Vancouver music-scene mainstay Phil Western has died at 47. The news was confirmed by Western's family, who posted the following statement on his Facebook page:
Western was a prolific artist, with dozens of releases under his own name and in collaboration with others. In addition to his well-regarded solo records, he was perhaps best-known for his partnerships with Skinny Puppy's cEvin Key under the names Download and Plateau.
Key posted the following image in tribute to Western on February 9:
Many more of Western's friends, fans, and collaborators have taken to Twitter to express their sadness at his passing and to share their memories of him.
In a darkly prescient Facebook post dated December 27, Western declared his intention "to make 2019 count". He followed that up with "Shouldn’t say that though. That’s the kind of thing you say and then die and then people get chills when they read your comment later."
Most of Western's recordings are available via his Bandcamp page, including his most recent, a two-track release titled New Door Opening, which features the songs "Goodbye Love (The Last Waltz)" and the aptly titled "The Stages of Grief".
In 2016, Western told the Georgia Straight that discovering the music of David Bowie was life-altering:
I was 12 or 13 when Bowie played three shows in Vancouver—the first was at B.C. Place with Peter Gabriel and the Tubes, followed a month later by two shows at the Coliseum. I went to all three shows thanks to my parents' generosity and I discovered Scary Monsters in this weird store in North Vancouver that rented (yes, rented) vinyl albums, and my life kind of changed at that point.
Western discussed more of his influences, and talked about the gear in his studio, in a video created by Roland Canada in 2015:More