In grade 7, a music teacher told Wendy Atkinson that girls couldn’t play double bass because their hands were too small. So Atkinson played cello instead; but that only lasted one year. Fast forward a few years and Atkinson picked up the electric bass to play in singer-songwriter bands. Soon she began to experiment with the bass, which led to playing/recording solo.
Since then, Wendy Atkinson has performed with reclusive legendary cult figure Jandek in Vancouver. In a review of the performance The Georgia Straight wrote that “Wendy Atkinson filled out the growing wall of sound with sustained bass notes, establishing an admirably minimal presence throughout the 11-song performance, even when she was dragging a knife across her strings during the stormy fourth number.”
Her spoken-word piece, Summer BBQ was featured in shows in Morelia, Mexico and Berlin, Germany curated by Canadian composer jef chippewa, and on the Deep Wireless 5: Radio Art Compilation, released by NAISA (New Adventures in Sound Art).
She was included in The Unspeakable, a film about Pacific Northwest artists directed by Clyde Petersen.
Her music was twice selected for Art in the Air, an international audio art festival and was included in Sonic Landscapes, a sound art exhibit held in Michigan, along with Mecca Normal and Lee Ranaldo of Sonic Youth.
She has performed at the Olympia Experimental Music Festival, Ladyfests in Ottawa and Toronto, Vancouver’s Western Front and Access Artist Run Centre’s Celebration of John Cage.
Her previous albums, Pink Noise (2007) and Trim (2003), both charted on college radio stations across North America and were reviewed nationally and internationally.
When her duo, Horde of Two (formed with David Lester of Mecca Normal), released their first album, Guitar & Bass Actions, Wonkavision Magazine called it “…one of the most intriguing instrumental albums of the last few years. This is the duo’s debut album, and a wildly successful pairing it is, and one fervently hopes it’s not a one-off collaboration.”
Atkinson worked with poet/activist Bud Osborn and David Lester on a spoken word/music CD called Hundred Block Rock, which received national airplay and was made into a video that was screened at a variety of video poem festivals around the world and was acquired by CBC Television.
She lives in Vancouver, Canada.