“Unflinchingly upfront and uncannily emotive — City gives voice to a true outsider spirit” - Boomkat
City is the alias of Will Ballantyne, a musician, composer, and artist from Vancouver, B.C. His music has been described as “massive, like it's going to swallow you whole” by VICE; “furious with texture, but guided by an inner slowness” by The Wire; and “epic, soaring electronica” by Resident Advisor.
He has released records on Halcyon Veil, Ascetic House, and PTP, and co-runs the s.M.i.L.e. event series in Vancouver. His debut album A Goal is an Image
was released in September, 2017, followed by a self-released EP entitled Skeleton
in March, 2018. His most recent full-length is a collaborative record with Canadian drummer i.o, entitled Spirit Volume
, and released by PTP.
City’s music is a combination of warped guitars and propulsive, industrial rhythms; heartfelt narrative melodies and heavily processed iPhone field recordings; heavy metal double kicks and ghostly choirs; ripping sawtooth arpeggiators and sub-bass. His live shows are high-energy and dynamic spectacles, wreathed in smoke and strobe lights, that test every available frequency of the sound system. His combination of industrial electronics and frantic live guitar often invites comparisons to the extremity of instrumental black metal or emotive trance progressions, and has been called “staggeringly intense ... a living, breathing ecosystem of textural sound” (SBVRSV).
His work has been covered in AQNB, Bandcamp Daily, BBC Radio 3, FACT Magazine, Mixmag, Resident Advisor, Red Bull Radio, Tiny Mix Tapes, VICE, The Wire, and more. City is active both as a performer and a collaborator, and has toured his live set nationally and internationally, including commissioned special performances at galleries like Tai Kwun Contemporary in Hong Kong and at the abandoned West Coast Printing factory in Seattle for Corridor Festival.
In November 2019, City appeared as a performer and musician in Tianzhuo Chen's TRANCE, three consecutive days of 12-hour performances to celebrate the opening of Chen's large-scale exhibition of the same name at M WOODS Museum, Beijing.
His next record is entitled Simulation Fix (Divination)
, and will be released via Ascetic House in winter 2019.