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Experimental music enthusiasts in the DMV have cause to rally once again, as the eighth annual Sonic Circuits Festival will descend on the District for a whole week starting September 28th. Organized by the DC chapter of the American Composers Forum, the Festival highlights a smorgasbord of artists, musicians, and sound technicians from the D.C. area and around the world, providing a wide range of aural experiences; exploratory jazz, electroacoustic composition, volatile electronics, and minimal drone can all be found among the ranks. As the press release proclaims, “the perfect antidote to formula entertainment.” The schedule is now up on the Festival’s Web site, featuring over 60 acts spread across nightly performances at one of the three host venues: Pyramid Atlantic Art Center, National Museum of Women in the Arts, and the Velvet Lounge.
To help ease the event’s expenses, Festival organizers will hold a second benefit this Sunday, August 24th, at Pyramid Atlantic in Silver Spring, featuring performances by three area acts: Macaroon Five, Barsky/Allison, and T.A. Zook.
Macaroon Five boasts a collaboration between Arthur Harrison, Michael Engle and Kevin Buckholdt—-a mix of Harrison’s custom-built theremin with Engle and Buckholdt’s intertwined electronics. Also a current member of The Cassettes, Harrison has been tinkering with homemade electronics for decades, and offers theremin kits via his company, Harrison Instruments, Inc. For visual reference, check out the video of Harrison teasing his instrument along with the Tornadoes’ “Telstar.”
Jeff Barsky and Scott Allison will perform as a duo, combining Barsky’s guitar tones with Allison’s tailor-made electronics. Both are regulars in the DC experimental scene, both through cosmic collective Kohoutek, and Barsky via his Insect Factory moniker. Arlington-based sound-manipulator T.A. Zook will round out the bill, showcasing an interesting array of homemade instruments processed through a massive electronics rig.
Those who can’t make it out to the benefit can still donate to Sonic Circuits via the Festival’s site, so don’t miss the chance to color outside the lines and support innovative, inventive music in the D.C. community and beyond.