The Sounds of Science
Well, when I was in St Louis yesterday and today (yes, a very short trip), I got to see quite a treat. Yo La Tengo, one of Matador Records' oldest bands (21 years, believe it or not!) created a show called The Sounds of Science, that they have played in only three locations worldwide: NYC, Tokyo, and St. Louis. I do not know if they will play it again (wouldn't that be cool for me?), but regardless of that, the show was very cool.
Basically, it was the trio playing music that they composed to accompany an hour and 45 minutes of French underwater documentary footage. First off, the documentaries they used were really excellent and trippy. Most of them were filmed in the 60s or early 70s (I would guess), and had a very acid-tripping feel to them, even though they were made for scientific purposes. Perhaps it was just the Technicolor ...
As for the music, it was very good as well. Imagine Sonic Youth mixed with Philip Glass, but played by Yo La Tengo. Lots of sound manipulation, lots of No Wave inspired stuff, but all of it had that classic Yo La Tengo feel. Pretty interesting if nothing more.
The guitarist, Ira Kaplan, was very fun to watch (luckily, I was up front, so I was able to see the band perform even in the dark). Towards the end of the show, he got down on the stage and began drumming on his guitar with two mallets. Then he picked his instrument up and started waving it in front of his amp to make this really exotic feedback sound. Truly one bizzare dude ...
Check out some of the show here.
Before the show, I picked up the Prisoners of Love compilation. The 2X CD set (although there is also a 3X CD set) is a good highlighting of Yo La Tengo's work, from 1984 - 2005. I like it quite a bit.