., and anti-capitalist approach as much as possible (and sometimes out of necessity).
Our work includes, but is not limited to, music creation and promotion, visual design, creative and non-creative writing, event planning (both gnarly and legitimate in equal measure), videography, and just about whatever any of us feels like putting our time into. More than anything it is important to us that our art and work is done freely in a way that is as unrestrained, as accessible to those around us, and honest as possible. If that means that we make less, or no money, or have to work twice as hard or get less done, then so be it. If it means that we get to be rich and do nothing, then, well, so be it.
Below are short descriptions of some of the projects that we've undertaken.
IN THE NOW
In The Now is a collaborative project where producers are paired with two vocalists each to create a diverse set of tracks that are all released under one project. The purpose of this project, besides good wholesome fun, is to help foster relationships in Edmonton's hip-hop community, and to help artists break out of their bubbles in terms of who they work with and what sounds they tend towards. All versions of this mixtape will be released on the Absurd Collective Soundcloud and Youtube for free streaming. The first iteration of this project, released on the 18th, features beats from PHlLY, Shmubu, and Pleasebenice, and vocals from Dirty Dev, Ares, YUNG HOSS KOTU, Jazz Waters, Chazzy Boo, and Indycysive.
PUNK & POLITICS
Make Punk Political Again!
How can we get a bunch of punks to listen to people lecture on politics, while simultaneously tricking a bunch of politics nerds into listening to punk?
Sometimes our projects aren't as explicitly anti-capitalist, intersectionally feminist, and anti-fascist as we would like them to be, caught up as we all tend to get booking the homies band and leaving it at that. At the same time, sometimes punk music in general isn't as anti-capitalist, etc. as it probably should be given the roots of the movement. A perfect match!
Collaborators to date in this series have been Yo Bear, Feminal Fluids, Simone A. Medina Polo, Talking Horse (I think that's his name), and Whatever Brittany Gergel's Solo Project Is.
THE DEBASEMENT SESSIONS
"Filmed with help from sound guy Danny Prior, Videographer Michael Philpot, and Mom's basement."
In the eternal search for content and the uplifting of the local music as we are sworn to do, we strung a sheet up in the basement and filmed some friends doing their thing acoustically and solo-y for the purpose of uploading on Youtube and Facebook. Another of the projects we started in the summer of 2019 that finally got us some attention and people wanting to work with us, the DeBasement Sessions has people lined up for the next couple sessions at least. We're meeting artists, they're meeting each other, and we get Youtube subscribers while they get a free music video. :)
Collaborators so far include but aren't limited to the illustrious Duke & The Peacemakers, Ellen Reade, Mountain Laurel, Kat Zel, Braedon, Charles Pickard, and so on!
RHYTHM & POETRY
A moving meditation on the word spoken, sung, rapped, and drunkenly slurred.
The goal of this series is to create a space in which the word, its intended meaning, and the technique with which it is delivered are privileged above all else.
This is attempted through the blending of poetry with hip-hop in a way that accentuates the nature of all the performance as rooted in poetry and writing. As well, this is an attempt to bring into the spotlight artists who don't fit as comfortably into a show at a club or that is intended to be more of a party/dancing atmosphere.
Collaborators in this event so far have been Dirty Dev, PHlLY, Rai, Kazmega, Saphirah, Pleasebenice, Selassie, Dwennimmen, Celine Caruso, Aaima, Soroush, and more!
ETS: EXPERIMENTAL TRANSIT SESSIONS
This was a project based in exploring the spaces that we can use as venues, searching - as we always are - for spaces that are cheap, weird, and easily accessible. When we realized that busking permits are $15 dollars for the month we knew that we had to have a show in Churchill Station, assuming that it would be shut down quickly and be complicated to actually set up. The first show was a huge success, garnered a ton of interest, and went off without a flaw. We were inundated with requests to play the next one, and it became a series.
The money from every show, taken in the form of optional donations, was saved for the purpose of donating to Boyle Street at the end of the summer. Partially because the "venue fee" was virtually non-existant, and because the series occupied a public space that is used by many people who are less fortunate than us.
The series included performances by the wonderful likes of Symfan, Camp Nottingham, Callum Harvey, Family Injera, Braedon, A Dej, Dirty Dev, Marr Guiton, PleaseBeNice, HoneyBoyChild, Caylie Ganam, and More!
The first Absurd Cypher was recorded in 2021 over the pandemic, and featured three Edmonton-based Hip-Hop artists—Tariiiq, Selassie Drah, and Dirty Dev—and one duo from Calgary—Wxsted Txlent—as well as production from Edmonton's very own DJ Shmubu.
This cypher is intended to be the first in a series, and there are more in the works that both highlight Edmonton'sheavy-hitters as well as promote up-and-coming artists.
FOLK/PUNK HAPPY HOUR
This project is a monthly early show at the Sewing Machine Factory where have solo or acoustic acts play punk or folk punk for the benefit of their friends, our friends, early drinkers, people looking for a place to study or hang out, the small folk punk scene in Edmonton, and people who are bored.
So far Folk/Punk Happy Hour has been a pretty chill time, getting friends together to listen to music in a space and time that doesn't imply drinking or partying in a way that many shows do, and that, being as it's an early show, tends towards a much more relaxed atmosphere that feels much more like community-building than it does like another show.
So far the Folk/Punk Happy Hour stage has been graced by Marr Mellor, Levenin, Living Suitcase, Curt Blandy, Bert Mcclure, Callum Harvey, Harmine, and Whyte Ave Womprats.
A SUMMER CELEBRATION
In 2017, the Absurd Collective received a grant from Young Edmonton Grants to host a gallery show at Latitude that featured art from 10 Edmonton-based youth artists. Through the project, we were able to reimburse supplies for the artists that were involved, and procure a week-long gallery placement for the artists that were involved to display their work.
The opening night of the show involved live music, and was a celebration of youth art, as well as a great opportunity for youth artists to make connections and learn about getting into galleries, as well as having an opportunity to sell their work which was funded by the grant.
The exhibit included sculpture, photography, acrylic, print, and even a pyrotechnical installation.