An amazing multimedia experience this past Tuesday night at Littlefield, with each of the four acts lighting up the stage with a mesmerizing mix of of music and visuals. Pianist Kathleen Supové kicked things off with a bold, intense performance that began and ended with the music of maverick Dutch composer Jacob TV, whose music offers a running commentary on the state of American mass media (as in "The Body of Your Dreams", which includes samples from an Abtronic informercial.) In between was Michael Gatonska's stunning "A Shaking of the Pumpkin," which had Supové furiously pounding the keys and banging the strings with a mallet, creating a thunderous roar. It ended with four ominous stomps on the sustain pedal, releasing resonance like muted hammer blows.
Following was Fair Use: a collaboration between composer/performers Luke Dubois, Zach Layton and Matty Ostrowski that uses computer processing to speed up feature films to 10 times their normal speed. Tuesday's double feature of "The Wizard of Oz" and "Top Gun" came off like a bad acid trip, mixing a pounding electronic soundtrack with audio that sounded like something out of The Chipmunks. The films themselves were not only sped up, but altered to an almost-unrecognizable state: at one point, the image multiplied prismatically into hundreds of individual screens.
Noveller, the stage name of former Cold Cave/Parts and Labor guitarist Sarah Lipstate, was perhaps the evening's most highly anticipated act, thanks in no small part to her prominence in Time Out NY's preview of the show. Sarah performed solo guitar to her own abstract film projection, using an array of pedals, bells and bubble wrap to slowly unleash a sonic maelstrom. As Steve wrote: "It's music that’s distinctly human in scale, yet imbued with a radiance that can be defined only in metaphysical terms... fashioning succinct reveries teeming with a narcotic bliss." Not to mention bad ass.
Closing was dowtown guitarist/composer Alan Licht, who's collaborated with everyone from Rhys Chatham to Sonic Youth's Lee Ranaldo. For this performance, he sat at a table and played ambient drones over a slowed down surfing documentary. It was as soothing and trance-inducing as Fair Use's performance was jarring. In other words: a perfect way to end the evening.
FoM Presents will be taking a break to enjoy the rest of the summer, but we'll be back in the fall with a new series of genre-crashing lineups that mirror the all-over nature of this site. Until then, get out and hear some live music!
(More pics on Flickr.)