The term experimental music, once indicative of an actual, scientific-like pursuit of new frontiers in sonics, has become a catch-all term used to indicate any unconventional, relatively weird stuff that plays with fundamental notions of beauty/achievement in music.
If experimental music, which actually, to be fair, splinters into a multitude of sub-categories, has a problem engaging certain audiences, perhaps it has to do with an inherent (but benign) exclusivity. After all, not everyone will be interested in creation at the boundaries of any artistic discipline. For many, musical appreciation is built on familiarity and, at least within a given spectrum, predictability. Experimental musicians of all stripes, on the other hand, operate from a more theoretical and/or intuitive place.
At least part of the difficulty in generating mass interest in (especially local and DIY) experimental music shows has to do with finding the right venue. Let's face it: by and large, bar venues are not really the ideal setting for music that requires patience and invites contemplation. Likewise, audiences at bar venues are not particularly likely to be in the frame of mind to commit to any kind of sonic adventure.
Dane Rousay, a gifted young composer, percussionist, and member of local bands Freebiez and Jejune Stars (just to name the most current ones), has been, in their own way, trying to find a place (literally and metaphorically) for consistent, professional, and well-attended experimental music shows in San Antonio.
Rousay, who has been recording, releasing, and touring like crazy for the past year or so, is now taking their quest to the next level with Saturday's Right Now Experimental Music Fest at Artpace.
Having curated (and played in) a slew of well-received experimental music showcases at Ventura over the past several months, Rousay thinks now is the time for something bigger. Artpace, according to Rousay, was extremely receptive to hosting the event, likely (and probably correctly) sensing that audiences prone to enjoying contemporary art will be among the most receptive to contemporary experimental musical composition.
Right Now Experimental Music Fest, sponsored by Trinity University's KRTU, Alamo Beer, and Rousay's small label Rat Tails Tapes, is poised to be the most extensive experimental/improvisational showcase we've had since the days of the No Idea Festival, and even that was sort of an import from Austin.
The festival's bill is comprised of eleven San Antonio-based artists and five regional acts. Rousay expressed to the Current that the fest is, first and foremost, an opportunity for local experimental artists to showcase their work in a safe, inclusive, and rather ideal environment.
The bill is eclectic within the loose experimental music tag, including everything from spoken word/percussion to improvisational synth doom, from viola virtuosity to extrapolation in noise, from outre electronic/glitch to extended guitar composition, from ambient dub to tape loop soundscaping, and more.
Below you can check out the full lineup and get a taste of a slew of the artists who will be performing Saturday.
Curved Light (ATX)
More Eaze (ATX)
Sonia P. Flores (Houston)
Laine (Norman, OK)
Dane Rousay / Svetlana Zwetkof Duo
Joseph Erik Montano
Campa / Mendez / Taylor
Kory Cook Ensemble
The Grasshopper Lies Heavy
Right Now Experimental Music Fest
$5 (Free for Artpace members), 3:00pm-11:00pm, Artpace, 445 N Main Ave, (210) 212-4900, artpace.org.