The ancient art of the laser show (much like figure skating and the intentional spread of infectious diseases) is a sorely underutilized medium in rock 'n' roll.
Why did the synesthetic experience of fusing music and amplified beams of light hit its peak with Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon and the collected works of Led Zeppelin? Is the art form forever banned to Sunday afternoons filled with the Beatles' Yellow Submarine and squiggly laser animation, only ever viewed by less than a dozen hacky sack enthusiasts (all of whom are 'shrooming)?
Not if Miami Science Museum art and collections manager Kevin Arrow and Schematic Records head Romulo Del Castillo can help it.
On Saturday, April 6, this duo will be teaming up with prolific mischief- and art-making collective Spring Break, as part of its ongoing New Work Miami collaboration with Miami Art Museum, to present a laser show, Planetarium: Krautrock, that'll stray far from the beaten-to-death path of classic and/or progressive rock. Instead, the vintage technology-driven spectacular will provide an immersive crash course in experimental German rock and electronic music.
As a genre term, krautrock broadly encompasses various mini-movements that emerged in 1960s Germany, from uptempo psychedelic guitar music to spaced-out ambient electronic music (also known as komische) and the proto-electronic pop of mid- to late-period Kraftwerk.
Arrow describes Planetarium: Krautrock as a "visual timeline" and compares it to the Sun Ra Session, another collaboration with Del Castillo and Spring Break that he hosted in the summer of 2011. At that event, viewers were treated to simultaneous projections of multiple Sun Ra films weaving in and out of one another, as well as a flood of slides featuring related imagery and psychedelic iconography.
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"I don't know of any other Krautrock laser light shows," Arrow says. But he insists that while partially inspired by the traditional Floyd and Zep spectacles, he and his collaborators were also intrigued by the possibilities of "subverting the classic laser light show format with a more difficult genre of music."
"Difficult," he adds, "but strangely appropriate."
Planetarium: Krautrock. Saturday, April 6. Miami Science Museum, 3280 S. Miami Ave., Miami. The show starts at 7 p.m. and cover costs $8. Call 305-646-4200 or visit miamisci.org.