Santa Ana Noise Fest VIII is Another Goddamn Great Festival of Sound and Vision

The Art of Noise has been reinventing itself for a century. The Antisymphony debuted 98 years ago on the brink of World War I, and since then wave after wave of sound art has cascaded through the Industrial Revolution right up to Saturday’s Santa Ana Noise Fest VIII (SANF8). Will its overall tone be one of impending global juggernaut or a party-like-it’s-the-end-of-times mayhem? Or both?

The festivities begin at 5 p.m. at Orange County Center for Contemporary Art in SanTana, and a (nearly) all-new lineup of digital and analog devices; conventional, found and constructed instruments; installations both big and nano will generate a never-before-heard cacophony for the ears and the eyes.

Expect lots more seen noise at this iteration of the fest than in years past as two local visual artists, Astral Violet and mONKS, will be “glitching/mixing throughout the night,” according to mONKS. He made a brief appearance at SANF7 with an installation of scattered TVs all playing his own captured images and white noise, while using only his phone and a looping machine to generate sound. “Noise really lends itself well to that visual aesthetic, I think, especially gritty, static-laden psychedelic sort of visuals.”

“Astral Violet will be doing her own projections of content” mONKS says of his cohort, “and will most likely be using an analog, old-school oil and water projector … and she will project digital footage over top of the analog stuff.”
Noise acts are notorious as free-flowing collectives that include both sound and visual artists, and that’s true of SANF8 headliners Burnt Dot. Founded by Sarah Belle Reid and Ryan Gaston, whoin collaboration with visual artist Sahir Khan, strive for work that’s “as quirky, fiery and thought-provoking as the world that inspires it.” Festival co-curator Mark Soden of phog masheeen, who first saw Burnt Dot at NorCal Noisefest earlier this year, calls them a “dialogue duo” for the conversational discourse between Reid’s trumpet and Gaston’s modular synthesizer. Another group’s interactive style that intrigues Soden is Whereas, an LA-based group that has greater numbers in their ranks who build and break down together in a way that Soden finds alluring yet harmonic.
Each act may master their instruments but in performance the interplay of improvisation and preparation is the Noise. The sets are timed in 20-minute chunks that Soden says allow the ideas to emerge, then it’s on to the next artist. Fellow organizer Stephen Anderson, who performs as Jesus Is Dead, and phog masheeen will open the show then they run things as smoothly as carefully placed dominos falling one after the other—everything else we’ll see and hear promises to be as dynamic and erratic as the times in which we live.For more on the lineup and other noisy info go here. Free tickets are available until Friday at midnight, so RSVP now instead of paying $10 at the door.

Santa Ana Noise Fest VIII at Orange County Center for Contemporary Art, 117 N. Sycamore, Santa Ana; Sat., Dec. 17., 5 p.m. Free with RSVP; $10 at the door.

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