Ken Maiuri’s Clubland: Meat for Tea celebrates new issue with multi-media event

Last modified: Thursday, April 30, 2015
For nine years, local magazine Meat for Tea: The Valley Review has showcased local writers and artists of every kind, and not just in its pages — four times a year when new issues are published, editor-in-chief Elizabeth MacDuffie celebrates with a “cirque,” a multi-media event featuring visual art on display, short films, spoken word and live bands.

“Le neuvieme anniverserie cirque” is the festivity for the newest issue (entitled “Kummerspeck”) and will feature a performance by Trinary System, the new band from Roger Clark Miller (the driving force behind Mission of Burma, Alloy Orchestra) and more live music from Bunny’s a Swine. Miller’s art will be on display, along with the works of Margaret Chiarelli and Kim Nestor-Carlino. The night also includes spoken-word artists and the western Massachusetts debut of the sci-fi short film “Asteroid 99.” It all happens at Sonelab recording studios and the neighboring Abandoned Building Brewery in Easthampton Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

“Asteroid 99” is set on a once-colonized but now-abandoned asteroid. It stars Austin Rutledge, who approached Sonelab co-owner/engineer Mark Alan Miller about recording the narration. Since Miller also writes and records his own music under the name Out Out, Rutledge asked if he might have music in his archives that would fit the film.

Miller didn’t, but since he’d been in writing mode (putting the finishing touches on his first Out Out record since 2008, due this year), he was inspired to try something new.

“There’s a bleakness to seeing streets, buildings and infrastructure, but no people,” Miller said, describing the film’s atmosphere and how that inspired him to create a retro-futuristic soundscape, using old-school analog/modular synth-style sounds.

“Austin actually requested no ‘proper’ drums or percussion, which led me to work with manipulated sounds, and synthesizing drum and percussion sounds from scratch as well,” Miller said. “Once I got going, I ended up writing seven pieces — it was that much fun — six of which I saw through to completion. Forty-four minutes of music for a film barely 20 minutes long. Needless to say, they didn’t use all of it.”

The tracks are pulsing, swirling, hypnotic — Miller described them as “rhythmic drone pieces” — with some early listeners comparing it to Tangerine Dream.

Miller combined the “Asteroid 99” tracks with other experimental works he’d recently finished — one for Daniel Mahoney’s book of imaginary music called “Sunblind Almost Motorcrash” and three from an ongoing series of experiments with manipulated found sound, called “Scrapings” — and he thought it would make an interesting collection. It’s available right now at the Out Out Bandcamp page, or at the Cirque on Saturday,

Miller, who is married to MacDuffie, has hosted the Meat for Tea events in Sonelab’s space since late 2012, and since it’s a recording studio, he records the bands’ live sets in full multi-track as they play.

He’s a fan of the events’ always-unique offerings. “We’ve had great things like elaborate puppet shows. The art is on exhibit in Sonelab and [also at] our neighbors, Abandoned Building Brewery. Readers and bands perform in the studio, and short films are shown in the brewery as well. It’s a good time every time!”

The wearing of the beige

Beige is the local dub-ska dance band led by Steve Westfield (who blew the roof off the joint hosting last month’s “Really Big Gong Show”). The group will be sandwiched in the middle of a bill that starts with singer-songwriter Mark Schwaber (whose unreleased 2008 album “Those You Trust” recently became available) and concludes with a very electric Cordelia’s Dad at the 13th Floor Music Lounge in Florence Saturday at 8 p.m.

Westfield curated the diverse night. “My mind likes variety. All the music is different. Acoustic solo, dance-hall big-band ska, and electric-folk-indie-rock ... and mostly all originals.”

He wanted to give Valley music fans another chance to see the revamped Cordelia’s Dad: “I was 100-percent thrilled by a recent reunion show of theirs. They can give you what takes decades to jell and explode. They were the Fairport Convention of the 1980s.”

Westfield has always found ways to keep concerts inspired and fresh, and this time out he asks that everyone who attends wear the color beige, because Beige is planning to make a video for its cover of Redbone’s “Come and Get Your Love” while projecting images off of itself and the audience, too.

“What I want to happen is a community event,” he said, explaining that the video will be created in part by audience members shooting 15-second clips of Beige playing and lip-synching the song. “Then people can email the clips to swestfield@hotmal.com (the 13th floor has Wi-Fi), and I will edit it all. If I’m good, we will be able to project, and then upload the video to YouTube by the end of Cordelia’s Dad’s set.”

Westfield exudes positivity, and he has a real appreciation for the 13th Floor Music Lounge, which he said “feels like the place for indie rock, singer-songwriters ... you know, the place following Rahar’s, Sheehan’s, The Baystate, and Harry’s almost. It is the right size. Twenty people could be fun, like Sheehan’s, but it holds more — J Mascis and Kim Gordon played there. People rave about the sound, which is very rare. It’s all black, there’s a little bar, two pool tables — everything you need for a ‘scene.’ ”