Sonic Circuits: Ongoing Events @ Pyramid Atlantic
The Sonic Circuits Festival of Experimental Music may have officially closed the curtain in October, but the noise is far from over. On Nov. 23, the Pyramid Atlantic Arts Center in Silver Spring played host to another event curated by the Sonic Circuits team with a CD/CD-R/DVD/cassette release party for local label zeromoon, featuring live video and sound manipulations by Dead Violets and Video Love.
Dead Violets is a collaboration between zeromoon head-honcho and Sonic Circuits curator Jeff Surak, Dead Letters Spell Out Dead Words' Thomas Ekelund, and local vocalist (and newest member) Bethany Moore, birthing a black hole of lyrical mysticism and growling electronics. Their new 3-inch, YZMRHS, was released in early November—now available via the zeromoon Web site. Sunday's performance revolved around Surak's dense, digital choruses crawling under Moore's incantations. The two worked together well, with Moore's lines often getting played back into the mix and toppling over themselves while the surrounding static built to a climax. Check the video below for a snippet of the performance:
The highlight of the evening, however, came with Video Love's intoxicating amalgamation of French synth-pop and live video samples, which mixed and solidified masterfully. Local filmmaker James June Schneider worked the video loops and sound samples — projected on two of the surrounding walls — while his wife, Elise Pierre, sang atop buoyant keyboard beats. The interplay between the two was remarkable; it took me two songs into the performance before I realized that half of the sound samples were being taken from the projected footage, looped beneath Pierre's staccato French. Images of twitching cobwebs faded into cuts of a young girl pouncing on the camera with a giant net; a clip of a man's head frantically submerged beneath the sea gave way to a barrage of water-filled glasses similar liquid-based samples. Such deft integration of video, electronics, and pop sentiments was a textbook example of how multimedia experimentation can be successfully wrangled and exploited.
Schenider's newest film, 1,2,3 Whiteout (The End of the Light Age), was also released via zeromoon in early November, and features a collage of original footage, found clips, and a tailor-made soundtrack emphasisng an exitential tug-of-war between light, dark, and sound. You can find more info on the zeromoon Web site, or view the trailer below:
According to Surak, Sonic Circuits will continue to host a variety of interesting spectacles at Pyramid Atlantic, as well as other venues around the District. Last Sunday featured peformances by Dan Conrad (Baltimore), Janel+Anthony+Violet (DC), and Myo (Annapolis).