The Oscillation Festival revels in electronic music from New Mexico
By Laura Marrich
The Oscillation Festival, New Mexico's only local electronic music showcase, will launch into its fifth year this Friday, Nov. 18, at Downtown Albuquerque's Cell Theatre (700 First Street NW). The all-ages festival will feature roughly 12 electronic acts from the Albuquerque and Santa Fe area. Performances will be broken into conceptually exciting "vs."-style sets, where teams of musicians go head-to-head on the same stage—with the same equipment and songs—in what promoter Kent Wilhelmi calls "a demonstration of all-out audio warfare." Not only that, Oscillation sets out to capture the somewhat broad diversity of New Mexico's growing electronic music scene, from synthpop to dark ambient and noize. Confirmed acts include Autopoesis, Brian Botkiller, Diverje, Enigmatik, Leiahdorus, Noir Effect, Ohmniscience, RAM, Unnatural Element, The Wake 6, Vertigo Venus and Wurm. The Alibi recently caught up with Wilhelmi (AKA DJ Kentifyr) for a quick tour of Albuqerque's electronic happenings.
Where can curious listeners find local electronic music online?
If you just go to burque.info, you'll find our little electronic music community site. There're sounds, charts and pictures ... there're even a couple slide-shows of festivals and stuff like that.
How long have you been involved in organizing Oscillation?
I actually helped come up with the idea and the name with several other people about five years ago. But I didn't promote an actual show until the third festival with Kenny Cornell, and he and I are doing it again this year. But it does happen every year—I've played four of the five years.
Can you describe why you're doing this?
Well, it used to be a lot worse—it's not so bad anymore—but a lot of these [electronic] bands would get shafted when it came to bar shows. That's actually changed a lot a whole lot with bands like Leiahdorus and my band RAM. We do this to give those musicians some time of their own. This is like our holiday—it's our Christmas.
What's the environment like at the festival?
The Cell is a really cool space. It's not some run-down theater or bar; it's actually really clean and well-taken care of. We'll be bringing big projection screens and they'll have plasma monitors everywhere for live feeds from the stage and tripped-out visuals. We'll have a big Bob Moog tribute, too. He was a big synthesizer pioneer who passed away this year—so we're going to have some stuff up there for him.
Like an altar?
I don't know about altar ... (laughs) we could carve out an old synth and pile some stuff on it? No, we'll probably have a photo montage or something like that.
Anything else you'd like to add about Oscillation?
It's not like going to see any old show. It really is a different animal with a different energy.
The Oscillation Festival is Friday, Nov. 18, at the Cell Theatre (700 First Street NW). Doors open at 7 p.m. with a $5 cover. All ages are welcome to attend.
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