Artist Session Highlights to Catch at Moogfest 2018

Over the past few weeks, anticipation has been steadily building for Moog’s annual four-day festival dedicated to all things synthesis. Initiated over a decade ago to honor the efforts of Dr. Robert Moog, Moogfest will take place in Durham, North Carolina, from this Thursday, May 17, through Sunday, May 20. It will feature cutting-edge performances from synth-loving musicians as well as discussions and workshops with the most forward-thinking minds in electronic music.

With so many events packed onto the Moogfest calendar, we wanted to take a second to highlight some of the most exciting artist showcases that you can catch at this year’s festival, for those lucky enough to be attending.

Lightbath
Yoga After Dark

5/18 & 5/19
21c Gallery
9-11 PM
Modular on the Spot

5/19
Am. Tobacco Theater
12-4 PM

If you’re looking for something to do on Friday or Saturday night, consider heading over to the 21c Gallery for an immersive, two-hour multimedia music and yoga experience with Bryan Noll of Lightbath.

When Noll started playing Midnight Yoga sessions in 2007 at Laughing Lotus in New York City, he originally lent his effects-heavy guitar-playing to the experience. This year marks Lightbath's return to playing music with Maryland-based Yoga After Dark and now he's going fully modular, with New Age-like drone sounds sure to elevate this special sensory experience to the next level.

Noll will be playing the guided meditation happening during the last hour of the Moogfest event alongside YAD founder, Joseph Murray (Toao).

Lighbath - Self Discovery, Patch CV Documentary
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith

5/17
Carolina Theatre
8 PM
Buchla Talk

5/18
Carolina Theatre
2:30-4 PM
Dreams

5/19
Presbyterian
4 PM

In the fall of 2017, synthesist and composer Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith released her third and perhaps most expansive effort yet, The Kid. During the nearly hour-long opus, Smith can be heard pushing the boundaries of the ambient genre with delicately synthesized percussion and expressive vocals.

Like a handful of others featured, Smith pilots her sonic spacecraft with a Buchla (in addition to a personalized Eurorack modular system), which you'll be able to hear her exploring alongside Suzanne Ciani and Emily Sprague in a pair of discussions and workshops.

Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith - "To Feel Your Best"
Mouse On Mars
Techno Set w/Spank Rock

5/18
Carolina Theatre
11:15 PM
In Conversation

5/19
Carolina Theatre
12:30 PM
Performance

5/19
Armory
11:30 PM

In from Berlin, Germany, are electronic veterans Mouse on Mars—the inventive effort of Jan St. Werner and Andi Toma. The duo's latest release, Dimensional People, features collaborations with members of indie artists Bon Iver, Beirut, and The National, making it that much more difficult to simplify the group to one that's purely dance-floor-focused.

Mouse On Mars will be performing a boundary-pushing techno set featuring rapper Spank Rock, who also makes an appearance on Dimensional People.

Mouse On Mars Live at the Boiler Room, Berlin
Caterina Barbieri
Performance

5/18
Pinhook
8:40 PM
Workshop

5/19
Art Institute
4 PM

By now, it seems that the wave of modular synthesizers has crossed another threshold. So much so that, in tandem with a Buchla and classics like the Roland TB-303 and TR-606, Italian-born, Berlin-based producer Caterina Barbieri takes on dense rhythmic structures without the crutch of the average 4/4 percussion present in modern electronic music.

Barbieri’s timbral shifts can be placed in the “minimalist” or “ambient” classifications, much like those of composer Terry Riley or even Suzanne Ciani's early Buchla works. While not immediate, Barbieri's recorded and live sounds blossom and cascade into a sonic palette that you’ll have to experience for yourself at the Pinhook dive in downtown Durham.

Caterina Barbieri & Giovanni Brunetto - "UHV"
Psychic TV
Performance

5/19
Carolina Theater
8 PM

With only one live performance, Psychic TV—the hauntingly occult creative output of Genesis P-Orridge, previously of industrial pioneers Throbbing Gristle—will perform at the Carolina Theater. Diagnosed with leukemia earlier this year, P-Orridge is taking a collective chance on the human nervous system for this opportunity.

While precautions will be taken, nothing will compromise the chilling poetic nature for which Psychic TV is known. For both the fans and casual listeners alike, this is a must-see show.

Psychic TV - "Godstar"
Suzanne Ciani
w/Berklee Students

5/17
Armory
8 PM

As mentioned above, five-time Grammy nominee, electronic music pioneer, and Moogfest veteran Suzanne Ciani is returning again this year in a variety of settings. But this time, she's also doing something a bit extraordinary.

In partnership with students from the Berklee College of Music, Ciani will be playing a live score to The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari—the quintessential silent German horror film from 1920. The live performance will be presented in spacial quadraphonic sound.

Suzanne Ciani - Live Performance at Voltage Connect, Berklee College of Music, Boston

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