Electronic Press Kit (EPK) 2018
Josh Thorpe is a Canadian visual artist, writer, experimental musician, and songwriter now living in Glasgow, UK.
Thorpe's paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures, installations, and public works have shown internationally at venues such as DOK Artist Space, Edinburgh; David Roberts Art Foundation, London; 3A Gallery, New York; Power Plant, Toronto; CSA Space, Vancouver; Museo Napoleonico, Rome; and Open City, Lublin, Poland. He has recently completed a large-scale public work for the City of Toronto. He is also the author of Dan Graham Pavilions: A Guide, published by Art Metropole, and The Unexpected, published by Swimmers Group, and articles in various publications, including Momus and Canadian Art.
Thorpe completed a Master’s of Music Composition at York University in 1998 and a Master's in Visual Studies in 2009. He has participated in Toronto’s experimental, jazz, and songwriting scenes ever since. He has collaborated and performed with Jennifer Castle (Idée Fixe), Eric Chenaux (Constellation), Ryan Driver (Fire), and Doug Tielli (Tin Angel). In the mid 2000s, Thorpe was a member of Owen Pallett’s so-called favourite band: Everybody Get Sick.
"...dynamic tones and kinetic guitar-playing take us veering between moments of brightness and sheer oddness, joy, reflection. [Thorpe] makes us dwell in steady friction, then rewards us with a good crunchy solo."
"Gently swaying guitars and a warm, Lou Reed-like vocal...."
-Mike Mineo, Obscure Sound
Josh Thorpe is a Canadian painter, writer, and songwriter now living in Glasgow, UK. After years of making experimental and ambient music and scratching out messy paintings and sculptures in Toronto, Thorpe fell in love, wrote a number of rock songs, recorded an album, and moved to Glasgow to live poor but happy. He lives with his partner M.E. Smit-Dicks, and his dog Gus, and plays in a trio with the inimitable Rory Haye and Owen Curtis-Williams.
The Album: Scrappy Art Rock You Can Dance To
Recorded live-off-the-floor in a day. Then a number of evening follow-ups to track the voice and add a few more guitars, a bit of piano. We had in mind recordings like Mississippi Fred McDowell’s I Do Not Play No Rock ’n’ Roll or Velvet Underground’s self-titled record from 1969. This was about owning up to the rough grain of the music and its imperfections. And my guitar style is messy. You can’t pretty that up. Actually music today, art today, tends to try to be too polished. I like rough sound.
Press Photos (open usage, editorial use only, only minor cropping please)
Please credit: Alex Holroyd
Please credit: Jack McCombe
Further Photos (for permission and usage terms contact Alex Holroyd)
Scrappy Art Rock You Can Dance To
A debut album by UK-based Canadian Josh Thorpe
(including collaborations with visual artists Ian Wallace,
Sandra Meigs, Trevor Shimizu, Geoffrey Farmer and others)
~ Nov. 8, 2018; Glad Café, Glasgow, UK / International~
Known primarily for his work as a visual artist and experimental music composer, Thorpe now releases his debut album of songs. The album was recorded in a single day in Toronto’s Palace Sound with bassist Mike Overton and drummer Jay Anderson (Comet Control, Biblical).
Scrappy Art Rock You Can Dance To recalls ‘60s psych-rock, ‘80s post-punk, and is influenced by sources as wide-ranging as Lou Reed, John Cale, Kinks, Sonic Youth, PJ Harvey, and Mary Margaret O’Hara. It’s simple structures, sweet melodies, and solid rhythms are complemented by unusual tunings and chord voicings, and by guitar solos that seem to crumble as they build.
“My favourite records are simple; not overly produced. And there’s room for chance and accident to occur, a bit of chaos and noise. I find most music today too controlled. So, though this band is nostalgic for a certain kind of sweet song, it also craves unusual sounds and wants that all mashed together. That hybrid sound very much grows out of Toronto’s unique experimental scene, which I miss.”
As part of the project, cover art and music videos have been offered by visual artists Ian Wallace, Sandra Meigs, Geoffrey Farmer, Trevor Shimizu, Shaun Gladwell, Lily Ross-Millard, and Renée Lear.
“I wanted to keep the music a bit separate form my visual art, wanted the band to open up some new exchanges and relationships. Having had these brilliant colleagues and mentors of mine involved has brought a lot of beautiful energy to the work.”
Scrappy Art Rock You Can Dance To will be launched in Glasgow on Nov. 8, and will be available internationally on all main streaming platforms, including Spotify, Apple Music, etc., as well on CD by special order.
Thorpe lives in Glasgow with his wife M.E. Smit-Dicks, and works as an academic tutor at GCU. He holds masters degrees in Music Composition and Visual Studies, and for many years he participated in the experimental and songwriting scenes in Toronto, having collaborated and performed with Eric Chenaux, Doug Tielli, Ryan Driver, and Jennifer Castle, among others. His paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures, installations, and public works have shown internationally. His writing has been published by Momus, Canadian Art, Art Metropole, Musicworks, Power Plant, and Border Crossings.