Heliotrope Nine night two at Lab Theater, 5/25/12
|photos by Sharyn Morrow|
Heliotrope Nine's final night at Lab Theater, 5/26/12
Slideshow: Heliotrope 9 at the Lab Theater: Friday
Slideshow: Heliotrope 9 at the Lab Theater: Saturday
Sauntering into the Lab Theater for the second night of Heliotrope Nine this weekend was like entering a womb space, a living organism of sound constructionists and amalgamating assorted noise makers who carry the flag of one of the Twin Cities most essential music festivals. From the top staircase down to the center of the stage it felt like an endless barrage of art, music, instruments and participants who've celebrated ideas of experimentalism that has now defined some standards and traditions in the festivals nine year run.
For the second night of Heliotrope this year on Friday night the flow of the evening began with a succession of ensembles featuring standby performers working in different configurations for the special event which included Arp of the Covenant, Squid Fist with saxophonist George Cartwright and a cacophonous ensemble put together by festival staple, Milo Fine. While Brute Heart and Food Pyramid slowly moved the night toward more prescribed melodic and ambient gestures the night became more electrified.
It was stage setters The Night, a trio comprised of keyboards, vocals and a tight drummer that brought more pop to the proceedings inspiring a theme of dance music for much of the rest of the evening. Their songs and spacey electro sound rocked the cavernous walls of the Lab Theatre and provided the perfect soundscapes to visual collage of film projections that surrounded them,
Fresh off the release of their triple record, Flavor Crystals continued to take advantage their Heliotrope appearance to continue to fill the room with luscious waves of guitar and rhythms allowing for those present to mingle throughout the venue or to remain seated, basking in the wash of noise.
It was a pleasant preamble to the rest of the nights more dance spirited performers, the stellar Claps and Prostate, the latter of which assaulted the ears with metallic percussion and heavily intense vocals.
Finally, finishing out the night, International Novelty Gamelon prepared their instruments to bring things to a more relaxed and meditative ferment. A festival favorite the finely executed aggregation of gongs, bells, drums and hand percussion was the perfect end to the second night of Heliotrope. It seemed all present were on the same wave length as the repetitive patterns and distinct harmonies of the instruments settled down the exhaustive list of performers and those in the audience for the night. It was a perfect ending.
In all the new space this year for Heliotrope Nine was a perfect combination of atmosphere and aesthetics that allowed the audience and performers to essentially become one. With a level of familiarity it gave space to the community of performers and supporters who all look forward to Heliotrope each year and for the many years to come.