Annual festival makes a little noise

06/09/08 Dawn Morgan
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This past weekend, more than 30 bands came to Tampa from all over the country for a free three-day how to promote noise. WMNF’s Dawn Morgan has more.

In an industrial area on East Columbus Drive, the Skate Park of Tampa is home to a small performance space called Transitions Art Gallery. Transitions is one of few all-ages venues in Tampa Bay, and for the last two years has been home to the Tampa Noise Fest, a free show with dozens of touring and local acts.

Josh Sherman is a St. Petersburg musician and co-founder of Meatronic, a net label which produces experimental and noise exclusively for distribution via the Internet. When Sherman and fellow musician K. Paul Boyev saw larger labels ignoring these genres, they decided to start Meatronic to fill the need.

“The experimental aspect means that you don’t know what the outcome will be. It’s a set of conditions that you assemble that can have an unpredictable ending and you let it run," co-founder K. Paul Boyev said.

Gainesville’s Hal McGee played a set Saturday night using high-end old school analog distortion pedals and synthesizers. He shared the stage with his old friend Dave Fugelwicz of Atlanta and New York’s Richard Orlando, though neither McGee nor Fugelwicz had previously worked with Orlando.

"The fact that we have never played with Richard Orlando threw in an element of chance, opened up the unexpected. We welcome accidents and incidents into our music. There are no accidents, only reactions. A different way of kind of creating," McGee said.

On stage, they worked independently, McGee twiddling knows and pedals, Fugelwicz, in a tie-dye shirt sitting behind a laptop painting music with his mouse, and the much younger Orlando using an older synthesizer reminiscent of Pink Floyd.

McGee started playing with sounds and putting them on mix tapes in the early 1980s. In the pre-Internet world, he sent them out all over the world, and received hundreds back in return. Concerts and tours were spread word of mouth, performed under bridges and with generators. McGee, is now in his 50s, and was glad to see the teens and 20-somethings come out for Noise Fest.

Noise Fest was organized by the St. Pete Institute of Noise, a low-key collective of musicians and artists that support noise and experimental music. The festival is modeled after Miami’s successful 5-year-old International Festival of Noise, which attracts artists from all over the world who play for love and not money, to keep the art form healthy and growing, the way it always has: through word of mouth of the noise fanatics and far away from the mainstream floodlights.

St. Pete Institute of Noise

Meatronic Recordings

Miami International Noise Conference

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