A little while back, I photographed Baltimore musician and artist TRNSGNDR/VHS at a special performance at the Walters Art Museum. It was part of the Art/Sound/Now series, which brings in artists to do site-specific performances in the Walters’ space. Quite an experience, it was interesting to see the crowd move in and out of the space full of classical works, while listening to Alexandra’s very contemporary piece.
Been sitting on some older photos from Hopscotch Music Festival 2015. Hopscotch is one of my favorite music fests, located in Raleigh, North Carolina. The close proximity of all the venues and the great staff and locals make it a super fun time, year after year… here are some photos of Prurient, one of the more famous noise artists. He played in the big opera house venue in downtown Raleigh, an odd setting for this performance, perhaps, but it was cool to see him there. I noticed the various ushers and staff of the venue shaking their heads in confusion – I assume they normally don’t host this kind of show there.
Right after this, at another venue, I got to check out Chelsea Wolfe, who I’d been waiting to see for quite awhile – great performance (with a guest appearance from Mike Sullivan from Russian Circles, pictured above). Her album Apokalypsis is one of my favorites, highly recommended!
Two of the most interesting people making experimental music today performed to a packed Metro Gallery last week. Pharmakon’s two full-lengths, Abandon and last year’s Bestial Burden, both made it to close the top of my best of lists in their respective years. She has a way of making challenging music that easily fits into the realm of noise but also is very listenable in a way that most music from that genre is not. “Listenable” is probably not the best way to describe the hellish soundscapes she creates, yet they are extremely captivating records that seems to be able to cross over to metal listeners as well as avant-garde/experimental. I’ve seen her perform three times now and each performance she seems to bring in new elements and work with the crowd aspect more and more – at Metro Gallery, she wound her way through the crowd, getting her microphone snagged on people and furniture, at one point the audience had to struggle and pull on the microphone cable en masse as she ascended back onto the stage – it was pretty interesting to watch.
Drew Daniel (of Matmos fame)’s the Soft Pink Truth project flew under my radar for many years, but when he announced that his most recent record would be a series of Black Metal interpretations entitled Why Do the Heathen Rage?, I took notice. It’s a really odd record, idiosyncratic electronic/dance versions of classic black metal tracks. And, lest you think Daniel is making fun of the genre… well, he is, sort of, but it’s the loving sort of jibe that comes from a true fan who has encyclopedic knowledge of his source material. The record won lots of accolades, including “Best Thing Ever” from the City Paper, and has led to several pretty amazing live performances, the latest of which is the one pictured above. Really unique artist that I recommend you go see if you have a chance.
A couple of months ago, I attended a rare joint performance of Merzbow and Richard Pinhas at the French Embassy in DC. I posted a few pictures from this show, along with my coverage of Sonic Circuits Fest, but I just found out there is going to be a CD released by Cuneiform of the performance, and some of my photos may be included, so I decided to post some more.