A Duo of Duos meets a Hybrid Urban Journal

A jaunt around Beijing's hutongs on any given weekend can provide quite the cognitive stimulus -- interestingly enough, the programming found is actually curated, performed, edited and produced by a diverse group of 老外 (foreigners) living and working in Beijing.

Last Saturday, Concrete Flux, a multi-media, multi-disciplinary online journal centered around notions of urbanism, launched their second issue with a brilliantly interactive book-making event.

Image Courtesy of Concrete Flux

As their online journal is intended to not be read in any linear trajectory, of typical publications, the founders devised a unique way to allow readers the same experience upon reading the printed version.

Image Courtesy of Concrete Flux

Upon entering the Institute for Provocation, one encountered a plethora of printed pages laying in stacks atop a long, rectangular table. With instructions on how to assemble ones' own publication, readers were able to select not only which articles they wished to include, but also the order in which it was to be read. Participants building journals were then asked to find two partners with whom they would collaboratively design their cover -- with three Chinese ink brushes affixed to a wooden board, the movement of the brushes were forced into a synchronized flow, creating a truly hybrid image, influenced by the collective yet clearly existing as a unique unit, influenced by its respectful owner.

Image Courtesy of Concrete Flux

Bactagon's logo game tries its hand at the collective cover work

Later that evening, musician, performer, curator and 8actagon creative collaborator, Michelle Proskell, organized DuoDuoDuo -- a trio of duo performances at XP. Existing as curated musical experience, audiences witnessed two musicians in an entirely improvised conversation, acting and reacting to produce a collaborative set that moved and grooved the audience. Performing first was Michelle and Michael Cupoli, as "na/mr" -- the dubious bass of Cupoli's hip-hopped synthesizer was complemented by the lyric-less vocal cords of Michelle's own voice.


Fully interactive, Michelle moved through a variety of personas as the 30 minute performance progressed. In the most organic of ways, the props of these identities moved from the stage into the hands of the listeners -- the angelic like bubbles blown from a pink, dolphin-shaped machine perfectly juxtaposed the hip-hop-rocker sounds. The bubbles were even utilized to lay dead an arbitrary balloon that had somehow became the sack of a communal hackie game. But through the sounds and props, there was a natural, unspoken bridge that formed between the eclectically gathered audience.

Naturally following the human-infused "na/mr" was "Blister Babies", a live duet, of sorts, by Jordan Mitchell on guitar and Steve Roach on drums. Though extremely different in production, and thus in sound, their performance served as a cream layered between cookie ends. 

The acid infused, funkadelic sounds of the "Ourang-Outang"(s) seemed to transform the audience as if being released from a cage for the first time. Though improvised in theory, the clearly practiced duo brought forth plenty a dancing feet. Outfitted in homemade "Ape of God" apparel and equipped with bananas and Pocari Sweat for all, their persona was as if a tribal Hendrix with a Tang (the classic, orange-powder drink) infused headband played in a hyper-modern, dub-induced dream.

Ourang-Outang as Ape of God 

Though somewhat excessively formulated identity, their music was unique and groovy to say the least -- as if one of Zimbardo's experiments, the duo utilized the natural sounds of an orangoutang environment (bird chirps, chimp hoots and rustic blowing wind) to create a soundscape that not only stimulated but almost unconsciously, yet knowingly subjected the audience to the rising and falling beats. Pretended to be in line with their animal like essence, their mastery of sound culminating in a short encore left the audience feeling like they were a cruel zoo keeper poking and prodding their caged animal -- nevertheless loving it and wanting but more.

Though the causes and effects of dance are rarely critiqued, the organic rise of inter-audience and audience-musician relations during DuoDuoDuo were undoubtedly a byproduct of each acts' profound understanding of not only a basic beat, but more so performance itself.

Duo Show - Go, Go!

Two is better than one, right? Double your pleasure, double your fun: Get yourself to the Duo Show on May 10 ~

(C) Duo Show Folks, 2014

(C) Duo Show Folks, 2014

Saturday May 10th, 2014 at XP.  Show starts at 9pm.

DUO DUO DUO (a duo show with duos) is a three part line-up of two faced body doubles just duo-ing it.  Including na/mr, ourang-outang and blister babies.  Each partnership is as unique as a unicorn bathed in the light of a double rainbow all the way across the sky— so what does this mean? A marriage of noise, voice, beats, guitars, synths and raw unleashed improvised power will be born on stage, provoking a conversation of tension between each duo, allowing one to consider what does it take to meld together two minds for the sake of one thought… As they say, it takes two to tango, and the musical progeny of these duos will leave you questioning your own existence

na / mr

na / mr is the combined projects of Beijing based noise arcade and Muted Rainbow.  MR found her soul power back in 2009 after frequenting Brooklyn gospel churches for ‘the hell of it’, leading her down a long and dusty road of soundscapes and vocal ‘research & development’.  She made her way to China and first crashed synths with NA back in 2012.  In an attempt to ‘Stick it to the Man’, they agreed to an alliance.  Unbeknownst to NA, the partnership changed his whole sense of the time space continuum.  The two have since experimented together in an attempt to awaken their inner fortitude.  This project focuses on MR’s voice heavily processed and NA’s beats tapping into minimalist electronic melodies.  With their forces combined they harness the powers of everything and nothing at the same time.

http://noisearcade.bandcamp.com/                                            http://mutedrainbow.bandcamp.com/


When producer-primates Ourang Keski-Pörhöläs and Outang Rogers met at the 2013 Pocari Sweat Music Academy, they were inspired to join forces as the all-analog improvisation duo Ourang-Outang. With their minds and synth skills amped on steady diets of Pocari Sweat, Ourang-Outang clobber their machines like morons unleashing maniacal acid basslines, rabid-fire drum-machine beats, samples from the jungles of Borneo, and their own hoots, grunts, chest beating, and banana eating. Their style first described as “Pocari acid sweat” by the Kota Kinabalu Gazette, Ourang-Outang are widely credited for the current craze of live electronic acts spraying audiences from bottles of Pocari Sweat hidden in their underpants. Refusing to be tamed by the studio, Ourang-Outang release only live, undomesticated recordings. Ourang-Outang’s feral on-stage presence is complemented by PowerPoint visuals that combine Ourang’s love for psychedelic ‘90s raver fractals and Outang’s collection of photographs of lemurs, bushbabies, tarsiers, marmosets, monkeys, and apes dressed in diapers.


blister babies

Power babies of blunt will are young in their drive for suicide. Play the guitar. Play the percussions. Bombardier improvisation, falls from above onto you standing belowwwwww! You can come in deep with us, if you want to. No promises though. The truth hurts "baby." And so does an audible blitzkrieg organized in such a capacity to make your tummy ache. Configure the baby-cry on top of fever-guitar on top of unmetered drum hits--in time, but in our time--and you have something.