January 28, 2004
katastatik: velocityBomb

I've been working for a while now (not steadily, due to other commitments - i.e. Great Mutant Skywheel) on something I was originally calling a Drum & Bass opera, except that what I'm doing isn't really as stylistically rigid (no offense to the bassheads - I LOVE drum n bass, it's just that if you listen to what's going on with it, it has some very specific properties, to which I'm disinclined to rotely adhere. Listen to some of the tracks available on Drum&Bass Arena to see what I mean) as that genre seems to have become.

Although, I have to say that if I were a DJ, D&B and Jungle is what I'd spin.

ahem. So, anyway, I've decided to call what I've been working on an electropera, a term which has been used by a variety of people, from Polish prog - metal groups (this is making me smile right now as I listen to it - it's AWESOME, like Queen channeling a luded Yngwie and Trans-Siberian Express! Instantly I'm taken back to 1983), to hip-hop, to well funded MIT hyper-instrument (com)posers)

I'm calling it an electropera because it's part electronic, part a work (as in piece of music or work of art), part opera (in the sense that there's some sort of story being told - a thread longer than individual, disparate songs, and longer than a song-cycle,) and finally, because it's more than half unsung and electropera as a descriptor seems to be completely openended.

My project's name is katastatik, which is from the Greek word Katastasis which is the moment in drama before things fall apart.

(And now, and aside: In the early '90s while I was @ Peabody I had an improv ensemble called Katastasis. Because of the freely rotating membership (pretty much anyone was welcome - at our height we had, like, nine people) the fact that it was VERY unstructured and we performed out several times, the name seemed particularly apropos. So, I've kept it, but modified it to "katastatik", meaning, to me, that tense moment just before chaos frozen in time. Kind of like tying someone's head to a guitar amp craked wide open, with a guitar plugged in, but about 50 feet away: It's a very dangrous time for the person who's strapped to the amp, but exhilirating and unlike anything else (if the guitar isn't played, there just exists this immense and dangerous potential for pain. Bear with me: I don't tie people to amplifiers. I just like finding what I feel to be really atmospherically accurate analogies. Do you get me?)

katastatik also works for me as a project name, because when I perform this thing live, and I will, it will be just me, with a lot of computer interaction, MAX, sensors, interactive video, and Frank "the punisher" Marchand mixing. So, in a very real sense, it will be close to falling apart at all times...

The piece is called velocityBomb and it's (somewhat loosely) about the concept of binary encoding sent to earth as an idea, the following digital revolution, the side-effect of mundane non-linearity afforded by freely available random accessibility and the effect all of this has on love, a somewhat unshakably linear process.

As a first taste of this world, here, in all its glitchy and compressed splendor, is an mp3 of the coda for velocityBomb, entitled "and what they left" - essentially, 31 seconds of a random access trip through the 53 minutes of the whole piece. I will put up excerpts from the whole piece over the next weeks, but rest assured: velocityBomb is coming, and there is nothing like it.

Posted by mandra at January 28, 2004 10:47 PM | TrackBack

And it rocks. Goddamn does it rock.

Posted by: Ben Brown on February 15, 2004 01:43 PM
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