Shield Your Eyes with Matt McVickar and Jim Hearon
Friday Nov 02 07:30 PM
Doris Duke Theatre
About the Performance:
The underground music scene surfaces at the Honolulu Museum of Art’s Doris Duke Theatre when music collaborative Shield Your Eyes takes the stage Nov. 2, accompanying three short silent films by legendary avant-garde filmmakers the Brothers Quay, Guy Maddin and Kenneth Anger.
Shield Your Eyes, which was formed in Minneapolis, is the brainchild of Schuyler Tsuda, an experimental composer and improviser whose work involves an almost mystical coaxing of strange, beautiful and bizarre sounds from both traditional and hand-made instruments.
“It’s amazing what one can do with some steel, wire, springs, and some knowledge of acoustics, physics, welding technique and circuit design,” says Tsuda. “I am not a luthier. I am interested in building instruments that are quite extreme in their range of sonic possibilities, and I am never afraid to misuse instruments and electronics to produce particular kinds of sonic phenomena.”
A Shield Your Eyes show is as much performance art and art installation as it is a musical performance. Each show is unique and features sound sculpture, DIY audio circuits, and hacked/modified instruments custom-made for the venue. “I played a concert in which two huge steel plates were hung from the ceiling connected by wire. The entire venue shook when I played them,” says Tsuda. “I have also done shows where my only instruments were a bass drum sample and a piece of paper. You have to be imaginative as well as receptive to make something like that work musically. There is always a risk of failure, but there is also the potential to discover something magical and that is what’s important to me.”
For this performance, Tsuda chose three acclaimed experimental short films as the visual focal point—The Brother’s Quay’s Street of Crocodiles, Guy Maddin’s The Heart of the World, and Kenneth Anger’s Lucifer Rising. “I chose silent films that fit the style of Shield Your Eyes—darker, more mysterious films,” says Tsuda. “All three filmmakers have been influential to me as an artist, musician and filmmaker.”
Tsuda is also the Music Programmer at the Doris Duke Theatre. He holds a Ph.D. in Music Composition from the University of Minnesota. He has performed in Berlin, Belfast, New York, and Minneapolis as Shield Your Eyes. Tsuda was nominated for the Julius F. Ježek Prize in Composition in 2011 and the World New Music Days Composition Competition in 2011.
Joining Tsuda is Massachusetts-born Matt McVickar, who has become a fixture in the local indie community as electronics player for the band Clones of the Queen and his solo project Welwing. The producer and drummer scored the 2011 Hawaii International Film Festival trailer, won one of six qualifying rounds for Beatroot, a Honolulu beat battle, and organized the sold-out Toro y Moi concert in 2011.
Also joining Shield Your Eyes is multi-instrumentalist and improviser Dr. Jim Hearon, who programs computer audio applications on Linux, is the editor of the Csound Journal and has worked at Dolby Laboratories in San Francisco. Jim is currently a Media Specialist at the University of Hawai‘i.
Street of Crocodiles (1987), The Brothers Quay
In this virtuosic masterpiece of stop-motion animation and puppetry, the highly secretive and mysterious Philadelphia-born identical twins, the Brothers Quay, create a macabre world of industrial decay, living machines and flesh where the languid, gossamer dream becomes nightmare for a puppet brought to life.
The Heart of the World (2000), Guy Maddin
Two brothers, Nikolai, a mortician, and Osip, an actor who plays Christ, are in love with Anna, a state scientist who studies the Earth’s core and discovers that the heart of the world is failing. She must choose between the two brothers to save the world in this fast-paced, quirky, silent film-era homage by Canadian Surrealist filmmaker Guy Maddin. In 2008, the Doris Duke Theatre screened Maddin’s feature My Winnipeg, which won the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival’s Best Canadian Feature Award.
Lucifer Rising (1972), Kenneth Anger
A self-proclaimed Thelemite, following the teachings of Aleister Crowley, influential experimental filmmaker Kenneth Anger guides us on a visceral, visual journey where man has entered the “Aeon of Horus.” In this 30-minute psychedelic film-poem starring Jimmy Page, Chris Jagger (Mick’s brother), Bobby Beausoleil (of Charles Manson “family” infamy), and Kenneth Anger himself, Anger presents a strange, sensual, and disturbingly beautiful world of occult ritual and ancient Egyptian mysticism.