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Stay Strange Presents Slow Death III: A Noise Music Festival On Sunday

Show highlights challenging and adventurous music you can ‘feel’

Photo caption: Monochromacy is one of the artists performing at Slow Death III: A Noise Musi...

Photo credit: Sam Lopez/Stay Strange

Monochromacy is one of the artists performing at Slow Death III: A Noise Music Festival on Sunday, Jan. 7 at Helmuth Projects.

Start the New Year with something challenging. Check out Stay Strange's first event of 2018, Slow Death III: A Noise Music Festival on Sunday, Jan. 7 at 2 p.m. at Helmuth Projects.

Stay Strange is a noise music collective that has been hosting noise shows since 2006.

Slow Death III kicks off the new year with something it hopes will be powerful.

"Everybody is invited to join," explained Sam Lopez, who curates the shows. "The only thing that we ask is that you have an open mind about music. We found that we needed an outlet for people who played adventurous music because a lot of times, especially in the very beginning, we were vilified. People wanted to fight you 'cause you played this expressive kind of music."

"The first show I ever played as a noise artist, the owner of the club came and unplugged me and he told me, 'that’s enough get out,' and I was like, 'Yeah, that’s cool,'" Lopez said.

What is noise music?

Noise music is hard to define. Sometimes it's easier to say what it's not. It's not pop music, it's not conventional music, it's not chorus-verse-chorus. But the one thing it needs to be is challenging.

"The noise genre is so broad," Lopez said. "It’s hard to explain because it’s so different, because everything is noise. We go outside and we hear noise. It’s just something that’s going to challenge you. It could be the hum of the computer, we can hear that, or something like somebody walking on glass amplified by a hundred or an unusual instrument playing some sort of bizarre forlorn melody. I had a guy from Australia come in and play broken glass on his face."

Blood is not likely to be shed at this Sunday’s show but there will be a dozen artists, one using puppets, performing at Helmuth Projects on Fifth Avenue.

Helmuth Projects

"Helmuth Projects is a DIY project space," owner Josh Pavlick said. "We do a lot of art installations, artist run stuff, and music stuff. It’s sort of fringe stuff. We like to host things that you can’t do anywhere else. And Sam’s project fits right in with that. This will be the third one we do. The venue is a storefront. It’s a building that was built in 1901. We have been there for six years. It was really raw when we moved in. We have been slowly cleaning it up and now it finally looks like a proper art gallery. It’s a great space. It has a great vibe. It has 15-foot ceilings and it’s huge and adaptable. It changes all the time."

Lopez explained that the title from the show comes from a nickname for San Diego that old school, hardcore punk guys used.

"So Slow Death in a way has a connotation that something is not right but also it is meant to reflect the community," Lopez said.

Pavlick knew about Lopez and about noise music but still wasn't quite prepared for the first show Helmuth Projects hosted.

"I like weird stuff but I was still sort of shocked and interested to see what [Lopez] was doing. And it still wasn’t exactly what I thought it was going to be. But it’s very very cool. The dynamics of it were kind of surprising. You think noise and you kind of think Wall of Noise or something but it's not that."

What it is, they both pointed out, is something challenging and loud. In fact you might feel this music more than hear it.

Lopez readily acknowledges that this is experimental music and noted that it attracts two kinds of audiences.

"The ones who know what they are getting into and the other ones who don’t know but they want to experience something different," Lopez said. "I think a lot of people are now more accepting of things other than straight music. I think that if you are interested in thinking, we’d like to see you there. This music makes you think."

Slow Death III: A Noise Music Festival is Sunday, Jan. 7 from 2-9 p.m. at Helmuth Projects, 1827 5th Avenue. Admission is $8 and the show is described as for all ages.

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