The Fringe festival is first and foremost a “performing arts” festival, which includes a pretty broad selection of genres styles and forms… In Athens we have such a wide selection of performance artists, but as you may know the music history of this town is definitely something we’re very proud of! In fact through out the year there are any number of music festivals and showcases that you can attend that continues to spotlight different aspect of what this town has to offer. So at first we were a bit wary of including musicians in the festival roster because we didn’t want our “performing arts” festival to get over run with bands… Our answer to that was to encourage something a bit more from our musicians! To focus on the performance art of music performances meant we needed to find sound artists that explored a more creative and experimental approach to the performance of their art, and therefore a better fit within a festival focusing on the performance side of art. So we told musicians: “If you want to apply we encourage you to develop your visual aspects of your performances” and many of the sound artists featured this year took right to the idea, even if their interpretation of what we meant by “visual aspects” may be a bit different than you might expect.
As one of the organizers of the fest I was able to see some of the applications coming in and noticed that this year our selection of musical applicants just so happens to be a collection of sound artists that I personally have had some sort of experience with through the years of playing shows in town or while on tour! So I figured I’d take this chance to tell you more about what I know of these artists…
While many of the sound artist this year fit comfortably within the category of “experimental” music, we have a few performers that exemplify more of the “visual” side of musical performance art. Milyssa Rose in fact basically not only falls in the category of music (hip hop / r&b) but we had a hard time not including her in the “burlesque” category as well! With many of her recent performances I’ve seen her singing and moving around on stage in crazy costumes, ripping apart teddy bears throwing it’s entrails around the room, all while acting with props and telling stories through song… With her high energy performance that infuses her musical theater background into a pop music performance, Milyssa Rose is sure to provide an unforgettable experience for her audience. Although she calls herself a “Pop Artist” her chief aim is to be a “one-of-a-kind artist that challenges the status quo and deviates from the typical sound of mainstream artists.” I can whole heartedly say it’s definitely a sight to see, so you won’t want to miss this performance!
Have you ever seen the movie “The Creature from the Black Lagoon”? Have you ever thought: “What would I do if I ever was confronted with a creature like that…?” but shrugged it off as something you only see in the movies? Or maybe you thought: “What if the creature was wearing a kilt and playing the bagpipes while being accompanied by heavy metal guitar???” No, I haven’t lost my mind, in fact that very scenario will actually be presenting itself at the CCFF show featuring the “Kilted Creature” a band of creatures from the Black Lagoon who will be doing a special performance of their piece entitled “Bagpipe Swamp Metal” at the early evening “Fringe Fest Friday at Terrapin” event.
Another visually engaging music performance featured this year is DE-STAR. This performer is new to the scene and already he’s been turing heads with his “Improvised sonic chaos in a box” and some pretty cool and weird costumes. DE-STAR’s debut performance was at one of the first Battery Powered Noise Fest events organized at the JOKER JOKER Gallery (click the DE-STAR CCFF Performer Profile link above for a video of this performance). For the CCFF he will once again be performing with the BPNF event on Sunday, also make sure to look for his other performances through out the weekend.
I first met Priscilla Smith (Who carries an impressive resume of being the Executive Director and board member since 2008 of the Eyedrum Art & Music Gallery in ATL) few months back when I was doing a short southeastern tour and performing in Atlanta at Gallery 992. The Gallery 992 was a newly opened spot for music and art with a great eclectic mix of people in the audience, from movie industry people to dancing children who were there with their parents to support a local gallery and enjoy something a bit different. Priscilla was part of an amazingly talented 10+ member improvised jazz band called Chaos Soul… The project she is bringing to the CCFF sounds like it’s going to be a bit more loose and experimental then the Jazz that night, but we’ll have to wait to see. “Bouquet” featuring Priscilla Smith, Ryder Seigle (also in Chaos Soul), and Rafael Villanueva “create soundscapes with strings, percussion, electricity and wind that range from microscopic to galactic, from crystalline to volcanic.” on Percussion, guitar, bass, flute, and voice.
If you were at the CCFF last year you may have caught a performance by In Sonitux Lux, fronted by well known Atlanta avant-garde electronic/spoken word artist Serson Brannen, aka the Subliminator. With this fairly new project he has taken an entirely new and different direction with a very new and very different instrument, The Hang. In Sonitus Lux is an ever evolving free improv ensemble of musicians, performers and other artists. By design it is in a constant state of flux but always in the moment, original and eclectic… So we can’t wait to see what variation will be presented this year.
Another very talented Atlanta performer Majid Araim (also coincidentally a member of Chaos Soul with Priscilla Smith and friends) runs an underground performance space called the Magic Lantern out of his own basement, where I first met him years ago when I was invited to perform during a series of performances there. Majid is extremely personable and the music that flows out of him is nothing short of spiritual… but you’re going to have to listen well because his performances are normally very delicate in nature. Majid brings a warped perspective on chamber/percussion music to life utilizing many nontraditional instruments and techniques. You can expect to see him bowing things you’d never expect, mixed with mandolin and lots of small noises to soothe the brain’s pleasure centers. Majid Araim will be performing his solo performance set entitled “Interpretations Of An Adventure” early on Sunday, then later that same night he will be joining the Battery Powered Noise Fest event doing a collaborative set with a couple other local sound artists. Majid will be on tour leading up to the CCFF with our next spotlighted musician….
Maxwell Boecker (yet another member of the soon to be infamous Chaos Soul ensemble, lol) will be pairing up with Majid on tour and for their solo sets during the CCFF. Maxwell performs music executed solely on electric bass guitar, about that he says: “I’m going to be playing several pieces from my album to be released in October… The production is extremely minimal in that it will be limited to me standing and performing on my bass. I do have a good stage presence when I perform, so that part could be interesting, the music definitely should be… Performed with emotion, inspiration, calculation, nostalgia.” And from what I’ve experienced, he’s an amazing bass player, so this should be pretty amazing!
Last but definitely not least, we have the performance of “Clandestiny’s Sonic Journey Through Time & Space” by Matthew Jaidev Duplessie who conceptualizes his performance as a “transformational healing sound journey”. As a sound healer Matthew Jaidev presents atmospheric soundscapes using a loop pedal and his voice to create layers of atmospheric sound and then with didgeridoos, singing bowls, percussion, over-tone singing, stringed instruments and much more he magically transports the listener “beyond time and space to discover the realm of the Sacred in harmonics, frequency and vibration.” Matthew Jaidev has studied the healing modalities of sound for the past 3 years, beginning in 2013 when he traveled to the Bosnian pyramids to learn more about the ultrasonic frequencies emanating from the Pyramid of the Sun in that region. I first met Matthew years ago in Augusta when he and TVHeadGuy performed at a basement house show together.. Since then I’ve seen him developing his “sound healing” work into what it is today and I’m very excited to see his performance!
So as you can see this years music selection for the CCFF is all over the board, from costumed characters to singing bowls and hang drum, and whether their “visual” elements are mental journeys or physically visible right in front of you, you can’t deny that these performance artists fit right in with what the CCFF represents. Don’t miss a single performance… ALL ACCESS passes are now available from our “Tickets & Passes” page on the website for Only $40! What a deal!!