See the music
Invisible evades classification with its live-music/digital-film pieces
Portland artists Invisible are filmmakers. They play the guitar, bass, keyboards, drums and violins and make films that evoke moods and set scenes. As a backdrop for these scenes they film songs, digitally enhanced videos that draw inspiration from the experimental filmmakers of the ‘40s and play out in collage form.
This might sound a little mixed up, but that’s the point. While playing music with moving pictures as a backdrop is nothing new—bands as far back as the Velvet Underground and Jefferson Airplane showed films and other projections during their performances—Invisible is aiming for blurring the lines and establishing a more cooperative effort between the mediums.
“We joke about the projector and screen being the fourth Invisible member,” shared vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Chris Larson. Looking at the video stills at the band’s Web site (www.invisible-music.com), it becomes readily apparent that the production is very different from the average home video hobbiest’s. With before and after shots of tethered actors swinging in harnesses against a blue screen backdrop and then transformed into stylized impressionistic flying and falling figures, the democratization of sophisticated special effects and editing capabilities that powerful new home-editing stations can now provide is impressive.
Their new CD, The Invisible EP (with a DVD synched-up to the music coming soon), is a connected series of carefully placed dynamics. Not so much an atmospheric or ambient backdrop (although it does have its moments, which probably fit with the visual components that I haven’t seen yet), most of the songs feature sparse violin, guitar, drum instrumentations with plaintive and subdued vocals or psychedelic tape manipulations, with occasional bursts of noise and even a progged-out jam on the song “Verdict Swings.” This is only half the picture of course. For now, seeing them live is the only way to bring it whole.