Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Robert Beatty's New Noise

Posted By on 03.03.10 at 06:28 PM

Still from Untitled (Pink Dot), 2007
  • Still from "Untitled (Pink Dot)," 2007
Robert Beatty was supposed to play in Chicago last week with his long-running brutal noise group Hair Police, but when tourmates and headliners Cold Cave canceled, so did Beatty and company. But Beatty, who's based in Lexington, Kentucky, is in town tomorrow night in an arguably more interesting and satisfying mode, collaborating with experimental animator Takeshi Murata and performing a short solo set at the Gene Siskel Film Center. The event is part of the theater's superb Conversations at the Edge series.

Beatty, who also frequently plays in C. Spencer Yeh's Burning Star Core, first showed off his more, uh, gentle side a couple years ago with a solo concert presented by Lampo, which is also copresenting this event. That performance was by Beatty's Three-Legged Race project, but I don't think the solo stuff he'll be doing tomorrow night will be too different. In both cases he uses primitive electronics—hacked, repurposed, homemade—to create unsettling, otherworldly soundscapes that ought to make a great complement to Murata's work. Born in Chicago, Murata is a RISD grad who specializes in constantly morphing digital psychedelia, using both hand-drawn animations and glitchy, hijacked digital software to create mind-blowing images. He's built a visual universe all his own, though at first glance you might understandably be reminded of fellow RISD maniacs Forcefield.

The first part of the program will feature an assortment of Murata's works made between '03 and '08, some of which—including Cone Eater (2004), Untitled (Pink Dot) (2007), and Untitled (Face) (2007)—feature sound by Beatty. Then Beatty will do a set, which ought to be gripping if his recent album Solos (What the . . . ?, 2009) is any indication—it's a series of short, weird solo pieces he recorded live during Burning Star Core concerts on a tour last year. They choke, sputter, and whine with pileups of blobby, gurgled bursts and piercing held tones.

The final part of the program will feature newer work by Murata with live accompaniment from Beatty. Below is a short excerpt from Melter 2 (2003), though the sound isn't by Beatty.

Today's playlist:

Teddy Pendergrass, Teddy Pendergrass (Philadelphia International/Legacy)
Charles Ives, A Radical in a Suit and Tie (Él)
Dadi, Bem Aqui (Sunnyside)
Fernando Otero, Vital (World Village)
Ole-Henrik Moe/Arditti Quartet, Vent Litt Lenger (Aurora)

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