iVardensphere is a unique quantity in the world of modern electronic music. Hailing from Edmonton in Canada, the project originally emerged from mastermind Scott Fox’s desire to explore both the heavy electronics he cut his teeth spinning at local industrial club nights and his love of percussion from around the world. Joined by Jamie Blacker (ESA) and Yann Faussurier (Iszoloscope), iVardensphere became a fully fledged collaborative effort, anchored by a mutual love of deep sound design and crushing rhythms. That passion, combined with an ever-evolving and maturing production sensibility, have become the project’s trademarks; over the course of six full length albums and innumerable remixes, iVardensphere has become one of the foremost live and studio acts in the North American industrial scene.
For all its grandeur, the iVardensphere sound has also proven remarkably fluid. Monolithic analogue synth bangers share space with simmering groove-based instrumental experiments, tribal industrial drum workouts and deep, textured ambience. For all of those elements, the whole is remarkable because it feels so singular. There is no mistaking the scope and gravity of an iVardensphere track when you hear it.
A key part of the band’s identity also stems from collaboration. While all the tracks on 2009 debut ‘Scatterface’ were instrumental, by the arrival of 2011’s ‘Apok’ vocals had become an integral component of their sound. Tom Shear of Assemblage 23, Daniel Graves of Aesthetic Perfectionand Brittany Bindrim of I:Scintilla have all appeared on iVardensphere songs, along with numerous contributions from Blacker, the de facto vocalist since 2013’s ‘The Methuselah Tree’. Live and contributing studio members Sean Malley and Chuck Murphy are familiar faces to fans, their tribal percussion and metal backgrounds respectively demonstrating the deep pool of styles and influences that the group regularly dip into.
To reflect the project’s adaptability and growth, Fox has elected to keep the live iVardensphere experience equally fluid. From full-stage shows with a small army of percussionists, vocalists and other instrumentalists to solo sets exploring the band’s electronic roots (branded asiVardensphere Singularity), the focus is on delivering a truly live experience, eschewing canned beats for legitimate performance, complete with elements of spontaneity and improvisation. No two sets by the band are ever truly the same, as those who have seen them on numerous headlining tours, festival appearances and on support slots for Combichrist, Juno Reactor and Front Line Assembly can attest.
Restless and always seeking new paths forward, iVardensphere continues to challenge. 2015’s ‘Fable’ was a literal case in point. Challenging those already entranced with newer ideas, deeper explorations of rhythm and atmosphere and still more expansive vistas of noise and melody, it stood as both a marker for how far the project had come in such a seemingly brief period of time, and how much there is still to uncover. The brand new ‘Hesitation’ also shows that for a sound so exotic and unearthly, it remains intimate and unmistakable. This is iVardensphere.