Pin It
Favorite

Making Invisible Inexplicable 

by Luke Baumgarten & r & There's no way to talk about Portland's Invisible without sounding like a pretentious wiener. Of course, with me, you're accustomed to that. This time, though, I don't want my affectations to reflect negatively on the band. Though my description may be tired, impenetrable and contain hopelessly archaic words, understand that the music I'm trying to describe has a gorgeous, highbrow vitality that's also, somehow, incredibly fun. So no matter what I write in the next 800-odd words, don't hold it against them. Promise me.


Invisible's shtick is this: They create videos to accompany (interweave with, react to) their songs, effectively turning each live show into a time-based art installation. I'd been trying and failing to describe how cool this effect is for several days by the time I reached them, on Monday, as they drove northeast from Washington, D.C., to a gig in New Jersey. I'd previously been in e-mail contact with band member Zach Okun as early as the previous Wednesday, near Atlanta. He'd given me cell numbers for each of the three members of the band, fearing that one or more of their devices might be getting bad reception at any given time. When I tried calling, all three phones were unreachable. By the time I prepared to call back, my own cell phone had died and, oops, I'd forgotten the charger. So here we all were, hyper-connected via cell towers and broadband hotspots, and we couldn't even manage a simple interview.


Ladies and gentlemen, the post-modern dilemma. Gaze ye upon it, and despair.


When we finally hooked up, via e-mail (me in Cambridge, Mass., looking for a Cingular store, they on the New Jersey Turnpike looking for a town called Bound Brook), sails fairly deflated on both sides, the band replied with jokey answers to my half-serious questions. When I asked whether the band ever got out of sync with the video playing behind them, for example, Chris Larson replied, "If you see lasers coming out of my eyes, somewhere someone in the world has dropped a beat." Delaney Kelly, who hails from Spokane (an adequate excuse for being a smart ass), answered all of my either/or questions with "yes."


Amiable sorts, they told me to get back to them if I needed real answers. Thanks, but I've got a better idea. I'm going to dice up the comments into a form I can use. The following, then, is the interview I wish I'd had. The quotes are real, the context is not.





Which comes first, the song or the video?


Chris: Generally the song comes first, but as the video takes shape, the song may be altered. Imagine video and audio in an arm-wrestling match, drunk, in a DC bar that wouldn't book us, with two female onlookers ... and a Marine who kept handing them drinks.


Delaney being one of the girl onlookers?Delaney: Yes.


So, how closely tied are the creation processes? Delaney: Let's say rope, some cuffs and a hankering.





All of which you supply?


Delaney: Yes.





Enlightening, but not in the way I'd hoped. Maybe it'd be best to try to describe a couple of the videos through the magic of words. "Now It's a Year (and Going on Six Years)" is an artsy-ass found-image-and-illustration collage. The images build in piece by piece from white space, offering a feeling of creation before systematically deconstructing, only to be built back up. The construction and deconstruction roughly Mickey Mouses a spare, jangly piano line. In the last minute and a half, things start exploding.


"Too Clean" places computer screens, network cable and office paper against a bucolic setting. Black-and-white video images of hurried civilization populate the paper as the camera tracks past. Imprisoned on the sheets and stripped of their color, the cultured world suddenly pales in comparison to the simple verdant symmetry of nature. Or something. I don't know.


I'm an English major; I lack the vocabulary to explain visual art. You know what they say about a picture's worth in words? Well, video is 30 pictures a second, and each song is like eight minutes long, feel me? I'd need a million words to describe these videos. I don't have that kind of room. Also ... I'm a hack.


The point I'm failing to make is that Invisible create voluminous layers of music -- each erudite as hell while still rocking like landslides. Their visual presentation strikes exactly the same balance, adding further layers of imagery. Potent alone, the audio/visual fusion creates something greater still. Corporate America, I believe, calls that adding value. The Happy Meal and the toy inside, for example, synergize to create a unique and family-friendly dining experience. So it is, too, with Invisible.


That is to say: hearing the music without experiencing the visuals, by my calculation, loses two-thirds of the effect. As mentioned, though, the music alone has this unhurried, artsy rock quality, like watching Headbanger's Ball on Vicodin with Steven Hawking.


... No, it's not really like that at all.


Look, all I'm saying is: Multiply awesome (this group's music) by a factor of three, and you'll have an inkling of Invisible's live audio/visual power.





Check out Luke's & lt;a href= & quot;http://www.inlander.com/soundadvice/44982928390697.php & quot; & interview with Invisible & lt;/a &
  • Pin It

Latest in Comment

  • This Isn't Normal
  • This Isn't Normal

    America has gone down this road before, and it's a dead end
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • Incendiary Words
  • Incendiary Words

    Trail Mix: Trump's gifts to civics teachers everywhere
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • Fake-News Nightmare
  • Fake-News Nightmare

    The social media dream of the 2000s is fading, but we can reset the system by sticking up for the truth
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri
Lost Egypt: Ancient Secrets, Modern Science

Lost Egypt: Ancient Secrets, Modern Science @ Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture

Tuesdays-Sundays. Continues through Jan. 6

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by n/a

  • Iron Upgrade
  • Iron Upgrade

    The new one is smart and funny and action-packed, and it’s bigger and better and sleeker. And Downey does it again, this time ramping up Stark’s arrogant wisecracking, telling anyone who’ll listen (mostly women) that, via the creation of his powerful Iron Man suit, he’s brought years of uninterrupted peace to the world.
    • May 12, 2010
  • Seeing Gay
  • Seeing Gay

    A festival showing GLBT from all angles
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • Get Out the Vote
  • Get Out the Vote

    With all the uncertainty in the world these days, hot wings and cold beer are two things we can get behind
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Unfinished Business

    Isaiah Wall wants to get his life on track. But first, he's gotta buy drugs for the police
    • Nov 17, 2016
  • The Scourge of Fake News

    Made-up news stories played a role in the presidential election: Who's to blame?
    • Nov 17, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

Briefs


green zone


marijuana


trail mix


election 2016


Readers also liked…

  • To Kill the Black Snake
  • To Kill the Black Snake

    Historic all-tribes protest at Standing Rock is meant to stop the destruction of the earth for all
    • Sep 8, 2016
  • The Rachel We Knew
  • The Rachel We Knew

    EDITOR'S NOTE: How Rachel Dolezal came to write for the Inlander
    • Jun 18, 2015

© 2016 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation