LEAKY SOCKETS 2015 – Chattanooga’s Biggest Experimental Music Fest

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When I joined this site, I wanted to use this place to discuss my experiences with experimental music. So I figured what better way to start that then with Leaky Sockets, Chattanooga’s biggest experimental music fest. (Hosted by Jerry Reed (AKA: Rurnt) )

This list will contain two videos, both of which will showcase day one and two of LEAKY SOCKETS 2015. (June 19th – June 20th). It will also provide the exact minute the performance can be seen in the footage.

DAY ONE:

Vama Marga –  0:00
The show started off with Chattanooga’s three-piece noise act, which features Jerry Reed (the host of Leaky Sockets), Tony Levi, and Rebecca (aka: Orthadox Hell). I had to alter the footage to make it brighter since they would have been playing in a pitch black room had it not been for the footage playing in the background. Every show I’ve seen from Vama Marga has been impressive. Having three people do this kind of music at the same time while sounding “organized” can be a challenge, but all of their tape loops and distorted tones tend to come out evenly.

Red Okra King –   13:00
For those of you who have never seen Red Okra King, the solo project by Chattanooga’s Kenneth Burnap. It’s part performance art, part ambient music, part children being sampled, part homemade religious rambling. No single performance from Red Okra King is the same. Each performance can lead to a new character being introduced to the multi-colored, gnome filled universe he’s created. (If you ever ask him about the knobs at Rock City, he’ll let you know they’re slaves…. but that’s a story for another day). Kenneth introduced his new character “Curly Shoulders” who helped the audience understand what it’s like to travel through “The Rainbow Wall” and other oddities that apparently exist in this universe. As always, his performance was unique and entertaining.

Victims De Regimes –  24:28
The first non-Chattanoogan to perform was Victims De Regimes. I thought his show was pretty decent. He mostly focused on the sounds created from a miniature microphone, a contact mic, and the pedals that he would unplug to affect different parts of the pedal chain. In my opinion, the best part of his performance was when he continuously tuned a distortion pedal on and off to make a rhythm that reminded me of a nuclear warning siren.

American Leather / Jab Stab  –  34:50
It made a lot of sense for Sean McCormick (American Leather) and Elbro Lyon (Jab Stab) to collaborate for this show. Both musicians do have slightly different sounds when it comes to experimental music, both of them are very similar when it comes to their stage presence. Screaming maniacally, throwing their bodies around, getting face first into the crowd. One of them can be difficult enough to keep track of, but two of them was nearly impossible to film at certain times of the performance…. But it was still fun to try.

Aqua-Eroticum –   49:20

I feel like this quote that happened 2 minutes after the show sums up the performance better than I could.
“Did anyone get pissed during his performance, FUCK!” – Quote from Chris Coker of “Flippin’ Idiots”
It was universally agreed once everyone walked outside for some fresh air that his performance was pure energy.

The Criswell Collective  – 1:01:55
In a complete 180 degree turn for the night, following the screeching feedback of Aqua-Eroticum, The Criswell Collective got on stage and performed some of the most bizarre “pop” music I’ve heard in a long time. It took me a minute to adjust myself to appreciate this kind of music. After getting myself in a certain mental state with Aqua-Eroticum, I had to adjust myself to the quirky-pop that was being presented to me. In a lot of ways, it was like getting in a hot tub. Really overbearing at first, but once you get over the temperature change, you end up enjoying yourself.

Gtruk – 1:16:19
I’ve filmed Joseph Micolo (Gtruk and/or Sega Worms) on many occasions. What always surprises me is how I’m never fully sure what kind of set he’s gonna pull off. I’ve seen him do everything from dark-ambient music to Speed-Core.
The lighting, sounds, and footage for this particular set worked so perfectly together. The POV footage of someone stumbling through downtown Chattanooga combined with the slow pulsating sounds, the sickening green lights, and fog that filled the entire venue caused me to feel like I was the one who was intoxicated and stumbling around.

Earth Builder / Visitor Cue  – 1:31:54
Bobby Rayfield of Earth Builder has been doing experimental music for a few years now. But what made this event so interesting was that I had never heard of the project Visitor Cue (A play on words for the Japanese film Visitor Q, an disturbingly awesome and completely not-safe-for-work film) and I was looking forward to seeing who it was. To my surprise, it was Russ Cannon from Koza (Sludge metal band from Chattanooga, TN). What made the Visitor Cue & Earth Builder set so interesting was the fact that this was Russ’s first time doing experimental music in a live setting. Despite that, I felt that the two of them blending their ambient sounds worked so wonderfully. At no point in time did I think Bobby’s sounds were overpowering Russ’s sounds or vise versa.

Oostanaula –  1:46:31
Now I’m gonna be honest and say that I normally don’t like musicians who make music with laptops and only laptops. I’ve always believed that if you’re gonna go that route, you need to at least have good visuals / lighting in order to keep my attention. So when I saw Solo artist Oostanaula pull out two laptops, I didn’t know what to expect. But despite my initial reaction to him getting set up, He really blew my expectations out the water. The abstract footage he had going on in the background matched the sounds perfectly. Once the footage ended, the soft glow from the laptop screen being the only lights available in the entire venue made me feel like the curtains were coming down near the end of the show. In a way, that seemed like the perfect way to end day one of Leaky Sockets.

DAY TWO:

Orthodox Hell – 0:00
Orthodox Hell is one of the three members of Vama Marga. Simply put, her sets (from what I’ve experienced) have always been short and sweet, and sometimes that’s a good thing. Sometimes a good idea is a good idea for only 5 minutes and going longer than that can cause a good idea to overstay it’s welcome. Overall, I’d say Orthodox Hell was the perfect way to start day two of Leaky Sockets. It was almost like get a free sample before buying the full product.

Flippin’ Idiots – 5:45
Coming all the way from North Carolina, Chris Coker of Flippin’ Idiots ran a Infection IN-3 Joystick Controlled Synth Pedal through several effects pedals. The set started off very chaotic, with sounds that felt like static bouncing off the walls in random directions. Nearing the end of this set, Chris utilized more drone sounds to go over his collection of glitching noises which really filled up the room. Overall, I really enjoyed his minimalist set up of only needing one channel to pull all this off.

Graceless – 26:00
Much like the transition of Aqua Eroticum to The Criswell Collective on day one of Leaky Sockets. Going from the static filled chaos of Flippin’ Idiots to the rich ambient tones of Graceless was a complete 180 degree turn. I think one of my favorite moment during this performance was when the vocals were introduced. It invoked memories of some of my favorite post-apocalyptic films where the vast empty wasteland was introduced.
Also, I’m really disappointed that I couldn’t get footage of their analog synths (Those two big brown boxes). They were absolutely huge and I wouldn’t even know where to began if I got my hands on them… So that in itself was impressive to me.

The Baby – 44:27
Another short and sweet set for the night. I’ve seen this guy manipulate footage live before. Normally there are some pretty strange stories behind his choice of footage. (I’ll never forget the time he teamed up with Manniquen Hollocaust and combined footage of Alan Jackson’s Chattahoochee music video with footage of penis mutation.) The baby decided to mix footage of Neuroimaging and what appears to be clips from home movies from the 1950’s. I think there’s a lot of different way you can look at that and come up with your own interpretation.

Scraped Face – 51:25

I love that this guy just started performing with no introduction. He just turned all his gear up as loud as it needed to be and started his set.
When filming this performance, I did my best to zoom in to show what he was doing in order to show people how he was making noise. He took a guitar that had no strings attached and placed a metal bowl where you’d normally strum the strings. He then stirred a bunch of marbles inside the bowl and ran those sounds through a multi-effects pedal. The string-less guitar itself was used to pick up the sounds of the marbles inside the bowl.

One of the more entertaining aspects of that performance was when multiple marbles started flying all over the place and the crowd (including myself) did our best to roll the marbles back towards him.

Whoracle of Delco – 1:01:35

I’ll admit that it was kind of hard to focus on how his sounds were being produced. On one side, there was a laptop, but there was also a collection of radios thrown into the mix. It’s rare to see a set where I can’t understand the chain of sounds that’s being created so that in itself was impressive to me.

Travis Morgan – 1:07:20

The last time I saw Travis was when I booked in 2014 for a Halloween show at Sluggo’s. He did a drone set that I really loved and I was looking forward to seeing what he was going to bring this year. To my surprise, I actually ended up wanting to dance during his performance as opposed to zoning out. I was pretty much only use to his soundscape material and was pleasantly surprised with his use of drum samples.

Thirteen Fingers – 1:26:04
I like that Chris Coker of Flippin’ Idiots drove down from North Carolina with Abe Mason from Thirteen Fingers. When I compare these two noise makers from NC, I can see how their style of music is somewhat similar, yet each one brings something different. (I found this especially true after picking up two separate albums from each project).

Where as Chris may had focused on his more digital sounds from his synth and making all his noise through one channel in the mixer. Abe was focused on the more acoustic sounds through his metal spring board, plus having to use multiple channels to control the layers of sounds he was producing.  Even though the two of them had somewhat similar sounds (when you reguarlly collaborate with someone, it’s hard not to be inspired by that person to some degree), I felt that both of them brought something different and interesting to the table.

Developer – 1:36:24
I think one of the most amusing moments during this performance was when Developer decided to stop using the venue’s PA and perform a section of his set using the speaker from a tape player + the tapping of a metal bowl with no mic. It forced the listener to focus on what he was doing before switching back to the venue’s PA.

Rurnt / Mannequin Hollocaust – 1:48:05
Jerry Reed (AKA: Rurnt) and Patrik (Mannequin Hallocaust) teamed up for this set. I think one of the most entertaining moments of this performance was when Jerry was beating his table with a metal chain and I was about two feet away from him. Plus I was backed up on a wall and had a table blocking my ability to move so I was just kind of trapped praying that the chain only breaks the table and not my face, or more importantly, the camera.
10/10, would fear for a skull fracture again.

Thirteen Fingers / Flippin’ Idiots / Whoracle of Delco / Live Remix by Developer – 1:57:36
Much like a live firework show, you have to end it with all you got. For this set, Thirteen Fingers, Flippin’ Iditos, and Whoracle of Delco hooked all their equipment into the mixer that Developer had. The guy from Developer was then in control of all three musicians as they experimented with their pedals. What made filming this performance so great was that unlike every other performance I had seen at Leaky Sockets, I wasn’t able to tell who was making what sound, and honestly, I was OK with that. Out of all the performances that happened in the past two nights, this was truly the performance where you had to sit back and just accept the sounds being played. I think that was the perfect way to end Leaky Sockets

After talking with Jerry Reed about the future of Leaky Sockets, he told me the goal is to always have it in June. So be on the lookout next year for Leaky sockets 2016.

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