Sound and Vision: Jeremy Kannapell on the New Music Circle's 54th Year
What sets the NMC apart from similar organizations across the American landscape?
There are probably many details and ideas that are different for other organizations. For instance some have their own venues, some do less events, some more. Actually this year I touched base with a few similar organizations, just to see what their process is and challenges are in doing this sort of thing. It was encouraging to see how similar some ideas were, and more encouraging was the energy and enthusiasm they all have. Obviously there's a whole dialogue going on with whatever the current paradigm shifts may be with how people experience and listen to music -- I wont get into all of that -- but it's really cool too see that throughout the years. Everyone at NMC is still committed to presenting these artists and putting on these concerts, and that hasn't changed. Of course, I wasn't there at the start, but it seems that's been the core idea for NMC for 54 years.
How important is the venue in regards to these type of performances? What venues do you appreciate?
As NMC does not have a dedicated space we do events at, to present the artists in a space that makes sense for what they are doing is pretty essential. So far this year, we've already worked with organizations like the Luminary and CAM - both of those concerts were spot-on for spaces that help further translate the material at hand.
Working with and teaming up with other arts organizations/spaces is great for a whole list of reasons. Much effort goes into making these concerts happen, so when another organization can help a little it just goes miles. This week's concert for Caboladies will be at White Flag Projects. We did Keith Fullerton Whitman and Tony Conrad there last year and those worked out wonderfully. I expect this next gig to totally be on par with those. And, like last year, we will end our Season with a concert at the William A. Kerr Foundation building out on the riverfront -- a really fun building, and maybe a place and part of St. Louis not everyone has seen yet.
There is often a strong connection between experimental music and film. How will this new film program work in conjunction with the NMC's current modus operandi? What are you anticipating?
"Sound and Vision"...maybe a term everyone has heard so often that it doesn't immediately register its full meaning or potential at this point. Still, its evidence is everywhere and there's so much room to explore. I think a good example would be Robert Beatty's surreal, glowing cyber-visuals. To me they are an extension of that impulse to explore those sound and image connections.
Center for Visual Music is a film preservation organization out of LA who keeps this often overlooked element of "visual film" alive. They are putting together a film program for NMC in April. Filmmakers like Oskar Fischinger and Jordan Belson certainly were trying to figure out new ways of correlating image and sound in film, Their approaches still register as really powerful experimental artworks.
The films CVM document span from cinema's beginnings to pioneers in computer and electronic images from the '60s and '70s, as well as contemporary video artists. These films are always fun to watch. From the more abstract and poetic films to optically intense and technical, they piece together a lot of history in a very graspable way. Many of these films on the CVM program still only exist on film, so it's a chance to see some really rare film history.