Man-Eating Music in the Subtropics!

The Subtropics New Music Festival

From the grave of a dead art, Bonk composer David Rogers drags his performance piece, "Necrophageteria." Constable sits at a grand piano, like the accompanist at an early silent horror film. Playing with a conventional bow, Matamoros draws squeals from his saw. Between the Sectopus and the steamy blocks of dry ice on the "sublimation piano" stands Devon Brady, who opens and closes the valves that control the pitch of the Sectopus. He presses copper strips and rods against the dry ice of the sublimation piano, causing the copper to scream eerily on contact.

From the back of the room enters Rogers, embracing a kind of human bagpipe called the "necrophone." As the torso of the misshapen human figure collapses in Rogers's grip, a broken dirge bursts from acrylic tubes that dangle like crippled limbs. Rogers presses his mouth against the tube protruding from the head, exhaling with a passionate kiss to inflate the torso again.

The Experimental Skeleton group built the necrophone to Rogers's specifications, sacrificing musical function to visual form where necessary. "I had this vision of an almost unidentifiably human form," the composer explains, "like a corpse that's been in the river too long." He continues with what could be a manifesto for the still exquisite corpse of new music. "I wanted something that would make people watch a performance and be a little uncomfortable. I wanted something disturbing enough that even I wasn't sure I wanted to perform it. I wanted something that would be gruesome, but beautifully gruesome."

Beware the Sectopus!
Beware the Sectopus!
The still exquisite corpse of new music
The still exquisite corpse of new music

The Subtropics New Music Festival continues with Furican Caribe, an ensemble of Miami musicians including Marty Galagarza, Nike Kernahan, Richard LaGuerre, and David Font, at 8:00 p.m. on Friday, April 7, at the Ponce de Leon Circle Park in Coral Gables. Admission is free. Ellen Band, a "hunter and gatherer of sounds," performs at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 8, at the Miami Beach Community Church, 520 Lincoln Rd. Tickets cost $15. Furican Caribe, conducted by composer Lukas Ligeti, appears again at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 15, at the Miami Beach Botanical Gardens, 2000 Convention Center Dr. Tickets cost $20. Saxophonist Jon Gibson plays at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 22 also at the botanical gardens. For more information call 305-576-4350.

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