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CD Feature/ Evidence: "Iris"

img  Tobias

The combination between sound art and experimental film is an obvious one: After all, the former draws a lot of appeal from creating associations, allusions and metaphors in a mostly abstract way, which the latter tries to interpret and write out in full. It is also a fruitful one, as all kinds of creative video projects have been a second motor to the entire genre. If you’re out to feel nostalgic, check out some old episodes of late-night program “MTV Chill Out Zone” for some interesting examples. For more recent developments, “Iris” is an excellent starting point.

Concept-wise, there are a lot of intersections between this release and Steve Roach’s “Kairos” from a few months back. Both are double packs of CD and DVD and both feature contributions from various camera artists as an addition to the sonic experience. That is also where the similarities end, as the melting, twisting, twitching, flowing and flowering halucinogenic episodes of “Kairos” form a stark contrast to the burgeoningly individual independent productions of Stephen Moore and Scott Smallwood’s (=Evidence) favourite directors. Their tastes are not only ecclectic, they also have a strong interest in balancing established personalities such as Benton-C Bainbridge, Deep Listening board member Olivia Robinson and Walter Wright, whose tape experiences go back to the early 70s, with a crew of young and fresh names. Each artists was given one of the tracks, which would later make up the audio section of “Iris” with the request to translate the sounds into images. The results of these assignments are as diverse as the biographies would suggest. David Lublin and Jack Turner foil the uneasy bass rolls, morse bleeps and heart beats of “Chamber & Host” with seemingly random colour changes within an almost still image of a forest-section against a grey sky. This clear and minimal approach is a perfect antithesis to the hazy images of watching Betsey Biggs’s sneekers walk through the park. Image manipulation is one side of the spectrum, the other mainly consists of the skilfull use of various basic techniques (rewinding, high-speed, stop and go, colouring) to lend bizarre touches to otherwhise immediately recognisable scenes. Bainbridge’s take on the groovy robotics of “Bridge” makes this abundantly clear, as he takes the slightly deformed lense on a trip across the raling, bumping into pedestrians and watching passing cars down below through a crack in the metal floor in a moment of musical estrangement. Olivia Robinson’s video, meanhwile, is the most simple one of the bunch, yet possibly leaves the strongest impression: Black foil dancing in the wind and the subdued symphonics of “Moodspool”.

Evidence have conceived the a-priori soundtrack to these urban fantasies as a vibrating and vivid treasure chest, full of hissing rhythms, beats from unlikly objects and surprising beauty. It makes perfect sense to listen to their work on a regular CD player, even though it has to be said that the organic liaison between the videos and the compositions does make the combined experience a deeper one. With the concept of “Iris” in mind, that is no degradation whatsoever, but rather a sign that this project has been a success.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: Evidence
Homepage: Deep Listening Records

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