News: Laurie Anderson @ TBA 12 + Exclusive Ticket Discount

If you are a regular reader of this blog, I have to imagine that you already are aware of the goodness in store for this year’s Time-Based Art Festival. In addition to some incredible looking visual and performative pieces, there is a healthy amount of exciting music-based projects on the calendar.

Former Explode Into Colors/current Stay Calm member Claudia Meza has a pair of works in the fest, including Sonic City PDX, an collaboration with 30 local musicians who “have mapped out their favorite local sonic spaces, creating an “audio tour” of the most interesting naturally occurring acoustic landscapes,” according to the project website; indie favorites Yo La Tengo who will be in town to provide a live soundtrack to a documentary on the work of Buckminster Fuller; a multimedia presentation by Brainstorm and Sahel Sounds that includes Skype jams with African musicians; and performances by Akio Suzuki and Otomo Yoshihide.

The biggest name on the schedule though is the peerless performance artist/musician Laurie Anderson. She will be taking the stage at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall on Sunday, September 16th to perform Dirtday, a solo piece that, according to the TBA site, “engages with the politics of the Occupy movement, theories of evolution, families, history, and animals in this riotous and soulful collection of songs and stories. Set against a detailed and lush sonic landscape, the music and narratives create a unique picture of a hallucinatory world encompassing dreams and reality.”

If you want to check out the Laurie Anderson performance, the good people at PICA/TBA12 are offering up an exclusive discount to readers of Experimental Portland. Use the code dirt4exp when you check out, and you’ll get $5 knocked off the price of your ticket. Click here to purchase tickets.*

*Lest there be an confusion, I’m not seeing any financial benefit for this offer. The PICA folks contacted me out of the blue and offered this up on their own. I’m as shocked as you are. 


News: Heather Treadway/Lisa Schonberg, White Rainbow, and Pete Swanson

Time for a little Thursday news dump for you, my precious readership. Are you sitting comfortably? Then we shall begin.

— Heather Treadway and Lisa Schonberg, two members of the Secret Drum Band, have bene invited to be artists-in-residence at A-Z West, a community for creators in the desert near Joshua Tree, California. And what they have planned sounds pretty incredible. “Our work at the residency will center around a new music composition focused on percussion that will take cues from the natural soundscapes of Joshua Tree. My collaborators’ contributions in fashion, sound, and video will interact directly with the composition.” They’ll be inviting along fellow artists/past collaborators Tara Jane O’Neil, Allan Wilson, and Julie Perini to join in the fun. But, as with most things like this, funds are in need to help get Treadway and Schonberg down to California with their gear and to make this project happen. They have turned to Kickstarter for help making this project happen the way it should. Click here to check out their campaign and then see if you can make a contribution to the cause.

— I’ve been having to miss a lot of great looking shows here in town due to work constraints, exhaustion, and other extraneous factors. You can then imagine my rejoicing when I saw that White Rainbow posted a recording of a chunk of his August 28th set at the Backdoor Theater on SE Hawthorne on Bandcamp. The glimmering/glitchy wonderfulness still makes me wish I was there to see it go down in person, but having it now to listen to over and over and over again helps ease the sting.

— Lastly, our favorite expatriate experimentalist Pete Swanson graced the good people at self-titled magazine (where I occasionally contribute) with a Needle Exchange mix that is an absolute thing of beauty. As he says in the text he contributed with the mix: “There’s a lot on this mix that has commanded my attention recently and has translated into concerns in my own music. In the last year, I’ve mainly been interested in real oddball takes on musique concrete (the extremely rough Schaffer track and the Akos Rozmann track) and classical electronic music (Guy Riebel). I’ve also been digging into a lot of electronic dance music (Zomby, Traxman, etc.) and hip-hop (mostly not included, but you can count Death Grips to some degree) in the last year or two. Everything is represented on here.” Stream and/or download the mix below, and get real, real gone.

Music: The Early/Ben Seretan Live In Liberty, NY

My hope is that you are at work or have some time at home to spend the full 40 minutes with this live recording. It captures post-rock instrumental outfit The Early in collaboration with singer/songwriter Ben Seretan, and finds them working at an impressively high level of acuity. They take a more subtle approach than most instrumental groups of their kind. Instead of building to crescendo after crescendo, the quartet slowly raises the tide, wave upon gentle wave. Recorded in June of this year, it is listed on SoundCloud as a “Sit Down Jam,” which may explain the lack of vocals and the sometimes unfocused quality of pieces of it. But I have to admit that losing the trills of Seretan’s voice turns out to be a benefit to the band’s efforts to bring CinemaScope expanses out of their respective instruments.

Music: Weather Exposed – Dwelling Memory

Jason Gray used to be one-half of Saudade, one of the best ambient groups on the local scene, but these days sticks to his own, recording under the fantastic name of Weather Exposed. The warm heart of the ambient sound hasn’t left Gray however. If anything, it’s only grown more toasty and inviting in the years since his previous band’s dissolution. This new track keeps to that spirit, with a vaguely tribal beat steadily rolling beneath rich waves of synth and processed guitar sound. Listening to it, I had two distinct thoughts: one that it reminded me of some of the finer moments on Seefeel’s peerless Quique album, and another that the track had an urging quality that strangely called to mind the aromas in a Warner Bros. cartoon that beckoned to the hungry characters within. Just as they would follow those delicious smells to what they hope is a hearty meal, so too will I follow Gray wherever he wants to lead me.

Music: Cody Brant/Kommissar Hjuler – To End All Life…

As it was with the Toning track that I featured just last week, details are scarce on this piece. All that Brant provides on the SoundCloud page is this: “Kommissar Hjuler and Cody Brant collab.” As simple little notation for such a complex piece of music. I want more information! Is this Brant remixing Hjuler? Is it the two artists bouncing ideas and noises off each other digitally, each bathed in the glow of their respective laptops? Or did they actually meet up and painstakingly weld together this swimming collage of samples, pinging melodics, and flittering noise. Until I hear something definite, I’m just going to keep guessing. And why not? A piece as wobbly and delirious as this will just elude any attempt I might make to stick into an antechamber of my understanding. Thinking on it more, maybe I should just stay in the dark. Seems more fun that way.

Interview: Techne Rendered Dawn

The worlds of experimental music and art regularly shake hands, exchange fluids, and smoosh together ideas and disciplines. When it coheres, the results can be transcendental, and when it misses the mark completely, the ensuing mess can be both fascinating and repulsive. But that’s what makes events that bring the worlds together worth exploring and encouraging.

One such evening is coming this Friday, August 31st to Disjecta. Called Techne Rendered Dawn, this group art show was put together by Wyatt Schaffner, a musician and student who, as he says in the curator’s statement, is looking to “invite participation into an evening of augmented reality as integrated technology and interactive performance.”

To bring this to life, he has invited musicians Matt Carlson, The Tenses, Jason Urick, MSHR, and Future Death Toll into perform. As they do, they will be filmed by the people behind the ever-fascinating public access program Experimental 1/2 Hour, who will then manipulate the images and project them behind the performers. As well there will be screenings of video work by Liz Harris and Taryn Tomasello, and a video/audio installation from John Rau and Olivia Erlanger that play to the overall theme of the evening.

Schaffner was kind enough to get on the phone with me this past weekend to talk about this art project, teasing out some of his grander ideas, especially when it comes to using ever part of the Disjecta space as part of the show.

What is the idea behind this event? 

It really started by participating and observing and asking questions, and seeing how this digital technological culture is really imprinted on a lot of the city’s musicians and artists. You have Experimental 1/2 Hour who fuse those separate realms together in a form of augmented reality. When I saw Experimental 1/2 Hour videos, these live performances with visuals that aren’t meant to distract you. It’s the performers enacting themselves in time and space. A mirror reflection of that whole dynamic. Seeing MSHR for the first time really hit home as well; body and motion becomes sound and light as an envelope for people to enter in. Anyone can step into it. They are masters of that craft. I’ve never seen a better example of an insulation project and ethos. I was also thinking about our relationships with machines and facing the dualities that exist between man and machine, and how we are attempting to create an incredibly inclusive virtual reality, disassociating the body in alternate spaces of being.

How did you then go about curating the evening?

I’m fortunate to have co-created the event with the people behind Experimental 1/2 Hour. Once I had a thesis framework in mind, they helped give it more depth and vision. We wanted to see video as a collective group activity by people that are notable musicians and video artists here. And I always had a notion of being a performative element.

How much of the space at Disjecta are you utilizing for this event? 

All of it. I’ve worked there for a year, and this is one of the few times I can think in which the entire space is empty and open to the public. It being a group show, having all that space available had to be the most natural option. To just have one or two elements there would limit the scope of this project.

Do you then envision things going on at the same time or are you scheduling things out in some way? 

There’s definitely going to be a schedule. I’m pretty sure things are going to go one by one. Projections may be going all the time. And some illustrative art work. The idea is people are going to be able to enter all the different spaces. The environment really encourages a flow walking from room to room.

Video: Boron – Tomato Upload

Seems almost a shame that Dan Nelson decided to name his upcoming Field Hymns cassette (recorded under the name Boron) The Beige Album. Such a bland sounding title for what is such colorful synth music. At least video artist Moduli TV didn’t take the bait when putting together this clip for the song “Tomato Upload”. Instead, we are given some glorious smears of pixilated colors that appear to be captured by either sticking a camera very close to a television or zooming waaaaaaaaay in on another video. Whatever the case, it is a perfect accompaniment for this sputtering Walter Carlos-inspired modular tone jam.

Video: Redneck @ Pure Harsh Noise Worship Fest 2012

I hope that some of my readers made their way to Ella Street Social Club last weekend and took in the PHNW Fest. It was an incredible, and – for me at least – enlightening event. I think I finally learned why it is I am so attracted to extreme genres of music like metal and noise. There’s something so immersive about the volume and sound that it starts to feel like a sonic blanket. Keeps me feeling wrapped up and warm inside. Never a bad feeling in my never so humble opinion.

To give those who weren’t there some sense of what they missed out on, here’s a clip filmed by Faith Ivey of the short but perfect set by local noisenik Redneck. It is a very theatrical performance, which works much to the benefit of a genre that tends to be marked by people standing there twisting knobs and ignoring the audience. Instead, Redneck made sure to make his person the center of attention with some well-placed smears of…jelly?…and some blank stares at the people surrounding him.

Music: RLLRBLL – Coffee With Donnie

This is likely to be one of the most straightforward tracks to appear on this site. But whenever long running post-rock psych drone space jam outfit Rollerball or RLLRBLL comes alive with some new music, it is always a smart move to pay close attention.

This piece is a 9+ minute jam (available for free download as part of a new EP of outtakes out on Silber Media) of motorik rhythms and silken female vocals that sounds as caffeinated as the title. That’s long been the beauty of this group. They instinctively understand the meditative quality of repetition and embrace it again and again to delirious effect. Because this isn’t a song that builds to some crashing conclusion or some LSD-induced peak. It just rides steadily along like a high speed rail trip, giving you ample time to get zoned and zonked out.