Listening to music with no beat or lyrics might not be for everyone, but it certainly is an experience.
On Monday evening I attended a show at Synchro Studio, where several local musicians performed innovative, ambient music. They filled the space with heavy waves of sound, static loops and synth-y reverberations.
I could only stay for the first two performers, Sonicaust and Alan George Ledergerber, before returning to my perpetual confinement in Zimmerman Library; I will have to catch the other two acts at a later date: Alchemical Burn, self-described as “industrial death noise,” and Uranium Worker, composed of beat makers who are in two other local bands, Gusher and Javelina.
Experimental music is meant to be as listenable as it is ignorable — a sound that creates an atmosphere. For me, it’s also an internal experience that gives room for abstract reflection. People don’t normally dance to this music for lack of clear rhythm and beat, and lyrics are rarely used.
Sonicaust artist Josef Bachmeier said he usually rehearses once or twice before a show to create a general idea for his set, but much of it is improvised. I recommend closing your eyes during a show like this to fully appreciate the peculiar audio experiments.
Sonicaust is a one-man act in which Bachmeier creates a sound he describes as a “synth bath.” He blends dense, pulsing bass and eerie, cloud-like hums using a KORG synthesizer, a loop station and a distortion pedal. The result was a sequence of traveling sound that carried me from a murky swamp, through a tremendous storm and into some peaceful part of the cosmos.
Ledergerber, who booked the show, played a set of psychedelic ambient music while wearing a pink plastic bunny mask. The flier for the event mentioned him with the word “homoerotica” in parentheses. His performance reminded me of the startling mash-up of songs that introduce the film “Contact,” drifting as waves of sound into the depths of the unknown alien vacuum. It felt haunting, like the distant rumblings of dark ether, but I found it mostly enjoyable.
If you are curious about alternative music and inventive local musicians, the Synchro Studio is an excellent venue. Adrian Griego and Corina Sugarman opened the space January 2012, and have since hosted a variety of acts and art shows. Check them out for ambient noise-scape, modern folk, death metal and more.