Evening Noise

Story and photos by Beau Finley

D.C. might as well stand for drone city when it comes to experimental music: it’s a hub for the mostly underground genre.  On Friday, January 13th, local experimentalist Tristan Welch hosted an evening of noise at Bossa, in Adams Morgan, bringing together local drone musicians and touring experimental noise artists.  It was an excellent evening, though exceptionally dark for photography.  

Tag Cloud is Chris Videll, a D.C.-based drone musician (and photographer).  Using a slew of synthesizers and effects, he wove a blanket of notes and sounds occasionally tethered to a quietly pulsating bassline.  

Tag Cloud (f/2.8, 10 s, ISO 100, no flash, resting on mixing booth as tripod) © 2017 Beau Finley
Tag Cloud (f/3.2, .3 s, ISO 800, no flash, mixing booth as tripod) © 2017 Beau Finley

Chester Hawkins, who has performed in and around D.C. for several decades under different monikers, followed.  His meditative set touched upon several subgenres of electronic music while never leaving the realm of experimentalism.

Chester Hawkins (f/4.5, 2.5 s, ISO 400, flash) © 2017 Beau Finley
Chester Hawkins (f/4.5, 1/6 s, ISO 800, flash) © 2017 Beau Finley

Guillermo Pizarro, on tour from Pennsylvania, opted for a wholly different approach: beginning with loops of sounds coming from the Crank Sturgeon-designed noise box known as the Multi-Plunk Pocket Gamelan, Pizarro introduced a challenging and, at times, claustrophobic menace to the evening.

Guillermo Pizarro (f/2.8, 1/5 s, ISO 1600, no flash) © 2017 Beau Finley
Guillermo Pizarro (f/3.5, 1/6 s, ISO 3200, no flash) © 2017 Beau Finley

Milwaukee musician Peter J. Woods closed the show.  Building upon Pizarro’s disquieting transition, Woods began with a marble in a glass, moving the glass quickly in circles while the marble sped around the inside with greater and greater volume.  His somewhat jarring and absurd set consisted of the interspersion of harsh noise with silence, as well as the anxieties brought about by his creepy eyeless hood.

Peter J. Woods (f/5.6, .8 s, ISO 400, no flash, resting on mixing booth as tripod) © 2017 Beau Finley

Overall, it was a quick and intimate show, both of which are increasingly rare in D.C.  Welch is hosting a series of experimental noise shows at Bossa.  The next experimental noise night at Bossa is this Sunday, February 19th at 7 pm, and will feature Literals, Tristan Welch & Ron Oshima (featuring Dubpixels), and Luke Stewart.  The March edition takes place Sunday, March 19th at 7 pm, with Chris LiButti, Ca$h $lave Clique, and Destroyer of Worlds making all sorts of noise.

All images © 2017 Beau Finley.

Beau is a photographer and musician from Washington, D.C.