Underground since 1969, "Rhythm & Noise (R&N)" is pioneering high-tech, "live" computer-interactive video-and-sound presentations. Which means they can improvise and cut-up "interactively" between electronic image and sound at any given point--they're not just replaying prerecorded video. They see their role as propagandists against misinformation and the control process.
Visual content of the 1980 Compound shows included war documentation, weapons technology, lobotomy footage, neo-Pavlovian animal experimentation, whale butchery, post-holocaust survivalism, and other examples of 20th century progress, surrounded by a 360 degree force field of "loud" multi-dimensional (psychedelic?) rhythms & sounds. All 4 shows were different; all sold out.
Some minimal background: one of the personnel studied with Nam June Paik and currently works for Sam Peckinpah; the other has designed his own computerized synthesizer system. They're currently setting up an affordable public-access video editing facility while planning a series of appearances over the next 24 months, video collaborations with Z'ev, narrowcast TV programs and automated installations....
R/S: Do you have a conscious philosophy about what you're doing?
R&N: "Subconscious", yes. We're making conscious attempts to alter established information channels closed in the subconscious, where a lot of the "control" mechanisms are triggered via "real world" activities. Not "subverting" but "diverting", rearranging those paths to consider alternatives to what is generally conceived of as the real world. By and large what we're after is hitting the 2 centers that seem to be the most susceptible to that kind of rechanneling or redirecting--sound and vision. That's what "vaudeo" is.
R&N: It's a neologism--we invented it. It's just a catchword for our synthesis of technology and ideas, based on how to get our ideas across. Basically we're involved in psychoactive processing.
R/S: Vaudeo implies greater emphasis on sound--most people think of video more in terms of images. They normally don't experience video plus extremely loud sound.
R&N: High resolution sound and high resolution graphics. It also implies a kind of integration of the two mediums. The sound component might be louder and "physically" more moving, while the video component is more cerebral. The 2 together create almost a sensorial saturation.
R/S: What was significant about your 1980 performances? They weren't just prerecorded videos played at immense volumes?
R&N: They were the outcome of 10 years' experimentation in real-time, sound-synchro, locked video via computerized interaction, and viewed on large video projections. We really did have it "locked" to the point where certain sounds did trigger certain events, and certain images did trigger certain sounds. The performances were our testing grounds. We can show whole blocks of images in any given order, or overlapping, or sequence of overlappings, within a certain phrase list a few seconds long to many minutes long. Those become modular units you can throw into a plot line or narrative form to change the actual ideas. One night A-B-C-D, another night A-C-B-D, etc. Sometimes they link through plot lines or surrealistic dream state notions, or sometimes things don't link at all--then it's up to the spectator to put his own ends together.
R/S: What content are you providing?
R&N: Without giving anything away--plots, involving a mixture of suppressed sex transmitted into violent action, etc. Plus, in terms of the overall stage presence, there will be virtually no personalities involved. Visually there will be a character who goes through various states of mind while getting from one place to another--meta-states, unconscious states, waking states, shock states, non-linearly. You'll walk away with a sense of having gone through some kind of journey, but it's not segmented like a film is. Television has always been victimized by its own history as "television", not video--its worst mistake was to be a "passive medium" or voice for film, theater, or stage. That's not what we're going to be doing, at all.
R/S: Would you say you have an apocalyptic mentality?
R&N: Do we think things are getting worse? Definitely. What interests us is "how" they're getting worse, and the techniques that someone, something, is using to make it worse. p.131
CELLAR M. Hearings, featuring Stefan Weisser's pre-Z'EV acoustic percussion interfaced to the ongoing electronic framework. Uneasy listening. L.A.-S.F., 1974-75.
1976-77, Vaudeo sortie signals the push into research and development of group-designed tools. S.F.
RHYTHM & NOISE becomes the moniker for the Humon/Fault/Probe configuration. Machine prototypes continue development. S.F., 1978-79.
CRISIS DATA TRANSFER sneak previews. Live testing of systems and ideas through a segmented, cinematic display. Some sections sung: "Stuck On The Front", "Half Life Housewife", "Alizarin K.", and "Atomcraft". S.F. 1980.
1981-82. Equipment and personnel are stripped down, updated, and reconditioned. A business base is established, facilitating long-term goals of product and performance. S.F.
Typed by Barb Golden, May 30, 1995.