Throughout the centuries, music has had extra-musical influences -- political circumstances, economy, geography, love, war, religion, and the like: the subtle little pushes that just by their existence make their presence felt and shape sounds. The subtle little push we are talking about in this case is narcotics. As long as there has been popular music there has been a drug culture influence on it. We see the influence in the slow heroin-induced dirge of the grunge movement, the crazed amphetamine-driven frenzy of the Early 60's R&B sound -- let's not even bring up Acid House. Like it or not it's here, and its influence is not going away any time soon.
"Drop the Needle", a multi-media trance/drone performance, takes a critical look at those subliminal and not-so-subliminal influences. Not so much to judge them as bring them into the forefront of our awareness as listener/participants. The collaboratively-created piece is based on texts as far-ranging as the Velvet Underground, and Billie Holiday. It uses a variety of structures like Found Sounds in the form of people talking about their experiences (good and bad) with drugs, and explores texts like "Super Fly" (Mayfield) and ěWaiting for the Man" (Reed). All of this in the context of the Future Perfect Sound System: no silence, constant motion, the beautiful and grotesque sharing an umbrella in a sunshower of the subconscious. Musical cubism.
Composer-performers include: A Most Happy Sound(Loreen Stafford, Chris Strouth, Bob DeMaa),Jane Anfinson, Big Daddy Jr. and the Spook (members of Lunar 9, and Passage) Paul Horn, Mindphaseone, Pleasent Stitch, Radar Threat, Fetik 3 (Jason Shapiro), Satoshi Shinozaki, Rod Smith,Throb Pod (Jim Anton), TS, Rob Walsh (Colfax Abbey),Chuck Zwicky, and many more. Video by Keri Halverson, Slides from Dwyane Williams. Curated by Chris Strouth.
This work is commissioned for the Sonic
Circuits Festival by the American
Composers Forum with funds provided by the Jerome Foundation.
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