Just kidding, homies. That’s what Allen Ginsburg did right before he howled. I went traipsing, trippingly tuned into a Downtown whose physical and creative borders have become expansive, birthing a psychogeography that creates friendly interactions with the sublime out of the air.
Those thoughts, borne on an autumn wind that swirled both leaves and automobile exhaust, came into my mind as I approached Vitrine (214 Sixth Street SW), a small art gallery.
Inside was a sound installation called Infinity Space, created by Albuquerque musical notables Raven Chacon and Jeremy Barnes. Since coming outta the UNM composition program with output devices blazing, Chacon has been a formidable force in shaping art values and aesthetics in the region. Meanwhile, Burqueño Barnes is a graduate of a sick band called Neutral Milk Hotel who happens to be part of the spectacular Postmodern folk duo, A Hawk and a Hacksaw, with his wife Heather Trost.
And get this: as part of a continuing series of musical performances directly related to the exhibit, half of the famous American rocanrol band, Deerhoof—that is guitarists Ed Rodriguez and John Dieterich—were scheduled to play along with the beguiling and blasphemous tape piece that Chacon and Barnes created.
Infinity Space uses a series of reel-to-reel tape machines and speakers to produce a devil’s interval, a tritone that is built from loops of sound originating from recordings of new age music and NASA field recordings of “naturally violent celestial phenomena.” The minimalist presentation—a keen and knowing nod to urban gallery culture—augmented this created environment.
The result is disarming, disquieting and definitely absorbing. The evil chordal combinations fill the body, becoming part of the pulse and ultimately inviting listeners to participate in a sonic voyage into that goes everywhere intricate yet seems to arise from emptiness itself.
The musicians accomplish this with a sort of oblique tonalism whose dissonance and lack of resolution encourage psychic exploration.
As the performance began, Rodriguez became frenetic, achingly axeing out discrete segments of rocanrol with aplomb while Dieterich sat in a corner, all meditative, coaxing out conical sections and oceanic secretions from his guitar.
Afterwards, I remarked to Chacon and Barnes that if there were more esoteric musical happenings of this sort—on the fringes of Downtown or at its nexus—I would be happy as a hipster buried in 180 gram vinyl records.
They both nodded and led me to a list of further aural expeditions featuring this particular iteration of the darkness bounded by light.
Thursday, Nov. 8 • 7pm: Heather Trost, Rosie Hutchinson and Ariel Muñiz play a string trio with the tapes rolling.
Sunday, Nov. 11 • 3pm: Laura Ortman and Autumn Chacon interact with Infinity Space.
Saturday, Nov. 24 • 7pm: Raven Chacon and Jeremy Barnes perform.