With the 2010 Sonic Circuits Festival of Experimental Music and Beyond quietly raging across our region this week, I felt compelled to sample at least one of their outsider music showcases. On Sunday, I found myself in the Old Town Hall of Fairfax, a brilliantly restored old building, watching a variety of acts representing the wide range of styles Sonic Circuits covers. Sunday’s Music Marathon Overload! featured about 15 bands for $15 and ran from 11am to 11pm – a mind-melting 12-hour block of experimental music that only those of the strongest constitution could really survive. In the interest of mental self-preservation, I decided to partake of the second half of the Overload and sat in on the evening’s programming. It was an evening full of inspiring music made by people, toys, and furniture-come-to-life that I won’t soon forget.
It may come as a surprise to some that Washington DC is in the vanguard of the global experimental music scene. There is a plethora of locally-based acts creating noise and atmospheric improvisational music, turning found sound into symphonies and traditionally non-musical objects into instruments. Every time I check it out, this DC-based scene seems to get larger, as the existing groups inspire new musicians and amateurs to let their freak-flags fly and their musical imagination run wild. As the DC scene begets new acts locally, the global noise/improv scene looks to DC as a friendly enclave for their outsider music thanks to the large, open-minded fan-base that lives here.
Sonic Circuits is a group, backed by the non-profit organization Improv Arts Inc., that serves as the primary promotion engine for the thriving DC experimental music scene. They organize and host shows year-round in the DC Metro area that showcase some of our areas best, brightest, and weirdest musical acts. Since 2001, Sonic Circuits has hosted a yearly, week-long festival in Washington combining the best local acts from this underground scene with some of its most interesting artists and groups from around the world. The 2010 Sonic Circuits Festival Of Experimental Music & Beyond begins this Saturday, September 18th. There are activities planned for every night of this week-long festival. The festival concerts take place at multiple venues in DC, Maryland, and Virginia. Full festival schedule, venue, and ticket information can be found here.
Find my Hot Ticket picks for the 2010 Sonic Circuits Festival after the jump.
Gradually, over the last decade, Washington DC has evolved into one of the foremost cities in the world when it comes to experimental, avant-garde, noise, and improvisational music. There is a thriving underground of DC-based noise and improv acts boiling just under the surface of our fair city. Every year this scene is in the spotlight for one week when they invite fellow noise-mongers and sound-scape artists from around the world to come to DC and jam with them. This wonderfully creative week of far-out sounds is called the Sonic Circuits Festival. This year marks the 10th anniversary for the Sonic Circuits Festival and they need some financial support to finalize their plans for this year’s ambitious schedule. With a little help they will be bringing in musicians from as far away as Ukraine, Japan, and France. If you can spare a few (tax-deductible) dollars to help this unique, home-grown scene plan their festival, please pledge. Continue reading