Next Weekend: Memphis Concrète Music Festival

Posted by Holly Whitfield | June 14th 2018 2922 0

Ed. Note: Looking for something totally different to do next weekend in Memphis? Check out the Memphis Concrète Music Festival at Crosstown Arts, happening June 22 – 24, 2018. Contributor Wesley has all the info.

Let me start this off with a story:

A few years ago, I saw an artist called Jack the Giant Killer at the Hi-Tone. A lone man stood on stage in front of a wall of amp cabinets, strapped with a white Fender Jazzmaster and locked in a gaze with his crowded homemade pedalboard. It was almost midnight, maybe a little after, and it was quiet. The room was empty, save for a few stragglers near the corners. I was tired and a little drunk.

Then, the noise hit. It was probably the loudest thing I’ve ever heard.

It’s one thing to hear songs and sounds that drag to the forefront of your mind old memories that give you a heavy feeling in the pit of your stomach, but it’s another thing entirely to be hit with a wall of droning sound that physically puts a heavy feeling in the pit of your stomach. Quality be damned — you’re definitely going to remember music that makes your stomach growl.

It’s fitting, then, that the second annual Memphis Concrète music festival will feature Jack, and dozens of other experimental sound artists.

Memphis ambient music artist Ihcilon really using those elementary school recorder lessons

The festival gets its name and inspirations from musique concrète, a form of experimental music originating in France in the 1940s that “begins with a set of “concrete” sounds and arranges them into a piece of music.”

According to Robert Trexler, the festival’s founder and an electronic musician himself, “In the original musique concrète, they were manipulating recorded tape sounds.” Tape sounds evolved into electronic sounds from synthesizers and other electronic musical instruments.

Last year, he planned, booked, and executed the entire festival on his own. This year, however, he had some help, particularly from Amy Schaftlein and Christopher Williams, the founders and hosts of the Memphis-based sound art podcast Sonosphere. The duo helped book some of the headlining out-of-town talent like Circuit des Yeux and Negative Gemini.

You would think that’s a photo effect, but last year, Memphis based hip hop and dance producer Qemist’s music literally made the world blurry. Everyone saw it.

Speaking of headliners, Memphis-native rapper and producer James Duke, better known as IMAKEMADBEATS, will be playing the festival as well.

Concrète will also be playing films every night, accompanied with live musical scores — The Legend of Hell House on Friday, The Day the Earth Stood Still on Saturday, and Woman in the Moon on Sunday.

For tickets to Memphis Concrète at Crosstown Arts, head to their EventBrite page. It’s $15 a day, but you can save five bucks if you buy a $40 weekend pass. For more information, visit their Facebook page.

About The Author 
Wesley Morgan Paraham is a Memphis native and University of Memphis graduate who spends most of his free time in his Midtown apartment playing video games with his partner. He’s currently DCA‘s PR+Social Media Coordinator, but continues to do freelance writing every now and then.

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