Events > Audio Release

11 Aug. 2006

Record launch for Ultra Red's A Silence Broken

Isabelle Noel, Eddie Peel, Dont Rhine, and Andrew Zealley
Ultra Red, Terre Thaemlitz, Matmos, and Lezzies on X
9 pm
Offsite Location
Beaver Cafe, 1162 Queen Street West, Toronto, ON

Art Metropole is pleased to present with Ultra-red and the Beaver Café the album release party for A Silence Broken from Public Record. Please join us Friday August 11th at 9:00 PM at the Beaver Café for performances by Isabelle Noel (Miau Miau TM, Toronto), Eddie Peel (Ultra-red, Los Angeles), Dont Rhine (Ultra-red, Los Angeles), and Andrew Zealley (PSBeuys, Toronto).

Ultra-red’s online record label and archive Public Record, releases its first album for 2006, A Silence Broken, Contemplating the status of the historic partnership between queer artists and AIDS activism, Ultra-red assembled an all-star cast to come up with tracks based on a recording of protesters chanting “Silence=Death.”

Out of the streets and onto the dance floor, A Silence Broken includes music by gender-queer house legend, Terre Thaemlitz; Matmos’s Drew Daniela in his Soft Pink Truth guise; Montreal’s “highly conceptual dance band” Lezzies on X; and from Toronto the mysterious Miau Miau TM and sound designers for a better tomorrow, PSBeuys. The Ultra-red organization offers Death Drive (Eddie Peel of Sony Mao and Needle fame), the strategic minimalist Jack Tactic, and Ultra-red itself.

While HIV is an increasing epidemic among the poor and people of colour, the history of artists engaged in AIDS politics seems to recede from memory. A Silence Broken asks what remains of the alliance between queer artists and the AIDS epidemic.

Should AIDS cultural activism return form its slow fade, A Silence Broken suggests the groove will be different from when “Silence=Death” first appeared on posters in 1986. A Silence Broken is the sound of a new generation even as AIDS remains a crisis of homophobia, racism, poverty, big pharma greed, religious moralizing and public apathy.

Terre Thaemlitz describes AIDS cultural work as sounding like a broken record. “Formulaic. We still listen to this broken record comforted by knowing where the skips will occur, never lifting the needle out of fear of hearing the underlying silence in which we have lived for years, preferring to let the sound engineers apply an ever so gentle and unimaginative fadeout.”

“Organize the silence,” declares the linear notes.

And here are some beats for the struggle. A Silence Broken is available exclusively for free download at

Public Record is the internet-based archive of the Ultra-red audio-activist organization. Established for the distribution of work by Ultra-red members and allies, Public Record serves as an interface between the organization and its publics with free fair-use downloads of exclusive full-length albums, images, texts and video.

N.B Art Metropole was at The Beaver Café with a specially organized Kissing Booth. Kisses were bought from our sexy volunteers and we raised over $100 and it was donated at the end of the night to Prisoners HIV/AIDS Support Action Network. Bisoux!

Isabelle Noël is a Toronto-based composer, producer, audio artist, and DJ. She produces remixes and mash-ups under the name Siquemu, as well as atmospheric film-noir dance tracks in French and German for her international saboteur singer persona, Mao Mao. She has also produced, under Mirabel, psychedelic electronic folk tracks influenced by early 70’s Canadiana; and as Miau Miau TM , experimental live mash-up performances drawing on her vast collection of vintage french pop. She has also been commissioned by numerous filmmakers, directors, choreographers, designers, architects, and visual artists to create original soundtracks for various projects and spaces.

Dont Rhine co-founded Ultra-red in 1994. As an activist, Rhine has worked with a variety of social movements including ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power), Clean Needles Now (needle exchange), and Community HIV/AIDS Mobilization Project. Artist, composer and writer, Rhine curates Ultra-red’s online fair-use record label, Public Record. He has lectured extensively at art schools across the U.S. and Europe and has been a visiting faculty member at Vermont College of Fine Art. He was also a 2007 recipient of a California Community Foundation Mid-Career Artist Award.

Andrew Zealley is a Toronto-based artist whose work expands beyond audio and music methods to inform mixed disciplines and media. His practice has been situated at the shifting nexus of HIV/AIDS, queer identity, and the body since 1990. Zealley s audio installation, Nature: This Is A Recording, is in the permanent collection of the National Gallery of Canada. He has recordings published by labels Art Metropole, Fine & Dandy, How To Explain Silence To A Dead Hare, Old Europa Cafe, Public Record/Ultra-red, Tourette Records, and Vague Terrain. Zealley holds an MFA in interdisciplinary studies from OCAD University. He is currently pursuing doctoral research through the Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University; Program of Study: Safe and Sound: Art, Queer Listening, and Biopolitics of HIV/AIDS.

Activist art has come to signify a particular emphasis on appropriated aesthetic forms whose political content does the work of both cultural analysis and cultural action. The art collaboration Ultra-red propose a political-aesthetic project that reverses this model. If we understand organizing as the formal practices that build relationships out of which people compose an analysis and strategic actions, how might art contribute to and challenge those very processes? How might those processes already constitute aesthetic forms?

In the worlds of sound art and modern electronic music, Ultra-red pursue a fragile but dynamic exchange between art and political organizing. Founded in 1994 by two AIDS activists, Ultra-red have over the years expanded to include artists, researchers and organisers from different social movements including the struggles of migration, anti-racism, participatory community development, and the politics of HIV/AIDS.

Collectively, the group have produced radio broadcasts, performances, recordings, installations, texts and public space actions (ps/o). Exploring acoustic space as enunciative of social relations, Ultra-red take up the acoustic mapping of contested spaces and histories utilising sound-based research (termed Militant Sound Investigations) that directly engage the organizing and analyses of political struggles.

Ultra-red’s ten associates in North America and Europe work within a variety of ambiences conducting Militant Sound Investigations of the spaces of needle exchange (Soundtrax, 1992 – 1996), public sex (Second Nature, 1995 – 1998), public housing (Structural Adjustments, 1997 – 2003), resistance to global capital (Value System, 1998 – 2003), labor (Social Factory, 1997 – 2002), education (School of Echoes, 2001 – Present), anti-racism and migration struggles (Surveying The Future, 2001 – Present), and HIV/AIDS (SILENT|LISTEN, 2005 – Present). The group also runs the fair-use online record label, Public Record.

Terre Thaemlitz is a musician, public speaker, and owner of the Comatonse Recordings record label. Her work critically combines themes of identity politics – including gender, sexuality, class, linguistics, ethnicity and race – with an ongoing critique of the socio-economics of commercial media production. This diversity of themes is matched by Thaemlitz’ wide range of production styles, which include electroacoustic computer music, club-oriented deep house, digital jazz, ambient, and computer-composed neo-expressionist piano solos. Graphic design, photography, illustration, text and video also play a part in Thaemlitz’ projects.

As a speaker and educator on issues of non-essentialist transgenderism and pansexual Queer sexuality, Thaemlitz has participated in panel discussions throughout Europe and Japan, as well as held numerous cross-cultural sensitivity workshops at Tokyo’s Uplink Factory, near her current residence in Kawasaki, Japan.

Terre Thaemlitz’s Soil and Tranquilizer releases in the early and mid-1990s served to introduce a “political” form of ambient music, continued in later releases such as Couture Cosmetique and Means from an End, which aim to recast the usually passive artist-listener-environment equation. Thaemlitz’ colleagues in the political ambient music front include the sound activist group Ultra-red. Following their remixes of Thaemlitz’ Still Life with Numerical Analysis in 1998, Ultra-red joined Thaemlitz on the German label Mille Plateaux for their first two albums; Second Nature: An Electroacoustic Pastoral (1999) and Structural Adjustments (2000).

Matmos is M.C. Schmidt and Drew Daniel, aided and abetted by many others.

Currently based in Baltimore, the duo formed in San Francisco in the mid 1990s, and self-released their debut album in 1997. Marrying the conceptual tactics and noisy textures of object-based musique concrete to a rhythmic matrix rooted in electronic pop music, the two quickly became known for their highly unusual sound sources: amplified crayfish nerve tissue, the pages of bibles turning, water hitting copper plates, liposuction surgery, cameras and VCRs, chin implant surgery, contact microphones on human hair, rat cages, tanks of helium, a cow uterus, human skulls, snails, cigarettes, cards shuffling, laser eye surgery, whoopee cushions, balloons, latex fetish clothing, rhinestones, Polish trains, insects, life support systems, inflatable blankets, rock salt, solid gold coins, the sound of a frozen stream thawing in the sun, a five gallon bucket of oatmeal. These raw materials are manipulated into surprisingly accessible forms, and often supplemented by traditional musical instruments played by the group’s large circle of friends and collaborators. The result is a model of electronic composition as a relational network that connects sources and outcomes together; information about the process of creation activates the listening experience, providing the listener with entry points into sometimes densely allusive, baroque recordings.

Since their debut, Matmos have released over eight albums, including: Quasi-Objects (1998) , The West (1998), A Chance to Cut Is A Chance to Cure (2001), The Civil War (2003) and The Rose Has Teeth in the Mouth of A Beast (2006) and Supreme Balloon (2008). In 2001 they were asked to collaborate with the Icelandic singer Bjork on her Vespertine album, and subsequently embarked on two world tours as part of her band. In addition to musical collaborations with Antony, So Percussion, David Tibet, the Rachel’s, Lesser, Wobbly, Zeena Parkins, and the Princeton Laptop Orchestra, Matmos have also collaborated with a wide range of artists across disciplines, from the visual artist Daria Martin (on the soundtrack to her film Minotaur) to the playwright Young Jean Lee (for her play The Appeal) to Berlin-based choreographer Ayman Harper. Most recently, they have been part of the ensemble for the Robert Wilson production The Life and Death of Marina Abramovic, featuring Marina Abramovic, Antony and Willem Dafoe. Their next album, The Marriage of True Minds, will be released in 2013 by Thrill Jockey Records

Lesbians on Ecstasy is a Canadian electronic band formed in 2003 in Montreal.

The band toured across Canada and the U.S. with Le Tigre before the release of their first recording. The first album, the self-titled Lesbians on Ecstasy was released on October 26, 2004. In 2005, the song from this recording entitled Bitchsy, a re-take of the Fifth Column song All Women Are Bitches, was featured on the TV series Queer as Folk. That same year, Lesbians on Ecstasy was chosen as the “Album of the Year” by U.S. magazine The Advocate.

In the summer of 2005, the band released their follow-up recording Giggles in the Dark, an LP of Lesbians on Ecstasy remixes by Le Tigre, Scream Club, Tracy and the Plastics, Kids on TV (featuring Maggie MacDonald), 1-Speed Bike, DJ AÏ, Jody Bleyle (formerly of Team Dresch), Katastrophe and Sean Kosa. Additional remixes were available for download on the web site by French producer Electrosexual, and Branx. The band’s third full-length release, entitled We Know You Know came out in the spring of 2007.

The band’s name is a word play on Chicks on Speed.


2: Dont Rhine, Eddie Peel & Andrew Zealley.
3: Eddie Peel and Andrew Zealley.
4: Miles Collyer is ready to kiss kiss kiss!.
5: The Beaver Cafe.
6: Dont Rhine cues the next track.
7: Luis Jacob by Tonik.
8: Tonik by Luis Jacob.
9: Dont Rhine goes Ultra-red!.
10: Stephanie Rogerson yuks it up with Scott Treleaven.
11: Natalie Matutschovsky and Alynene Lavigne pose pretty.
12: Miles Collyer puckers up for Andrew Patterson.
13: Scott Treleaven.

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