Sunday, July 12, 2020

Review: Sonic Realisms, July 11, 2020 - 6PM - 10PM

Sonic Realisms, July 11, 2020 - 6PM - 10PM
Videos available at:

The Electrozone is Ithaca's salon for electromusicans and experimenters, a pop up reality devoted to the weird, the new, and the DIY.Please donate to support the artists.Donations can be made at and

Inanimate Sound

From the profile: "Tara Escudero - Multi-instrumentalist, bowed saw and voice Robert Frisk - Percussionist"

First thing I saw was the performer (Robert) starting a reel-to-reel tape recorder. (ElectroZone said that Inanimate Sound is normally a two person act. Today Tara's [bowed-saw] part is performed by tape.) Robert plays the cymbals with two bows. Eerie. A bit sitar-like in places. Robert also plays xylophone and bowed vibes.

Human Resources
     (Search for "Human Resources Ithaca" on Google or Soundcloud)

From the profile: "Human Resources are Andrew Paine (laptop) and Matthew Grigorov (guitar and electronics) Two guys who have been improvising music together for ten years. The hypnotic sounds create journeys through vast landscapes of space and time."

Very spacey guitar, synth and samples sound piece. Nice steady electronic drum & perc beat to go along with the lovely guitar licks and synth drones. Starts off nice and mellow, then picks up the tempo about halfway through.


The 1943 surrealist film "Meshes In The Afternoon" plus another surrealist film with a medieval theme (this one in color) with Staticer's sweet, glowing ambient music in place of the original soundtracks. I think I like these versions better!

Bobby Pharaoh

From the profile: "Bobby Pharaoh is an artist, currently residing in Philadelphia, who partakes in low fidelity audio/visual experimentation. Pharaoh uses a dissociative combination of feedback loops, minimal synthesis techniques, and modified antiquated hardware to create an overstimulating consecution of synesthetic distortions."

His music is a lot more sit-up-and-take-notice than the ambient music of the previous two acts. Very buzzy, very aggressive. Very basic, intense, and crude but engaging visuals. One listener called it "arcadecore".

Nick Fagnilli

From the profile: "Nick Fagnilli is a composer, producer and synthesist in Pittsburgh, PA. After graduating from Ithaca College with his Composition degree, Nick is starting out in a new city with his girlfriend and trying to find his way as a young adult and as a composer. He has spent his time in quarantine listening to records and reading scores, and he is excited to perform on his synthesizers for the first time in a long while."

Back to ambient spacey goodness. Looks like at least some of his synths are home-built. Could be wrong about that. Lots of wires and lights on one of them. Two keyboards that I can see on-screen. Music sounds more like a loose guitar performance than electronica. That, or the soundtrack to an imaginary sixties sci-fi movie. Some of it is punctuated by what sounds like firecrackers going off.

Grant Bouvier

From the profile:"Grant Bouvier is a sound and video artist, technologist, and educator based out of Philadelphia . His art and research typically deals with topics in DIY electronic music, instrument design, dead media formats, and glitch art as well as the sonic aesthetics of postdigitalism, hauntology, minimalism, and lost futurism. His favorite thing to do is to find lo-fi solutions to hi-fi problems, and he thinks its always best to build it (or break it) yourself."

More traditional seventies-style drone-tronica a la early Kraftwerk. Colorized scope traces on-screen with the music.

Billy Jackass 

From the profile: "the_electrozone: Billy Jackass is an Anishinaabe intergenerational place-bound historical construct dealing industrial ASMR on Cayuga territory. The duo is comprised of Shaawano and Cleo Keahna Warrior, both writers and multi-instrumentalists who promote survivance through voice and machine."

Industrial ASMR is right. Starts out with feather-light drones and indistinct but very present voices in the background. Things get buzzy after a few minutes, more in the mold of traditional electronica. Electronic noises and tape-manipulated voices enter the mix. At one point, Cleo reads a poem. What's that I see? An electric wooden flute? Fits the mix smartly as do Cleo's sampled electronic organ breaks and Shaawano's heavily-processed guitar notes.

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