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'Visions of Astropolis' Combines Art And Experimental Music

By Eric Hehr in Arts & Entertainment on Dec 3, 2011 8:00PM

2011_12_03_astropolis.jpg Chicago based indie record label, “Actually, Records,” has been specializing in releasing experimental music since 2003. Their roster produces inventive music that tends to neglects the constraints of the traditional pop format - blurring the line between electronic/acoustic, linear/entropic and tonal/atonal. At the forefront of “Actually, Records” roster is XYZR_KX (pronounced ‘Scissor Kicks’), otherwise known as Jon Monteverde.

Monteverde is a Chicago based Chinese-Filipino indie-rock/electro-pop protégé who produces music that focuses on sculpting lush sonic landscapes while simultaneously embracing the drama of contrasting dynamics. From hushed vocals to anarchic drum loops, XYZR_KX’s music incorporates a wide variety of shifting moods and emotionally taut arrangements that would seem right at home in a film score.

So it’s no wonder that Chicago-based visual artist, Chien-An Yuan, teamed up with XYZR_KX to create Visions of Astropolis, a hypnotic expedition into the vanishing dreams of a not so distant future.

Visions of Astropolis is inspired by architectural and artistic visionaries (such as Buckminster Fuller and Oscar Niemyer) of the past sixty years that attempted to solve the onslaught of tribulations in contemporary society by utilizing space age concepts developed by everyone from Albert Einstein to Rod Serling to John Brunner.

The collaboration of Monteverde and Yuan is built around the intersection of the aesthetics and sonics of a hypothetical utopian society. Driven by XYZR_KX’s vibrant score (which has been released as Secession in Astropolis on “Actually, Records”), Yuan match-cuts between rousing visuals of NASA-like transmissions and time-loop surrealism to create a post-modernist visual tone poem.

The 37 minute long, 10-part collaboration of Yuan and Monteverde will premiere on Friday, Dec. 16 at 7 p.m. at Transistor, followed by a special preview of the 19-minute Vision of Astropolis sound and visual installation, which will debut in 2012. Price of admission? Free! Mark your calendars all you architectural and experimental music enthusiasts. This is an event not to be missed!

For more information on Visions of Astropolis and other upcoming events at Transistor, visit