Golden Arm Trio performs A Scanner Darkly and The Battleship Potemkin
Indianapolis Art Center
Saturday, April 21, 7 p.m., $12, $10 for Art Center members, all-ages
Words fall short in describing the musical niche occupied by Graham Reynolds and his loosely defined band, Golden Arm Trio.
The Austin, Texas, resident bridges pop culture and high art with his compositions for dance, theater and film, blending orchestral, acoustic, electric and electronic elements and drawing from the classical, jazz and rock traditions. Later, he often distills the pieces into portable arrangements for live performance at nightclubs and other small venues.
Appearing Saturday in the Indianapolis Art Center auditorium, Golden Arm Trio’s current lineup consists of a cellist, a saxophonist, an upright bassist and Reynolds himself, seated between a drum kit and a piano so he can switch instantly between the two. The tour supports Reynolds’ closest brush to date with mainstream success: his film score and soundtrack album for fellow Austinite Richard Linklater’s animated feature, A Scanner Darkly, based on sci-fi cult hero Philip K. Dick’s tale of drug-addled paranoia in a police state.
The band will play two extended sets Saturday, presented by local arts organization Mythopeic: The first is a live performance adaptation of the Scanner soundtrack, accompanied at times by clips from the film. The second will be a complete screening and performance of Reynolds’ new score for Sergei Eisenstein’s acclaimed 1925 silent film The Battleship Potemkin.
“I want it to sound good as music, period, but its primary function is to complement what’s on the screen,” Reynolds says. “When you’re working on a movie like that, you don’t have artistic control over what goes in and what it sounds like. But with the soundtrack [album], I was able to say, ‘OK, how do we put this together on a CD in a way that’s a good listening experience?’ At the same time, when people buy a soundtrack, they also want to re-experience the arc of the film in an auditory way, so I tried to find a middle ground between those two things … When I go out on the road, I try to bring a band that will be able to perform sort of a reduction of what I do with an orchestra or a bigger band, or in a recording studio with overdubs. Pretty much anything I compose allows for improvisation too, so each screening will be a unique experience.”