Vancouver-based group Scrap Arts Music brought experimental percussion to Zoellner Arts Center on Friday, Oct. 18.
The 5-drummer ensemble repurposed industrial scrap with the arts of welding and sculpting. The results yielded instruments in the shapes of kettledrums, coils and underground pipes.
From drumming to thudding to flitting to twirling, motions vibrated the instruments to create music.
“I like looking at the instruments they bring out,” Alex Arp, ‘21, said. “It’s very interesting how they take something you wouldn’t expect to be an instrument and make it one.”
Gregory Kozak, one member of the music group, hopes the audience is inspired by the production to create everyday objects with recycled materials.
“Everyone can do this,” he said. “You can do it too.”
The 90-minute show was split into two acts in which mellow, orchestral numbers alternated with riotous beats.
Composed by Kozak, all-acoustic arrangements were combined with high-energy choreography. Different mixes of the same sounds would resonate as the five performers moved around the stage in rhythm.
In many instances, the performers would either oscillate between different instruments or share the same instrument with each other.
“They’re very in sync,” Arp said. “They look like they’re having fun on stage. You can definitely see how much time it took to memorize all the steps.”
Titled “Children of Metropolis,” the show is inspired by the ending of Fritz Lang’s 1927 film “Metropolis.” A short film directed by Canadian filmmaker Andrew Struthers preceded the performance. In black and white, it paid homage to the retro-futuristic tropes of 1920s Hollywood.
The opening film introduced Grigor, a toddler who survived the apocalyptic collapse of Metropolis. In a basket, Grigor was sent floating when the streets began to flood. He was washed up onto another realm where he encountered a group of “strange others,” who were played by members of Scrap Arts Music.
Michael Demasi, ‘22, has experienced music created from repurposed instruments in the past, but he was taken by the theatrical aspect of the production. Demasi and Erica Fischer, ‘22, both found the film to be eerie, which made them more invested in what happened in the end.
“It was very surreal,” said Cameron Osborn, ‘22.
As the film faded out, members in tinfoil hats entered the stage from the aisles. Their silhouettes faced colors of the aurora on-screen.
With an instrument resembling the triangle, they began with a sequence of ringing sound, which rose to a fast-paced crescendo of drums.
Every number introduced a new combination of instruments, forming different tempos and moods as the story unfolded. An ongoing beat signified and differentiated each number.
The show ended with a standing ovation from the audience, which was a mix of Lehigh students and Lehigh Valley residents.
“We were really excited for such an enthusiastic audience,” Kozak said, “We’d love to come back and do it again.”