Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Yo La Tengo and Underwater Urchins at the Wilma

I first saw Yo La Tengo (I've got it!) play THE SOUNDS OF SCIENCE 4 or 5 years ago in St. Louis at Webster University. I was unfamiliar with the band, only hearing about them at the local record shop and from my sister whose obsession was on the verge of, well, obsessive. I loved what I heard here and there, but it wasn't until this show that I was truly turned onto their unique and complex sound.

They played two shows that night, each one sold out, and I remember being squished in like a sardine looking up at a movie screen undulating with vivid images of starfish, seahorses, urchins and octopi while the trio played solidly below. I eventually fell asleep, being drawn into a sort of trance--the sheer volume and intensity of the music was just enough to lull me into a dream state.
A few years later I was asked to teach a middle school Oceanography class. Seeing as I knew next to nothing about Oceanography, I turned to the DVD of THE SOUNDS OF SCIENCE to help introduce the kids to the underwater world as well as some kick-ass tunes. They enjoyed the shrimp and jellyfish, sure, but the audio stimulation was what really stuck with them, as it did me.
Click on the Octopus for a sample of their tune.

Yo La Tengo plays TONIGHT (Tuesday) at 8pm at the Wilma.

There are still tickets available!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
New Jersey’s legendary independent rock trio Yo La Tengo (Georgia Hubley, Ira Kaplan, and James McNew) bring a live performance of their ambient and altogether mesmerizing score for the rarely seen undersea documentary shorts by influential French avant-garde filmmaker Jean Painlevé. One of the first to plunge underwater with a movie camera, Painlevé’s films are hypnotic and surreal, capturing the strange beauty of the scientific world as surely as Bunuel and Man Ray. His evocative images are taken to a new level of dreaminess by Yo La Tengo’s free- form compositions.

The eight films in the program include:
Hyas and Stenorhynchus (Hyas et stenorinques ) 1927, 13 min.
Sea Urchins (Les Oursins ) 1954, 11 min.
How Some Jellyfish Are Born (Comment naissent des Méduses ) 1960, 14 min.
Liquid Crystals, (Cristaux liquides ) 1978, 6 min.
The Sea Horse (L’ Hippocampe) 1933, 13 min.
The Love Life of the Octopus (Amours de la pieuvre ) 1967, 13 min.
Shrimp Stories, (La Crevette), 1963, 13 min.
Acera or the Witches’ Dance, 1972, 12 min.

Sponsored by KBGA, The Montana Arts Council, First Security Bank and Northwest Energy

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