Photo Gallery and Review: Summer Happenings with The Haxan Cloak, Anenon, and Richard Hell
Last Saturday, the second instalment in the Broad’s Nonobject(ive): Summer Happenings series took place. The […]
Last Saturday, the second instalment in the Broad’s Nonobject(ive): Summer Happenings series took place. The series—co-curated by Brandon Stosuy, director of editorial operations at Pitchfork, and Bradford Nordeen, founder of roving New York club Dirty Looks—takes place in and around the Broad’s 50,000-square-foot downtown LA location, fusing its compelling collection of artwork with sound, performance, and multi-media art. The first edition saw performances from, among others, Perfume Genius, Narcisitor, and Lotic, with the latest featuring Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, Sky Ferreira, Richard Hell, Anenon, Mas Ysa, and The Haxan Cloak.
Upon arrival, we were greeted by the poignant sounds of Mas Ysa as the Canadian-born artist conducted his emotionally-driven tracks behind a delicious stack of analog hardware. His set perfectly softened the oft-jarring event arrival, with the Broad’s plaza and its tree-filled expanse the fitting backdrop.
Upstairs in the museum’s gorgeous Oculus Hall, LA artist Anenon—along with two session musicians—performed a dazzling set that defied classification. Like his recorded output, the set combined jazz, otherworldly ambient textures, and beat-driven electronics in a way that he has truly made his own.
Something must be said about events like this in a museum. Like Montreal’s MUTEK—which we profiled extensively here—there is a certain classiness and wonderment attached to museum-focused events. The architecture, art collection, and general ambience in museums perfectly encapsulates experimentally-inclined electronic music and undoubtedly provides another facet to the experience.
One of two small misfires on this night was Richard Hell’s noir-inspired novel reading. Hell’s imagined sexual exploits were at times hilarious and somewhat confronting, but most of it seemed slightly uninspired and overtly-crude—although, maybe that was the point. The Haxan Cloak intermittently provided a score to Hell’s half-slurred words, which propped up the piece in parts. Once Hell’s readings were done, The Haxan Cloak began his set, weaving a dark tapestry of haunting sonics with the aptly-named Oculus Hall as the supporting act.
Across in the main gallery, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith summoned gorgeously winding synth lines out of a modest-but-nonetheless-spectacular modular rack. The LA-based artist was set up in front of Takashi Murakami’s huge “In the Land of the Dead, Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow” piece and its endlessly woven psychedelic colours acted as the ideal companion to Smith’s transcendental synth work.
The second small misfire, from Sky Ferreira, was more of a head scratcher. The American singer/songwriter was billed to be performing a DJ set in the plaza which translated as her playing songs from, what seemed to be, her iTunes. That’s not to say the tracks weren’t good, but it wasn’t exactly a DJ set—which begs that familiar question, what constitutes a DJ set?
The Broad has undoubtedly touched on something with Summer Happenings. With its tightly curated, eclectic lineup and the sophisticated setting in which it takes place, Summer Happenings is without a doubt a monthly must-do in LA.