Brighton-based sound and visual art collective Partial Facsimile are set to perform special live shows at St Mary In The Castle, Hastings, and Brighton’s Rialto Theatre.
Titled Media OS 5.1, the live multimedia concert (and debut concept album) explores the over-stimulation of digital information and its effects on people.
It will be at St Mary In The Castle on Friday, September 27 (8pm, £7-£10), and The Rialto on Saturday, September 28 (8pm, £7.70-£11).
Artistic director Laila Riis explains: “The intent behind it is, through music and art, to educate our audience about the impact that this overload of digital media is having upon us.”
There are plenty of studies that suggest a link between heavy use of electronics and social media and a variety of problems including retina dysfunction, phantom vibration syndrome, ADHD and depression.
The live show reflects this, says Laila.
“We basically play the album from top to bottom, synchronised to films made specifically for each individual track. The audience members board an hour-long digital journey through the eyes of a commuter on the London tube.”
The short movies have been created by eight different filmmakers from all over the world who all have their own distinct style.
“Some work with collage, others with stop-motion animation,” says Laila. “And they discuss the lyrical content of each track. We’ve got a single out at the moment called ‘Gaslighting’, which is talking about the current political climate in the UK.”
Fake news, global warming, overconsumption, the physical effects of overstimulation – it’s all covered in this audio-visual feast that audiences can interact with as well.
Laila and the other artists urge people to bring their smartphones: “There are QR codes that pop up on the screen and you get taken to research papers behind the whole concept album.”
Naturally, this event features a complex collection of ideas and requires a ton of work to execute successfully, not just from Laila, but from everyone involved.
“It was Steve (Verdin), the guitarist-singer, who was very overloaded himself with digital information in his job,” says Laila, when I ask where the idea for the show came from. “We’d previously collaborated on research projects for Partial Facsimile, which I started six years ago. I always made a point that everything we do is routed in site-specific or research projects. So that’s where it began. Then over the past three years we’ve looked through a lot of papers, started to compose and then once we had a base structure we then farmed out the tracks to eight different filmmakers for them to interpret the lyrical content.”
So, technical elements aside, what kind of music will the band be playing?
“It’s a cross between psychedelic prog rock, electronica and pop,” says Laila. “There are also field recordings thrown into the mix as well.”
“And it’s obviously 5.1 surround sound so it’s very much an immersive experience for the audience.”
“There are moments where you really feel engulfed in performing and playing,” she continues. “My personal favourite is probably when I get to play synthesizers as opposed to electric guitar and vocals, which I do most of the show.”
As an extra treat, sound engineer and musician Richard Norris (The Grid and Beyond The Wizard’s Sleeve) is set to perform a 40-minute set before the main event, playing tracks from his Abstractions series of albums.
Also in surround sound, Richard’s ambient, sooting music will be accompanied by visuals made by Blue Carbon, says Laila.
“Richard is a friend of mine and I knew that he’d started work on the Abstraction series,” she says, explaining that they both share an interest in music and wellbeing. “The reason why he had started working on that was to provide a relaxing platform for himself in a very stressful day.”
Call 01273 725230 or visit rialtotheatre.co.uk for tickets to the Brighton show.
The project is lottery funded by Arts Council England and sponsored by KLANG: technologies and HD Pro Audio. Visit www.partial-facsimile.org to find out more.
The new album is available digitally at all major outlets. The collection features eight tracks including the lead single ‘Gaslighting’.
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