Local art collective Neighborhood Public Radio has been hosting a series of “Engagement Parties” at the Museum Of Contemporary Art in downtown LA. Last Thursday the final event, titled “In The Air,” aimed to “[bring] together local noise musicians and sound and performance artists to facilitate a live performance gesture exploring the ways in which we sonically experience indoor and outdoor spaces, and how sound informs our perceptions of our surroundings.”
Operationally, this meant filling up the inside and outside of MOCA with 100 guitarists (a la Glen Branca) and, well, cutting loose with as much drone as you can. No way I wasn’t going to miss this.
(Yours truly rocking the ambience on the right. Azalia Snail on the left – check out her music when you get a chance)
There were some guidelines. Each player was given a small FM receiver, earphones, and a region of the museum to set up in. Regions were then “conducted” via radio but only in the loosest sense: “Region 5, play a low note.” “Region 1 play something rhythmic.” and so on. By 9pm or so, most of the players had moved up to the outside plaza under Nancy Rubins’ wrecked airplane sculpture.
(obliged to mention that I’m in the clip at the 1:01 mark – choose your own description for sound)
The YouTube video gives you a vague idea of what it sounded like, but is missing much of the subtleties… sound waves bouncing off the buildings, puzzled looks from the patrons, trying to fit your sound in between your neighbor’s. Very exhilarating (and honestly transcendent) couple of hours.