lucio menegon | music•noise•art

big city show, small town audience

photo by michael z

photo by michael z

The Overdub Club, a live film projection and music performance group I have been a part of since it’s inception in the early 00’s, were asked to present an hour long performance at the new state-of-the-art Kanbar Auditorium inside San Francisco’s recently relocated Exploratorium on Pier 15. The new Explo is one of SF’s crown jewels and a wonderful setting for interesting science and fun.

We were given full access to the theater the day before, had a luxuriously long rehearsal and sound check, our needs and requests were covered by a staff genuinely excited for the show. The Exploratorium exhibit hall was packed and our closing segment of the evening was SRO. It was hands down the best show we’ve done. The moving images of Thad Povey, Al Alvarez, Rock Ross and Diane Best were given a full live audio score by myself (guitar, electronics), Suki O’Kane (drum kit, electronics) and Wayne Grim (guitar, electronics) and the ninety-nine speaker Meyer Sound Constellation array had sounds flying all around the room. We were told it was the happiest, most attentive crowd to date at the Kanbar.

So here we have the best of all worlds. A city that invests in itself, a classy venue that commands a respectable admission price (GP $15, members free), an attentive satisfied audience – and all the artists (and workers) got paid. This helps. A lot. Thanks to San Francisco, The Exploratorium’s Liz Keim and Sam Sharkey and to the audience that helped make it the success it was.

Note: This is a companion piece to my last post and perhaps will illustrate the variance in my and many musicians performance experiences.

Nightsoil, finally

The Overdub Club is proud to announce the completion of the HD video version of Nightsoil. We have worked long and hard to bring this former performance piece to a place where it can be screened. The premier is slated for Sept 30 at the The Exploratorium in San Francisco.

Nightsoil is a single channel video by filmmakers Thad Povey and Alfonso Alvarez with music by Lucio Menegon, collectively known as The Overdub Club. Derived from a triple projection, live performance piece, Nightsoil utilizes found footage that has been physically reconstituted using hand-processing, tinting, and other hands-on filmic techniques and features a powerful new audio score and soundtrack.

Nightsoil is a layered and evocative display of humanity’s ability to create both beauty and destruction, whose title echoes the archeologist investigating abandoned human latrines. Coming at a dramatic time in America’s history and created in the spirit of this zeitgeist, Nightsoil calls out with an appeal to “think what you’re doing” before choosing violence as a solution to humanity’s problems.

The music for Nightsoil was developed in a series of jam sessions where musicians Lucio Menegon and Mark De Gli Antoni improvised over a series of test reels and live presentations, mixing and matching sounds, manipulating and exploring audio textures – taking ideas from the morphing images and giving ideas back to the film-makers – until a dynamic three section composition coalesced. The move from the live presentation format presented a golden opportunity to re-compose and fully arrange and orchestrate the original score. Along with the musical contributions of John Hanes, Suki O’Kane, Jenya Chernoff, Rebecca Seeman, Jonathan Segel and Laurie Amat, a final soundtrack and score emerged that matches the intensity and emotion of the visuals – at times in syncopation with and at other times cutting against the multiple image presentation.

A Reverend, A Phantom and A Junkie

Reverend Screaming Fingers and Phantom Drummer

Reverend Screaming Fingers
& Phantom Drummer (Pat Spurgeon)

Composed and improvised instrumental music to juxtaposed found slide images and 16mm film prepared by San Francisco filmmaker Thad Povey.

The music – based around the electric guitar and drums and incorporating keyboards, loops and other devices – consisted of composed and structured improvisational pieces cued by film projections.

For our 15 date US tour in 2001, we setup facing each other with the projection screen between and slightly behind us. This enabled interaction with each other, the projections and the audience.

The overall effect was stunning – with no two shows the same. Musically, we were able to stretch out and explore our compositions and really try some cool stuff with the improv parts. The effect and importance of Thad’s visuals can’t be overemphasized – wild splashes of color from prepared film, flames, disasters, racecars, absurdities of the human psyche – they all came together to create some incredible synergistic moments from show to show.