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Douglas Pringle

is a Canadian media producer, writer and composer whose work explores the convergence of video and music in digital media.

Doug Pringle's impressive accomplishments in his career as a creative producer span the last 3 decades, and his body of work includes productions of video, multimedia installations, digital media, music, and live performance.

When his production company, PeakMedia, was recently commissioned to produce a monumental 96-screen ambient video attraction, it was the latest highlight in Doug Pringle's career as a creative producer.

The 3-story video installation is featured on the Media Tree - designed by Reich+Petch Architects at the heart of Canada's Casino Niagara - and combines adrenaline pumping energy with PeakMedia's signature high end aesthetic.
 
Synchronized plasma screens designed and programmed by PeakMedia present a visual synthesis of exciting thematic moments set into a rich visual ambient field of colour, motion and texture interwoven with tele-visual images of extreme sports, classic moments in entertainment and visual ambience set to rock & roll rhythms.

PeakMedia was established by Doug Pringle and Michaele Jordana Berman to develop unique projects like this one, where they exercise their creative talents to the fullest - Doug's skills as a producer, musician and writer and Jordana's extensive visual talents and conceptual abilities. Over twenty-five years, the team has produced award winning recordings, television, theatrical productions and multimedia work, with each project revealing their unique creative fingerprint.

Doug established his credentials in video production in the 1980's as a series producer for the Global Television Network, directing in Canada, the U.S and Europe, eventually becoming head writer.

With the support of Global, Doug directed Face to Face and Moving with the Light, for his own company Peak Productions. These television specials are sensitive documentaries that trace artist Michaele Jordana's breakthrough creative involvement with developmentally disabled teenagers. Face to Face, the story of a handicapped teenager who works up the courage to speak out, received a World Silver Medal at the New York International Festival of Film and Television for Peak Productions.

 


Doug scripted and directed The Making of The Phantom of the Opera for Cineplex Odeon, hosted by Colm Wilkinson. Screened daily in Toronto's Pantages Theatre for over a million visitors, the production won an ITVA award.

Doug spent the next decade as a creative director in corporate communications, developing and producing creative concepts which integrated his writing skills with video, multimedia and live events.

He pioneered the use of digital video in interactive learning environments for the Ontario Investment Service, and Parks Canada, for whom he transformed Alexander Graham Bell's photographs and film into an interactive educational experience installed at the Bell National Historic Site in Cape Breton.

The visual world attracted him strongly, but Doug's formative creative experiences were in the world of music.

 

 

 

With his electronic synthesizer and saxophones, Doug was a Canadian pioneer of techno music, co-founding the electro pop group Syrinx in 1970, and the New Wave band The Poles in 1977.

He first attracted headlines as a musician in the late sixties, performing at Toronto's Perceptions '67 festival. In 1969, Doug joined Moog synthesist John Mills Cockell and drummer Alan Wells to form Syrinx, the first electronic band in Canada.

Syrinx was one of the first electronica groups worldwide working with synthesizers, including Tangerine Dream and Eno, anticipating by decades the electronic pop music of today's artists such as Moby.

Syrinx's signature theme Tillicum, composed for a TV series, became a chart topping single.

Syrinx was contemporary classical with a primal pulse driving processed saxophones, sequencers, and hand drums.

The trio performed at coffee houses and rock festivals, in concert halls with a string orchestra, and on concert bills opposite Miles Davis, Deep Purple and Ravi Shankar.

By 1973, Syrinx had disbanded and Doug himself began composing scores for films with the Moog synthesizer. Doug's immmersion in the new technology sparked his interest in the sound communications of whales. After intensive research, he produced and hosted The Dolphin’s Smile, a 2 hour CBC radio documentary in which he interviews researcher Dr. John Lilly about the advanced acoustical language of whales.

Inspired by Lilly's premise that whales are intelligent and sentient beings, and by his work with inter-species communication, Doug travelled with his partner, painter Michaele Berman, to Johnstone Strait in British Columbia, where they would live in close contact with Orca whales in the wild.




Returning to Toronto in 1976, Doug was commissioned by A Space Gallery to write and perform his electronic pop opera Brine, based on his experiences with whales.

Brine:An Opera of Survival is a sci-fi tale in which the earth is consumed by fire and flood, and humans are driven to make their last stand on the edge of the Arctic ice floes, before descending into life-support capsules underwater, where they wait a state of suspended animation for the planet to heal.

 

 

 

At the same time, Doug was commissioned by leading Canadian artist Joyce Wieland to compose the score for her feature film, The Far Shore. Based on the life of Canadian painter Tom Thomson, in the period of World War I, the star-crossed romance is set against the background of cultures in conflict.

Doug's soulful soundtrack is faithful to the times, inspired by traditional Celtic music as well as Debussy, Satie and Scriabin, andis scored for mandolin, piano, harp, strings, winds and percussion. With this score, Doug had become a full fledged composer in his own right, working with leading players from both popular and classical disciplines.

During this time, as Doug continued to experiment with whale sounds, he and Jordana traveled to Pond Inlet on Baffin Island in the high Arctic to record the underwater songs of whales.

Their experiences of the remarkable Inuit culture, as they travelled on the ice floes of the Arctic Ocean surrounded by spiral-tusked narwhals, inspired Doug to write the music for The Rites of Nuliajuk, a theatrical performance work first performed at Innis College in Toronto, and the Robert McLaughlin Gallery in Oshawa.


In The Rites of Nuliajuk, Doug performed live with Moog synthesizers and pioneered the integration of tape loops and field audio recordings collected on the journey.

Michaele Jordana recorded a haunting narrative based on their experiences with their Inuit friends, and performed live with Pringle and Inuit artist Norman Ekoomiak, in a theatrical space she created with three tons of ice blocks and sculptures of feathers, bones and artifacts.


The Rites marked Jordana's first appearance as a performer, and the first of many with Douglas. As the show unfolds, we enter deeper and deeper into a world where the primordial forces of nature overwhelm our rational senses, and, at the climactic moment, at the dissolving edge of the ice floes, we meet Nuliajuk, the goddess of the sea and giver of life.

Performing to the driving rhythm of Pringle's score for The Rites of Nuliajuk eventually inspired the shy painter to begin singing. The pair added drums, bass and guitar for performances at CEAC Gallery and the Music Gallery in Toronto, and decided to call the resulting 5-piece group The Poles, after their primal Arctic journey.

Merging his thick synthesized growl with the crunch of guitars playing through Marshall stacks, Doug sculpted the sound of The Poles into a unique hybrid, powerful and delicate by turns, supporting Jordana's supple voice.

Soon, The Poles were performing at venues around Toronto, including Crash ‘n’ Burn & the El Mocambo, ushering in the brand new sound of punk and new wave.

With the release of their popular single, CN Tower, produced by Jimmy Frank and Keith Elshaw at Soundstage Studios in Canada, The Poles were invited to perform at CBGB's and Max's in N.Y. with acts like Devo, the Ramones & Patti Smith.

In Paris, Libération called their music "urgent rock and roll, hypnotic like Kraftwerk", and in New York City, the Velvet Underground's John Cale produced and recorded their music. Variety called Jordana "a choice lead singer, placing the Poles above other New Wave punk outfits."

The band returned to Toronto to record Michaele Jordana's Romance at the Roxy album which was produced by Doug and Jim Frank at Nimbus 9's studio.

The Montreal Star proclaimed Michaele Jordana "a chanteuse of star magnitude." The blend of punk and electronica styles on the album, soon to be reissued, created a fresh unique sound in contemporary music.

Doug and Michaele married, and had a daughter, Ramona. When Doug began a new career as a television producer, he kept the music alive by scoring films for television. Both Face to Face and Moving With the Light feature his electronic scores and original songs written and performed with Jordana.

 
In 1988, The Power Plant Art Gallery in Toronto commissioned Jordana to create Storming Heaven, a performance work for the Quay Works series of innovative international performance artists at the Harbourfront Theatre. The multimedia performance explores man's desire to conquer a planet that does not belong to him alone, and later toured to the United States.

Doug and Michaele composed the full score of songs and instrumental sequences, and Jordana designed the dynamic staging, which features multiscreen projections, sculptural pieces and laser lighting effects. The songs and arrangements are a sriking departure from the rock music of The Poles, with echoes of the music of Kurt Weill, and Michaele's voice the instrument of a chanteuse.

Today, Doug continues to collaborate with artists, musicians and architects through PeakMedia, always looking to create powerful aesthetic experiences that transcend the boundaries of traditional media.

Doug has taught at Fanshawe College and the Centre for Creative Communications and has conducted workshops in interactive media at the Banff Centre. He is a member of the Institute for International Affairs and the Media Advisory Committee for the Harmony Movement.

He has been awarded several arts grants by the Canada Council and Ontario Arts Council.

 

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