Mladinski klub Nade Zagar

MKNZ Ilirska Bistrica, Saturday, 16.02.2002:


Roughage was formed by Zev Asher in Montreal in 1988 as a multiple media performance and recording collective. Working with a revolving group of filmmakers and musicians, Roughage has performed across Canada, the U.S., Europe and Japan.

Selected performances:
2001 -- Toronto, Pleasure Dome
2000 - Vancouver, Blinding Light Cinema
1997 - Vancouver, Edison Electric
1996 - Seattle Improvised Music Festival
1995 - Berlin, Falscheur Freund
1995 - Zagreb, Student Media Centre
1992 --Tokyo,Heaven's Door
1991 - Osaka, Bears
1990 - Montreal, Foufounes Electriques
1989 - Toronto, Music Gallery

Selected Recordings:
1995 - Yen for Noise CD, Scratch Records
1992 - Travel the Globe, cassette, G.R.O.S.S.
1991 - Shitsurei, cassette, Vanilla Records
1990 - Roughage, video, Vanilla Records

ROUGAHGE also appears on a number of international compilation CD's, LP's and cassettes. Several new Roughage releases are planned for 2002.

Digital filmmaker gets premiere at Toronto International Film Festival with feature documentary Sub Versive Media Arts is proud to announce that its feature-length documentary "What About Me: The Rise of the Nihilist Spasm Band" has been selected for the Perspectives Canada showcase at the 2000 Toronto International Film Festival. "What About Me" is the first feature by director Zev Asher. The film is one of only two Canadian feature documentaries selected (the ONLY independent production), and one of two fully digital Canadian features.

What About Me is an energetic celebration of The Nihilist Spasm Band, Canada's legendary experimental noise-music group. What About Me traces the development of the group, from its origins as a response to ultra-conservative London Ontario, to the tragic death of one of its founding members, artist Greg Curnoe, to the band's recent tour of Japan, where they enjoy a rabid cult following (and where their performances include a bizarre appearance on a Japanese variety show). What About Me is also part of a new wave of digital films - it was made for less than $20,000 and edited entirely on a Macintosh G3. However, it also blends digitized 16 mm and super-8 film of recent and archival footage with mini-DV, Beta, and even VHS formats to give the film a unique, rich texture that reflects the band's multi-layered, improvisational style.

The Nihilist Spasm Band emerged from Canada's avant-garde art scene in the 1960s, and its founding members include three of Canada's most prominent artists: the late Greg Curnoe, painter John Boyle, and sculptor Murray Favro, all of whom have work in the collection of the National Gallery of Canada. The other members of the group are (retired) high-school teacher Bill Exley, physician John Clement, (retired) librarian Hugh McIntyre and (retired) commercial artist Art Pratten. This eccentric ensemble has built many of their own instruments and played together almost every Monday night for the past 35 years. Their raucous and riotous cacophony of sound has only recently earned them worldwide attention.

The New York Times calls The Nihilist Spasm Band "a droll, clattery ensemble [that] has maintained the sly humour and casual provocation of 1960's art movements like Fluxus," and described one of its performances as sounding like "cracked hoedowns, hyperactive barnyards, misfiring truck engines or the magnified gnawing of beavers."

Director Zev Asher is a Montreal-born film-maker and musician. He is a founding partner of Sub Versive Media Arts, and has performed all over North America and Japan with his bands Nimrod and Roughage. He was artist-in-residence at the Vancouver Film School's multimedia centre in 1995-96 and a resident at the Canadian Film Centre's new media lab in 1998-99. His first documentary, RAT ART: Croatian Independents, was about the impact of the Yugoslav civil war on Croatian artists. It has screened at Cinematheque Ontario, the Pacific Cinematheque in Vancouver, the University of Chicago, and the Visible Evidence Documentary Conference at UCLA, among others. What About Me: The Rise of the Nihilist Spasm Band is his first feature-length documentary.

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