impurity chains is an album about influences: the joyful chaos of 21st-century listening and the creative impact this can have on a composer. Each work on impurity chains is referential, whether to effects-laden popular musics, Newfoundland traditional folk music, or even other concert music of the heavier variety. In the first ever recorded collection of Simms’ music, the bounty of stimuli available in both acoustic and electroacoustic soundworlds is celebrated with some of Toronto’s finest chamber ensembles performing works with gestural vitality, nuanced timbral shadings, and a colourful array of sources that reflect Simms’ curiosity as a listener: from the turbulent and grotesque to the sumptuous and fleetingly lyrical.

Bekah Simms’ varied output has been heralded as “nuanced and complex” (NOW Magazine) and “redefining classical music” (Ludwig Van). Propelled equally by fascination and terror toward the universe, her work is often filtered through the personal lens of her anxiety. Foremost among her current compositional interests is quotation and the friction between recognizability and complete obfuscation. Her music has been performed from coast to coast in Canada, over a dozen American states, Italy, and the UK; broadcast on Montreal’s Pulsar; and included on Musicwork’s CD series. Bekah has been the recipient of over 20 awards and prizes, including the 2017 Toronto Emerging Composer Award and the 2018 Karen Kieser Prize in Canadian Music.

1. microlattice (6:27)
Anthony Thompson, bass clarinet; Adam Scime, double bass; Stephanie Chua, piano; Daniel Morphy, percussion; Pratik Gandhi, conductor

2. Slept Unwell (5:59)
Sara Schabas, soprano; Shauna Yarnell, alto; Sean Clark, tenor; David Roth, bass; Christopher Dawes, conductor

3. swallow/breathe (10:10)
Madawaska Quartet: Sarah Fraser-Raff, violin 1; Jeewon Kim, violin 2; Anna Redekop, viola; Amber Ghent, cello; Scott Good, conductor

4. Granitic (6:54)
Katherine Watson, flute; Anthony Thompson, clarinets; Lisa Hartl, trumpet; Adrian Irvine, violin; Emilie Gélinas-Noble, viola; Amahl Arulanandam, cello; Andrew Noseworthy, electric guitar; Phill Albert, electric bass; Stephanie Chua, synthesizer; Evan Bowen, percussion; Pratik Gandhi, conductor

5. “Everything is…Distorted” (11:31)
Continuum Contemporary Music Ensemble: Leslie Newman, flute; Anthony Thompson, bass clarinet; Carol Lynn Fujino, violin; Paul Widner, cello; Gregory Oh, piano; Ryan Scott, percussion; Brian Current, conductor

6. impurity chains (15:21)
Andrew Noseworthy, electric guitar