“Agnete & The Merman” has been described as “transcendental cinema.” A modern hallucination of music, the ancient augmentation of reality, our relationships - and our spaces - the theatre, the club, the empty warehouse.
This 55 minute film is an adaptation of Cristian Vogel’s spatial sound and live theatre production that was commissioned by the Aarhus European Capital of Culture 2017 and premiered in Denmark in June 2017. Cristian Vogel is a Copenhagen-based electronic composer who specializes in immersive, spatial sound. The Automatic Message travelled to Denmark during the production to shoot and have since created this experimental, mind-bending dance film.
The film has been scored in immersive sound (52 channels of audio for it's screening at the ZKM Festival in Germany in December of 2017), 7.1 and 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound.
Vancouver-based Trevor Jacobson and Tanya Goehring are The Automatic Message. Since forming The Automatic Message in 2006, Trevor and Tanya have been producing dark, off-kilter techno and supporting it with their own visual interpretations, which, in line with their music, creates a tremendous sense of unease and tension.
The Automatic Message works closely with From 0-1, a Seattle/Bay Area-based label, releasing various EPs and remixes, including collaborations with co-label head Milkplant and most recently with Brendon Moeller (AKA The Echologist) and have been charted by the likes of Speedy J, Joey Beltram, Dave Clarke and Ben Klock. One of their recent releases saw them representing Vancouver on Berlin's Reclaim Your City (RYC) label. Their song “Perihelion” received a lot of attention because of its cross-genre appeal.
The Automatic Message’s intriguing videography and dark style of editing has caught the eye of some of the biggest names in the techno world. CLR label boss Chris Liebing brought them onboard to create, produce and direct videos for Tommy Four Seven, Black Asteroid and Drumcell. The Automatic Message's music videos for CLR and for their own music have been screened internationally at various music video festivals and was nominated for a Berlin Music Video Award in 2014. Additionally, The Automatic Message run their own annual music video festival in Vancouver – RENDER: The Vancouver International Music Video Festival. Render has been co-produced with VIFF Year Long and 2018 will be their 5th edition.
Blending these two art forms, The Automatic Message melds their auditory and visual works to create unique live performances. They juxtapose the different characters that appear in their videos to tell new narratives. Since The Automatic Message debuted live at the 2008 New Forms Festival in Vancouver, BC, they have performed across North America (including Vancouver, Montreal, Seattle, Portland and San Fransisco) and Germany. They made their European debut at Berghain's Klubnacht in July 2013. They were back at Berghain again in July 2015. Both trips were made possible by the Canada Council for the Arts' music travel grant program.
In 2017, The Automatic Message was invited to participate as filmmakers in Cristian Vogel's ‘The Ballad of Agnete and the Merman,' which was part of the Official Programme for Aarhus European Capital of Culture 2017. Vogel is a long-term innovator in the composition, mixing and performance of electronic sounds. From 2003 to 2011, during his residencies with the Gilles Jobin Dance Company in Geneva, he composed a number of scores for choreographed speakers or quadrophonic sound. ‘Agnete’ was his first major creation for spatial sound using a hybrid technological and performative sound art approach. The Automatic Message travelled to Aarhus in June of 2017 to film and create an experimental, mind-bending dance film based on Vogel's live theatre piece. The film has been scored in immersive sound (52 channels of audio for it's screening at the ZKM Festival in Germany in December of 2017), 7.1 and 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound.