Sonic Circuits Festival a ‘gourmet’ experience for the ears

Tim Bracken,

WASHINGTON – Over the past 12 years, the Sonic Circuits Festival has shown that experimental music is alive and well in the D.C. area.

The three-day festival kicks off Friday, Sept. 28, at the Atlas Performing Arts Center and will feature 50 bands, film screenings, art installations and dance performances.

Sonic Circuits is a true fringe art and music experience. Expect to hear classical instruments creating strange soundscapes, avant jazz, offbeat electronic instrumentals and sound collages.

Sonic Circuits director Jeff Surak has watched the festival grow over the years.

“It has an international reputation and many artists want to perform,” he says. “It’s not only the audience that has grown.”

Twenty of the featured music acts are from the D.C. region, but the rest of the artists are from all over the U.S., Europe and Japan.

Surak is preparing for hundreds of attendees this year and expects positive reviews of the presentations.

“It’s curated in such a way that each performance is part of the entire experience, rather than a series of bands playing. It’s a gourmet dining experience for the ears with complementary and contrasting flavors.”

Surak is particularly excited about this year’s lineup.

“There is a multitude of musical expression that will inspire and blow people’s minds,” he says.

For newcomers, Saturday’s free theremin workshop promises to be a fun introduction to making outsider music.

Festival organizers also produce a companion CD, “District of Noise,” which offers a sampling of D.C. musicians featured at the festival.

This year’s compilation features 20 bands performing their own variations on improvisational and experimental music.

Listen to “District of Noise, Vol. 5” below:

The Sonic Circuits Festival of Experimental Music runs through Sunday, Sept. 30 at the Atlas Performing Arts Center.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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