Experimental noise acts haven’t met much commercial success on the local club circuit, but Derek Morton and Velvet Lounge owner Chris Connelly say they will not be deterred.
“There’s people out there creating brilliant experimental music that you never see performed live,” says Morton, a local promoter. The reason, he says, is that it’s the worst type of music for getting people into clubs. “But it’s the type that needs promoting,” he says. “I feel like I’m getting bored even with a lot of the music I used to listen to, and I’m interested in seeing what’s new out there, trying to move beyond just guitar rock.”
In his work with local clubs, says Morton, he’s had a hard time booking shows for experimental acts, but Connelly had an idea for bringing avant-garde sounds to the Velvet Lounge. So over the next two months, they’re holding a series of shows they call the Emergent Music Foruma program much like the Metallotronic Festival Morton put together last year at the Black Cat.
Morton’s lineup spotlights experimental, avant, “electronix,” “no-fye,” turning tables, and performance art. The tentative schedule calls for shows every Wednesday beginning this week, through at least March 3, featuring local artists such as Faraquet, Aerialist, Laconic Chamber, and Elegy ca. 1923, as well as far-out aural manipulators like Balinese Wayang (members of Gamelan Mitra Kusuma, whose metallophone music is based on a five-tone or seven-tone scale with nontraditionally tuned instruments) and Giant Sucking Sound. He plans to include video installations and audio-kinetic sculptures as the program gains steam, and says he’s soliciting “sound scientists” to carry the event well into the future. Morton’s own band, the Mikroknytes (improvisational noise with effects-heavy keyboards, electronic gadgets, and violin), plays on Feb. 3.
“The whole point of this is to get artists who are usually project-oriented and build a community for live performance,” says Morton. He’s the first to admit that it’s not exactly easy listening he’s after, and that the music is far from club-friendly. “It doesn’t have to be a performance to entertain peopleit can be a performance to explore possibilities. There are scenes encouraging this kind of expression, but it’s in pockets around the world. And in D.C. it’s especially scattered.”Colin Bane
The Emergent Music Forum begins Wednesday, Jan. 27, at the Velvet Lounge, 915 U. St., NW, with Faraquet and French Mistake.