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Concert Fri Jun 20 2014
Robert Beatty. Photo by Angie Evans.
The 15+ year experimental music organization Lampo concludes its winter/spring 2014 season this Saturday, with a mix of sound and visuals by long-running collaborators, musician Robert Beatty and filmmaker Takeshi Murata. The event is free with RSVP, and will contain both live performances and film screenings. It takes place at the Graham Foundation's Madlener House, 4 W. Burton Pl., and starts at 8pm.
For many years, Beatty was probably best known as the electronics mangler in Hair Police, a long running trio of nice guys who manage to sound like a body being buried before fully dead. The group's commitment to audio asphyxiation is a thing to be admired. But when not grinding his electronics into the unforgiving soil with that lot, his solo work, first under the moniker Three-Legged Race and now under his own name, aimed itself directly into the inner eye of the cosmos. With albums like 2012's Persuasive Barrier and 2008's Living Order/Mourning Order, Three-Legged Race revealed itself as a supple, endlessly inventive purveyor of head-bound electronic music, conveying shades of light and shade with beauty and heart. Beatty's distinctive visual art has also adorned LP covers like Burning Star Core's "Challenger" and Ga'an's "Black Equus."
If you've followed Beatty's work closely through the years, you'll know that he has been collaborating with digital animator and filmmaker Takeshi Murata for a long time. I first saw Hair Police perform a score to Murata's Pink Dot (2007), a storm of controlled digital erroring that created visual tides and eddies into which occasional concrete images, such as John Rambo jumping out of a tree, would occasionally take shape. More often, Murata's films are scored by Beatty himself, and the two have built a long-running symbiotic relationship between film and sound.
Murata's latest films eschew the glitchy visual noise of earlier works for more streamlined animated CG style on more recent works like I, Popeye and the filmmaker's latest work, Om Rider, featuring soundtrack by Beatty and Devin Flynn. In it, a motorcycle-riding werewolf who also plays an impressive-looking synth does battle with a switchblade-wielding old man who reminds me of Angus Scrimm in the Phantasm movies. Murata has also created "digital still-lives" as music videos for another electronic/synth performer, Oneohtrix Point Never. (You really have to see 'em to get what is meant by "digital still life.") Like the earlier works, there's a great deal of humor and pop culture referent in Murata's work, making the stranger elements feel that much more dislocated.
The program will begin with the Chicago premiere of several of Murata's films, including I, Popeye (2010), Night Moves (2012) and Problem Areas (2013), a music video for Oneohtrix Point Never. In addition, Lampo will be hosting the world premiere of Murata's very latest film, Colorado (2014) with soundtrack by Beatty. Following the screenings, Beatty will perform a selection of his most recent work for synths and other devices.
Beatty's soundwork for Murata's films can also be evaluated on your home stereo, as the Glistening Examples label has just released the first album under Beatty's own name (post-Three Legged Race), titled Soundtracks for Takeshi Murata, available as an LP, CD, or download.
Still from Colorado (2014) by Takeshi Murata