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.