Now in its tenth year, Seattle's Decibel Festival has grown from a tiny electronic celebration to a world-renowned music festival without sacrificing attention to detail along the way. From fabric wristbands to the notable lack of corporate sponsors -- save for ones that directly affect the electronic music scene in some way -- Decibel has retained a number of the charming qualities which usually become lost to larger festivals. Its continued stress on the audio-visual merging of music and motion art continue to push the festival forward as well, as Seattle's best venues were sometimes upgraded with video equipment and makeshift spaces were sometimes transformed into festival-worthy ones. Decibel's continued Optical series is the festival's low-key element, which focuses on mixed media programming that combines ambient, modern classical and experimental sound art with live video, films and installations. This review highlights some of Optical 2012's best moments, in our eyes, with reviews of performances by Robert Henke, Biosphere, and The Sight Below. SEE FULL SHOW REVIEW

Robert Henke

Optical 1: Ghosts In The Shadows -- September 26th, 2012 @ The Triple Door, Seattle, WA Written by VIVIAN HUA With the pounding of chaotic weather against manmade walls, Robert Henke introduced the crowd at The Triple Door to six channels of surround sound. The stage itself stood dark and empty, with the maestro nowhere to be seen. Rain in one ear morphed into train tracks rattling by; howling winds in the other transformed into vehicles and airplanes soaring past. Henke's sounds were so convincing of reality and so unseeming that the audience at The Triple Door carried on with conversation well into the opening minutes of the performance. But as the light rain increased into a torrential downpour, it gave way to machine-like sputtering and alien crackling, and those who hadn't been paying attention finally began to do so. SHOW REVIEW CONTINUED BELOW

 

Flying Lotus has just released a short film to promote his upcoming record, Until The Quiet Comes, and we feature it below, along with an oldie but equally goodie -- Shabazz Palaces' short film for their 2011 record, Black Up. See both videos after the jump.

 

Flying Lotus

Director Kahlil Joseph has put together a nearly 4-minute-long short film that begins with haunting images of violence upon urban youth. That destruction, though, soon turns into liberation via dance and resurrection, with three tracks from Flying Lotus -- "See Thru To U", "Hunger", and "Getting There", that feature Niki Randa and Erykah Badu -- providing a female-driven backdrop that hints towards the possibility of second chances and better decisions. Until The Quiet Comes will be released October 2nd in North America and October 1st elsewhere.

 

Shabazz Palaces

Shabazz Palaces' short film for 2011's Black Up is longer, at nearly five minutes, and a bit more spastic than the Flying Lotus promo. Its images, which duck out from the grit of New York City into expansive nature, are an excellent visual pairing for the music of Shabazz Palaces, which combines urbanity with organic instrumentation and African influences. It's no wonder that this film bears resemblance to the piece Kahlil Joseph did for Flying Lotus; he directed this one, also.

 

By way of Seattle and San Diego, artist Ian Ferguson seems to finally have hit his artistic stride amidst the urban rawness of Chicago. This documentary takes a quick glance at the new direction of his works -- with a special focus on large-scale works,...

Our third-annual album cover art feature uses interviews with artists and musicians to highlight the philosophical, thematic, and conceptual significance of great album cover artwork. THE BREAKDOWN    12 Collage + 14 Digital Illustration, Drawing, Design + 19 Illustration, Painting, Drawing + 8 Black And White Photography + 22 Color Photography + 6 Deluxe Packaging + 10 Fashion, Sculpture, Installation _____________________________    91 Album Covers For 2011 Best Of 2011 Album Cover Art

Apteka - Gargoyle Days
Despite never having met one another, Portland designer Dylan McConnell and Chicago's Apteka have grown a well-fitting artistic relationship through the years. McConnell's album cover for Gargoyle Days may be their most gripping collaboration yet.

QUOTES FROM: DYLAN MCCONNELL, DESIGNER ADAM LUCAS, APTEKA'S GUITARIST AND VOCALIST THEMES & CONCEPTS "We had worked with a sorta paranoid, dark op-art theme in the past for posters and albums (with a brief interlude of lopping off girls' heads). High contrast and fluid -- that's what I was going for." - Dylan McConnell COLLABORATION "We've been working with Dylan pretty much since the band formed. He's done all our cover art, and most all of our show posters so far. Things clicked from the beginning. He just has a knack of taking what we're doing musically and expressing it in a visual way. The funniest part is that we've never really met. He lives in Portland, and we're in Chicago. A mutual friend turned us on to him, but we've never had the chance to meet in person. It's all been through email. Which is kind of a weird way to communicate artistic intentions, but somehow it works, and he’s become this mysterious fifth member of the group." - Adam Lucas Record Label Carpark Records The Artists Design - Dylan McConnell Mediums & Materials Collage, Digital, Typography (hand-drawn)

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