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Seven-year-old Oscillation Electronic Music Festival rails against conformity
By Laura MarrichThe Oscillation Electronic Music Festival is remarkably well-behaved for the strong, subversive stuff it spits out. The festival is a two-day gathering of weirdo electronic music that lumps together not-so-friendly-sounding tags like "glitch," "IDM," "EBM" and "darkwave." Yet the festival is drug- and alcohol-free and all-ages friendly, immaculately organized and executed in one of the nicest theater spaces in town. Oscillation is a polite 7-year-old, but one that likes to raise hell.
There's no telling what sort of sounds (and sights—all music will be accompanied by visuals from VJ Panopticon) will pour from The Cell Theatre this weekend. So instead of telling you about the artists of Oscillation 7, we'll show you. Below, festival co-organizer Ken Cornell gives us a visual tour of Oscillation's past and present performers.
Ken Cornell, stage name Angaym k. Oss, is the spooky, illuminated figure at the right of this photo, performing in Unnatural Element. In this case, Ken works with voice, feedback, mixers, synth keyboards and pedals to create what he calls, simply, "mayhem."
T-shirts, vinyl records, CDs and tapes clutter the Oscillation merch table. "Cassettes are more common with the noise artists. They're an easy, cheap medium and they [the noise musicians] like the [sound] saturation." Last year, Late Severa Wires brought matchbooks that said "Songs Are Stupid."
Nova Sak from Denver makes harsh noise at the 2006 show. Past Oscillation Festivals have invited artists from outside of the state, but "this year we decided to take it back to local," says Ken. Santa Fe and Albuquerque artists will make up the entire bill.
Brian Botkiller dissolves into a deep set at the 2006 festival. "To my ear, Brian's got tribal and house influences, for sure. He's considered what they call a 'console jockey'—a badass console jockey." Which is, by the way, someone who manipulates sounds live with mixers, synthesizers and a laptop.
The Late Severa Wires, an improvisational keyboard-base-drum trio from Santa Fe, performs at last year's Oscillation Festival. "They had an absolutely amazing set that night. At first the crowd was stand-offish, sort of with a mixed reaction, but by the end of the night they were really into it."
Alternative-industrial artist Raine Vivian shakes his fist at boring music during his 2006 Oscillation set.
Jeff Cannon, angelic-demonic lead vocals and keyboards of Vertigo Venus, has been an Oscillation mainstay for the last few years. He'll perform this time in both Vertigo Venus and Diverje. Don't be surprised if he makes you chant during his set.
"That's pretty much right before we open the doors." Even as a veteran presenter and performer of Oscillation and other events, Ken still describes this moment as "the feeling you get right before you pee when you've been holding it too long." Ahhhh ... that's better.
Oscillation Electronic Music Festival Performers
Alan George Ledergerber (AGL)
The Booty Green
The Dirty Birdies
Nightmare Noise Machine
Oscillation Electronic Music Festival will be held Friday, Oct. 5, and Saturday, Oct. 6, at The Cell Theatre (700 First Street NW). All ages are welcome both nights. This is a drug- and alcohol-free event. Single day passes are $10 and a two-day pass, available Friday, is $15. Doors open at 6 p.m. both nights. The festival will also be audio- and video-casted live over the web at www.oscillation.info.
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