IN PRAISE OF DEAD GODS – Divine hymns to raw existence! Here are four outsider musicians and songwriters who slyly warp the classical music performance vocabulary into a solemn music of existential horror, longing and melancholy. Curated from across the national stage and brought together here for the first time, these artists suggest an emergence of a new coalescence on the underground music landscape. That is: a queer and critical reverence for Western classical music that comes out of DIY and underground metal music subcultures. Discriminating aesthetes and sullen KVLT hordes to the front! Let darkness descend!
songwriter and conceptual performance artist
Dorian Wood (Los Angeles),
voice, piano, accordian
Doom Metal chamber group
Disemballerina (Portland, OR),
viola, harp, guitar, cello, mandola, bandola, bajo quinto, analog tape loop
avant crooner and balladeer
CHRISTRAPER SINGS (San Francisco, CA),
voice, electronics, piano
gothic countertenor and chanteur
M. Lamar (New York, NY),
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Artist/musician Dorian Wood is “armed with a vocal charisma that would befit a preacher and an experimental streak that would make avant-garde-ists swoon” (WNYC Culture). He has captivated audiences on street corners, in concert halls and performance spaces throughout the US, Mexico and Europe, both as a solo performer and as a member of the 30-piece experimental orchestra, Killsonic. In 2010, Dorian received critical praise for his performance and his “picture perfect” art direction (Los Angeles Times) in the Killsonic opera, Tongues Bloody Tongues, presented at the REDCAT in Los Angeles. Dorian has previously performed at LACMA, UCLA, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE), Highways Performance Space, Pacific Design Center, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (San Francisco) and several other spaces worldwide. His latest album, “Brutus”, was recorded live at St. Giles-in-the-Fields in London, during his spring 2010 European tour. He is currently working on a new studio album, entitled “Rattle Rattle”, which is due for release in November of this year.
Disemballerina’s core commiserated and lit their first floor candles in 2009 with a friendship sparked between guitarist Ayla Holland and violist/harpist Myles Donovan. Veterans of many louder bands over the years in the D.I.Y. Metal scene on both coasts, the two bonded over a shared love of chamber music, funereal doom and ritualistic ceremony as well as a mutual estrangement in their participating subcultures due to being out, freakish and queer. Originally a 3 piece joined by cellist Melissa Collins, the band has gone through a number of other string players over the years, most recently collaborating with Lost Lockets violinist Fiona Petra. Disemballerina composed an intro for thrash metal band Order of The Gash on their last LP, and has played shows at locations as varied as abandoned train cars, warehouses and outdoor gazebos. They are consistently booked as the acoustic “calm before the storm” at Metal bar shows. Based out of Portland, OR; they have acquired an international ‘KVLT’ fan-base and draw instrumental inspiration from themes such as Datura poisoning, nursing home dementia, Saturn returning, an herbal combination that made graverobbing possible during times of the plague, playing a disgusting crone in dungeons and dragons, gender roles explored in some of the later Oz books, and gay 9 year olds committing suicide.
After dropping out of Yale School of Art, M. Lamar began extensive operatic training as a countertenor and started several rock bands for which he was the singer and principal songwriter. Influenced equally by Bel canto vocal traditions, the doom side of Black Metal and the African American spiritual, Lamar created an aesthetic that reflected the catastrophic and the absurd; work that is emotionally affecting and socially engaged. In 2008 Lamar’s work was presented along side world-renowned performance artist Ron Athey in The Biennale d’art performatif de Rouyn-Noranda. Quebec, Canada. 2008 also found Lamar as featured performer in Tony nominated performance artist Justin Bond’s award winning show Lustre at P.S. 122 and Abrons Arts Center in New York City. In July 2009 Lamar’s concert Installation THE BLACK DEATH premiered at the Chocolate Factory in New York to rave critical response. In May 2010 Lamar’s new evening length, theatrically presented song cycle Dirty Dirty Nigga: Songs of Rebellion Rebirth and Resistance premiered at The Center of Performance Research. Lamar’s album Souls on Lockdown was released In January 2010. In February 2011 Lamar began a two-week residency at Abrons Art Center where he work-shopped and presented the piece Darkness Descend. In early 2012 Lamar presented a requiem – Speculum Orum: Shackled to The Dead – at Cathedral of Saint John The Divine. Lamar’s work also has been presented at PS122, Dixon Place, Joe’s Pub, Galapagos Art Space, Washington Center for Performing Arts as well as many other diverse venues.
Avant-crooner and balladeer, CHRISTRAPER SINGS, writes and performs doleful songs with an ear to the greater depressed composers of the ages. Taking equal inspiration from Wagnerian opera, 20th century experimentalists and Black Metal as well as Purcell and the songs of somber renaissance lutenist John Dowland, he utilizes a full baritone to countertenor vocal range to build layered, lush harmony accompanied by simple electronic and acoustic sound arrangements. The effect is at once beautiful, hypnotic and haunting. He is a veteran performer and video-maker whose work has appeared at Walker Art Center, Mix NYC Experimental Film Festival, TOO MUCH!! Festival, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Intermedia Arts – MN, The Lab, and throughout various North American art galleries, festivals, cabarets and alternative institutions. “CHRISTRAPER SINGS blew the throng away with his ethereal, stunning voice. His songs and their effect are disarming and surprising… a complex, mesmerizing phenomenon.” -SF Bay Times.