The traditional rock 'n' roll laser show just got a reboot.
A quick scan of the repertoire reveals your standard-issue Planetarium jams: Led Zeppelin, the Doors, Grateful Dead, and, of course, Pink Floyd.
But Saturday night, Planetarium Krautrock (presented by Miami Art Museum and Miami Science Museum in collaboration with artist and MSM collections manager Kevin Arrow, musician and Schematic Records label head Romulo del Castillo, and nomadic art collective The End/Spring Break as part of MAM's New Work Miami 2013 exhibition) ventured deep into 1960s and '70s experimental German rock and electronic music.
But that's not all that received a major update. Instead of plugging in an iPod loaded up with CAN's greatest hits while screening some YouTubeses, Castillo supplied a live, all-vinyl mix to Arrow's voluminous collection of related imagery and appropriated found footage.
As the analog interplay unfolded, the synthesized (pun intended) product was both a basic primer on the hydra-headed krautrock movement and its expansive cast of eccentric key players, as well as a large-scale expressionistic immersion in psychedelic nostalgia.
Oh yeah, the lazers. To employ the lexicon of astronomers and physicists, the illusory display of fancifully manipulated light was nothing short of da bomb. Arrow and del Castillo certainly upheld their promise of krautrock. But it was technician Mark Bennett that brought the Planetarium, and in full force, we might add.
Power Point-style slides dishing trivia faded in and out of a manically ejaculating stream of mashups, consisting of iconography and thematically resonant, surreal imagery.
What we're trying to say is "That ish was trippy, man!" Some people reported feeling like they had taken brown acid at Woodstock, were freaking out, and being chilled by none other than Wavy Gravy. But, like, in German.
While Planetarium Krautrock was partially an exercise in overstimulation, the physical format of the curated media made the experience distinct from the New Media manic schizophrenia of what Walter Benjamin describes as "Art in the Age of Mechanical Re-Tweeting." It was the difference between listening to crappy MP3s of Neu! and putting on one of those fancy represses. But magnified by approximately ten bajillion.
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After an hour or so of balls-trippin' visuals, we were feeling a little Wavy Gravy-ed ourselves. And that's when we closed our eyes and focused on the sounds: locomotive-rhythm rock 'n' roll, intricately woven synthesizer tapestries stitched together from doubly intricate aural fabrics, and raw freakouts referencing myriad genres from the history of international music while inventing about a half-dozen more.
It is still too soon to calculate the reverberating effects of Planetarium Krautrock. But we wouldn't be surprised if in the near future, Miami was suddenly fusing Latin rhythm with motorik and pumping komische-step in da club.
P.S. When is Planetarium Stoner Metal?