Thought Exhaust

Presented by The Rorschachs
Featuring Angela Schleihauf (oboe), Zak Pulak (percussion), Scottie Irving (keyboards)

"Everything is connected to everything else." —Quantum Physics

Using riffs and reeds, membranes and mallets, sticks and strings, The Rorschachs build sonic ecosystems with unexpected ingredients.

Angela Schleihauf:

Angela Schleihauf performs in a wide range of classical, pop, and folk genres, offering moving musical experiences that facilitate moments of reflection in a world where it is often difficult to dream. She enjoys making conventional sounds, as well as those that are weird, so long as she can explore the range of human existence, including the beautiful and the uncomfortable, with her audiences. She plays oboe, English horn, piano, guitar and sings. Schleihauf has made music in South Korea with the Orford Academy Orchestra at the Busan Maru International Music Festival; in Northern Ontario with Sudbury and North Bay Symphonies, across Eastern Canada with her folk band Three Little Birds, and in Sweden on an improvisation tour with percussionist Anders Astrand.

Working in collaborative musical ensembles and interdisciplinary projects is where she thrives. Schleihauf has added her musical performances to a variety of projects including the short film Niobe with Jadis Dumas; site-specific theatre piece Swan River with Skeleton Key Theatre Company at the International Children’s Festival; satirical puppetry company Bread and Puppet Theatre in Vermont; and Theatre Catapulte’s Cercles Polaires with Benjamin Gaillard, Annie Lefebvre and Elif Isikozlu in both the Magnetic North Theatre Festival and Rideau Project. Schleihauf’s trio Three Little Birds’ was nominated for a Canadian Folk Music Award for their self-titled debut album. Her original song “Uranium Mining” was named in the “Top 10 Songs of the Year” by Ottawa Citizen. Additionally, Schleihauf has made instrumental contributions to Jesse Thom’s book-on-tape and live puppetry show, Some Bunny Loves You; as well as to Canadian metal band, Woods of Ypres, Juno award-winning album.

Zak Pulak:

Hailing from Winnipeg, Ottawa-based percussionist Zac Pulak studied at the University of Ottawa under the tutelage of Jonathan Wade and Kenneth Simpson, receiving an undergraduate degree in 2014. Since then, Zac has worked with world class organizations such as the National Arts Centre, Music and Beyond, Ottawa International Chamberfest, Banff Centre, Scotia Festival of Music and many others. Zac has completed artist residencies at the Banff centre and SMU (Dallas, TX). Recently Zac was featured as one of CBC’s 30 Hot Canadian Classical Musicians under 30. As a freelance orchestral musician Zac has performed with the National Arts Centre Orchestra, Thirteen Strings Chamber Orchestra, and the symphony orchestra’s of Ottawa, Thunder Bay, and Winnipeg.

As an emerging artist, Zac is the recipient of numerous awards including the City of Ottawa’s Youth in Culture Pilot Program (2016, 2017, 2018) and Ontario Arts Council’s Chalmers Professional Development Grant (2018-2019), which will fund a private mentorship with Canadian virtuoso Beverley Johnston. Zac performs in his own chamber projects SHHH!! ensemble and trio [no]relation. He is the founder/curator of #NSFW Contemporary Cabaret and STICKATO percussion ensemble. Zac is an artist/endorser of Mike Balter mallets, Grover Pro percussion, and SABIAN cymbals.

Scottie Irving:

Scottie Irving is an Ottawa-based musician who specializes in keyboard performance (piano, synthesizer, accordion) and composition. Scottie is best known as a member of The PepTides, an independent Canadian pop band with strong electro, jazz and soul influences. The group functions as a nine-member collective, collaboratively producing all its own albums, videos, concerts, and tours in five provinces. Noted for its rich harmonies, incisive lyrics, and spectacular physical presence, the band has performed at major Canadian music festivals, written an original soundtrack to a Stuart McLean anthology, played live on CBC Radio, and been awarded the Prix FÉQ. LOVE+HATE, a musical theatre piece written by Scottie and performed by the band, was programmed as part of the 2015 undercurrents and SummerWorks festivals. As a solo theatre musician, Scottie has worked on Romeo and Juliet REDUX (featuring live, improvised, continuous 80-minute synthesizer-based soundscapes) and Swan River (an outdoor ambulatory children's play whose final scene takes place in the Ottawa River).

A word from the creators:

"Angela is the glue. She was always the glue.

"Angela had worked with Zac and Scottie on separate projects and wanted to try some free-form improvisation with all three of us together. We all have classical backgrounds but have never been satisfied staying solely within the classical world.

"We jammed in Scottie's living room, which is filled with giant paintings (portraits and abstracts) that we all found inspiring. We "played" the paintings. (That's where the name The Rorschachs came from: in the famous Rorschach ink blot tests, people create meaning out of ambiguous blobs.) Then we went for Pho. Then we came back, looped random lines from fantasy novels on the computer, and improvised some more. We do a lot of playing, followed by a small amount of talking about what we like most from our experiments. This informs future jamming.

"It is not meant to be a high-tech show for now. The raw material is still very much three human minds all surfing together in real time, sending musical offers in the spirit of "Yes, and..."

"It's not meant to be terribly intellectual, but it is meant to be exciting and beautiful."

Runs: 20 minutes
Plays: October 18-20