Electronic music and sci-fi goes hand in hand since ages back, but that doesn’t stop MFO and Roly Porter to explore the sound scapes of a dystopian future. With Kistvaen they continue there quest to make audio visual research in the realms of sci-fi.
The audiovisual performance piece was captured in the imposing interior of Berlin’s Kraftwerk at Berlin Atonal 2019 and is a hybrid of musical performance and experimental theatre, combining cinematic projection, lighting design and live vocal accompaniments.
Half of seminal late-2000s dubstep duo Vex’d with Kuedo (Jamie Teasdale), Roly Porter’s solo work since chances at dance floor optics, but serves the bodies beneath with chanting choirs, beats and slow-moving synths. Artist Marcel Weber (MFO) makes audiovisual performances, scenography and installations using old and new media. The Berlin Atonal visual director is known for his seminal work with Tim Hecker, on the Stranger Things soundtrack and more. On their return to Sonic Acts, Roly Porter and MFO deliver sepulchral scenography for audiovisual show cum primordial medium Kistvaen (2019) together with Mary-Anne Roberts (Bragod).
Audiovisual performance Kistvaen contrasts primordial motifs – elements and seasons, sun and moon, gods and magic – with contemporary designed environments and virtual existences. Kists, Neolithic sites in Dartmoor, are pivotal to the piece along with burial ritual songs that are sung live by Mary-Anne Roberts (Bragod).The music, composed by Roly Porter, fuses field recording, folk instrumentation and digital sound processing, while Marcel Weber’s scenography blends subliminal stage and lighting effects with cinematic imagery. Filmed in Dartmoor and Białowieża, Dutch Westland and Tokyo, scenes evoke timeless feelings, pictures from the subconscious in which pagan roots and the technology-driven present are inextricable.
Roly Porter’s grand, unsettling score underlines that the spiritual power imbued within the kistvaen and the pagan beliefs that surround them has now passed into a dark and uncertain future.
Kistvaen has been shown at Unsound, Berlin Atonal and Sonic Acts festival. The album of the same name by Roly Porter arrives on May 29, via Subtext Recordings.
Marcel Weber (MFO) is a visual artist who directs audiovisual performances, stage designs, video works and installations. He is a resident within multiple experimental art and music event series’, for instance, as Berlin Atonal’s director for light and visuals and long-time collaborator of Unsound Music Festival in Krákow/New York/Adelaide/Toronto. His performances and installations are commissioned and featured at music and art festivals including CTM and MUTEK and many international institutions. Recent projects of note are installation-performance piece Nervous System 2020, live performances with Aïsha Devi, and with Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein on their Music of Stranger Things. Further collaborations include those with sound artists and musicians such as Tim Hecker, Ben Frost and Liz Harris (Grouper). With musician Roly Porter, MFO also presented work at the 2012 and 2017 editions of Sonic Acts.
Musician Roly Porter began his career as part of production duo Vex’d, later releasing two albums under his name on Subtext, Aftertime (2011) and Life Cycle of a Massive Star (2013) (a FACT Magazine best album of the year). In 2015, he released Third Law (Tri Angle Records), described by Pitchfork as ‘Truly, Awesomely Terrifying’. His residency in Aldeburgh with Cynthia Millar resulted in the 2017 album Fall Back. Porter is a Sonic Acts veteran, having presented work with Marcel Weber (MFO) in 2012 and 2017, he returns with another result of their collaboration.