dreaming cities

I want to write a bit more about Dream|City, a project that I did with the most munificent of collaborators, Mr. Connor Ashton. If you’ve not seen it, you can check it out here. We made the music totally out of field recordings: Connor recorded Vancouver, and I used the samples to make the music: we switched for Victoria.

Dream|City came out of a summer spent living in Vancouver – the last time, in fact, that I ever lived in Vancouver. Summer of 2008. I sublet a gorgeous studio apartment in a 1912 building in the West End from a UBC architecture student who was going to London, and I ended up reading a lot of his books. Among them was this: Dream City: Vancouver and the Global Imagination.

Dream City, the book, is about the history and future of Vancouver, and about what make Vancouver different from other large cities. For me, it got me thinking about the idea of the millions different cities that exist inside the geographic boundaries of Vancouver: my Vancouver is not your Vancouver. Our paths are different, our secret knowledge is different, our skies and clouds and grounds are different.

Dream|City, thus, is about my Vancouver. And likewise, I hope, about Connor’s Victoria. Both of us were non-natives, learning about cities that were / are almost exactly like our hometowns, but different in thousands of small and smaller ways. There is, for example, no good sushi in Victoria. Contrariwise, even though Vancouver is ten times larger than Victoria, the number of nightclubs worth going to is roughly the same.

Each of the six chunks of the ‘Vancouver’ part of Dream|City are about parts of my Vancouver, in both time and space. I can draw you a map of the piece, across town on buses and trains. I moved to Burnaby to go to recording school, I lurked at UBC with friends who were doing their degrees there, I went to a lot of nightclubs, I lived with a girlfriend on Main street, I had that shining summer in the West End, and I went back and forth from Victoria to Vancouver on dozens of ferries for a different girlfriend.

Now, four years later, even when I only spent a few hours visiting friends between ferries and flights, I remember how much I like the town. Or rather, I like my town, my Vancouver. Yours, of course, is different.