multimedia experience to SM Pier

BY RAHNE PISTOR

Mass Music Dome is a new limited engagement show that brings a massive musical and visual multimedia experience to the Santa Monica Pier.

The show combines the sculptural and sonic talents of Bill Close and the “animated architecture” of Jody Levy and the o2 Creative Solutions team.

Performances are scheduled for 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, December 1st to 3rd; and 8 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, December 7th to 11th, on the Santa Monica Pier, ocean end of Colorado Avenue, Santa Monica. Tickets are $30 to $50.

The spectacle is centered around sonic textures performed on gargantuan sculpted musical instruments integrated with fluid visual art and imagery projected onto the walls of a 60-foot dome.

The strings of a towering “earth harp” extend over the crowd and emit a sound similar to a large chorus of violins. The earth harp is the centerpiece of the musical and visual experience. Large “drum clouds” and “drum orbs” form a flower-like pattern in the back and complete the ambient tribal sound of the Mass Ensemble, the group that performs the musical element of the show.

With Mass Music Dome, the venue becomes the instrument, with power line-sized strings strewn about the space and hovered above the heads of the audience.

The images projected on the walls of the dome sway and morph with each beat of the drums, using MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) sync technology, Levy explains.

The walls of the dome are a “moving illustration” of animated architecture, says Jody Levy, creative director at o2 Creative Solutions, the firm that created the visuals in Mass Music Dome.

“We’re creating an architectural environment that comes to life,” explains Levy about the show concept.

“Each musical phrase has its own graphic and language,” she continues.

The 60-foot dome is covered with imagery by optically blending content on five projectors creating an encapsulating visual feat.

Conceptually, Mass Music Dome “immerses a variety of shared disciplines that appeal to the senses — in order to appeal to as many senses as possible,” says Levy.

Levy and o2 Creative Solutions often work on multimedia commercial art and have done jobs for clients that include Lexus and Toyota, and Mass Music Dome is a rare foray into public art for the group.

Bill Close, the main designer of the large-scale musical instruments, has been wowing audiences with the Mass Ensemble’s acrobatic musicians and gigantic instruments since 1994.

Levy and Close met while students at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Information, (310) 452-3900.

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