Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

July 21, 2014 at 1:56pm

Art-Pop Meets Film: Quasar Wut-Wut to perform live during Buster Keaton film

Quasar Wut-Wut / press photo

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Every so often here at the Volcano, we receive a press release so goshdarn well-crafted that we're tempted to reprint it verbatim and call it a day. Matt Schwartz's email for an upcoming event featuring the band Quasar Wut-Wut is just such a document; but unfortunately for us, we also go through intermittent periods of semi-professionalism. We shall paraphrase Schwartz's missive accordingly.

You may be unfamiliar with Quasar Wut-Wut, a Motor City-born, Windy City-based quartet that classifies itself as experimental, post-punk, art pop. I have no earthly idea what those words mean when jumbled together, but I do like Quasar's music. In any case, you may be equally unschooled in the oeuvre of one Joseph "Buster" Keaton. Perhaps you think he was a character on Family Ties. Perhaps you're so young you don't remember Family Ties either, and are wondering who gave Grandpa the remote.

I'll start again.

I first became aware of Keaton's 1926 classic film The General when Roger Ebert credited it for elements of the thrillingly ridiculous mine-car sequence in Temple of Doom. No less an authority than Orson Welles called The General "the greatest comedy ever made, the greatest Civil War film ever made, and perhaps the greatest film ever made." Again, I don't know about all that, but The General is one of the most entertaining silent films you can find. Watching it, you realize that what you're seeing is the invention of the modern-day action film, using techniques and dynamics we're still awed by today. Not only did Keaton figure out how to inject raw testosterone into the movies, he also did all his own stunts. One wrong move, and Keaton would've gone down in history as "that old-timey director guy who smeared the bottom of a locomotive with his face."

The General does have one glaring omission, I'm afraid: sound, because the technology to add sound to flickering images was still in its crib. Try as he might, Keaton was unable to run screaming and yodeling into every cinema in the country, so instead, live pianists added an oft-improvised soundtrack. That's where Quasar Wut-Wut comes in. Back in 2004, they wrote their own surprisingly contemporary score for The General, a concept album they call Taro Sound. They'll be performing Taro Sound along with The General in support of a new album, Digesting Mirror. They also perform their own stunts, which include a bouncy, happy new single, "Dark Love."

It's exceptional music, played live for free at an equally free screening of an undeniably awesome movie. I mean, don't trust me - that fat guy who played Unicron said so! And hey, the Washington Center is Olympia's cultural temple, so you don't have to worry about some bee-hole behind you spilling half a gallon of soda on your head!

Yeah, take that, Matt Schwartz's press release.

QUASAR WUT-WUT, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, July 26, Washington Center for the Performing Arts, 512 Washington St. SE, Olympia, free admission, 360.753.8585

Filed under: Arts, Music, Screens, Olympia,
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