Celebrating experiments with sound and art


This Saturday, while the Sunset Strip Music Festival rolls out various forms of pop music, a completely different idea of radical sound will be heard all over Los Angeles, stretching and blurring the boundaries of music and noise and art. The Society for the Activation of Social Space Through Art and Sound (SASSAS) is celebrating 10 years of experimental sounds and artist collaborations by staging an all-day (and free) concert series, leading its participants through L.A. neighborhoods and concert venues.

Including the open-source tape-looping experiments of Dublab and the microtonal guitar compositions of Rod Poole, the “Mapping sound” project involves radical sonic experimentation spread across the psychic and physical terrain of Los Angeles. Head of SASSAS Cindy Bernard explains, “It’s all about increasing the visibility and accessibility of ‘tweener practices’ in art. That is, everything that falls to the edges and ‘in between’ the established genres of art, music, etc.”

Bringing “tweener” art out to the public is exactly what Bernard and the SASSAS board of directors have been working on for a decade. The nonprofit organization was formed to support projects such as Bernard’s “sound,” the monthly series of experimental sound concerts staged since 2000 at the Schindler House, a modernist architectural masterpiece in West Hollywood. Over the years, SASSAS’ roster of collaborators has included such luminaries in the experimental music/sound/art worlds as Pauline Oliveros, Tetuzi Akiyama, Climax Golden Twins, Joseph Jarman and Roscoe Mitchell. SASSAS has joined forces with the Eagle Rock Center for the Arts to hold SoundShoppe, a monthly, open-participation sound jam.


Bernard’s mission has been simple: “It really comes down to the relationships that are formed out of these events, the fact that artists and musicians who might otherwise never meet are thrown into an environment and are asked to . . . collaborate.”

By crisscrossing the L.A. cityscape, and encouraging the use of public transit and carpooling to follow the event’s trajectory, “Mapping sound” uses geography as yet another clever way to instigate random relationships. The sound event kicks off at Eagle Rock’s Sylvan Amphitheater with Percussion Party, then moves to Highland Park for the Los Angeles Free Music Society’s “Bandshell Blitz.” It heads into Chinatown, then to Amoeba in Hollywood, then to the Eighth Veil Gallery in Hollywood for Dublab’s “Into Infinity” exhibition.

Alejandro Cohen of Dublab says, “We’ve been brainstorming on the idea of tape loops, and also wanted to do something based on the infinity loop.” For their ongoing, online project, “Into Infinity,” they’ve asked dozens of their musically minded friends to create eight-second sound loops, which were made available on the Dublab website for public remixing and resubmission.

The day wraps up at a SoundShoppe party at Venice’s Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center, with a public reception and a jam session featuring “Mapping sound” participants. It’s an ambitious day of sound, art and travel, and hopefully a harbinger of another decade of avant-garde sounds in the between-spaces of the city’s many music communities.



‘Mapping sound’

Where: Multiple venues citywide; see website for details.

When: 11 a.m. to midnight Sat.

Price: All events are free.