Father Dagon Uses Sounds of Lovecraftian Fear

Posted by Will Connor on August 13, 2014 in Uncategorized tagged with

(Part One is here and Part Two is here)

So far the focus of the past two posts has been discussing the parallels between Lovecraft’s use of fear and how he generates this emotion within his reader’s minds and the ways in which Victoria Snaith is attempting to emulate a similar emotive response through various directorial decisions she employs to develop the newest piece for her drama company, Dread Falls Theatre, a show called Father Dagon, based on Lovecraft’s writings. As almost a miniature duplicate of this set of decisions, embedded within the overall performance, is yet another parallel, the music and sound design.

Snaith’s regular musical consultant and resident performer is Dr. Will Connor. Part of the initial development of the work was taken from his idea to surround the audience with the live music being performed and to have that music as a mobile and reactive part of the experience. Connor is not only a ethnomusicologist who is familiar with, in some detail, immersive and ritualistic performance settings, such as Tibetan rolmo orchestra music, Korean sinawi exorcisms, and Tlingit ixt drama, as well as having an extensive background in live improvised accompaniment for dancers and theatre, but he also very well acquainted with Lovecraft’s “Mythos Fiction”. Snaith’s performance structure afforded Connor the opportunity to utilize these knowledge sets to help strengthen Snaith’s presentation of Lovecraftian fear.

Seesar is one of the four live musicians performing exerimental music at Dread Falls Theatre's Lovecraft show, Father Dagon

Seesar is one of the four live musicians performing exerimental music at Dread Falls Theatre’s Lovecraft show, Father Dagon

Primarily, the live music will be performed within different locations around the environment of Father Dagon, and as with the physical storytelling, this will place the audience in a less comfortable state compared to a more typical concert setting where the stage acts as a barrier between performer and listener. Furthermore, the musicians will at certain points during the show relocate and move about with and around the audience. At all times, the musicians will be reacting and cueing the actors, uniting the physical with the sonic, which further bringing forward Snath’s goal of a dream-like nature for the show.

The live “surround sound” created by this, however is only part of generation of uneasiness. The palette of timbres used by the musicians and the ways in which those sounds are generated will be the strongest enhancement of the darkness and fear that Snaith seeks to make Father Dagon as “Lovecraftian” as possible. Each of the musicians involved will be performing on a regiment of instruments that they either have taken out of a traditional context from a non-Western area of the World, or they have built the instruments themselves, both yielding unexpected and unique tones.

The musicians performing include homemade electronics and manipulated vocal artist raxil4; ritual ambient project Akoustik Timbre Frekuency adding to the soundscape with an impressive assortment of ritual instruments from Asia, Africa, and the Pacific Rim; Parisian sonic experimental musician Anton Mobin performing on a collection of metal tongues, springs, homemade resonators, and altered cassette tape players; and Connor’s dark ambient Lovecraft-influenced project Seesar that uses traditional percussion and household items to make an array of unexplainable sounds to the uninitiated ear.

Zos Kia Sounds Recordings is set to release the soundtrack to Father Dagon, featuring the four live musicians, simultaneously with the opening of the show.

Zos Kia Sounds Recordings is set to release the soundtrack to Father Dagon, featuring the four live musicians, simultaneously with the opening of the show.

The Lovecraftian experience is not restricted to the stage, either. Snaith, hoping to make attendees even more aware of the emotive nature of this important, influential author, Snaith has invited several gallery artists to display works inspired by Lovecraft. Czech painter Pavlina Bastlova, “artifact” sculptor Jason McKittrick of Cryptocurioum in the U.S., Italian photographer Veronique Lady Goth, and London’s own graphic artist Bruno Stahl are all expected to show works within the gallery/bar at the Father Dagon show, which will be observing opening hours beyond that of the performance times, and will be open to the public, regardless of ticket holder status. Artwork on display will be available for sale to the public along with the CD of the soundtrack by the live musicians being released simultaneously by Oakland based record label Zos Kia Sounds Recordings.

For more information on the performance itself, please visit the Father Dagon event page here: http://www.facebook.com/events/682555195145213 or to purchase tickets directly simply visit http://www.skiddle.com/groups/dreadfallstheatre and select the date and show time you desire from the listings.

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