Banff Centre Residency: Arrival

My route to Banff is an unusual one.

I begin in Brussels. I take the train up through the Belgian and Dutch countryside to Amsterdam, where I board a plane and fly over the Atlantic, all the way home.

The Rockies are my mountains. In many ways, they inspired the New Rocky Mountains that set so much of the atmosphere in my novel Gravity Wing and its spinoff stories Tales from New Canada. Growing up, I saw these very mountains on the horizon every day. Now I will spend the next two weeks composing and creating for the Musicians in Residence Program at the Banff Centre. Here I will work on composing Airships, a musical cycle of atmospheric soundscapes.

I began work on this series in 2015 by writing poetic short stories. These pieces of flash fiction function as standalone works, but they also interlock to create a larger narrative. Set in a steampunk world, Airships tells the tale of two people who meet in a frontier town on another world and fall in love. But their story is not without obstacles: after all, helping to build a new society on a different planet is difficult and absorbing work. You can read more about Airships here.

I recorded the first four soundscapes of Airships in 2016:

Over the coming days, I will attend meetings with visiting faculty and other participants, participate, discuss, attend informative sessions, do work in a musical studio, and draw inspiration from my surroundings. The goal is to craft the final Airships album, an LP-length collection of soundscapes, each one a tiny world; together, forming an aural image of a world on a faraway planet.

Inspiration has already arrived in the form of mountains cutting silhouettes into a sky lit by the Western Canadian sunset.

Tomorrow, I begin my creative work.


I took all these images while travelling from Brussels to Banff.

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