SMARTBOMB, Loud Cinema Reimagine Experimental Film Scores at the Tribune Tower

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Imogen TV performing a set.  (Courtesy of Loud Cinema)

The pairing of music and image seems like a given in the age of high-budget music videos and D.I.Y. TikTok lip syncs, but the connection wasn’t always that intuitive. Early 20th-century experimental animators like Mary Ellen Bute or Norman McLaren struggled mightily to reconcile the two disparate arts, creating abstract cartoons reminiscent of modernist painting to forge a new visual language. 

This Friday and Saturday at the Tribune Tower parking lot, Loud Cinema and SMARTBOMB present the short films of Bute, McLaren, and other early 20th-century experimental filmmakers with freshly composed soundtracks by neo-soul singer Sandu Ndu, IDM nostalgist Xyla and experimental composer Imogen TV, among others. Also included in the program are video segments from the SMARTBOMB’s lockdown-era series of streamed concerts VIDEO HOME SYSTEM and live DJ sets by Caltrane, MiZU, and Lady Z.

The works of Bute, for example, were originally scored to spidery, jazz-inflected modernist music like “Tarantella.” Replaced by the internet-y, lo-fi electronica favored by SMARTBOMB, these new film scores start an audiovisual conversation between two different generations of artists, separated by almost a century and yet united by living in a moment of technological sea change and new artistic possibilities.

SMARTBOMB x Loud Cinema takes place on July 23 and 24. Details here