Yesterday, I was lucky enough to attend Sonorium, an event that happens about four times a year in Salem, Massachusetts. I was even more lucky to find out there is another happening next week (that never happens)! Hosted by Andrea Pensado, a through this event a few choice experimental artists are given a forum to offer up what they do. Thanks to Boston Hassle, there is always a hub for experimental artists when I am looking for a musician that is pushing artistic boundaries. But hearing the artists that Andrea picks for her events I am never underwhelmed, and they are usually people I haven’t heard of yet. The performances range from your good old noise show or warped synth performance to a completely new style of rap or a couple dragging metal against the ground. The artists this time were Mark Cetilia, Serrated Slump, Charmaine Lee and Golden Shores; all amazing performances!
Mark Cetilia brought a powerful level of nuance to the stage as he and his synth used panning and the switching of speakers to repeatedly jolt the audience in different directions just as everyone thought they knew where the song was going. An insane, almost comical, amount of wires were ominously added to his synth throughout the show. Although he sat down and faced his synth throughout the set, I would argue this had an aspect of performance art to it. With each cable plugged in, we all knew something was about to change.
Serrated Slump consisted of two band members who used a mix of samples and field recordings along with their voice, electronics, pedals and A SINGING SAW. The emphasis is added because the instrument was used aggressively. With soft vocals similar to say, Big Thief, a range of different effects were offered up as the music became far more aggressive, more creepy, or more emotional as the set progressed. Powerful ambience like that which sets the scene in a new-age horror movie met the banging of an electric saw in what seemed to be improv, yet the two seemed fluidly connected in their performance.
Charmaine Lee then performed, bringing light to the eclectic mix found in Andrea’s taste of performers. The quickest explanation would be to call this set some experimental beat box. But the sounds were far more expansive than the usual expected in that style and even stretched to all the gross chewing-esque sounds you would think no one would want to hear on stage then driven through a wah pedal and some mystery effects until reaching some kind of perfection. This set used four mics: one in hand, one on a stand, one tape recorder type mic for an excellent break down AND one pressed to her neck for some intense vocal fry. With the vibe of an incredibly talented New York street performance, Charmaine delivered an incredible set with sounds that seemed like samples they were so cut and perfected.
The final performance was Golden Shores, a Boston noise duet! Sitting across from each other in clothing intended for a fancy restaurant, the two delivered a mix of harsh sounds, backtracked CDs and the total destruction of a spinning record. At one point, a stripped down guitar pickup mic was hit against the spinning records and sparks covered the stage. Small bios were even mixed into their performance about the records that they were spinning. Two vinyl-lovers giving a noise show! It was no shock at all they were called for an encore in which another record was punished and, at the same time, given the chance to be appreciated in a whole new light.
All four acts were absolutely amazing and drastically different from each other and from the last show months before. Sonorium is generally at Gallows Hill Theatre in Salem, Massachusetts, but luckily a second show is taking place next Saturday at the Salem Cable Access Channel. If you are close enough to pick up the channel on your T.V. then you are close enough to come down to the station and view it live. The building is also in the heart of downtown Salem. These shows are a must for anyone who loves experimental music and the multitude of different shapes that it can take on. If you sadly can’t make it, check Sonorium.net for future shows coming in the next few months!
( Golden Shores does not have social media yet! ): )