Visual Art Ambition in Taciturn’s LIVE IN MCNEIR

If you haven’t had the chance to see a live set from experimental D.C. punk trio Taciturn, you’re in luck. With the release of their new concert film LIVE IN MCNEIR, they’re just a click away. Singer/guitarist Nyle Hamidi, who edited the footage, says video felt like a natural next step in augmenting their noisy no wave tunes.

“When designing the cover of our future studio album, we realized a lot of what we have to say can also be conveyed via visual arts,” says Hamidi. “LIVE IN MCNEIR is another opportunity to get what we have in our heads out to our audience–we’re just exploiting a new medium to do so.”

Sure enough, the resulting video is more than straightforward performance footage; it’s a long-form art piece unto itself. Recorded by Brian Damerau in Georgetown University’s McNeir Auditorium, it sees the silhouetted band shift in and out of focus, mirroring the ebb and flow of amp feedback. The camera swivels and shakes every which way, sometimes inverting completely, often blurring the players’ outlines.

Buried under rumbling bass and guitar that buzzes like a swarm of bees, the band’s lyrics can be as obscure as the visuals, but for Taciturn, that’s part of the point.

“Almost all of what we want to say in our music is non-lyrical,” Hamidi says. “We write the instrumentals of our songs with the purpose of conveying a certain thing. Often the words mean nothing and just phonetically match the themes of our songs.”

They may prefer to let guitars do the talking (or shrieking), but LIVE IN MCNEIR shows that whatever the trio sacrifices in words, they make up for in attitude and atmosphere. Fans of Taciturn’s debut EP will be familiar with Hamidi’s deep, dark droning and Kevin Ralph’s steady cymbal pulse, but the real stunner here is the band’s newest member, Natasha Janfaza, who brings a new layer of depth to the shouted vocals and lays down some blistering bass licks.

The band released the audio, recorded by Joe Sonza, as a merch-table exclusive cassette this past December. If you haven’t been able to pick one up–or if you have, and you’re looking to complete the sensory experience–you can stream LIVE IN MCNEIR through the link below.

Look for a full conversation with Taciturn, including more insight into the making of the film, coming soon to The All Scene Eye Podcast.

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