Communikey 2012 travelogue
Tom Murphy Morton Subotnick and Lillevan at ATLAS Institute
Naturally, the big attraction for this show was the collaboration between Lillevan and synthesizer pioneer Morton Subotnick, and their performance of his classic album, 1967's Silver Apples of the Moon. The original structure and sounds of the original were recognizable, but Subotnick and Lillevan expanded upon it in ways that built on the logic of Subotnick's original composition.
Between the seemingly minimalist bleeps and bloops that dotted the aural landscape like what you might imagine to be the initial dribblings on a Jackson Pollock canvas, with evolving atmospheres and textures flowing into and through one another like informal movements, the two men sat at their respective desks looking to each other for the most minute clues as to direction.
Behind the duo was a roughly 180 degree screen, upon which was projected constantly shifting imagery, from abstracted weather images and ancient Martian landscapes to pools of water in the rain and waves to alien sky objects and grass and the kinds of spherical objects floating amongst it that might be the depictions of gods in the mythology of sentient insects. There were even times when it looked like someone had created a projection of scratched film or slides of a painting on top of a painting with either the over-painting scratched off with a comb or painted on to another painting with the same.
Chances are, Subotnick and Lillevan didn't use any Stan Brakhage footage for this performance despite Subotnick's long friendship with the influential filmmaker, but the imagery was surely reminiscent of Brakhage's films. And the music matched the shifting colors and moods so that there was never anything particularly predictable about the performance.
At the conclusion, Subotnick held up his hand and then signaled for everything to come to an end. Subotnick and Lillevan came back out after that for a short encore, and it was clear Subotnick was pleased with the enthusiasm of the crowd as he left the room with a big smile.