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Explosions in the Sky 'Taking care: 6 visual interpretations' at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery on Saturday April 23rd, 2011

Explosions in the Sky’s show at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery on April 30th may have already sold out, but the band had prepared the grounds: on Saturday night, ‘Taking Care: 6 Visual Interpretations’ had invaded the cemetery, letting people experience the 6 songs of their forthcoming album ‘Take Care, Take Care, Take Care’ with 6 works of art inspired by each song.

It was free, and I decided to check this out, really curious of the result. There is something bizarre about loud music and visual art in a cemetery, especially when everything happens after dark.

At the entrance, we were given a ‘treasure map’ to help us discover where these works of art were located, and since it was already very dark, I could not read anything on it, and I wandered in the darkness, mostly following the crowd than really taking charge of anything. I know it was Easter eve, but an art hunt in a cemetery? Did they want to reinvent the egg hunt?

I got a mixed feeling from this experience, passed the weirdness to listen to rock music in the middle of tombstones or watching a movie on the wall of a mausoleum, or looking at some curious art piece, lying against a wall containing people’s cremated remains, it is a pretty odd way to discover an album. There is too much distraction, trying to find the art location, trying to understand the work of art (which I did not always manage to do), and trying to get the connection with the music you are listening to.

That said, there were some interesting things, like this movie illustrating ‘Trembling hands’ by Matt Amato, and splashing seawater on the cremation walls inside a crypt, as if the movie, which seemed to have been filmed at the surface of a surfboard, was bringing sea and sunshine in the darkest place you can think of. We could only watch it behind a large metal gate, and from afar, the light and sound bursting from the mausoleum was changing the whole place.

‘Last Known Surroundings’ was illustrated by Matthew Lessner's movie, which was projected against a white wall of a large mausoleum, like a drive-in attraction. If it was difficult to make sense of the short film about people getting lost in the woods and mysteriously duplicating themselves and acting strangely, the atmospheric piece of music was fitting completely with the images, with its cacophonic triumphant parts and its distorted guitars, at time twanging, at times paranoiac, turning the track into a dark tumultuous sonic tempest.

‘Be Comfortable, Creature’ was played inside a mausoleum where a video installation by Jesse Fleming was showing numbers scrolling from 5 to 1, like at the beginning of a long film, except that nothing was never beginning, the numbers going up again once 1 had been reached, turning from 1 to 5, then from 5 to 1 in a never ending Sisyphean process. People were watching, expecting a change that would never come, despite the music becoming more violent and then calming down again, but overall reinforcing its circular nature.

I passed by the wood sculptures (a pile of wood beams and a squared shallow well surrounded by beams) by Chris Lipomi illustrating ‘Postcard from 1952’ twice before realizing they were part of the exhibit, and I suppose they will always stay the most mysterious interpretation of the six I have seen, whereas I stayed hungry after looking at the pictures by James Fields illustrating ‘Human Qualities’.

In a dark place of the cemetery lawn, between the tombstones, Alexis Disselkoen had come up with another of these installations, a sort of tent glowing under some red light was welcoming people to lie down, listening to ‘Let Me Back In’, as a secret desire to go back to a re-imagined womb?

It was hard to concentrate on the music, and I would need to listen to ‘Take Care, Take Care, Take Care’ again to talk more about it, but I remember a lot of passion and some grandiose soundscapes which, because of their cinematic visions, worked the best with video installations. It may be the most intellectual way to unveil new music, stylish and obscure, sophisticated and cryptic at the same time,… a hipster's dream.

 

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