Monday, February 27, 2006

Children of Cathode Ray

The original 1989 lineup of The Children of Cathode Ray consisted of Blums Borres, Tad Ermitaño, Jing Garcia, Regiben Romana, and Magyar Tuason, with Peter Marquez pitching in as tech and gaffer. The band is a closed but metastable collective, with a 15-year history sporadic dormancy interleaved with sudden bursts of activity. Various combinations of its set of 6 members have disappeared (sometimes for years) only to rejoin as casually as they dropped out. The band is and was a catchall for the members' interests in music, sound, experimental film, lighting, literature, poetry, graphic arts and technological deconstruction.

A Cathode Ray piece might have radios and 4-second cassette-tape loops feeding into a mix filled with drums and electronic percussion, effected guitars, synthesized pads, and passionate raving in an invented language, which would in turn be augmented visually by video feedback, projections of exposed Super-8 abraded with a variety of kitchen implements, or VHS spliced on a pair of consumer VCRs. In its present incarnation, the band consists of Tad Ermitaño, Blums Borres and Jing Garcia orchestrating sound and video live out of computers. However, instead of music being composed to add mood to pre-existing visuals (as happens in film), or video being composed to back up pre-existing music (as happens in rock/electronica), Cathode Ray's methods give equal primacy to sound and imagery. A looping image might inspire a certain timbre or rhythm, which calls up an accompaniment in the lower registers, which in turn provokes a decrease in the image's luminance, and so on. -Tad Ermitaño

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